Intro to Studio Lighting and Portraiture 

(This workshop is limited to 10 students)
Photos from the last workshop

Portrait photography has been around almost from the moment photography itself was invented. Since those early days, portrait photography has morphed into many different categories-from wedding, to corporate, to commercial or simply to commemorate special occasions or document a person or animal in time. For many, portrait photography, especially when it comes to utilizing strobes, backdrops and additional lighting equipment, can be somewhat daunting. How does one separate a quickie type snapshot into a well composed, properly lit portrait or in this case pop art. For this fun and flirty workshop, we bring together models, make-up, and props and draw upon the classic American pin up imagery of the 1940's and 50's and 60's as inspiration.

Working with our instructors, we guide you step by step through the process and reveal many of the techniques and specialized equipment to bring out the best in your portraiture. Although we'll focus on one particular genre of portraiture, the tips and techniques used easily cross over to all categories of portraiture.

Topics include:

  1. Portrait Objective & Theme of the Shoot
    • Flatter the subject!
    • Lighting & posing overview
    • Nerves! Subject's and your own
    • Portrait Inspiration and Influences

  2. Lighting and Determining Proper Exposure
    • Basic strobe kits and set up
    • How to achieve directional light
    • Basic lighting patterns
    • Lighting ratio & exposure
    • Equipment & modifiers

  3. Posing
    • Use of "cheat sheets"
    • Theory (full length, 3/4 and headshot)
    • How to give direction

  4. Styling
    • hair and make-up
    • wardrobe/attire

  5. Demo & Shooting

Instructor: Glen McDowell

Based in Salinas, California, Glen McDowell is a successful professional photographer specializing in wedding, commercial and portrait photography. His passion for photography is deeply rooted with over 15 years experience working in the photography industry. During this time, he apprenticed under the tutelage of Master Photographer Ken Cook. Through him, Glen learned the subtle yet precise art of studio lighting and began to develop and craft his own unique style in portraiture. In addition to owning and operating a Salinas Bay Photo franchise, in 2002, Glen proudly opened his own commercial studio "Glen McDowell Photography" ( where he personally produces each of his prints and albums for his numerous clients.

Glen enjoys a distinguished list of commercial photography clients and his work has been featured in national ad campaigns and websites as well as local and major magazines including Rat Rod Magazine, Backstreet Choppers, and LowRider Magazine. While he is greatly accomplished in wedding, portrait and commercial photography, he is perhaps best known for his vintage styled pin-up portraits. In 2005, his love for all things vintage surfaced in his personal work and after his first pin-up project was warmly received, word spread and Glen quickly became known as the local go-to guy for authentic vintage styled retro portraiture. His enthusiasm for this era is evident and he takes great pleasure in sharing his knowledge and techniques to those fascinated in this uniquely American styled portraiture.

What is Required

  • A digital SLR camera
  • A Flash/Strobe (NOT on-camera pop-up type)
  • A lens focal range of roughly 50-100mm