Actress Natalie Dormer, star of Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games and The Tudors sat for a portrait at the London Studio several weeks ago. I wrote to Natalie inviting her to sit for my Expressive Portraits Project just over a year ago; it just goes to show how many letters and requests she receives. Natalie is exceptionally talented with an incredible natural beauty. As a realist portrait photographer Natalie was a little apprehensive of my style. In the modern world people are obsessed with removing the detail through airbrushing.
My style is to preserve even line every mark every mole. I try to present my subjects as they really are, flaws and all, while allowing for moments of candidness and vulnerability. Less austere and more deliberate than a mug shot, my work often brings facial features into high relief, allowing expressiveness to recede and making the sitter seem somehow up-close and removed at the same time. Natalie indulged me, enabling me to capture a series of wonderful frames. Her apprehension turned to excitement when she viewed the final results which edified her unique and Natural Beauty.
I’m often asked by the many delegates who attend my Photography Workshops. What Books do you recommend for the Portrait Photographer? So I thought I would write a Blog Post on the Subject. The following is a series of Books I recommend for the Budding and Established Portraitist. You will notice the majority of these listed are books on Portrait Painters. It is my opinion that the Portrait Photographer should always look at the work of the Portrait Painter. For they were around long before the photographer. Many of the lighting & posing & even retouching techniques we portrait photographers use; are inspired from Artists such as Caravaggio, Michelangelo, and DaVinci & Rembrandt.
Cecil Beaton has been one of my favourite portrait photographers. Portraits & Profiles is a must for the Portrait Photographer. Not only does the book feature his work but also his thoughts and opinions of the stars who sat for him. The opinions taken from his private diary entires on the celebrities and historical figures who appeared in his portraits. He spent 50 years charming the rich and famous from behind the camera in order to produce an array of iconic portraits.
But now Cecil Beaton’s true and often scathing opinions on stars from Mick Jagger to Monroe have been revealed in a new book.
Cecil claimed the Rolling Stones frontman “could be a eunuch”, described one half of Grace Kelly’s face as “like a bull calf” and dismissed Elizabeth Taylor as vulgar and unladylike.
Displaying disconcerting foresight, he said of Marilyn Monroe: “It will probably end in tears.”
But despite his many waspish commentaries, the photographer was full of praise for the Queen who he described as “serene, magnetic” and “meltingly sympathetic” and her “very pretty” sister Princess Margaret. When skimming through the volume, I arrived at Cecil’s Portrait sitting with Actor David Warner, and was reminded of my own portrait sitting with David. Cecil’s descriptions of Warner still aptly describe the acting legend. Cecil Beaton: Portraits and Profiles £20.40 (Amazon)
Every Portrait Photographer should have a copy of this book. I can’t remember when I last learned so much, this book fascinates me. Artists who have been just names are brought to life. Most of all the sculptor Houdon, whose sensitive, enlightened translation of the Greek style comes to life, and the British painter Thomas Lawrence, once a household name across Europe. What puts people off art history is the idea that it is merely about a sequence of styles – rococo to neo-classicism to Romanticism. If you want to understand the medium of portraiture this book will give you a flying start. The portraits are presented in various categories (e.g. the status portrait, the cultural portrait), preceded by short ‘bite-size’ essays that provide an insight into the context, illustrating their point with comparative works. Citizens & Kings Portraits in The Age of Revolution 1760-1830 £45.00 (Amazon)
Focusing on the art of self-portraiture, this effortlessly engaging exploration of the lives of artists sheds fascinating light on some of the most extraordinary portraits in art history. Self-portraits always seem catch your eye. They seem to do it deliberately. Walk into any art gallery and they draw attention to themseles. Come across them in the world’s museums and you get a strange shock of recognition, rather like glimpsing your own reflection. For in picturing themselves artists reveal something far deeper than their own physical looks: the truth about how they hope to be viewed by the world, and how they wish to see themselves. In this beautifully written and lavishly illustrated book, Laura Cumming, art critic of the Observer, investigates the drama of the self-portrait, from Durer, Rembrandt and Velazquez to Munch, Picasso, Warhol and the present day. She considers how and why self-portraits look as they do and what they reveal about the artist’s innermost sense of self – as well as the curious ways in which they may imitate our behaviour in real life.Drawing on art, literature, history, philosophy and biography to examine the creative process in an entirely fresh way, Cumming offers a riveting insight into the intimate truths and elaborate fictions of self-portraiture and the lives of those who practise it. A work of remarkable depth, scope and power, this is a book for anyone who has ever wondered about the strange dichotomy between the innermost self and the self we choose to present for posterity – our face to the world. A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits £15.90 (Amazon)
