© Andrei Kovalev

Program presentation

The Commercial + Fine Art Portrait Photography program is a 100% immersive online program aimed at students wishing to learn staged portrait photography, develop their personal style and create their own portfolio. Taught in English only, this program starts in March 2021 for a duration of 14 subsequent weeks.

During this immersive online program, students will learn how to develop their professional photography career.
They will acquire the following skills:

  • Organizing and managing a complex staged portrait shoot.
  • Using various types and combinations of lighting.
  • Set-design and styling.
  • Gathering/working efficiently with a production team.
  • Incentive and ability to explore and develop a personal style.
  • Deciding the best tools for a job.
  • Directing talent.
  • Adding special effects to an image.
  • Editing images to augment the storytelling.
  • Forming a viable commercial/fine-art portfolio.
  • Defining personal brand, promotion, and presentation of oneself to a potential client.

The program is divided into 6 main sections, each one including several chapters.
Each chapter comprises:

– A professionally shot video lecture lasting between 30 and 60 minutes, illustrated with real-life commercial cases and fine-art projects. Lectures are made available online according to a defined schedule. Once they are online, students can watch and read them at any time.
– A textual/illustrative recap with additional case analysis, and extra examples.
– Practical activities.

Each chapter requires 2 to 4 hours of student’s attention. Practical activities following each chapter require 2 to 8 hours of personal work.

A live Q&A session is organized at the end of the 6 sections of the program. Students can ask questions about the section’s topic during these sessions and discuss the assignments and course projects.
At any time, students can also — via the course’s website or email — reach the tutor with questions and requests about their program project or practical activities.

Each student completes a project book throughout the duration of the program. Their project book is to be comprised of several entries that demonstrate their understanding of the course material, the key stages of the project, and the skills required to produce a staged portrait photoshoot for a commercial client. Each week, the student is asked to submit an entry to their project book on a closed community website dedicated to the course. At the end of the program, a student’s project book becomes a part of their portfolio, demonstrating their ability to take an image from concept to completion.

This online program is open to beginners and professionals with the following pre-requisites:
– Understand how a digital camera works/being able to operate a camera in semi-automatic or manual modes.
– Basic experience in photographing people.
– A goal of becoming/growing as a portrait photographer.

Beginners can attend the optional extra course entitled “Essentials of Photography“, which will take place throughout the 14 weeks, at a rate of one and a half hours per week. This course is dedicated to the acquisition of techniques essential to the practice of professional photography. Combining theory and practical exercises, it allows students:
– to learn and practice the Stop-System, the global learning method of light control in photography, a method developed by Spéos,
– to understand and know how to define its settings when taking pictures,
– to understand the techniques inherent in shooting and to anticipate post-production,
– to understand the operation of different types of cameras, including the large-format camera.
The elements covered will allow students to make relevant technical choices according to the desired result. Whatever the situation, in studio or on location, indoors or outdoors, this course will enable them to deal with the possible constraints encountered when taking pictures.

Next session: 22 March 2021
Campus: immersive online program, the entire program takes place online
Language of instruction: English
– France, UK, EU nationals: €4,750
– International students: €4,750

Diploma: Spéos School Certificate

I apply!

Course description

  • Conceptualization. Putting an idea into words, including storytelling design. Working with a client’s brief and adding your vision to a commercial assignment.
  • Pre-visualization. Visualizing an idea. Working with sketches. Building a scene via digital collaging and 3D modeling tools. The need for a proof of concept. Assembling a mood board and a photographer’s treatment.
  • Influence & Inspiration. Finding and working with sources of inspiration. Imitating to grow and borrowing to become unique.
  • Casting. Finding talent for a personal or a commercial project.
  • Location & Set-design. Determining the right place for a shoot. Location scouting. Using a given context. Converting a given location into a controlled stage. Designing a set on a given location or in a dedicated environment.
  • Costume & Styling. Using props and styling for storytelling. Using a talent’s wardrobe. Bringing in designers and reaching out to clothing brands. Working with professional stylists. Adding universal or specific elements to a talent’s style. Creating costumes out of various materials at hand.
  • Testing. Proofing an idea, testing a technique, or an effect.
  • Directing. Treating a photoshoot as a movie stage. Directing a talent. Working with nonprofessional and professional models.
  • Production Management. Planning a project. Managing a team. Working with a dedicated producer.
  • Defining Light. What is light, how we use it, and for what purpose.
  • Characteristics of Light. Of what elements the light consists. How to control and balance them.
  • Tools & Toys. Natural and artificial lights. Strobes and continuous lighting. Professional equipment and DIY lighting devices.
  • Color. The intensity of color. Using color for storytelling.
  • Atmosphere. Natural and artificial atmospheric effects indoors and outdoors. Fog, haze, smoke, and other particles.
  • Optics & Distortion. Altering the “camera’s vision.” Using semi-transparent obstacles and special lenses.
  • Why We Edit. The reasons to retouch. From minor tweaks to digital compositing.
  • Photoshop Techniques. Tips & tricks to use for the most common retouching/editing situations.
  • Thinking Outside The Toolbox. Alternatives to Photoshop. Achieving a unique image style in-camera.