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Studio Portrait Photography - Online Crash Course - Part 1

Part 1 – Portrait photography, or portraiture, is aimed toward capturing the personality of a person or group of people by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. But most importantly, the craft and skill of effective portraiture are to pinpoint the context for each of your creations.

Portraits are commissioned for a variety of occasions and fields, such as engagement & wedding portraits, school events (high school senior portraits), private gifts (baby portraits, family portraits, solo…), commercial purposes, or artistic expression.

Good portrait photographers can capture the personality, but as a photographer, you have a responsibility to your subjects. Portrait photos affect emotions like no other photography genre. It’s not just the result that matters. Capturing someone’s portrait is more than a hobby or profession, it’s a matter of trust. Especially if you work in the realms of private portraiture.

In Part 1 of this course you get an overview about:

  1. What is portrait photography anyway? A brief introduction.
  2. Types, styles & looks within the genre of portrait photography
  3. Basic gear & tools for studio portrait photography
  4. Understanding light: light quality, direction & “mood/looks”
  5. What light modifiers (light shapers) can do for you

Curated Duration: 5 h 05 min

Do: #SuccessfulPhotography
Be: #ISO1200team

Portrait photography, or portraiture, is aimed toward capturing the personality of a person or group of people by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. But most importantly, the craft and skill of effective portraiture are to pinpoint the context for each of your creations.

Portraits are commissioned for a variety of occasions and fields, such as engagement & wedding portraits, school events (high school senior portraits), private gifts (baby portraits, family portraits, solo…), commercial purposes, or artistic expression.

Good portrait photographers can capture the personality, but as a photographer, you have a responsibility to your subjects. Portrait photos affect emotions like no other photography genre. It’s not just the result that matters. Capturing someone’s portrait is more than a hobby or profession, it’s a matter of trust. Especially if you work in the realms of private portraiture.

In Part 1 of this course you get an overview about:

  1. What is portrait photography anyway? A brief introduction.
  2. Types, styles & looks within the genre of portrait photography
  3. Basic gear & tools for studio portrait photography
  4. Understanding light: light quality, direction & “mood/looks”
  5. What light modifiers (light shapers) can do for you

Curated Duration: 4 h 18 min

Do: #SuccessfulPhotography
Be: #ISO1200team

Contributor - Ab Sesay
Photographer | Website

Ab Sesay is a multidisciplinary commercial advertising photographer, creative producer/director who blends the ability to analyze ideas, technology, and resources to bring projects to the next level and propel a client's vision to the goal line.

With over 20 years of experience as a producer for both motion and stills, he has experience from the client side being a creative director and executive producer at the Mac Group. He has overseen the development of content for over 30 Brands. His clients with the Mac Group have included Sekonic, X-Rite, Profoto, Elinchrom, PocketWizard, and Benro to name a few. Ab has worked to unify engineering, sales, and marketing to create education and impactful content for end-users. "Every project has a creative goal, timeline, and budget. Finding the marriage between them all truly excites me" -Ab

Working in-house at the Mac Group provides a unique insight that makes him understand the perspective and challenges of a company, but he has also taken on many outside contracts for the likes of L'Oreal, Pepsi, Universal Records, Fuji Film, 9999 Inc, Safari Sunday, Stag & Hare, Higher DOSE, and even nonprofits such as the American Parkinson Disease Association.

Simultaneously he is Brand Manger for Sekonic Light Meters, Executive Producer and Creative Director for the Mac Group, independent producer/photographer, and develops lighting education for Sekonic, Adorama, and Fujifilm in his spare time.

Ab currently resides in the NY tri-state area and enjoys working productions both large and small with ideas both simple and complex.

Contributor - Dana Cole
Photographer & Educator | Website

Dana Cole is an American Beauty, Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Based in Oslo, Norway. She is also a Z Creator Ambassador for Nikon Europe.

Contributor - Daniel Norton - Copy
Photographer & Educator | Website

Manhattan-based Photographer, Educator and Lighting Guru. I don't talk, I shoot.. ok and I talk a bunch, mostly about my experience in the industry and random pop culture references. You might know me from the videos I have made over the years for Adorama and more brands than I can even remember.