During his remarkable life, Yousuf Karsh, who was born in Armenia in 1908, traveled the globe to photograph subjects ranging from historical figures to anonymous farmers to steelworks. “Karsh: A Biography In Images” is a full revision of the 1996 60-year retrospective of his work and brings that popular catalogue back into print in an affordable paperback format. This new edition covers the photographer’s career with greater breadth than its previous incarnation, adding works from his early experiments and his photojournalism commissions in Canada. Karsh’s reputation as one of the most sought-after portrait photographers of the twentieth century is well established. A roll call of his subjects is a veritable who’s who of the modern age–Winston Churchill, Jacqueline Kennedy, Pablo Picasso, Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor and Albert Einstein, to name just a few–and this book features many of these figures, in some of the most recognized images of our time. But added to the portraits are a number of lesser-known or previously unpublished photographs–early figure studies, atmospheric views of the Ottawa theatre and scenes of wheat fields, city streets and factories across Canada. With its long autobiographical essay and extensive captions for each photo, many of them new to this edition, “Karsh: A Biography In Images” is both an elegant celebration and an indispensable overview of a life lived in photography. Karsh Yousef – A Biography in Images £29.50 (Amazon)
Realist revolutionary: The painter who brought the heavenly down to earth Caravaggio, or more accurately Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571-1610), was always a name to be reckoned with.Notorious bad boy of Italian painting, the artist was at once celebrated and controversial: Violent in temper, precise in technique, a creative master, and a man on the run. This work offers a comprehensive reassessment of Caravaggio’s entire oeuvre with a catalogue of his works. Each painting is reproduced in large format, with recent, high production photography allowing for dramatic close-ups with Caravaggio’s ingenious details of looks and gestures. Five introductory chapters analyze Caravaggio’s artistic career from his early struggle to make a living, through his first public commissions in Rome, and his growing celebrity status. They look at his increasing daring with lighting and with a boundary-breaking realism which allowed even biblical events to unfold with an unprecedented immediacy before the viewer. An accompanying artist chronology follows Caravaggio’s equally tumultous personal life, tracing his history of debts, gambling, drunken brawls, and murder. Caravaggio: Complete Works by Sebastian Schutze £29.24 (Amazon)
Hans Holbein the Younger (1497/8 – 1543), one of the most versatile and admired painters of the Northern Renaissance, trained under his father in Augsburg and then worked for leading patrons in Switzerland before settling in England as Court Painter to Henry VIII. Holbein is my favourite portrait artist. He was a hugely ambitious artist, and even during his formative years in Lucerne and Basle designed jewellery, stained glass and woodcuts as well as paint major altarpieces and portraits. He also carried out several monumental decorative schemes for private houses and civic buildings. In all his commissions Holbein sought to rival the greatest masters of Germany and Italy – notably Durer and Mantegna – as well as Antiquity, and by the time of his visit to France in 1524 he was determined to secure a position as court painter. This, and the precarious situation he was finding himself in as a result of the Reformation’s increasing hostility to religious works, drove him to England for good in 1532, where in addition to decorative schemes and Triumphs he both drew and painted numerous unrivalled likenesses of leading courtiers, merchants and diplomats, among which is his celebrated double portrait ‘The Ambassadors’. This acclaimed, richly illustrated book by Oskar Batschmann and Pascal Griener – now available in a revised and expanded Second Edition – is a major advance in our understanding of Holbein’s contribution to European art. The authors re-examine every aspect of a remarkable career, in which they take full account of the artistic and cultural influences that affected the artist and of his friendships with leading humanists such as Erasmus and Sir Thomas More, and cast fresh light on many hitherto vexing questions and misunderstandings. Hans Holbein Paperback £20.00 (Amazon)
Author of STARFISH Akemi Dawn Bowmen arranged a Portrait Sitting at the Liverpool studio. Akemi was in need of a Portrait for her latest book. It was wonderful to work with Akemi who is originally from Las Vegas and now living in Cheshire. Akemi also served in the United States Navy. I’m looking forward to reading her latest book. If you are an author in need of a portrait please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
With the imminent referendum on the European Union, I received a call from The London Times, commissioning a portrait of Brexit Spokesperson Suzanne Evans, former deputy leader of UKIP. The image to appear in an article in the Saturday Edition of the Newspaper.
