February Portrait Workshop


On February 22, 2011 more than 45 LPA members brought their cameras, lenses, and tripods to the Lancaster Senior Center for a hands on portrait workshop led by four of our compatriots: Douglas Wade, Glenn Olson, Kurtiss Humphrey, and Bonnie Matthews.  Each set up a portrait studio for the workshop.

Doug and Glenn set up studios with constant lighting in which the fluorescent lights were on continuously.  Each of these studios had a one color cloth backdrop.  Doug provided a handout on portrait lighting that described the different lights and reflectors used in portrait photography and outlined basic studio lighting setups.  Doug had his camera linked to his laptop computer, and when he changed the lighting set up, he used his camera to take test shots to fine tune the set up prior to the members' shots.  Many photographers could photograph the models at the same time in these studios.  As you can see in the photos below, the studios attracted many photographers.

Numerous LPA members shooting at Doug's studio

Glenn's studio in action

Kurtiss and Bonnie used flash lighting in their studios.  Kurtiss had four separate flash units for his main, fill, hair and background lights.  Each of these studios had marbled backdrops. Kurtiss used a Black Marble (gray) Deluxe Muslin backdrop, and he used a gel to provide the blue color we used.  The gels are available in a variety of colors, so Kurtiss can quickly change from gray to blue, red, yellow, green, etc. backdrops to complement the model as desired.  Bonnie had a gray marbled backdrop which looked very nice with the model's black hat and red and black dress.  Bonnie also had a black, grey, and white digital calibration target to allow the photographers to set a custom white balance for her studio lighting and to set the correct exposure. Both Bonnie and Kurtiss allowed the photographers to use their remote flash triggers.  These attached to the camera's flash shoe and triggered the flash lighting via a radio signal when the camera shutter was opened. Since the camera was triggering the flash lighting, these two studios were essentially limited to one portrait photographer at a time.  The lines were long at times, but the wait was worth it.  These flash lighting set ups and the talented models contributed to some wonderful portraits.

Kurtiss' studio before the workshop

Bonnie's studio during a break

Seven models volunteered their time for the workshop.  They had varying levels of modeling experience, and all were excellent subjects.  They worked with a wide variety of photographers and used their skills to pose as the photographers requested.  The LPA photographers learned how to work with these young people to get the poses and photographs they desired.  LPA is indebted to the models, and each photographer should ensure that the models receive our better photographs of them for use in their portfolios.  Doug Wade will collect your portraits and distribute them to the models who supported the workshop.


This workshop was a great learning experience for everyone who participated.  Many of the photographs will surely be entered in the March portrait competition.  Thanks to Doug, Glenn, Kurtiss, and Bonnie for setting up such excellent studios and for allowing us, and teaching us, to use them.  Thanks to the models for working with us and for being terrific subjects for LPA's successful portrait workshop.

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