Often referred to as “conceptual,” “high production” or “staged” photography, cinematic images are not about recording reality but rather creating it. Using lectures and demos, this course explores the production of the cinematic image from concept, to pre-production, art design, lighting, posing, shooting and post production.  We’ll look at some great examples of cinematic images for inspiration and create a few of our own on location around town. These images take time and crew to create.  Each student will work on a single image of his or her own, and crew on others over the course of the week.

Topics covered include:

  • Developing your concept
  • Production Design
  • Pre-production (location scouting, props, costumes, etc.)
  • Shooting strategy (lighting design, shooting for the composite)
  • Working on set (locations, actors, models, crews)
  • Post-production (compositing, color, focus stacking, etc.)

While not a full blown introduction to lighting or post production, several techniques will be covered in lecture and problems solved on set.

Skill Level: Intermediate. It’s expected that each student has familiarity with his or her camera and at least a basic understanding of composition and exposure. Each student should bring a camera and a laptop on which to work with their image.


Betsy Zuck

Betsy Zuck has done extensive work in artistic direction, scenic design, and scenic artistry in theatre, opera, and film. Her clients include the Washington National Opera, Wolftrap Opera and DC Public Opera. ​​​​She also has experience in events and trade shows. Her work has ranged from months of preparation to on-the-job improvisation.  


Jonathan Zuck

An award winning photographer, filmmaker and digital artist, with studios in DC and Brussels, Jonathan’s work has appeared in local and national ad campaigns, festivals, exhibitions and in homes and businesses around the world.  Jonathan’s editorial work, has appeared in multiple publications including the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, On Tap and several websites. Jonathan focuses on fine art and commercial photography.
Jonathan’s hero is Orson Welles because of his creativity and originality across mediums. A filmmaker at heart,  Jonathan’s work is most inspired by artists such as Welles, Stanley Kubrick, Gregory Crewdson, Lyndon Wade, Julie Blackmon and the Symbolists of the late 19th Century.

© Jonathan Zuck

Course Dates

Aug 20 to Aug 26



Class Size