Political Portraiture is a challenging genre to capture. Using inventive scenarios and direction. I opted for a strong yet approachable portrait, which really captures Suzanne’s outgoing and strong beliefs and persona for the article.
April saw me spending three weeks back over the pond in Los Angeles, leading me to dub the city my second home. This avenue of photography has really taken off for my business. Back in 2014 it accounted for barely 2% of my work load. Now, in 2016, 15% of my assignments take place in the City of Angels.
On home turf it’s a similar story too. Whilst I will always remain true to my roots, Liverpool used to account for 75% of my work, whereas now 60% of my time is devoted to the capital. As my career has developed I’ve followed my heart, always seeking to let my passion see business sense. The combination seems to be working.
I’m an Englishman in… Los Angeles
Looking from the outside in has given me a different view of Los Angeles from the average LA dweller themselves. It took a bit of adjusting to the laid back surfer dude lifestyle. For a formal portrait photographer this poses one big shift in dynamics: out is the formal attire of military wear and the suited and booted, in comes the shorts, t-shirts and slip flop look. Quite a contrast.
This follows through to business attitudes too. I’m used to presenting my business persona, known to the Americans as the British Stiff Upper Lip. This is a strategy that works well in the corridors of Whitehall, or with eminent London actors, but does leave you feeling a little like a fish out of water in Los Angeles. I’ve had to become chameleon like and change my persona to suit a different brand of clients. In Los Angeles I’m likely to be grabbed en route to the shoot to go grab a taco, crack a few jokes. Shoots will frequently be finished up with a chance to go for dinner when I get quizzed about my works and exhibitions.
With a three week visit this time I wanted to head out and experience the real LA. With the convenience of AirBnB this wasn’t too hard as I could do it from a few different apartments and guest houses.
After 14 hours of flying I was grateful that my first stop-off was in the quiet hills of La Canada Flintridge. A perfect place to relax, unwind and find my feet. I highly recommend the Melrose Trading Post which is open every Sunday. This place is what we would call an antiques and vintage fair in the UK. It’s a delightful mish-mash of stalls with street food and live entertainment. If you want to enjoy some really good food and listen to live music, and buy something vintage make sure you pop along.
Down to Work in Los Angeles William Shatner was the subject of my first portrait sitting, once again in his offices in Studio City. The previous time I had photographed him I had needed to work fast – I had 5 minutes before he had to fly off to a film set. This time was a different affair. He was wonderfully relaxed, sporting linen trousers and sandals, the epitome of the Californian (even though he is Canadian). LA grows on everyone. I was able to direct several different looks and expressions, and was very pleased with the results as was William Shatner himself.
Heading downtown to a studio apartment, I moved in to the hustle and bustle of central LA. Welcome to the cultural melting pot. Downtown is unusually small, not at all like New York or London. Being able to walk these streets was a real pleasure knowing that just 20 years ago this was a No Go zone. Despite the compact downtown area, LA in fact spreads out as far as the eye can see into several cities and towns. Downtown has some wonderful quaint and bohemian places to visit, the Last Book Store is a must. But be careful – you will come out with a box of secondhand books as I did.