Contributor - Ed Verosky
Photographer & Educator | Website

Ed Verosky is the author of several popular photography training books and online courses. Flash photography, studio portraiture, and boudoir photography are among his specialties. More of Ed's tutorials can be found on his blog and YouTube channel .

Contributor - Emily Teague
Photographer & Educator | Website

Emily Teague is an editorial & commercial photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her style of photography is greatly influenced by her photojournalism, travels, color, and love for creating visual narratives.

She balances her passion for creating stories with telling the stories of others through her work with non-profits and NGOs. Her work has taken her to over 30 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and West Africa.

Emily is currently available for commercial & editorial bookings, as well as commissioned work from organizations worldwide.

Instructor - Gavin Hoey
Photographer & Educator | Website

Gavin Hoey is a freelance photographer, Olympus UK ambassador, and trainer of all things photographic. Primarily focusing on photography education, he started out writing for photography magazines such as Practical Photography and Digital Photo which eventually led on to making video tutorials for magazine cover discs.

Gavin was an early YouTube adopter and created a popular photography training channel before joining forces with the New York camera store, Adorama in 2012. He is now the most-watched presenter on Adorama TV where his videos focus on the art of lighting and portraits. Gavin’s tutorials are either shot on location or more usually, at his small home studio in Sussex, UK.

Nine years on, Gavin is still creating at least one video tutorial for Adorama TV every other week and the channel has passed the 1 million subscriber milestone and is still climbing!

Contributor - Hannah Couzens
Photographer & Educator | Website

Hannah is an award winning professional portrait photographer, who shoots everything from corporate headshots to families and celebrities. She also runs a successful high street photography business in the UK and twice won the Young Business Person award. Hannah is involved in many UK speaking engagements for Profoto and runs her own workshops.

Contributor - Jay P Morgan - The Slanted Lens
Photographer & Educator at The Slanted Lens | Website

Jay P. Morgan has been working as a Commercial Photographer and Film Director in the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years developing an impressive list of clients from Paramount to McDonald's. Jay P.'s experience with elaborate set design and extensive lighting are key to the success of his illustrative work.

Contributor - Jeff Rojas
Photographer & Educator | Website

Jeff Rojas is an American photographer and author based in New York City. His primary body of work is advertising and editorial photography that has been published in both Elle and Esquire. Jeff also frequents as a photography instructor. His teaching experience includes platforms like CreativeLive, WPPI, the Photo Plus Expo, Imaging USA, and APA.

Contributor - Alejandrino Jiggie
Photographer & Educator | Website

Jiggie Alejandrino is a portrait and wedding photographer from the Philippines.

Contributor - Joe Edelman
Photographer & Educator | Website

Joe Edelman's career has spans five decades, from his start as an award-winning newspaper photojournalist to his work today photographing a diverse selection of people. Joe, an Olympus Visionary, teaches the HOWS and WHYS behind great photographs and shares the thought-process that a professional photographer uses to approach his work. Joe motivates and educates new and experienced photographers all over the world.

Contributor - Karl Taylor
Photographer & Educator | Website

Karl Taylor is a professional photographer with over 20 years of experience and he is commissioned by leading global companies for his precise attention to detail and his exquisite control of light. Karl’s work covers advertising, beauty and fashion photography for commercial clients. Having started his career in photojournalism he is also comfortable and actively enjoys shooting across a range of other genres. Karl’s ethos is that 'variety is the spice of life' and that the visual philosophies for creating effective images are universal.

Photographer & Educator | Website

Born in Sicily, graduated in Food Technology, then an MBA and began his career in the field of Marketing, but he photographs for passion in his spare time. In 2009 Laredo decided to move to NYC to jumpstart his career as a photographer. He took some courses at the ICP (International Center of Photography) and began soon after photography in the field of Fashion for brands such as Macy's, Target, Nordstrom, TOD's.

He carries out personal photographic projects such as UNVEILED and publishes editorials in magazines.

Laredo is a member of the photographic association ACAF in Italy and ASMP in the USA.

