© Andrei Kovalev

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.

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 session: January 2022
Campus: immersive online program, the entire program takes place online
Language of instruction: English
– France, European Union nationals: €4,750
– International students: €4,750
=> Early bird discount for enrollment in this online program before December 5, 2021: €3,780 instead of €4,750, or €270/week for 14 weeks of classes.
Diploma: Spéos School Certificate

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Course description

  • 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.

Enrollment and Contact

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

Enroll now!