My second sitting of the trip was with legendary actor Richard Herd. Quietly renowned, he as starred in a diverse range of movies and television series, mainly in the 1980s. He starred in TJ Hooker & in the science fiction series ‘V’. You may have also seen him in the 1970’s film FIST.
It was a pleasure to be invited to Richard’s home for the sitting. I was delighted to have a look at his own art work, being a keen painter himself. He showed me one of his portraits of Rod Steiger who has starred with him in movies. It was an impressive sight. Richard is now 83 and constitutes my ideal subject for portraiture. He truly has a face that’s been lived in: his features tell the tale of his life, and his aged hands and features make for epic portraiture. His experience as an actor made him a joy to photograph. Richard was at natural ease with direction making my job easier. His poses and expressions were effortless. I donned my thick skin to have him swear at me to express anger, the results were worthwhile!
Sitting Number Three with actor Jonathan Frakes took place at his home way out in Tarzanna. Jonathan once played the role of Commander Riker in Star Trek the Next Generation. Anyone who follows my work knows that I’m a bit of a Trekkie, so this was a real treat for me.
Jonathan is now a director. He’s been responsible for directing many episodes of Marvels Agents of Shield, Falling Skies, and his latest project The Librarians. It was incredibly interesting to meet Jonathan. An exceptionally tall man, I took my wife Sasha with me to assist on the sitting. Sasha being 6’ 2” herself was still dwarfed by him. His stature combined with his natural portrait-ready face made a series of striking frames.
Los Angeles Welcomes My Fourth Sitting . This sitting almost certainly was my favourite. I had the pleasure of photographing actor Jeffry Combs, a true master of talent. Again he tickled my Trekkie fandom, but Combs is also known for his starring role in the 1980’s gore fest, The ReAnimator as well as other roles. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance in “Would You Rather” – it’s a horror movie with an interesting twist.
Meeting Jeff at the entrance of the apartment, we headed out for a taco and a chance to chat about his latest projects – and to get a sense of the man in the flesh ready for his shoot. Jeff is another epitome of Californian style and relaxed charm. His face is animated and expressive and he truly put on a performance for the shoot. I directed him to imagine being giving a parking ticket right after the shoot, the expression was worth it and broke free from the Californian laid back style. Every frame tells a different story. It was a privilege to see each element of my direction reflected in a unique expression, a moment in time caught in portrait. I just hope he didn’t in fact get a parking ticket!
Nearing the End, with My Second-to-Last LA Portrait Sitting
Actor Harry Groener was the star of my penultimate sitting. I was previously due to shoot Harry later in the second week of my visit. However, Harry texted me to say he had just been cast for a part, and the wonderful beard and slightly long hair he was sprouting would have to be cut off. With this in mind we moved the sitting forward. As a wonderful character actor, I wanted to capture Harry as the mammoth of the stage he is. One of the things you understand is that Character Actors enjoy the rugged look: The Stoop, as I like to call it.
Once again, a laid-back character greeted me at the apartment. We worked together to create several different looks and emotions to create a series of wonderful portraits that would challenge and inspire. Harry is an incredibly talented actor, absorbing my photography direction effortlessly.
My Last Photography Sitting in Los Angeles My final sitting of the trip took place at our final destination: The Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City. Without a doubt, The Sportsmen’s Lodge is by far our favourite hotel in LA. It is an icon of the 1950s. Incredibly , John Wayne once fished in the lake behind the hotel with his son. The hotel certainly hasn’t lost its charm and is well worth considering it if you’re planning a trip to LA.