Contributor - Mark Wallace
Photographer & Educator | Website

Mark Wallace is a photographer, educator, and solo world traveler. In 2014, Mark left the U.S. to embark on a worldwide adventure. In 2016 he decided to give up planes, trains, and automobiles and is now exploring the world on his motorcycle. Mark has created hundreds of photography tutorials sponsored by Snapfactory and Adorama. His most popular series are Digital Photography One on One and Exploring Photography, in addition to his best-selling lighting classes on CreativeLive.

Contributor - Miguel Quiles
Photographer & Educator | Website

Miguel is a beauty & portrait photographer currently residing in New Jersey. Starting his photography business in 2012, Miguel has traveled the world photographing interesting faces as well as teaching photography at conferences like WPPI, Photo Plus, Shutterfest, and many more. He’s appeared on Creative Live, Adorama TV, and currently releases videos weekly on his YouTube channel. Miguel has been recognized as a Sony Artisan Of Imagery, as well as a Profoto Legend Of Light.

Contributor - Nathan Elson
Photographer & Educator | Website

Nathan Elson is a commercial photographer based out of Calgary, AB that specializes in portraiture. He is known for his use of creative lighting, particularly when it comes to black and white photography, and hosts a YouTube channel in his spare time that teaches his tips and techniques to other aspiring photographers.

Contributor - Pye Jirsa - SLRLounge
Photographer & Educator at SLR Lounge | Website

Pye Jirsa is the founder and partner of SLR Lounge and Lin and Jirsa Photography, a boutique Southern California photography studio with an incredible team that shoots over 300 weddings each year, with nearly 1,000 yearly client commissions.

Contributor - Tim Kelly
Photographer, Author, Teacher | Website

Portrait Artist and a true Master of Photography, Tim Kelly is also a Photographic Craftsman, Fellow of the American Society of Photographers, and International Portrait Master. Inducted for life into the Cameracraftsman of America and the International Society of Portrait Artists, Kelly remains one of the industry's most influential photographers.

Creating fine art portraiture for decades, and a renowned ”master print-maker", Kelly opened his first Florida studio in 1974, and his groundbreaking Gallery and Studio on Park Avenue in fashionable Winter Park, Florida in 1988. This would become the launching site for Kelly's booming photographic portrait business that continues still today.

Contributor - Tommy Reynolds
Photographer & Educator | Website

Tommy is a portrait, travel and wedding photographer based in Kent UK. Over the last couple of years, Tommy worked with a range of different brands, road-testing and reviewing all kinds of gear; including camera bodies, camera lenses, backdrops, lighting setups, and lighting modifiers.

Contributor - Tony & Chelsea Northrup
Photographer & Educator | Website

Award-winning author & photographer Tony Northrup has published more than 30 educational books. Professional photographer, Chelsea Northrup, started photography in high school using film cameras, and went on to study film photography at Connecticut College. Her work as both a photographer and model has been published world-wide in just about every digital and print format, including book, magazine, and CD covers.

Contributor - Tyler Shields
Photographer | Website

“Considered the Andy Warhol of his generation, Shields has produced images that play with notions of the gaze, power structures, hyper-realism, iconoclastic-tendencies and cinematographic practice, but his Mouthful series of works are among his best known” – Sotheby’s

Contributing Instructors

Contributor - Ab Sesay
Photographer | Website

Ab Sesay is a multidisciplinary commercial advertising photographer, creative producer/director who blends the ability to analyze ideas, technology, and resources to bring projects to the next level and propel a client's vision to the goal line.

With over 20 years of experience as a producer for both motion and stills, he has experience from the client side being a creative director and executive producer at the Mac Group. He has overseen the development of content for over 30 Brands. His clients with the Mac Group have included Sekonic, X-Rite, Profoto, Elinchrom, PocketWizard, and Benro to name a few. Ab has worked to unify engineering, sales, and marketing to create education and impactful content for end-users. "Every project has a creative goal, timeline, and budget. Finding the marriage between them all truly excites me" -Ab

Working in-house at the Mac Group provides a unique insight that makes him understand the perspective and challenges of a company, but he has also taken on many outside contracts for the likes of L'Oreal, Pepsi, Universal Records, Fuji Film, 9999 Inc, Safari Sunday, Stag & Hare, Higher DOSE, and even nonprofits such as the American Parkinson Disease Association.

