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Portrait Extremes: Black and White Backgrounds

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Portrait Extremes – White and Black Backgrounds

Learn advanced techniques for using white backgrounds and black backgrounds in a studio setting. Many photographers attempt to use a white background or a black background because these seem to be the most basic options. In fact, these two options are the most technically demanding. If not done properly, white backgrounds appear slightly gray or subjects have lens flare. Black backgrounds, on the other hand, can appear not quite black failing to deliver the drama we often hope to produce.

Topics Covered
• Equipment considerations
• Space considerations
• Subject lighting to match the mood
• Using a light meter to fine tune the lighting
• Light modifier choices
• Subject wardrobe

This class is geared for all levels of photographers who wish to create beautiful and dramatic portraits in a studio setting.

This workshop covers lighting backgrounds as well lighting the subject to match the background. For white backgrounds, we will cover using beauty lighting (also called "clamshell" or "paramount" lighting) using a beauty dish. For black backgrounds, we will cover creating Rembrandt lighting to convey drama. Other subject lighting techniques are possible. The instructor will cover every detail about the approach used to create award-winning images. The class will explore technically demanding lighting including rendering a white background as black and photographing subjects wearing white wardrobe on a white background as well as wearing black wardrobe on a black background.

Schedule and Format
This three-hour class consists of lecture, demonstration and practice. Students will see the instructor demonstrate lighting, camera settings and techniques. Students will then have the opportunity to photograph a professional model. The instructor will review student work and provide suggestions for improvement.

Equipment needed
• DSLR or Mirrorless camera with full manual controls
• Memory Cards
• Fully charged battery
• Note-taking supplies

About the Instructor

The instructor for this class is Austin photographer Tim Babiak. Tim is a full-time photographer and a long-time instructor at PCU. Tim serves as Chairman of the Austin Professional Photographers Association and is a two-time recipient of the Photographer of the Year award from the Austin Professional Photographers Association. Tim is also a two-time Bronze Medalist in PPA’s International Print Competition. Tim is a Certified Professional Photographer (CPP) via the Professional Photographers of America.


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