The Holiday Season brings people together, friends, family, and those long lost relatives that you only see once a year. With all the fun comes a lot of photos. This is why we put together a special portrait class for the Holidays. We call it Holiday Natural Light, and it is a blast!
Scott and I arrived at the Aperture Academy Gallery early on Saturday morning so we could get our holiday decorations all set up. Scott brought his awesome white backdrop and I added the flare of white christmas lights. The icing on top was Scott's homemade lighted Noel sign.
We welcomed our students as they arrived at the gallery and got to know them with an orientation session. After the orientation I went over some foundational skills, like the exposure triangle, as well as compositional basics and how they relate to both portraits and landscape scenarios.
One of our students brought her adorable son, all decked out in festive attire. Because we always provide at least two models, it was nice to have little Jayden as a third. After the foundational skills review everyone was eager to start putting this stuff to work. We split into two group and I worked with my group on finding and using the available light. We stayed inside and worked with some large windows. I posed our model (Brian) in the small area that provided the best sidelight from the adjacent window, and a little of the gallery light from overhead. We were looking for the location where we could pick up some nice catchlight in Brian's eyes. Meanwhile, Scott worked with our lovely young girl (Mealani) at our awesome holiday light backdrop. All the while we are teaching the students how to utilize the available light, without the use of a flash. At times, this means raising the iso while opening up the aperture. The indoor light also creates the opportunity to cover white balance adjustment. With the added model, we are able to cover many different posing scenarios, from brother and sister, to a full family of four. The hours photographing indoors seemed to fly by, so we headed to the outdoors for our final hour of shooting. The Pruneyard shopping center has some nice holiday decorations, so we took advantage and worked with the seasonal props and the bright afternoon light. We used our 5-in-1 reflector as a diffusor and filtered some harsh light that was wreaking havoc on Brian and Mealani's faces. By simply holding up the diffusor, suddenly the light was even and soft. As our outdoor hour came to a close, we went back inside to set up a fun group shot in front of our twinkling white backdrop. Class was far from over. As the student left to grab some lunch, Scott and I uploaded all their images onto one of our classroom iMacs. When they returned from lunch, Scott ran through some Lightroom basics on Portrait processing and retouching. Scott cover basic global adjustments as well as selective adjustments, like skin softening and teeth whitening. We all had a great time and our time together definitely flew by.
Wishing you all the best this Holiday Season, and Happy Snapping, Ellie, Scott, and the entire Aperture Academy Team!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.