Simultaneously he is Brand Manger for Sekonic Light Meters, Executive Producer and Creative Director for the Mac Group, independent producer/photographer, and develops lighting education for Sekonic, Adorama, and Fujifilm in his spare time.

Ab currently resides in the NY tri-state area and enjoys working productions both large and small with ideas both simple and complex.

Contributor - Dana Cole
Photographer & Educator | Website

Dana Cole is an American Beauty, Commercial and Portrait Photographer. Based in Oslo, Norway. She is also a Z Creator Ambassador for Nikon Europe.

Contributor - Daniel Norton - Copy
Photographer & Educator | Website

Manhattan-based Photographer, Educator and Lighting Guru. I don't talk, I shoot.. ok and I talk a bunch, mostly about my experience in the industry and random pop culture references. You might know me from the videos I have made over the years for Adorama and more brands than I can even remember.

Contributor - Ed Verosky
Photographer & Educator | Website

Ed Verosky is the author of several popular photography training books and online courses. Flash photography, studio portraiture, and boudoir photography are among his specialties. More of Ed's tutorials can be found on his blog and YouTube channel .

Contributor - Emily Teague
Photographer & Educator | Website

Emily Teague is an editorial & commercial photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Her style of photography is greatly influenced by her photojournalism, travels, color, and love for creating visual narratives.

She balances her passion for creating stories with telling the stories of others through her work with non-profits and NGOs. Her work has taken her to over 30 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and West Africa.

Emily is currently available for commercial & editorial bookings, as well as commissioned work from organizations worldwide.

Instructor - Gavin Hoey
Photographer & Educator | Website

Gavin Hoey is a freelance photographer, Olympus UK ambassador, and trainer of all things photographic. Primarily focusing on photography education, he started out writing for photography magazines such as Practical Photography and Digital Photo which eventually led on to making video tutorials for magazine cover discs.

Gavin was an early YouTube adopter and created a popular photography training channel before joining forces with the New York camera store, Adorama in 2012. He is now the most-watched presenter on Adorama TV where his videos focus on the art of lighting and portraits. Gavin’s tutorials are either shot on location or more usually, at his small home studio in Sussex, UK.

Nine years on, Gavin is still creating at least one video tutorial for Adorama TV every other week and the channel has passed the 1 million subscriber milestone and is still climbing!

Contributor - Hannah Couzens
Photographer & Educator | Website

Hannah is an award winning professional portrait photographer, who shoots everything from corporate headshots to families and celebrities. She also runs a successful high street photography business in the UK and twice won the Young Business Person award. Hannah is involved in many UK speaking engagements for Profoto and runs her own workshops.

Contributor - Jay P Morgan - The Slanted Lens
Photographer & Educator at The Slanted Lens | Website

Jay P. Morgan has been working as a Commercial Photographer and Film Director in the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years developing an impressive list of clients from Paramount to McDonald's. Jay P.'s experience with elaborate set design and extensive lighting are key to the success of his illustrative work.

Contributor - Jeff Rojas
Photographer & Educator | Website

Jeff Rojas is an American photographer and author based in New York City. His primary body of work is advertising and editorial photography that has been published in both Elle and Esquire. Jeff also frequents as a photography instructor. His teaching experience includes platforms like CreativeLive, WPPI, the Photo Plus Expo, Imaging USA, and APA.

Contributor - Alejandrino Jiggie
Photographer & Educator | Website

Jiggie Alejandrino is a portrait and wedding photographer from the Philippines.

Contributor - Joe Edelman
Photographer & Educator | Website

Joe Edelman's career has spans five decades, from his start as an award-winning newspaper photojournalist to his work today photographing a diverse selection of people. Joe, an Olympus Visionary, teaches the HOWS and WHYS behind great photographs and shares the thought-process that a professional photographer uses to approach his work. Joe motivates and educates new and experienced photographers all over the world.

Contributor - Karl Taylor
Photographer & Educator | Website

Karl Taylor is a professional photographer with over 20 years of experience and he is commissioned by leading global companies for his precise attention to detail and his exquisite control of light. Karl’s work covers advertising, beauty and fashion photography for commercial clients. Having started his career in photojournalism he is also comfortable and actively enjoys shooting across a range of other genres. Karl’s ethos is that 'variety is the spice of life' and that the visual philosophies for creating effective images are universal.

