What to Expect on the first day of the Portrait Workshop
The first day of class is the best day to start with portraits in class. I firmly believe that photographers must experience the act of being photographed to create better photographs themselves. Students at first may feel awkward and unprepared - and that’s okay - having that feeling is an essential part of the making of a portrait and knowing how your subjects may feel when they are in front of the camera is lesson one on the first day.
I usually try to use a camera that is unexpected, possibly a 4x5, or medium format film camera - I keep the set up simple and the amount of time is measured in seconds. The interaction is simple - move your chin there, look here, relax, you don’t have to smile and on and on. It's also an excellent time to look at each other. We are going to spend a lot of time together and these manufactured intimate moments between us are a great way to be introduced.
Students in a portrait class must be prepared to practice on each other. Learning about subject placement, how to direct, as well as running through all of the camera settings is a lot to practice. And we must do it over and over to make it part of our portrait experience. (Read the Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel ).
If you are looking for intensive experiential learning and making better portraits, please consider signing up for our Fall 2018 workshop. [Originally Published August 7, 2018]