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Portrait photography can be a tricky endeavor, even for professionals. There are so many things to take in to account, and on top of the technical stuff, you have to get your subject to look natural AND not blink?!
On this gorgeous Saturday in March, instructors Alicia Telfer and Ellie Stone led an eager group of photographers around the lovely Pruneyard shopping center, teaching them step-by-step, their tricks of the trade!
Starting off at the Aperture Academy gallery, we introduced ourselves and shared our photographic backgrounds and goals for portrait photography. After a quick overview on the camera and the importance of each setting involved with portraiture, we ventured outside with our very own cover models, Hannah and Sarah, to practice and capture the beautiful day!
In every workshop, instructors try to encourage the students to get multiple shots of the same subject. In the Natural Light workshop, it is easy to have the model change her pose, and the students change their positions, to ensure they are practicing settings and subject positioning, all the while getting different looking images on their LCD screens.
This day, it was sunny with a bit of haze in the afternoon, allowing the instructors to help the students with using reflectors. The students got a chance to see how 5-in-1 round discs can really make a portrait pop and fill in unwanted shadows on the subject's face.
Alicia and Ellie were able to share examples of posing for both males and females, appropriate backgrounds for a "full-body" portrait, and the proper cut off points for head shots. As we jumped around from staircases to hallways, there were many fantastically shot portraits being shared.
The enthusiasm and teamwork put into this workshop went hand-in-hand! Because some spots were a bit tight to fit into collectively, student creativity was on overflow when they began shooting through bent arms and around foot level views to avoid being in each other's shots! It was so much fun!
Making our way around the back side, near the Pruneyard Hotel, back to the gallery, we passed restaurants and shops, allowing us to practice shooting Hannah and Sarah with reflections in table tops, and utilizing the fun architecture of store fronts, providing us with a great variety of naturally lit backdrops.
We stopped one last time to take the fun and famous group photo, and ended the workshop with excited students ready to go home to practice their newly learned portrait photography techniques. Answering any and all remaining questions, Ellie and Alicia thanked their students for a superb day of beautiful picture taking!
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.