At the Aperture Academy we offer many different types of classes, most of which involve nature and landscapes. Because most of us also dabble in portraiture, it was only natural to add to our repraitiour, some portrait classes. The Perfect Portraits and Processing class, adds that extra and oh so needed element of post processing. It's one of our most popular 1 day classes, limited to only 8 students.
My assistant and I met up with our 8 students on a gorgeous Saturday morning in December. The weather could not have been more perfect, a nice mix of bright sun and passing high cloud cover.
After getting to know everyone over our orientation/meet and greet, I went over some portrait basics, from aperture to rule of thirds and the proper use of negative space.
After my presentation our 2 young, vibrant and beautiful models were ready for some portraiture action. Our models are boyfriend and girlfriend, which makes for some fun and playful shots. I talk about becoming more of a director, and not trying to "pose" so much. Brian and Paige have a great chemistry and it shows in the images that the students were starting to capture.
I had the couple sit on a bench, near the large picture windows. Displaying how to move the models and/or ourselves, to achieve the best lighting combination. This first spot was difficult, because the background distractions were plentiful. This challenged the students, requiring them to really pay attention and adjust their position accordingly.
Because it's December and Christmas is just around the corner, I took advantage of that and we worked with some Christmas lights. Working with a shallow depth of field and shooting close to some hanging lights, while focusing on the our model Paige. The effect was very cool, and lot's of fun.
Next, we used a white background that had hanging lights and ornaments. Demonstrating how easy it is to make a festive and fun holiday background at home. I had the students adjust their white balances to cool down the warm indoor lighting, as well as a higher iso to capture some playful images without a flash. We had Brian and Paige hold some holiday props and the students did a great job of directing them and interacting, for some real fantastic, Christmas card worthy shots.
For the rest of the morning session, we went outdoors and played around with some of the holiday decorations that adorn the shopping center. Also finding some plain backgrounds, like some grey cement wall. The walls provide a simple background, which also offers a great texture. The students were really capturing some fabulous images, plus having fun of course.
After a holiday themed group shot, I sent the students off to get some lunch while DeAnna and I downloaded all of the images on our iMac work stations.
For our post processing session I went through my portrait processing workflow in Adobe Lightroom 5. Covering, eye brightening, teeth whitening and skin softening. Also covering the Basic develop panel, and my personal favorite, HSL. The students really captured some fantastic images, and after a little processing they went to fabulous!
We capped of the day by critiquing some portrait images on Pinterest. What we liked and disliked about some couples portraits. It was not only fun, but it's a lesson in what works and what doesn't.
Until Next time,
Happy Holidays from Ellie, DeAnna 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.