Creating Compelling Portraits
True portraits are full of connection and evoke a sense of emotion. They are infused with life and breathe with character. To create an imaginative representation of another person is wonderfully rewarding. For this to successfully happen requires strong skills of observation and most importantly, a sensitivity to really seeing someone else.
A good portrait photographer can put any subject at ease while successfully navigating their camera. We will learn to use the tools of focus, depth of field and motion, not as technician but as a photographer finely crafting our vision of another person. We will challenge our use of available light and find creative ways to utilize it to set the emotion and mood of our image. Through careful composition we will establish not only the harmony of the frame but also convey a point of view and our relationship to the subject.
We’ll start our four days together looking at and discussing the most important classic and contemporary portraiture photographers like Yousef Karsh, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Cig Harvey and Frank Okenfels. We’ll explore other photographers who have helped redefine the definition of a portrait. Jennifer will also share her work and talk through the process of going from an idea to the execution of an image quickly and within a variety of locations and situations. Through demonstrations, challenging assignments and photographing one another we will develop the confidence and begin practicing photographing friends and family in our homes and friendly local subjects met within the city of Dallas.
WHO THIS WORKSHOP IS FOR
Anyone who wants to tell the story of another person through portraits. You should already be familiar with your camera and comfortable shooting in Aperture Priority and Manual exposure modes.
WHAT THIS WORKSHOP IS
- We’ll learn to really see our subjects first, then develop and previsualize a unique portrait and finally translate that idea seamlessly into a dynamic image.
- We’ll examine the technical practice of using light, background and camera settings for maximum effect.
- We’ll tap into our creativity by learning to use notes of metaphor and mood and trusting our instincts.
- And most importantly, we will learn to really engage with someone else. A relaxed and natural portrait will only occur after the photographer has the trust of their subject. This interaction is critical and becomes easier with practice and feedback.
WHAT THIS WORKSHOP IS NOT
This workshop will not cover studio or location lighting or image workflow. You should be comfortable with your camera’s operation and familiar enough with your editing software to allow import, selection and export of your images. If you need some technical preparation or a refresher then please take the DCP DSLR Evening Classes, Beginner Full Day Workshop, Lightroom classes or equivalent training.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
DSLR or Mirrorless Camera, Laptop and Editing Software. If you own a tripod, bounce reflectors or a diffuser bring them, but not required. There are no minimum requirements for camera style or model.
- This 4 day workshop is held at Dallas Center for Photography from Thursday, July 26 to Sunday, July 29.
- Early registration (extended through July 4 at 11:59pm) is $695. Late registration is $785.
- See below for workshop schedule.
- Jennifer will be delivering a talk on Thursday, July 26 from 7-9pm. Entry is included in workshop price and participation by workshop attendees is strongly encouraged.
- Meals are not included in the cost of registration.
- Minimum number required for workshop to make is 10. Maximum size is 14.
- If you’re planning to travel to Dallas for this workshop please check the information in our general FAQ page.
- TPS Members: The first 2 TPS members to register get a $75 discount to this workshop. Contact TPS Executive Director Sarah Sudhoff for your coupon code.
Day 1: Thursday, July 26th – TECHNICAL REVIEW, IDEAS AND CONCEPTS
We’ll meet at DCP at 9am for classroom instruction and a review of Jennifer’s work. There will be a discussion on what makes a memorable portrait as well as a review of masters in portraiture. In the afternoon we’ll practice photographing one another on location with assignments.
Day 2 : Friday, July 27 – LIGHT, POINT OF VIEW, SELF PORTRAITS
We’ll return to the classroom at 9am where you’ll submit 8 images from the previous day for a group image critique. Jennifer will demonstrate quality and quantity of light and discuss creative self portraits. You’ll then head out to complete the day’s assignment on friends, family or the Dallas community.
Day 3: Saturday, July 28 – MOOD & METAPHOR, IDEAS, EXPRESSION
We’ll return to the classroom at 9am where you’ll submit 8 images from the previous day for a group image critique. There will be a discussion and slideshow on mood, metaphor and authentic creative ideas. You’ll spend the afternoon practicing these concepts on friends, family or receptive strangers.
day 4: Sunday, July 29 – COHESIVE VISION, PORTRAIT PROJECTS
The final day will start the same at 9am with the group image critique followed by a presentation on vision and portrait projects. After lunch Jennifer will wrap up lecture on business, model releases, printing books, shows and website.
Jennifer Spelman is a freelance editorial and documentary photographer based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a fluid traveler and is equally at home in rural villages and cosmopolitan cities.
A sensitive photographer of people, she strives to create images with energy and insight. Her clients have included Village Science, Seven Squared Media, The Heart Gallery, What Moves You, Sanjhi, and Sustainable Santa Fe. Jennifer is a patient educator who has co-instructed with National Geographic Expeditions and taught workshops in Santa Fe, India, Mexico, and Cuba. She is thrilled to lead passionate photographers on ridiculously fun adventures around the world with the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops.