March in California can be pretty unpredictable, as far as the weather goes. On this mid March Saturday, for our Perfect Portraits Workshop, we were blessed with some gorgeous warm weather.
Ajay and I met up with some budding portraits photographers in our state-of-the-art learning center, in the heart of San Jose's Silicon Valley. After getting to know everyone, I went over some foundational basics. Both the foundational and technical basics. Once everyone was on the same page and up to seed, we headed outdoors to get to the fun part.
Two beautiful models were on hand today, Sonya and Haley. Both were gorgeous and really took direction well. We like to direct the models rather than pose. This keeps the images looking more natural and also making the models feels more comfortable.
Ajay and I set up a backdrop outside, to show how amazing a plain great backdrop can look in natural light. Once we dealt with the wind and got the proper placement, the students were capturing some amazing images. Ajay and I instantly reviewed their shots and gave feedback. This allowed the student to learn and make corrections in real time, which maximizes the ability to retain the valuable information.
Because we had 2 gorgeous models and some fantastic natural light to work with, we divided our students into two small groups to work with the different lighting scenarios. The idea is to find a background that is both pleasing and uncluttered. Sounds harder than it is. We used a small entry way which was darker in the background. We then asked our model to walk out of the entry way, towards the light. As Haley walked towards us, it was easy to see how her face began to illuminate from the bright sunlight. Now, as the exposures were metered off of her skin, the background faded to black. The results of the sun lit skin and black background was stunning.
We also worked with Sonya, among some nice redwood trees. It was very tricky in this area to simply the background. It was possible, but really provided a challenge, which is the perfect learning experience.
The morning had flow by and all of our student had captured some exquisite images. Ajay and I sent them off to get some lunch, while we downloaded their memory cards onto our iMac computers. After lunch would be the final and important part of this portrait workshop, post processing.
Ajay walked everyone through his portrait workflow in Adobe Lightroom. Starting from the top, basic panel, in the Develop module, we covered Exposure, Contrast, Light, Darks, Shadows, Highlights, and everything in between. Ajay also covered the adjustment brush took. This is vital to portraits, as it allows one to make adjustments to only specific areas. Such as, brightening the eyes, whitening the teeth, and softening the skin. The already fabulous portraits were turning out amazing with a few simple corrections in Lightroom.
We were thrilled to see everyone learning and capturing some truly fantastic portraits. We are confident that everyone came away with a few new skills and some nice additions to their portfolios.
Until next time,
Ajay, Ellie and the rest of the Aperture Academy team!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.