Photographer & Educator | Website

Born in Sicily, graduated in Food Technology, then an MBA and began his career in the field of Marketing, but he photographs for passion in his spare time. In 2009 Laredo decided to move to NYC to jumpstart his career as a photographer. He took some courses at the ICP (International Center of Photography) and began soon after photography in the field of Fashion for brands such as Macy's, Target, Nordstrom, TOD's.

He carries out personal photographic projects such as UNVEILED and publishes editorials in magazines.

Laredo is a member of the photographic association ACAF in Italy and ASMP in the USA.

Contributor - Mark Wallace
Photographer & Educator | Website

Mark Wallace is a photographer, educator, and solo world traveler. In 2014, Mark left the U.S. to embark on a worldwide adventure. In 2016 he decided to give up planes, trains, and automobiles and is now exploring the world on his motorcycle. Mark has created hundreds of photography tutorials sponsored by Snapfactory and Adorama. His most popular series are Digital Photography One on One and Exploring Photography, in addition to his best-selling lighting classes on CreativeLive.

Contributor - Miguel Quiles
Photographer & Educator | Website

Miguel is a beauty & portrait photographer currently residing in New Jersey. Starting his photography business in 2012, Miguel has traveled the world photographing interesting faces as well as teaching photography at conferences like WPPI, Photo Plus, Shutterfest, and many more. He’s appeared on Creative Live, Adorama TV, and currently releases videos weekly on his YouTube channel. Miguel has been recognized as a Sony Artisan Of Imagery, as well as a Profoto Legend Of Light.

Contributor - Nathan Elson
Photographer & Educator | Website

Nathan Elson is a commercial photographer based out of Calgary, AB that specializes in portraiture. He is known for his use of creative lighting, particularly when it comes to black and white photography, and hosts a YouTube channel in his spare time that teaches his tips and techniques to other aspiring photographers.

Contributor - Pye Jirsa - SLRLounge
Photographer & Educator at SLR Lounge | Website

Pye Jirsa is the founder and partner of SLR Lounge and Lin and Jirsa Photography, a boutique Southern California photography studio with an incredible team that shoots over 300 weddings each year, with nearly 1,000 yearly client commissions.

Contributor - Tim Kelly
Photographer, Author, Teacher | Website

Portrait Artist and a true Master of Photography, Tim Kelly is also a Photographic Craftsman, Fellow of the American Society of Photographers, and International Portrait Master. Inducted for life into the Cameracraftsman of America and the International Society of Portrait Artists, Kelly remains one of the industry's most influential photographers.

Creating fine art portraiture for decades, and a renowned ”master print-maker", Kelly opened his first Florida studio in 1974, and his groundbreaking Gallery and Studio on Park Avenue in fashionable Winter Park, Florida in 1988. This would become the launching site for Kelly's booming photographic portrait business that continues still today.

Contributor - Tommy Reynolds
Photographer & Educator | Website

Tommy is a portrait, travel and wedding photographer based in Kent UK. Over the last couple of years, Tommy worked with a range of different brands, road-testing and reviewing all kinds of gear; including camera bodies, camera lenses, backdrops, lighting setups, and lighting modifiers.

Contributor - Tony & Chelsea Northrup
Photographer & Educator | Website

Award-winning author & photographer Tony Northrup has published more than 30 educational books. Professional photographer, Chelsea Northrup, started photography in high school using film cameras, and went on to study film photography at Connecticut College. Her work as both a photographer and model has been published world-wide in just about every digital and print format, including book, magazine, and CD covers.

Contributor - Tyler Shields
Photographer | Website

“Considered the Andy Warhol of his generation, Shields has produced images that play with notions of the gaze, power structures, hyper-realism, iconoclastic-tendencies and cinematographic practice, but his Mouthful series of works are among his best known” – Sotheby’s

Course Content

Introduction to Portraiture
Types of Portrait Photography
Lenses, Backdrops & Quick Wins
Understanding Light: Introduction
Using Light: Light Modifiers