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Portrait artist extraordinaire, Glen McDowell, accompanied by travel and lifestyle photography powerhouse Scott Davis, led yet another successful day of "Portrait and the Art of Pin-up" workshops at the Aperture Academy!
The stage was set. Two different sets, one low key (dark background) with red curtains, the other a high key (light background) sweep or seamless backdrop. Two lovely and experienced female models, impeccably dressed to the theme, and finally, well over a dozen eager to learn students equally eager to create and leave with a fantastic portrait success!
After a round of introductions led by Scott, Glen began the dive into portraiture by discussing directional and corrective lighting, lighting ratios and posing tips all aimed at flattering the subject — the main goal of any portrait. Although we were in a studio setting, the concepts taught are often related to working outdoors and identifying successful lighting patterns (outdoor portrait class coming soon!).
The relatively brief talk included a lesson in psychology and how to deal with nerves, both in the subject and your own! All the while, we were fielding a wide range of questions from the students who helped steer the course. Then all students were asked to get their cameras equipped with flash and were instructed on how to set all functions of their "rigs" manually and shown how each setting effected the outcome. With the meeting and prep completed, Glen's demonstration began.
There was a quick shoot against the high key (light color) set, and another against the red stressing fill light; head shots and posing the same against both sets. But for the dark (low key) background, we concentrated on full length posing, camera angle and how to interact with the subject.
More than half our time was spent with the group dividing and working one-on-one with each model on each set. To allow for variety, we took a quick break and sent models to wardrobe changes, which gave Glen and Scott a chance to talk about other lighting equipment and where to buy/rent. During the class, both instructors offered critiques aimed at what was seen on the students' screens. What an impressive collection of images seen on those screens! Suggestions were made and students shot again and again.
Thanks to all who attended! I'm sure you will use the new found skills and confidence to make great portraits. Until next time...
Glen, Scott 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.