Program presentation

The Commercial + Fine Art Portrait Photography course is an immersive, online curriculum for students wishing to learn complex, staged portrait photography, develop their personal style, and take their portfolio to the next level. This program is taught in English over 14 weeks.

During this online photography program, students will learn how to develop a career as a professional photographer. Specifically, they will acquire skills that give practical expertise in the following areas:

  • Planning and producing complex portrait shoots.
  • Lighting for studio and location work.
  • Set-design and styling.
  • Special effects.
  • Leading a production team.
  • Directing talent.
  • Editing images to enhance storytelling.
  • Promoting a personal brand.
  • Pitching to agencies and clients.
  • Developing a signature style.
  • Assembling a competitive portfolio.

The program is divided into 15 chapters. Each chapter consists of:

– A video lesson with real-world case studies of actual commercial and fine-art photography shoots.
– A text recap for each chapter.
– Practical activities and assignments, with deadlines for completion.

Each lesson’s coursework and practical assignment will together require 4 to 8 hours of work. Lectures are released according to a defined schedule — once they are online, students can watch and read them at any time.

After each lesson, students are invited to attend a live, online session with Andrei Kovalev to discuss the coursework, assignments, and the main course project. Andrei is also available throughout the course via e-mail to answer questions.

> Discover this online program online on the dedicated website

This online program is open to photographers who have, at a minimum, experience shooting photographs using a digital camera in manual mode, and who understand the basics of exposure, shutter speed and lenses. It is not necessary for you to have experience with portraiture, but the more you know about shooting portrait photography before you begin the course, the farther it will take you.

This course is designed to help you take your photography practice to the next level, from wherever you may be in your career. If you are a beginner trying to break into commercial photography, the course will show you how to shoot professional-level portraits and position that work to get more clients. If you are already shooting for a living but aren’t satisfied with the kind of commissions you’re getting or the quality of the work you’re producing, this course will help you overcome those challenges and take your practice to the next level.

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 sessions: January-May, 2024
Campus: immersive online program, the entire program takes place online
Language of instruction: English
– France, European Union nationals: €3,780
– International students: €3,780
Diploma: Spéos School Certificate

Commercial + Fine Art Portrait Photography – An Immersive Online Course from Spéos Photo School

Course description of the Commercial + Fine Art Portrait Photography Program

  • Conceptualization. How to develop, research and present ideas to clients, agencies, and photo editors, and techniques for injecting your vision into a client brief.
  • Pre-visualization. How to use sketches, digital collages and 3D modeling tools to see your photograph before you shoot it. We also cover building mood boards and a photographer’s treatment — an industry standard for commissioned work.

  • Casting. Finding the right talent for your project.
  • Location & Set-design. Choosing the right environment for your shoot, or building your own set for more control. We’ll also cover how to convert a given location into a controlled stage.
  • Costume & Styling. How to reach out to and partner with clothing designers and professional stylists, and what they can bring to your project. And when you can’t afford to do that, how to optimize what’s available in your talent’s wardrobe to support your vision.
  • Testing. Proofing and refining an idea or technique before the shoot.
  • Directing. Working with amateur and professional models to help them take your shoot to the next level.
  • Production Management. Planning is everything. Learn how to manage a team and how to work most efficiently with producers.

  • Defining Light. Understanding light, and how to balance and control it.
  • Lighting Tools & Techniques. Shaping light with strobes and continuous lighting, using both professional DIY solutions.

  • Using atmospheric effects indoors and outdoors, as well as optical effects and distortion.

  • Tips and techniques for using Photoshop and other tools to edit, retouch, and composite your photographs.

  • Thinking Outside The Toolbox. Positioning you and your work to grow your career.
  • Build Your Circle. Working with clients, partners, agencies, and photo editors to maximize your growth.
  • Personal Style. Developing and promoting your signature style.
  • The Future of Photography. How to prepare your practice for the next era of visual arts.

— The Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Creativity: Understanding the impact of AI tools on the future of creativity in both commercial and fine art.
— The Future of Photography as a Profession: Examining the implications of AI advancements for professional photographers.
— Adapting to the Changing Landscape: Strategies for adapting to the evolving industry influenced by AI technology.
— Harnessing AI in Photography: Exploring how AI can enhance the artistic process and push the boundaries of photography.
— Shaping the Future: Building a Meta-Learning Framework; Understanding the concept of a meta-learning framework and its importance in the AI-driven future of art.
— Copyright and legal issues with AI. How it works and how to prepare for it.

Practical assignments for participants to try out different AI platforms and see how this can boost their creativity and enhance professional practice.

Students’ testimonials and works

This course has been invaluable to my professional development and it has been pivotal in expanding my creativity. I now feel confident that I have the tools to take my career to the next level. This course has far exceeded my expectations. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to build a career in conceptual commercial photography or further develop their fine art practice.
– Felicia Byron

I want to say a very sincere and heartfelt thank you to Spéos for making this course available and, specifically, a thank you to Andrei Kovalev. Andrei has completely changed my photographic practice and truly inspired me to view the beauty that exists in the world and do what I can to inspire others to do the same. Andrei is an exceptional instructor and a truly inpsiring visual artist. I consider myself lucky to now know him.

This was a truly amazing and life changing course that dramatically improved my photographic practice and positively.

I know Andrei and this course will help others improve their photographic practice and get to the next level in their careers.

This course was by far the best investment I’ve made to improve my photography career and get to the next level in my photgraphic practice.
– Mat Chacon

In line with the profession: this training is a high-level training! Not classic at all! Spéos has a very good program. I am 100% satisfied with Andrei, a very good teacher and so motivating for my professional goals!!!
– Marie Debitus

Enrollment and Contact

Registrations are open all year round and subject to availability.
Feel free to contact Spéos if you have any questions about this program.
At any time you are most welcome to come and visit the school, just make an appointment!