Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

via CreativeLive


Most photographers get comfortable with the lighting setups they use, and tend to shy away from trying new or different ones. Pushing yourself to incorporate new lighting techniques can help to expand your photographic style. You don’t need to buy more lighting equipment to start thinking about how the light is appropriate for what you’re shooting. Learning to see and light a location or scene and bring it to life in your images takes an in-depth understanding of lighting, direction, and creative vision. Join Chris Knight, well-known photographer, instructor, and author, to learn how to create cinematic lighting that allows you to be more innovative for your clients and yourself.

Chris will explain:

  • How to think like a filmmaker but apply those ideas to a single image
  • Motivated lighting and how to incorporate the techniques into your creative vision
  • Framing and layering for your images
  • How to use direction and guidance to achieve a cinematic look
  • How to enhance the cinematic lighting you achieved in-camera through post production processes

In this class, Chris takes you through his creative process during two cinematic style shoots at two different locations to share with you his behind-the-scenes thoughts, motivations, and scenarios. Chris also takes you through an in-studio shoot to explain the importance of prop placement, intentional set design, and light. You’ll learn the confidence to develop and incorporate new thought processes and get out of your everyday routines when lighting your subjects.


  • Class Introduction
  • What is Cinematic Lighting?
  • Motivated & Practical Lighting
  • 5 Cinematic Lighting Tips
  • Low-Key & Upstage Lighting
  • Control Your Fill Lighting
  • Show Depth In Your Image
  • Pre-Production for Cinematic Lighting
  • Grip Tools: Clamps
  • Grip Tools: Apple Boxes, C-Stands & Grip Heads
  • Grip Tools: Pins & Portable Gear
  • Grip Tools: Scrims, Silks, Flags & Tape
  • Grip Tools: Wind and Haze Machines
  • Grip Tools: Unusual Tools
  • Grip Tools: Filters
  • Grip Tools: Q&A
  • Theater Shoot: Concept
  • Theater Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations
  • Theater Shoot: Lighting Gear
  • Theater Shoot: Motivated Lighting Considerations
  • Theater Shoot: Lighting Walkthrough
  • Theater Shoot: Capturing The 1st Shot
  • Theater Shoot: Hero Shot
  • Theater Shoot: Capturing In The Seats
  • Airstrip Shoot: Concept
  • Airstrip Shoot: Pre-Production Considerations
  • The Haircut: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting
  • Working With Scrims On Location
  • The Haircut: Getting the Shot
  • The Haircut: Shooting Plates
  • Staggered Planes: Location Specifics and Motivated Lighting
  • Staggered Planes: Getting The Shot
  • Capturing Plates With Talent In Background
  • Airstrip: Environmental Portraits
  • Airstrip: Location Shooting Q&A
  • Using Plates to Create a Pano in Lightroom®
  • Transform Tool
  • Post-Processing 1st Theater Shot
  • Retouching Details in Photoshop®
  • Color Grading in Alien Skin Exposure X3
  • Post-Processing Theater Hero Shot in Photoshop®
  • Creating a Spotlight in Photoshop®
  • Adjusting Color for Cinematic Lighting
  • Post-Processing: The Haircut
  • Coloring the Sky and Removing Modern Building
  • Creating a Pano Using Plates in Photoshop®
  • Developing Cinematic Portraits in Lightroom®
  • Retouching Cinematic Portraits in Photoshop®
  • Color Grading Cinematic Portraits in Alien Skin

Taught by

Chris Knight

Related Courses


Start your review of Cinematic Lighting for Portraiture

Never Stop Learning!

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free