Portrait Photography

  • At the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center in Frederick, Maryland

  • Saturday, June 29, 2019

  • 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

  • $115.00 ($90.00 for members of the Delaplaine Art Center)

  • Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Learn techniques for photographing people using existing light and artificial light. Students will work with a model both indoors and, weather permitting, outside. Class will cover camera settings, lens selection, location and specific lighting setups to produce compelling portraits. A significant section of the class will be spent photographing a model using topics covered in class. Please bring your camera to class.

There will be a 30 minute break for lunch. Lunch is not provided.

To register, contact the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center:

Lens Recommendations

Most students in my classes bring the mid-range zoom that came with their camera. Since there are better lenses for portraits, here are my recommendations if you wanted to use a different lens. Of these, I find the short telephoto and macro the most useful. A macro is for a head-and-shoulders portrait since some telephoto lenses have too great a minimum focusing distance (usually 2.5 to 3 feet) that will keep you from getting close enough to fill the frame with the model’s face.

  • For ASP-C cameras. (If you have a Canon or Nikon DSLR camera and do not know if it is ASP-C or full-frame, it is probably ASP-C. Full frame cameras are larger, heavier and more expensive.)

    • Normal lens: 35mm

    • Short telephoto lens: 50mm lenses designed for a full-frame camera, either f/1.4 or f/1.8. On an ASP-C camera, this works out to about a 75mm lens angle of view. (For Fujifilm X cameras, look at the 50mm f/2 and 56mm f/1.2 lenses).

    • Macro lens: 60mm f/2 or f/2.8

    • Moderate telephoto lens: 85mm lenses designed for a full-frame camera, either f/1.4 or f/1.8. On an ASP-C camera, this works out to an angle of view getting close to 135mm. (For Fujifilm X cameras, look at the 90mm f/2 lens.)

  • For full-frame cameras:

    • Normal lens: 50mm f/1.4 or f/1.8

    • Short telephoto lens: 85mm f/1.4 or f/1.8

    • Macro lens: 90mm, 100mm or 105mm f/2.8

    • Moderate telephoto lens: 135mm f/2

For additional information, see Lens Selection for Portraits

In shade outdoors with diffused light from sidewalk. ASP-C mirrorless camera with 40mm manual focus lens (essentially a ‘normal’ lens). From a past class at the Delaplaine.

In shade outdoors with diffused light from sidewalk. ASP-C mirrorless camera with 40mm manual focus lens (essentially a ‘normal’ lens). From a past class at the Delaplaine.

Single studio strobe with large diffusion and close to model. Full-frame DSLR camera with 105mm macro lens.

Single studio strobe with large diffusion and close to model. Full-frame DSLR camera with 105mm macro lens.

Sunlight behind model with light bounced from reflector. Full-frame DSLR camera with 50mm ‘normal’ lens.

Sunlight behind model with light bounced from reflector. Full-frame DSLR camera with 50mm ‘normal’ lens.

In shade outdoors, with ambient light underexposed. Model lit by off-camera speedlight bounced into an umbrella. Full-frame DSLR camera with mid-range zoom lens at a wide setting of 35mm to get all of the model’s body in the frame.

In shade outdoors, with ambient light underexposed. Model lit by off-camera speedlight bounced into an umbrella. Full-frame DSLR camera with mid-range zoom lens at a wide setting of 35mm to get all of the model’s body in the frame.

Studio lights on background to render as white. Single diffused light on model. Full-frame DSLR camera with 105mm macro lens. Converted to black and white in post-processing.

Studio lights on background to render as white. Single diffused light on model. Full-frame DSLR camera with 105mm macro lens. Converted to black and white in post-processing.

Two studio strobes. ASP-C mirrorless camera with 60mm macro lens.

Two studio strobes. ASP-C mirrorless camera with 60mm macro lens.

Diffused sunlight around sunset. Full-frame DSLR camera with 135mm moderate telephoto lens.

Diffused sunlight around sunset. Full-frame DSLR camera with 135mm moderate telephoto lens.

Direct sunlight at sunset. Full-frame DSLR with mid-range zoom at 60mm. Similar results could be achieved with a 50mm ‘normal’ prime lens.

Direct sunlight at sunset. Full-frame DSLR with mid-range zoom at 60mm. Similar results could be achieved with a 50mm ‘normal’ prime lens.