Back to Overview

Studio Portrait Photography Course in Zurich

In December we celebrated a very successful first offering of our Studio Portrait Photography 1-2-3 course at Viewfinder. Students benefited from a series of three dynamic model shoots, and three informative theory lessons, held at our photography studio in Zurich. Each part of the course built a foundation of lighting knowledge and posing/directing technique. In short, it was a hit!

Once we got into the groove the ideas began to flow. Our models hit their rhythm and things got very creative!

Lighting, posing and directing portrait subjects are three things that give many photographers a feeling of insecurity. Replacing our student's fear with understanding and confidence was our mission as instructors. Our students were rewarded for taking the initiative to learn the fundamentals, and then practice and review their images with both instructors. Like any photography genre — it can only be learned with hands-on experience, but there are foundational principles which can take you a long way if you take the time to learn them properly. Once you have that new empowering knowledge, it takes practice, practice, practice... but that's where the fun begins anyway!

For our students to learn the fundamentals of hard and soft light, they were guided through shooting exercises using various lighting modifiers. Notice the difference in the darkness of the shadows in these two shots, achieved very simply by adding a grid to the beauty dish.

With the grid removed, and adding a moderate amount of "fill-light" a very different ratio of contrast between the brighter and darker regions of the photo is achieved. 

Andrea (right) working with a hard light and "gobo" to create some unusual shadow patterns around his subject.

Gobo effects are simple and effective for adding a bit of mystery and drama to a studio portrait.

Anne shares her hightlights with a model who joined our first shooting session.

In offering our new three-part Studio Portrait Photography course, our goal as instructors was to equip our students with a solid foundational understanding of studio lighting. We then worked our way up to more complex multi-light (and multiple subject) setups and poses. The feedback was amazing, and it's clear that our group profited from the three unique model shoots, both in the studio and on location in Winterthur.

Adding multiple lights opens up the possibilities. In this image, two lights were used near the back to create a nice pure white, while a third (main light) was positioned behind the photographer to provide a big smooth frontal light for our subject.

We captured a variety of great poses with our three-light setup. It was very forgiving and gave the models more room to move around and try different expressions, movements and poses.

The student feedback we recieved after this course was excellent. Thanks very much to our energetic group of students. A big congratulations to Alex, Andrea, Anne, George and Mirjam who all produced spectacular shots. We look forward to seeing where your next portrait adventures take you!

Our third shoot happened at one of our favourite locations in Winterthur. We were joined by Jason and Natalia who did an excellent job.

What's better than shooting with a striking and confident model? Shooting with two striking and confident models!