I recently went on a day-course on portrait photography in order to further these skills. At the moment I think I want my final research project to include portraits and I want to try and improve my skills in this area.
The course was local and run by a wedding & family portrait photographer; Summers Photography (https://www.summers-photography.co.uk/). I wasn’t too sure what to expect but it ended up being a lot of fun! The course focussed on natural light photography and taking portraits outdoors – which is what I’m currently planning to do for my project. There was some information about how to look for beneficial lighting and select appropriate camera settings. Unfortunately the style of the photos was aimed more towards family portraiture, so not exactly what I’ll be doing for my project, and therefore didn’t really give too much focus on directing the subject(s) of the photos etc. However, it was still useful and being able to practice on some models on the day was helpful as I could put the theory to practice quickly.
One thing that did surprise me was coming away from the course and wanting to edit my photos in post-production software. Having not been a fan of photo editing in the past this did catch me off-guard somewhat. Reviewing the pictures afterwards on my laptop I just felt that the images didn’t fully capture the atmosphere of the settings or the personalities of the subjects. I was discussing the use of editing software with the tutor which helped me to maybe see the value in post-production editing, and that there is (reassuringly) still a big difference in colour correcting the light of the photo to removing a whole person from a picture, i.e. editing v. manipulation. So I did edit some of the photos in the end as an exercise and a challenge for myself.
Ultimately I was happy with the photos I took that day, before and after editing them, and it has made me want to take some more portraits, and experiment with ways to achieve different end results!