I recently attended at Natural Light Portrait Workshop offered through the Dallas Center for Photography. The instructor was Patrizia Montanari, a former painter turned photographer.

In the early part of the morning we were in the class room learning about light and how to use it in our photos. We covered four main concepts:

  • Understanding light
  • Controlling light
  • Directing light
  • Capturing light

Understanding light is being familiar with how light behaves at different times of the day and in different types of weather. Controlling light means placing your subject to get the lighting effect that you want. Directing light involves learning how to use reflectors and diffuser’s. Capturing light is noticing and taking the photo.

Some of the other concepts we covered were:

  • Which combination of exposure and shooting modes create the look you want to achieve for your portraits.
  • How to use available light and shade to create stunning images.
  • How to select backgrounds and environments to bring interest, emotion and fun into your photos.
  • How to find flattering and interesting perspectives.
  • Which lens(es) to choose.
  • How to create a personalized experience and look to compliment each subject’s personality and style.
  • How to use wardrobe and posing to bring out the personality of your subject and make the images uniquely theirs.

In the later part of the morning we went to Heritage Village in downtown Dallas.  Various types of models (family’s with young children, couples, and singles) joined us and we spent about an hour and a half shooting. It rained about half way through but luckily there were plenty of indoor locations to shoot at Heritage Village. So we learned how to use natural light indoors even when it’s raining outside.

After breaking for lunch we went back into the studio and downloaded our photos and submitted our best 12 to the instructor for critique in front of the class. Yikes. But it was not bad. It was all constructive commentary that helped everyone. The class ended with slide show of all of our work.

Here are some of my photographs from the workshop.

I entered a photo from this workshop in a competition called “Composed”  juried by Sam Abell. It is cool to see my photo in print in the book of winning photos.

Thanks for reading!