Actress Kitty Swink was my final sitting of the trip. Kitty is the wife of my good friend, Armin Shimmerman. A superb actress, Kitty’s eyes are a striking combination of hazel and green. Kitty and Armin mirror my wife and I: one is tall and one is short, and we’re not looking at the usual gender stereotype! For Kitty and Armin this in fact helped the pair to gain a role as a married couple in Dudley Moore’s movie, “Like Father Like Son”. Let’s not forget that Dudley Moore himself would feel at ease with the stature of myself and Armin! Nonetheless, Kitty is generally more a native of the stage as an astounding actress. She is effortlessly expressive and a true talent indeed.
Rory Lewis, Back to Blighty All in all, the trip was a very successful. We were welcomed by this incredible city, and we spent three wonderful weeks exploring it. I completed six successful portrait sittings that have become essential parts of my portfolio and depict my love of portraiture.
I’m looking forward to returning to LA in June. This time the focus of the trip will be to teach a workshop with my new partner, Samy’s Camera. Nonetheless I already have several plans to complete more portrait sittings.
If you are looking for a photographer, notably a specialist in portraiture photography, in Los Angeles, then give me a shout. I’m in LA several times a year and always keen to schedule new assignments.
Major John Melville late of the Commandos and now serving in The Royal Artillery commissioned a Military Portrait at Barracks in Liverpool. It was wonderful to meet John and great to speak to him about his incredible career. Melville is a soldier of considerable experience serving through the ranks as an enlisted man all the way to becoming an officer. His service in the military spanning from the Falklands Conflict in 1982 to the Gulf War in 1990 and even the recent conflicts in Iraq 2003 & Afghanistan 2001–14.
Portraits are very important to military personal, to be captured in Uniform looking ones best and in full finery can fill one with pride for the service. John is a genuine British Hero and I wanted to capture him as thus, opting for tall, solemn yet dutiful poses. He was very proud of his service in the Commandos and opted for his portrait in the Iconic Green Commando Beret.
If you are a member of the armed forces looking for a portrait siting please check out my comprehensive service available UK wide and several times a year in Los Angeles USA.
It’s a big wild world out there when seeking headshots, whether you’re an actor, business leader, politician or anyone seeking a portrait photo for professional purposes. Sorting the wheat from the chaff and being sure you’re going to get exactly what you need, on professional level, can be overwhelming. You need someone who knows your home turf, with a specialist North-West headshot photographer covering Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, but who knows how to play the headshot game, getting exactly what you are looking for from your final images: professionalism; confidence; your Unique Selling Point conveyed. You need someone who has the confidence and experience of working with both celebrities and those looking to make their name alike, capable of shooting the best of anyone.
Headshot Photography: Why a One Stop Shop, One Man Band?
It’s easy to be bowled over and hoodwinked by a large national photography studio with a corporate image and multiple photographers. The downside is, you don’t know who you’re going to get or the exact quality of their work. With a One Man Band, like Rory Lewis Photographer, globally experienced yet locally based in the North West across Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, you know exactly what you’re getting. My image as an individual matters, so I capture your image professionally, yet creatively. A One Man Band focusses on you and you alone, each and every client matters.
Headshot Photography North-West UK: Why Rory Lewis?
I am not a general photographer, but a highly experienced Portrait Photographer with over 10 years’ headshot experience. I have a proven track record working with celebrities, corporate clients, models, upcoming actors and actresses, politicians, and all manner of walks of life. Exhibiting at the National Portrait Gallery, with names such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Derek Jacobi, David Warner, Iain Glen and Julian Glover, I feel confident in my headshot reputation.
This enables me to ensure that your session is relaxed, and entirely focussed on you and what you need from your shoot. I understand what is needed across the range of headshot requirements, from child actors to leading politicians, so that I can lead the shoot and guide you to portray yourself to the camera in a way that will capture the essence of the look you are striving for. My sessions are relaxed and informal and truly for everyone. I work with you developing styles, emotions and lighting that is appropriate for your headshots.
Headshots: Who Are The Clients
The beauty of choosing a Portraiture Specialist such as Rory Lewis Photography, is that you find a One Stop Shop. Whatever your headshot needs, they can be met. From child actors with their unique needs for easy-going rapport to household names with their well-known personalities, from Corporate Profiles for LinkedIn demonstrating a branded style, to publication-based images for the military, everyone will find a package to suit.
