07: Assignment Seven: An Architectural Photo of a Church

07: Assignment Seven: An Architectural Photo of a Church

The client wants to see something special for his new PR work for a local church. The image should not have any cars in the parking lot and light MUST be on the front of the church.

The client is suggesting a very early morning shot (or sunset if the light is better there) with a camera angle that shows off the grounds that surround the church.

Look for a church or building of worship in your town that provides a good morning / evening light fall, and make a killer shot of it.

Beauty matters in this sort of image.





06: Assignment Six; A glass of wine on location

06: Assignment Six; A glass of wine on location

This shot cannot be done in a studio, the client would prefer it be done on location.

Snow is good. Desert is good. Trees are good.

It’s all good because their tagline is “It’s Always a Good Time for a Good Wine” (Please drink responsibly means probably not while driving down the freeway or flying a plane… soooo –  there is that.)

Remember a few things about wine:

  1. Dark, red wine is hard to light for color. You may have to drive some additional light through the wine from the back. This may open up the wine for a more attractive color.
  2. Wine is transparent. If you have a busy background, you may want to use a white card for behind the wine glass so the busy background is eliminated in the glass.
    Method A: cut white card the same shape as the wine glass and carefully angle it to not show on the sides.
    Method B: Insert a white card behind the wine and take a second shot. Blend the white card glass into the shot without it.
  3. Pouring the wine is a great way to add dynamics, but make sure the lighting is absolutely dead on for that pour. Otherwise the highlight that is so important will not be brought out of the pouring wine. Think fill cards… lots of fill cards.

Use a lens that will render the wine glass sharp and the background less so. The client wishes to make the wine definitely be the center of attention.

Surfaces can be anything from a snow covered rock to a patio bench to a porch with all the accessories. This is YOUR shot. Make it reflect their tag line and you are golden.



This class focuses on 8 classic and diverse portrait photographers. We learn what makes the image makers tick, and use that information to help polish our own work even tighter. You will make more deliberate imagery after taking this class.

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This class has turned into a really powerful, and very popular class. Students rave about their increased vision, lighting, and compositional skills. Becoming very conscious of light, dimension, and shape helps in all aspects of photography.

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05: Assignment Five: Industrial Magazine Cover

05: Assignment Five: Industrial Magazine Cover

This is a fun assignment.

An art director needs a cover shot for an industrial trade magazine.

Which industry?

Whichever industry you choose – but it is industrial. Mechanical… build stuff!

The gig can be one of three approaches.

This shot would be a worker, holding something in their hands or working with their hands. We have background included… and it must be lit. Whether you use natural light or bring your own, the background cannot be ignored. Art director would prefer lighting from the right, as that is somewhat a custom of their magazine.

Still Life:
Tools, dies, saws… whatever you choose for this shot, there must be patina, a sense of them being used. Heavy lifting stuff. Real hard working tools. Gardening and light housework tools are not included.

Industrial Transportation:
Big trucks, skip loaders, construction site. If you go this way, remember to bring lights. This is a cover shot and it MUST be dramatic. Absolutely dramatic. Use your strobe to light something up, light paint in something to be featured. Take off the ‘snapshot’ hat and put on the “OMG, I can’t believe you shot this” hat.

The shot is vertical. I have included a layout for those who wish to go that way. Use of the layout is OPTIONAL.

Room for Masthead (magazine name)

PSD for those who want to put your work in a layout (optional). INDUSTRY.psd

Use Google to find what is out there… and you may be disappointed that so much bad photography exists in the construction arena.
Or… you may be very excited that so much bad photography exists in construction and find a niche that needs to be filled… ya know?

Research is GOOD.

Some ideas:

04: Assignment Four: The Game of Chess

04: Assignment Four: The Game of Chess

CHESS as a Business Strategy

We read about chess masters. There are movies made about chess and those who play. An esoteric, and definitively challenging game of wits and skill.

Like business.

Your assignment this week comes from a business magazine (Forbes, The Economist, or similar) for an image that will accompany their article on company acquisitions being similar to a game of chess.

The headline is “One Move Ahead May Not Be Enough” and your illustration must use something of the game of chess in it to give the headline some context.

It could be a piece, or a board, or the capture of the King, or a whole lot of other things – right?

How about a giant chessboard with people in business suits as the chess pieces? Or a chessboard with briefcases on the squares? C’mon, there are a lot of ideas when you get into the world of chess.

The image must be in color, and it must be portrait orientation. The client has also mentioned the magazine would not mind a unique post production process if you have one in mind that could boost the illustrative feel of the image.

What ideas does this give you for your shot? Can you see it in your head?

Use your sketch book or journal to put down ideas and suggestive terms to get your creativity in gear.

And try not to lose your rook… just sayin’… 😉

03: Assignment Three; Environmental Portrait

03: Assignment Three; Environmental Portrait

OK… time to shine.

This must be a photograph in which the subject inhabits about 25% of the image.

There is not much specifics to this assignment. After the difficult magazine assignment shoot, it is time to relax and make something fun.

Here is a Google page of environmental portraits.

Your call, your shot… just one thing. You must make this one rock. If it is natural light, it has to be amazing natural light. If you light it, LIGHT it.

However, BEFORE YOU SHOOT, I do want you to research and find an environmental portraitist that you really like.

Look at the portraitists you like and make notes:

Why is the shot done on a location, in an environment?

What does the environment add to our understanding of the subject?

Or does the environment stand in contrast to the subject?

How does the photographer choose to frame the subject in the environment?

Environmental portraiture.

Brian Harkin Interview

On OK article.

A few tips.

Just remember that the subject should be just a part of the environment… 25-35%, not filling the frame. And the environment must say something about the subject, and their relationship to it.

Oh, and make it killer

02: Assignment Two: The Incredible Egg

02: Assignment Two: The Incredible Egg


Yeah… it is a popular headline, but that is what the client wants.

The Design Company is located out of your area, but wants you to shoot this because you have been consistently marketing to them with great work.

A local restaurant supply shop wants to produce a series of posters for their clients. This is a proof of concept shot for the designer to present at a presentation. You are getting $600 bucks for this, and if the client buys the concept, you will then shoot 9 more shots for $1400 each.

This is what the designer has told you they want;

  • Clean, bright background.
  • Colors should be muted and not detract from the ‘hero’ of the shot – egg(s)
  • Surface should be clean, NOT a textured, or wooden type surface.
  • Egg(s) should be prominently displayed in the image.

Layout is included: incredible-egg.psd

The text at the bottom has to be allowed for. What will you put there? Nothing in the image should impede the readability of the text. Busy backgrounds

Nothing in the image should impede the readability of the text. Busy backgrounds, or areas that are too light may cause the reversed (white) text to be difficult to read. Your job as a photographer is to be aware of this so your art director doesn’t pull their hair out having to ‘fix’ the image.


Images for Review: