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Lighting Techniques of the Portrait Masters -
An introduction to digital portrait photography
Starting date:

Instructors:Charlie Borland                                                    Duration: 4 Weeks            Cost: US$169       

Like so many other photographers, you too have dreamed of one day opening your own portrait studio. Why not start living that dream today!? The need for portrait photography is everywhere, from business people, to families, children, couples, and single adults. Charlie Borland can now make that dream a reality. If you want to make money in professional photography, having your own studio is often a must, but what good is having a studio unless you know how to use it? Portrait photography is big business and the lighting is not just a simple matter of setting up a light or two and shooting a portrait. As every successful studio portrait photographer will tell you, you must really understand lighting and all of its unique characteristics and variables if you want to succeed!

The LIGHTING TECHNIQUES OF THE PORTRAIT MASTERS course is designed for photographers with no experience. Maybe you have lighting equipment and are unsure how it all works. This course really is the next best thing to working side by side with the lighting master himself, Charlie Borland. Whether you are a beginning portrait photographer or you have already experienced the frustration of not really knowing how to make those lights work, then this course is a must for you. Join award-winning commercial photographer Charlie Borland as he shares his knowledge in a step-by-step approach to making the jump from lighting novice to experienced lighting technician.

During Charlie's 4-week online course, you'll receive some in-depth and insightful lessons on lighting and how it works! Whether your interest is in shooting kids, families, high school seniors, or business portraits, the techniques, tricks and 'insider tips' you will receive from this course will set the foundation for many more exciting photo opportunities for the months and years ahead. You will gain a powerful understanding of light, both in its quality as well as its direction; not only which light or lights to use, but when and where you should apply them! By the end of this course, you will have the skills to open a portrait studio!

With a career spanning 25 years, Charlie has the experience to back up his advice: he produces photography for annual reports, advertising, catalogs, and editorial clients. This course will include weekly lessons, tutorials, and tips, followed by practical assignments and in-depth critique of your work.

Do you know what to look for when dealing with studio light and shadow? Which lighting set-up is the most dignified for portraits? Which lighting set-up is the 'kindest' to the face? Which lighting set-up is ideal for portraits of children? When should you use an umbrella, a soft box or a reflector? What is foam core and why is it so important? What is meant by modeling lights and when do you use them? Where do you place lights for basic glamour lighting? These and a multitude of other questions will be answered, in depth, over the course of four weeks!

Every lesson you receive includes examples of shoots created by Charlie featuring lighting placement and the strategy used to capture the best possible portrait or product. These weekly assignments are intended to help you focus on the exact principle you need to progress to the next level in your photographic art. Studio assignments will include photographing the following subjects: portraits in the including business head shots, seniors, groups, people on location, glamour lighting, and families. Lessons will include in-depth instruction in the proper techniques for lighting thin faces, large faces, hair, backgrounds, groups, and more. Posing techniques and Photoshop retouching steps are also included. And every lesson you receive is written in an easy to understand text and amply illustrated with color photos. If you are serious about owning your own studio, this course will pay for itself a hundred times over!

Course Requirements:

A good understanding of shutter speeds and f/stops, a digital or film camera and the ability to (scan film) upload your images for critique.

This course is designed for those who are interested in making not only the investment in their photographic knowledge, but also their equipment. This course is about learning serious lighting for those who plan to get into professional photography. The only way to instruct this course and for students to learn how lighting works, is to have the equipment at hand. What you will need to own, buy, or rent (if available in your area), is the following equipment:
  • 3 monolight strobes of 250 watt seconds or greater.
  • 5 light stands for these lights (2 light and 3 heavy duty)
  • One 20 degree grid spot or the complete set
  • One large lightbox approximately 36"x48"
  • Two 32" umbrellas
  • Spring clamps from the hardware store (As many as you want to own)
Flash Meter such as Sekonic, Minolta, Gossen, or other reputable brands. This is not mandatory, but highly recommended. Purchase from your favorite camera store or online. If you do not own the lighting equipment and are interested in purchasing everything required for this course, email Charlie at for recommendations.

Course Outline:

Lesson 1: Introduction
- In this lesson we'll learn the equipment, how to assemble it, the difference between light boxes, grids, and umbrellas. The application of key and fill lights, lighting contrast, lighting ratios, lighting direction, Angle of Incidence, the Inverse Square Law, and specular and diffused highlights. We'll then move into Beginning Portrait Techniques: including lighting contrast, traditional portrait lighting, light patterns, lighting ratios, composition, and background and hair lights.

Lesson 2: : Studio Portrait Techniques
Subjects covered are business portraits, knockout backgrounds, kicker lights, feathering techniques, small groups, families, kids, multiple exposures, and couples.

Lesson 3: Location Portrait Techniques
Photographing portraits on location, working in mixed color light sources, groups, executives, and lighting for mood and 'effect'.

Lesson 4: Special Portrait Techniques
This lesson will cover some outdoor and location techniques such as flash fill, window light effect, studio high key and low key portraits, ring lights, special effects, small sets, and shallow focus techniques.

Instructor: Charlie Borland

Charlie BorlandCharlie Borland is an award-winning commercial photographer based in Oregon. Charlie travels extensively for a wide range of clients. People are his forte, on the job or at play. With a career spanning 30 years, he produces photography for annual reports, advertising, and editorial clients.

His photographs have been seen in National Geographic Adventure and Traveler, Outside, Women's Sport and Fitness, Newsweek, TV Guide, CIO, Sports Illustrated for Women, Time, Backpacker, and Sunset, to name a few.

Charlie's partial client list includes: Xerox, NW Airlines, Fujitsu, Tektronix, Nike, Blue Cross, Nationsbank, Precision Castparts Corp., Mentor Graphics, Texas Instruments, Pacificorp, Cellular One, Sequent Computer, Early Winters, Cascade Bancorp, and Associated General Contractors.

Charlie has taught at PPSOP since the beginning, training several thousand photographers and is author of Outdoor Flash Photography, available on his website:
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