Saturday February 9th was a clear and beautiful day in Campbell California. Alicia and I met some fantastic and eager students at our Aperture Academy home base and stunning gallery, in the Pruneyard shopping center. Our enthusiastic students arrived today to further their knowledge of photography and more specifically natural light portraiture.
Getting to know our students is first up on the agenda. Alicia and I always tailor our teaching techniques to each student, based on his/her skill level and learning style.
After Alicia and I personally meet all our pupils, it's time for the learning to begin. First off is a little refresher on aperture and it's importance and relation to portrait photography. My goofy and on going joke is about aperture and how important it is... "That's why it's called, the Aperture Academy, and not the Shutter Academy... I got a few giggles. After my refresher, Alicia shows the class some beautiful portraits that she has taken all around the Pruneyard shopping center, which is of course our shooting locale for the day.
Everyone is excited to get outside and start the tactile portion of our class. Alicia and I have provided two beautiful models for our students to photograph, so we all head out into the sunshine and fresh air.
We simply step outside the gallery doors and pleasing backdrops are abound. A small piece of iron fencing, and the Spanish style architecture of the adjacent El Burro restaurant, offer some simple and oftentimes overlooked backdrops. Alicia offers up her "go to" setting when shooting portraits, so everyone makes the proper adjustments to iso and aperture, and the fun begins. We provide two models so all get an easy opportunity to shoot. Alicia and I are constantly monitoring the students lcd screen, to offer up compositional tips, as well as exposure, and white balance adjustments. Just by making a few slight modifications, via exposure compensation, and the images are looking better and better. Due to the changing light situations, going from sun to shade, we help the students take control of their white balance settings. The images had a much more pleasing result, just by cooling down or warming up the light temperature.
As we moved around the shopping center, the group encountered completely different and always appealing backdrops. We go from a basic grey wall, to tall architectural windows. I offer some tips on using a reflector and demonstrate what happens when we introduce the white side to fill in some soft shadows. It's amazing to see what a difference it makes and how the models face instantly appears soft and bright. Time flies as we are all having fun and the students are capturing some beautiful portraits.
Before class is over, Alicia sets up a shot of our entire group. Reminiscent of those school photos of yester year, but our ApCad group shots are way more enjoyable and exciting. Afterwards, we answer some questions and bid all a farewell. Although the class was over Alicia and I are always available via email for questions, or to review images. Please don't hesitate to contact us.
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.