Last weekend I was delighted to teach my Weekend Portrait Masterclass at the National Portrait Gallery in London. The second time the gallery has invited me to teach, and it is a real treat to use the Collection as inspiration. I had the pleasure of working with 12 delegates throughout the weekend. No stranger to the gallery I’m always popping my head through the door, to gorge upon the feast of art and intrigue. Over the years seven of my portraits have been acquired by the Gallery.
Day one began with a talk about my style of portraiture and how art has provided a great deal of inspiration in the lighting and detail of my own work. Then we moved on to talk about the work of Artists, such as Titian, Hans Holbein the Younger and Sir Thomas Lawrence. After some refreshment, the delegates toured the gallery, with a talk by myself on some of the most interesting pieces of the collection.
After lunch it was time to learn about lighting techniques using the galleries well equipped photographic studio. The delegates practiced their technique using a light meter to setup basic one and two light Renaissance Chiaroscuro Lighting with our first model. After lighting skills where taught, I demonstrated direction and how to create different emotions and moods. The delegates then took it in turn to capture a varied collection of portraits illustrating different sides of our subjects character.
Day two began with a review of all the delegates portraits from day one. We then recapped on the lighting techniques and skills. The delegates then worked in groups to re-create versions of the renaissance portraits in the gallery.
After lunch it was time to work with our Second and Third model, the delegates working in groups visited the gallery to plan a series of portraits using the collection as inspiration. Then taking it in turn to re-create their own versions of portraits with the subjects. Shoots completed, I reviewed all the portraits captured, and gave individual feedback on lighting and direction.