A vast majority of headshot clients are actors looking for their portfolio images. I have worked with a huge range of actors and actresses across the North West UK from celebrities to newcomers, I am in tune with casting director expectations and I understand the industry. I understand the nerve-wracking difference that can be felt between motion and still photography, and put you at your ease to ensure you are photographed at your best, demonstrating the range of your acting abilities, your potential and confidence.
Corporate clients have their own unique requirements. With experience working for large corporate names such as Pepsi, CancerResearch UK, John Lewis and the Ministry of Defence, I understand the need to ensure your corporate headshots seamlessly represent your brand identity and corporate image. The result is polished professional business photos whether the subject is the CEO or entry-level employee. As always, I work to ensure each and every sitting is conducted in a friendly and relaxed manner, bringing out the very best in every photo.
Further headshots are required by many different individuals and groups. Military, political and historical figures bring their own unique set of requirements for portrait headshots demonstrating confidence, leadership and power. With experience photographing such eminent individuals such as William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith as well as key figures from the Army, RAF and Navy. Alongside these I have experience undertaking headshots for sports personalities and individuals from a wide range of professions. I understand headshot: what is required, and how to deliver what you need in an affordable, comprehensive, personal and tailored way.
Headshots: One Stop Shop Package Options
The realm of headshot photography has become highly complex to those looking from the outside in. Knowing exactly what you are getting and what it will cost you can seem an elusive dream. This is why I believe in allowing my reputation, experience and previous shoots to speak for themselves, alongside simple yet comprehensive packages. This means you can easily choose the North West UK Headshot option that suits you best.
To achieve the best looks, you need to be relaxed and at ease. Therefore my sessions are usually around 2 hours: plenty of time to undertake hairstyle and clothing changes as necessary; time to explore studio and natural light (outdoor) shots; relaxed time over a coffee to review images as they are created to repeatedly check-in that we’re getting exactly what we need. The aim of Rory Lewis Portrait Sessions is to give you a tailor-made experience in a straightforward, upfront package. At the end of the session around 500 shots will have been taken, and you’ll quickly receive a reduced amount from which you can choose your favourites. I then believe communication is key and I work with you to touch up these images in line with your headshot requirements.
Rory Lewis Photography: Your One Stop Headshot Stop
If you’re in the North West, in the regions of Liverpool, Manchester or Leeds, and looking for a headshot shoot then I’m your man. I love what I do and that’s conveyed in all my work. I enjoy working with a vast range of individuals, bringing you what you want and need, within a simple, comprehensive, affordable package that is suitable for everyone.
To Book Please Email Me email@example.com or Call 07717 139 637 For Availability
In celebration of a decade running photography workshops and masterclasses, 2016 will be the Rory Lewis Year of Learning. I am aiming to hold twice as many workshops and masterclasses in order to offer up the photographic learning opportunities for as many as possible. Whether you’re looking for Portrait Masterclasses aimed at the complete beginner, or Advanced Classes geared to hone your skills, lighting technique and direction, we have the class to suit.
An Overview to Courses
Often a good way of learning or developing a skill is to take it out of the crowd and focus on that skill alone before incorporating it back in to your overall skillset. Therefore I offer classes focusing on these key skills such as light shaping. These highly-targeted classes will also cover low key lighting, mood of portraiture, subject and model direction, themes of portraiture, and my unique workshop on Power & Portraiture.
Intensive weekends are available for full immersion and a rapid development of skills. One will take place at my studio in Liverpool, focusing on Portraiture. The other is a Tudor Portraiture weekend held at the National Portrait Gallery. These weekends offer learning and tuition in a classroom-style environment with a perfect balance of theory and practical development. Opportunities include working with professional models and state of the art equipment.
Whichever class, workshop or weekend suits your style, in honour of my Year of Learning I am offering a 10% discount on all workshops, classes and weekends from 1st Feb – 1st March 2016, just quote Promo Code COURSE 2016.
Often an ideal way to tailor photographic learning and development for the individual, I am keen to set aside more time for one-to-one photography tuition sessions. Tailored to your needs, one-to-one sessions and courses are suitable for photographers of any ability. You choose the subject and content from Beginner’s Tips to Fine Art Nude or Portraiture. One-to-One tutorials are available year-round in a location to suit you including Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast.
Top of the Class Models
Professional models are provided for all Rory Lewis Photography Courses to ensure you develop your skills in a realistic environment. The benefit of this is that the session offers an ideal opportunity to not only improve your skills but also build your portfolio.
Practice Meets Theory
All of my classes, workshops and tutorials include plenty of hands-on practice on a firm foundation of theory. When you go away you’ll be confident in your practical skills as well as equipped with illustrated PDF booklets explaining and reiterating the Lighting Set-Ups learnt.
Spring Has Sprung
Spring will see me taking my successful Portrait Masterclass on the road to London, Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh. These Masterclass sessions are suitable for beginners to intermediate-level photographers, making them ideal for the complete novice, amateur and semi-professional.
Skills learned include: studio flash lighting; how to meter and read the flash; understanding of studio technique; effects of soft boxes, umbrellas, snoots and beauty dishes; how to use reflectors; soft and hard lighting techniques to affect mood; main light functions; how to use fill lights, back lights and hair lights; as well as direction of professional models.
March and April 2016 sees the Masterclass Tour hop the pond to The United States to offer the Portrait Masterclass in Boston (MA), New York (NY), Chicago (IL), and finally Los Angeles (CA). This is an exciting opportunity for me, teaching a new range of students looking to hone and develop their skills in both studio and location photography.
Back on British Soil
“Again, in honour of the 2016 Year of Learning, I am offering two special two-day classes on my home-turf of Liverpool.”
The first, from 27th – 28th March, at my Central Liverpool Studio I will be bringing together a range of teaching methods via talks and practical tuitions involving professional agency models and make-up artists. An ideal opportunity to build your portfolio with models possessing amazing bone structure, this course is unmissable for beginner and intermediate Portrait Photographers.
This is a more intensive course aimed at those looking to learn and progress their studio and location photography. Those interested in creating Model, Wedding, Beauty, Actor, Talent and Corporate Portraiture will all benefit from this course. This full programme, set over two days, will transform the beginner in to a budding Portraitist. There will be multiple lighting set-ups and models available throughout the weekend. For those coming from further afield, accommodation can be arranged at a local hotel.
The second exciting weekend Masterclass is drawing inspiration from the National Portrait Gallery. With close examination of the Collection we will work with models to replicate and develop upon the painter-inspired tone and lighting back in the studio. We will investigate and explore the dynamic between the photographer and sitter and how you influence this relationship to affect the outcome of the shoot. This Masterclass is ideal for those who already have some knowledge of digital photography and know how to use their camera in manual mode.
Summer will see me holding Advanced Portrait Masterclasses in London. These masterclasses are suited to intermediates or as an ideal follow-on from the spring classes. Best suited for those who have a decent comprehension of the technical elements of photography, these courses aim to expand your knowledge of lighting as well as the ideas and techniques behind great portraits.
Creatively, emotionally and technically, candidates will develop enormously as they progress through this Masterclass. A full day will be dedicated to Classroom-style learning with time dedicated to both the theory and practical elements of Portrait Photography within the context of Portraiture ‘Greats’ from Yosef Karsh to Cecil Beaton.
Additionally, the class will incorporate composition, atmosphere, lighting techniques, kickers, modifiers and gels. With a secure grounding of theory, we will then practice the techniques and incorporate the ideas we have learned as we attempt to recreate some of the images we have studied. Creativity is the focus here, but this incorporates technical elements and a good technical understanding of your camera is required.
Key Skills Focus
“For those looking to concentrate their learning time on specific areas, I am offering four distinct workshops.”
The first will concentrate on Low Key Portrait Lighting. You will learn how to invoke drama, dark and depth with shadows and contrast for an overall dramatic look. Lighting is a key focus here and we will learn from the ‘Greats’ – Yosef Karsh, Eve Arnold and Cecil Beaton – in order to enable you to recreate their iconic style. We examine: three-point lighting; key light; back light for illumination; kickers; gels; modifiers; testing, all with the added benefit of a fantastic model
The second key-skills focus will be a Model Direction Masterclass. Working on your interpersonal skills to lead and direct a shoot this is a highly practical course. We work with the Studio as a Stage with you as the Director. This course will develop your confidence and enthusiasm for mastering visual balance and composition. The models provided offer plenty of scope for practice so that you leave the course fully capable of directing a portrait subject. Passing on many of my handy tricks and tips picked up over the years and combining them with my trusted “do’s and don’ts” you will soon be well on the way to creating incredible portraits.
The third course is the Power & Portrait Masterclass. This is an unmissable class for those interested in Military, Political and Real Portraiture. Models will be kitted out in military uniform and formal attire making this a highly practical and true to reality workshop. We will investigate both the archetypal and subversive depictions of strength and power. I will draw on my inspiration from Hans Holbein, as well as my previous shoots with prominent Political and Military figures, to instruct you how to make the most of body-positioning, composition, lighting and subject interaction in order to capture the innate qualities that have made these shoots successful. This course is suited to those who already have some knowledge of digital photography as well as how to use their camera in manual mode.
The final course is a London-based course on Understanding Light. Artistically and professionally, lighting is everything. Your success will depend on your ability to master lighting and how light works. This is a three day course that will demystify the fundamentals of lighting and give you the concrete skills needed to create a powerful image using the right lighting for whatever the circumstances. You will leave this course being able to shoot more efficiently, capture consistently well-lit images as well as reach new creative heights as a photographer.
If you can’t make any of these courses online consultations are now available. Nothing is more frustrating to a photographer than not getting any meaningful or helpful feedback from other photographers. You want to improve but without any direction it can be frustrating. Rory Lewis photographer is now offering online tuition and advice for photographers worldwide.
The Year of Learning – Exciting Opportunities
2016 will offer photographers from all levels of ability the chance to develop and enhance their skills with a particular focus on Portraiture. I am excited and delighted to be able to offer guidance and learning rooted in my success as a Portrait Photographer ensuring every base is covered, and whatever you are looking for in a wide-range of classes and courses throughout the year. Wherever suits you best, and whatever photographic skill you’re looking to work out, I’ll be there!
Profoto sent me the B2-250 kit to review this month, and it was the worst thing they could do. The kit was SO GOOD, I had to buy one myself! As the photographer on the move, the ProFoto kit combines durability with portability and power.
The B2-250 kit includes AirTTL Power Pack, 2 batteries, charger, X2 B2 Flash heads with a padded location Bag and a Carrying Bag with shoulder strap. The power pack is intended for the photographer on the road, and weights just less than 1kg with its Li-Ion battery. The B2’s twin outlets have a dedicated thumbwheel that allows the package 250Ws of power to be distributed asymmetrically over a 9-stop range in full or 1/10 steps.
At 0.7kg, the sturdily-built B2 Off-Camera Flash Heads measure 10.2cm long, and have a 9.9cm diameter fitting into the palm of your hand. A barely-visible umbrella channel runs through the top of the head.
I had the chance to use the B2 Heads in two photoshoot scenarios, the first was a bridal editorial photoshoot, shot on location the B2’s battery back was a big advantage. On the proverbial tin the pack’s Li-Ion battery can be charged in or out of the pack, and will give you up to 215 full-power flashes on a 45-60 minute charge from a multi-voltage 2.8A battery charger or a trickle charge from an optional car charger. I managed to capture over 200 frames and still the battery was more than half full. Simple, light and easy to move, I was able to change position continuously capturing a variety of angles. I recommend Ultra Compact Portable Stands for the kit, they are the ideal accessory for mounting the heads.