Natural Light Portraits Workshop

Learn how to pose your subjects, choose pleasing backgrounds, and harness the power of natural light to improve your portraits during our full-day, hands-on workshop.
Upcoming Workshops
Jun 17
Price: $235

Members get up to 20% off

This workshop is from 9am-4pm. Class is held on-site at DCP, and the practice session is held off-location in Dallas.

Photos of the people in our lives are often among our most prized and meaningful possessions. Portrait photography is a true art that memorializes the essence of a person in a moment in time.

This portrait workshop is for any photographer wanting to learn how to capture stunning portraits of people of any age. Whether you are a parent wanting to take better pictures of your family and friends, a photographer looking to start your own portrait photography business, or simply interested in learning some excellent skills for taking better portraits, this workshop is designed for you. You’ll learn how to take your basic DSLR or mirrorless camera skills and apply them to create beautiful and stylish natural light images. The techniques apply to any age subject and will help you become a more versatile photographer.

The workshop combines lecture and hands-on shooting with live models of varying ages. The pre-shoot class and after-shoot review will occur on-site at DCP, while the hands-on practice session will take place at a predetermined offsite location. We’ll discuss and demonstrate location and style options for creating a unique experience and final product for your subjects. You will walk away with new tricks and tools to create better portraits that reflect the unique personality of your subject.

You should already be familiar with your camera and comfortable shooting in Aperture Priority and Manual exposure modes, using single point focus mode, and have a basic understanding of ISO, f-stops, depth of field, shutter speed, and motion blur. If you’re a beginner or have been shooting for a while but are still uncomfortable with these concepts, we strongly encourage you to take our Beginner Digital Photography workshop or series before attending this class.


  • 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.
  • Effective and age-appropriate techniques to create a rapport with your subjects.
  • How to create a personalized experience and look to compliment each subject’s personality and style.
  • How to utilize clothing and posing to bring out the personality of your subject and make the images uniquely theirs.


  • A DSLR or mirrorless camera with a full battery and empty memory card and a basic understanding of how to use your camera and its settings.
  • Our Beginner Digital Photography workshop, series, or equivalent experience level is a suggested prerequisite.
  • A laptop to download and edit your images after our model shoot.
  • Any lenses you want to use.
  • A handheld reflector if you have one.
  • Weather-appropriate attire, comfortable walking shoes, and an umbrella in case of inclement weather.
  • Cost per person is $245.
  • All DCP members receive a discount on class registration! Not a member? Join now!
  • Please note: meals are not included in the cost of registration. You are strongly encouraged to bring a lunch with you to the class.
  • Doors open at 8:45 am. The workshop starts promptly at 9:00 am and ends at 4:00 pm.
  • Advance registration and payment is required.
  • Maximum number of students is 12. The minimum number to make a class is 6.
  • Parking is available in the DCP parking lot and along Algiers Street.


We will meet in the morning to discuss basic concepts and how to prepare for a portrait photo shoot. The instructor will review some basic settings and discuss their own professional portrait work, illustrating the tips and concepts to be used on location.

We will travel nearby to our outdoor shooting location, spend a little time scouting for the best light and backgrounds, and review the basic concepts of selecting and using available light and shade to our advantage. Our models will then join us for about an hour and a half of shooting. The instructor will shoot alongside you, provide demonstrations, answer questions, and support you in capturing your desired images.

After shooting, we will return to the classroom at DCP. You will set up your laptop to download, select, and edit your photos. The instructor will be available for help and questions while you make your selections. Using a projector, the instructor will present a slideshow of the group’s final images, offering suggestions and tips for further practice.

Q: Is there a prerequisite I need to take before attending this workshop?
A: While it is not required, we strongly suggest taking our Beginner Digital Photography workshop, series, or equivalent level of instruction before attending this workshop.

Q: Is lunch included in the workshop?
A: No, lunch is not included in the cost of the workshop. We strongly encourage you to bring a lunch with you to the workshop.

Q: If I am attending the workshop with my friend/spouse/sibling, do we each have to register for the class, even if we only have one camera?
A: Yes, each person attending the workshop must register for a seat.

Q: Do I need a laptop?
A: Yes. In the afternoon you’ll be downloading and selecting images for review. You can use any type of editing or selection program that you’re comfortable with.

Q: How will I know if a workshop makes or not?
A: If a class doesn’t make and has to be canceled, you will receive an email no later than the night before the scheduled class date.

Q: What if I have to cancel?
A: If you cancel 7 days or more ahead of the scheduled date of the class, you will receive a full refund minus a $25 administrative fee. A cancellation between 5 to 7 days ahead of the scheduled date will receive 50% refund minus a $25 administrative fee. There is no refund or transfer credit for cancellations within 4 days of the start time of the class or workshop. Full details on cancellations are on our Policies page.

Michael Mulvey

Artist, Educator, and Photographer. Michael Mulvey’s work is rooted in the visualization of sociological practices.

His research interests range from capturing the cultural divide along the border with Mexico to the gentrification of West Dallas Neighborhoods, using methods of the documentary, alternative process, and conceptually constructed still lifes to create various pathways to access cultural complexities. His practice includes the use of analog and digital devices as well as site-specific installation and photo sculpture. His most recent work features pictograms made in cameraless space on the film of items collected from the land during the gentrification process. They represent the memory of what came before and are now in a permanent visual record formed in historic photographic processes.

Michael continues his work in journalism where he first started his creative and visual career of storytelling with images. Earning the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 2006 while a staff photographer with The Dallas Morning News. The award was for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, America’s most costly weather event, and the beginning of the global warming trend resulting in extreme energy super storms. 

Michael holds an M.F.A in Studio Art from the College of Visual Arts at Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas, and a B.S in Journalism from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.


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