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Shoot Set Up

Lesson 21 from: Fine Art Conceptual Photography from Shoot through Post-Processing

Bella Kotak, Pratik Naik

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Lesson Info

21. Shoot Set Up

Next Lesson: Shoot: Test Shots


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Artistic Vision and Inspiration


Personal Projects


Creative Motivation and Defining Your Story


Organizing Your Inspiration


Building A Character


Creating Wardrobe and Props


Location Scouting


Lesson Info

Shoot Set Up

We're gonna be setting up the scene, so there will probably be a little bit of time here where you're gonna see me adjust and set her into the scene. Usually, as you saw from the video earlier, I take time before the actual picture gets taken. Because, yeah, that's really where most of the crafting happens. So, we're gonna bring our model out. Madeline, do you wanna come join us? (Pratik) Oh, wow. (laughing) Let's give a round of applause to our model. Yes, round of applause, Madeline. (audience applause) Hi. (Madeline) Should I sit down? (Bella) Yeah, actually, do you know what? I'm gonna have you standing for one second. I just want to see. (Madeline) I can drop the dress? (Bella) You can drop the dress. Yeah. Is it heavy? It's okay. It's not that heavy, it's not that bad. Okay. It's all right. So, I'm gonna show, oh that looks lovely. Okay, I have two setups in mind for today. And this is the first one. So, this dress is from a designer called Firefly Path. Her nam...

e is JoEllen, and she just created it with this beautiful fabric that I didn't even know how she pieces it together, it's magical. But, essentially, this dress was the inspiration behind this whole thing. So, once I realized that I was gonna use the red dress on location, this dress was the inspiration for the flower wall, the make-up, and all of the other elements that I mentioned earlier. She also included this unicorn horn that I love, and we didn't have to keep it, but I'm gonna keep it because I really quite like it. I think it just works with your character. Something that I wanna try is, let me have a look. Okay, I'm gonna have you in here. So I'm gonna move, and, in fact, I'm gonna have Christina come on, as well. I'm gonna move this a little bit. And have you in the wall, yeah. Look at that. Okay. So, Christina, we're gonna just get this hair out. Madeline, if you wanna turn up and turn away. Okay, so what we're gonna do is we're also gonna adjust this so that it's not so straight, but it's more, like, out. Yeah, something like that. And we might need to pin it, as well, for it to stay in place, but I will trust you. (Christine) Put it back here for you. Okay. (Pratik) Also, if you're ever shooting donor pieces, what I mean by donor pieces, is if you have other elements that you want to add later, that you have in your possession, make sure you shoot it under the same lighting conditions. That way, when you add it in post, you're able to do so easier, rather than fighting with the lighting that's different between the two. When I get jobs, a big problem that happens is they end up giving me pieces that don't have the same lighting reference as the shot that they took so it's almost impossible to match it, unless you try to re-craft the light. Make it easier on yourself. (Christine) Do you want it pinned? (Bella) No, I just want to drape it. Yeah, so what I was thinking was that, because this hair is super long, I want to have it, I want to show that off. So we're just gonna swoosh it out a little bit. And I'm gonna bring these leaves in, as well, because I did quite like it. I'm gonna have your hand come up here a little bit. And leave it there. Okay, actually, I'll take that off. There we go. We're getting all caught up, aren't we? (Pratik) She's not gonna get out of there. (Bella) No. I'm gonna be stuck here forever. (Bella) Forever. Do you know what we could also do? Is we could flick some hair, as well. Who's up for some hair flicking? (Pratik) Yeah, anybody from the audience. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. (Pratik) Let's go. Okay, cool. So we'll get a shot where her hair is all beautifully positioned, and then we'll also get a shot where we're flicking her hair, as well, to give us some options. Because y'all know how much I love a good hair flick. Brilliant. Do we have any questions coming in while we do this bit? (Christine) Bella, do you want me to pin this? (Host) Well, I know that you talked about using a tripod here, obviously, within studio, with the Phase I, but folks had asked earlier if you ever have a tripod when you're shooting outdoors, as well. Yeah, sometimes. So, the tripod I use is a Vanguard tripod, as well. And that's just because it's super light and very portable. And I use it when I remember to bring it, to be very honest. Because having a tripod, especially when you're shooting by yourself, is really helpful if you're doing composite work because you can just set it up, have your camera exactly where you want, and usually, if it's a case of just me and the model, then I'll be the one setting the camera on the timer, ten-second timer, running to the front, and throwing her hair. So yeah, when I remember, I have the tripod with me. But more often than not, I have to have the girl flick her own hair or I'll have somebody on set, if I'm lucky, with the make-up artist, and she'll do that for me. Or, Pratik. Right, and also, the other reason is because, on set, there's so much wind that happens sometimes, even though you have a tripod, it doesn't ensure consistency with shot to shot. (Bella) Yeah, exactly. The other reason is the way (Bella) Can I get more She composites things, (Bella) on the side here? It's very natural, the way it blends together. So it's not necessarily that this particular section will fit this section perfectly. It's not a static environment, so the way she's compositing things is not, necessarily, that she will need a tripod for those composites, which will make a lot of sense when we do our post-processing, as well. You had mentioned using the same lighting for things that you were gonna composite in. Are you concerned, as well, with the height of the camera and the angle that you're shooting at? Yes, because, for example, if we took a shot of something up top, the angle is obviously different so you have to make sure it's at the exact level sight as your shot. If you're not sure, take it at various angles so when you do get back to your main image, your composite, you have those angles to chose from, which is also what they do in jewelry campaigns, as well. We'll composite different things, because they'll have the resources from different angles in case there's a perspective shift. It's interesting you mention that, because, later on, when we do another set, we're not gonna be perfectly overhead and we're gonna have to adjust in post-processing for perspective and we're gonna show how you do that, in case you don't get that right angle, as well. Gonna help you cheat a little bit. So you know earlier when I mentioned about leading lines? So that's pretty much what I'm doing here with her hair. So we've had her hair swooping out and coming up. We're actually adding in some curves in it, as well, over here and here. Whatever we can manage, and that would just give a impression of movement in the picture. Because her hair's nice and straight, if we just had it hanging, there's no, what do you call it? There's no story. It looks boring, it looks dull, it looks lifeless. So what we're doing, is we're just having it out, giving it some volume, and giving it some life. As well as giving it some form, as well, to lead the viewers eye to her beautiful face, which is going to be turned up and away, so it's all kind of going in that direction. I chose this colored wig, as well, because pale colored wigs actually look really beautiful in any light. And, especially, against any darker backgrounds, as well. So the contrast of that was something I was keeping in mind. As well as the contrast of how I styled her. We picked a more pale model, she's got lovely gray eyes. The dress, itself, has a multitude of colors, and some of those colors connect with the background, as well.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Practice PSD File - Sleeping Beauty
Pratik Naik Retouching Actions
The Royal Collection - Fine Art Actions
Practice PSD File - Location Shoot (~700mb)
Practice PSD File - In Studio Shoot (~1.3gb)

Ratings and Reviews


Great class and great instructors. Genuine and informative. Practical tips to create stunning images. Seeing them work through the process from shoot to finished image was great and I loved that they shared the thought processes behind the creative decisions. Definitely recommended!


Truly a remarkable duo. Bella is so down-to-earth and humble for a photographer with such a strong beautiful and ethereal voice. Her explanations of her process really inspired me--I was sketching concepts throughout the class. Pratik's process really opened my eyes to "smart" retouching--understanding what can be done in fewer brush strokes and slimmer PS files. All in all a really unique and inspiring class that makes me excited to realize my next conceptual shoot. They're also adorable together!

Mai Her

I've gained sooooo much from this I can't even contain my appreciation and excitement! So much inspiration and so much generous advice and tips to help me! Thank you so much Bella and Pratik and Creative Live!

Student Work