For most amateur and aspiring photographers, natural light and portraits go hand in hand. Studio backgrounds and lighting are a big investment, but nature's lighting is free, not to mention flattering, and fun to work with!
On this bright and sunny May Saturday, 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, because all our 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 one of the most challenging of lighting conditions... bright sun. Unlike landscape photography, where we can shoot during the best light situations, oftentimes we are forced to take portraits or photograph a wedding during mid-day, with the harshest of sunlight. Learning how to deal with an unfortunate lighting scenario can allow a photographer to feel confident, knowing they can make simple adjustments and achieve a great shot.
Class began right outside the Aperture Academy gallery doors. A simple wrought iron fence became the first of many backgrounds. Right from the start Ellie and Alicia started to challenge the students with the task of moving themselves around the subject to eliminate background clutter. The instructors assisted with camera settings, and explained why ISO and shutter speed are so important. If one has a beautiful model, posed in an attractive way, under the best lighting conditions, it's all for naught if the camera's settings are incorrect.
The group made their way around the Pruneyard shopping center, which seemed to have an endless supply of backdrops and different lighting options. We stopped often to take advantage of the changing light and differing architecture. Alicia and Ellie demonstrated how just a basic green shrub can provide an interesting and flattering background. All the while demonstrating how to read the light and how moving the model's face ever so slightly can create a dramatically different effect.
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 Aperture Academy experience. After the group shot, to end the workshop, Alicia and Ellie answered some final questions and thanked all for their participation.
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.