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For most amateur and aspiring photographers, natural light and portraits go hand in hand. Studio backgrounds and lighting are a big investment, and nature's lighting is free, not to mention flattering and fun to work with!
On this lovely Saturday in February, Aperture Academy instructors Ellie Stone and Alicia Telfer were on hand to teach a group of budding photogs about portraiture in nature's studio.
The instructors began the workshop activities with introductions. Getting to know everyone's skill level and expectation is vital, as all workshops are tailored to each individual. Ellie went over some brief refreshers on aperture and depth of field, which are imperative for portrait photography.
After the slideshow presentation, it was time to take the group outside for the excitement and fun of the tactile portion of the workshop. Mother Nature provided a variety of lighting conditions, from cloud cover, breaking sun, bright sun, to even light rain. This ensured Alicia and Ellie could cover many different scenarios, and therefore heighten the learning experience.
Alicia began with a simple and terrific background that was right outside the gallery doors. A red sunscreen covering an arched opening at the neighboring restaurant would become the fantastic, yet unassuming, backdrop. Color with basic architecture can speak volumes.
Ellie made sure the pupils had the proper camera settings while Alicia posed the models. The cloud cover provided a perfectly soft and diffused light. Most would not think that a cloudy day would be good for photography. In fact, it's the best time to get out and shoot, taking advantage of nature's light diffuser.
The group made their way around the Pruneyard shopping center, stopping often to take advantage of the changing light and differing architecture. Alicia and Ellie demonstrated how just a basic stucco wall can provide an interesting and flattering background, all the while demonstrating how to read the light, and how moving the models' faces ever so slightly can create dramatically different effects.
Next on the agenda was how to handle the changing and bright light as the sun started to cut through the morning cloud cover. As the soft light was fleeing and harsh light was taking its place, it was moving into a bit of shade condition, but with the incorporation of a basic hand held reflector, it did the trick. Reflectors are an inexpensive way to enhance the skin tone, in addition to filling in unflattering shadows.
The gang continued making their way around the picturesque shopping center, which seemed to have an endless supply of backdrops and different lighting options. The three-hour class seemed to fly by and it was soon time to set up for a quick shot of the entire group, so everyone would have a memento of their day and this fun Aperture Academy experience. After the group shot, Alicia and Ellie answered some final questions and thanked all for their participation in making for a fun day of learning.
Until next time,
Ellie, Alicia, and the rest of the Aperture Academy Team!
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.