April 27th, Natural Light Portraits and Processing
This morning started off with the tradition of introductions, along with coffee and bagels, to start off this not so traditional Aperture Academy workshop. The Natural Light Portraits and Production workshop is aimed to help photographers of any level build their portrait portfolio and introduce them to a digital workflow to help them spend less time on the computer editing, and more time shooting with their family, friends, or clients. I couldn't believe how perfect the weather was, with the left over morning haze clearing up as soon as the shutters started clicking. I was looking forward to my small class size of 6 students, hoping to delve further in to their specific needs for what type of portrait photography they were practicing for.
Feeling super thankful for my beautiful models, they were dressed and had their smiles on. I was lucky to have the two of them- Genessa, proud mama-to-be along with the very beautiful & Aperture Academy's own... Tyler-Fawn! Since I had worked with both girls before, it was easy for me to be available for the student's and any questions they had. I wanted to concept of this workshop to have a backyard feel; it's easier to get great shots of people, when they are in a more comfortable setting. I handed out my shooting suggestion list, along with my personal starting settings (for portraits on a sunny day) and we began. Making our way around this beautiful property in West San Jose, the flowers were in bloom and the morning light was crisp and and clear giving us ideal hair light and opportunity to utilize body length reflectors for enhanced clarity in everyone's images.
After about 45 minutes of directed shooting, the model's changed their outfits and I encouraged everyone to find new settings throughout the location and try directing each model themselves. After a few pointers of what to watch out for, stray hairs & folded clothing (especially for female subjects) I saw amazing results on the backs of everyone's cameras! A few students were shooting with their telephoto lenses, 70-300mm range, as well as their prime lens which has a fixed focal length, which gives you sharper images! I had each student pick their favorite lens and commence the DOF test. Tripods were set up, and models were in place- this was practice to see the differences between each aperture setting. I quickly went over my selection process before we left our first location, just in case any of the students started sorting though their images during lunch break!
After a couple hours to soak in all of the new information, we met back at the Aperture Academy gallery to implement a workflow that was conducive to each student! Everyone had their own work station with access to Adobe programs Lightroom and Photoshop, used to get the most out of their portraits taken that day. I went over the selection process- reminding everyone the ‘less is more.' After we made our selections, adjusted for exposure, white balance and overall image enhancement in Lightroom, we exported our favorite image in to photoshop to work on fine-tuned adjustments such as shine on the face or bags under the eyes & oddly-shaped unwanted objects!
I wanted to make sure to touch on the importance of printing photographs, as many of us will post to online using technological advances to showcase our work. I shared with group the many places this could be done, ie: facebook, flickr, 72dpi, & smugmug, while stressing my love for the tradition of printing images. There is something to holding a stack of photographs, or flipping the pages of an album, new or old, that truly completes what photography is. The time flew by and everyone had a "roll" of 24-36 beautiful images to add to their portfolios. With new photography tricks to the trade, today's students were ready to shoot, edit and print!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.
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