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Natural Light Portraits-and-Processing Photography Workshop | July 20th, 2013

Natural Light Portrait Photography Workshop Students

Spring has passed, Summer is wrapping up and with that I wanted to find a location to shoot with more variety and more space. I figured, what a better place than the Santa Cruz Boardwalk! We arrived early to beat the crowds, gathering near the wharf, for our introductions and break down of the day! It is important to me to know where each photographer is coming from, to ensure that I can help them individually once the shooting starts- With a full range of beginner to advanced, 4 models in tow, and enough glass between us all to open a camera shop- we set off towards the colorful attractions of the boardwalk. Our first stop was just out side the main entrance, with flowers and palms crossing, I made sure to have people constantly moving around, because with one step to the left or right, the background & the composition could change completely.

Moving just around the corner, there were door ways and windows with very bright and unique designs painted around them, allowing frame-within-frame shots, a good way to practice lining up the edges for a straight shot : ) Of corse these things can be adjusted later in post production, but I encourage my students to eliminate such mistakes, so that we can eventually spend more time shooting, and less time ‘fixing later’. We walked down and through the board walk, stopping at the haunted house entrance and closed game booths to give more practice and more variety in their images.

When I am out with a client, I tend to shoot more than I need to, but only show them the best of what I capture. The more variety of poses and colors they have to chose from, the more files they are likely to purchase. I asked Nicole and Danitza to change for the beach portion of the worksop, and we all headed out to the surf for some fun in the sand! Although there were people out and about on the beach, we found a couple nice spot to shoot with the option of having the wharf in the background or not. I decided to go over different poses, for both male and female, couples and group shots of three or four people. Making sure to inform everyone to stay away from those lower ƒ/stops once more people were added in to the photo. Working our way back towards the wharf, there was plenty to practice on- kids running and splashing in the waves, I tried to think back when I could spend hours in the surf, but wouldn’t dare now, as the water in the Pacific is FREEZING.

Luckily, I planted the idea in our models heads, that maybe they would or could jump in the water at the end of the shoot, for some action shots! I like shooting more dreary shots in between the pilings of the wharf; bystanders watch and wondered what the 10 of us were up to, weaving in between the moss latent wood supports, waves gathered and crashed giving some of us a run for our money- the sun was still trying to break through the early morning fog, which gave us perfect coverage the entire shoot. I told the class, we can only hope for some texture in the sky, as the clouds and haze create a natural diffuser for ideal portrait lighting.

With 10 minutes left to shoot, our Russ, Kris, Nicole and Danitza stripped down to cute summer suits and ran towards the icy water only to to be tangled in gobs of sea weed. As they splashed and posed and played in the waves, the screams gave me goosebumps, and I was once again, grateful to be behind camera. We parted way only for a couple of hours to grab a bite and make it back over to Campbell for the production portion of the class.

I share my workflow because I wish someone showed me a few tips on organizing my files once the megabytes started adding up, and showing up on my computer. Everyone imported their pics on to personal computers and we used Adobe Lightroom throughout the rest of the class. I had everyone sort through their files, choosing 24-36 of their favorite shots from that morning. From there, photo enhancement with out making our models plasticized (I like a more natural looking product) but covering important adjustments such as blemish removal and teeth whitening! The day was successful and fluid, every left with ready to print files for their portfolios! Another fun workshop completed! From Alicia and the rest of the Aperture Academy Staff, thanks for shooting with us!

If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.



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