PP210 Studio Portrait Photography

Course Description

“A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound?” Since Baudelaire’s exclamation in 1859, portrait photography’s contribution to both the record of modern civilization and the memories of generations of families has been profound indeed. In fact, most people’s interaction with the world of professional photography begins and ends with the neighborhood portrait photographer.

This Photography class introduces traditional portrait photography techniques as practiced within a controlled studio environment. After an examination of the aesthetics, tools and methodologies of the studio portrait photographer, hands-on exercises and assignments will help reinforce the skills required to master this essential aspect of professional photography. From the simplicity of window light portraiture through the flexibility of the standard 4-light setup, students will gain a thorough understanding of the dramatic and cosmetic potential of a variety lighting schemes and posing techniques.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Contrasts between traditional and contemporary studio portrait photography
  • The business of retail portrait photography
  • Tools of the Trade
  • Traditional male and female posing techniques
  • Light: Direction, Quality and Color
  • Window light portraiture
  • Recognizing flattering qualities and patterns of light even while restricted by a fixed light source
  • Portrait Studio set-up
  • Standard 4-light portraiture
  • “Cosmetic” Lighting- Traditional Key and Fill Light positions (Short Light, Broad Light, Rembrandt Light, Butterfly Light, Edge Light)
  • Portrait lighting considerations and best practices