Portrait Photography Class at HACC

27 October 2008

I recently attended the Portrait Photography class at HACC Lancaster Campus taught by Darryl Nicholas. It only runs 1 night for 3.5 hours. I arrived to find a whole 2-light studio strobe setup with backdrop, etc and got pretty hopeful -- I wasn't expecting much lighting discussion. Unfortunately, I found that the lights were only there for the most basic setup discussions and otherwise for making a shopping list.

The group was sort of amateur, so I guess we couldn't get as specific as I had hoped, but I still found it weird that we had all the gear setup, and the instructor didn't even crank off one frame. The largest disappointment came toward the end of the class, when a classmate asked, "The holidays are coming, and we'll not have all this studio gear with us, so what can we do?" and the instructor answered, "Well, they're called snap shots."

At this point, I had to pipe up and mention that a nice, fast prime lens (50mm f/1.8) works nicely with available low light, and that you can do some nice things with small strobes. The instructor dismissed my strobist comment/question with a story about a photo shoot needing $20,000 worth of lights and then double that when a designer tried to make a change. It didn't leave the beginner with much to start. A simple discussion of using reflectors with ambient light could have benefited the class.

In the end, I was thankful for the little bit of non-lighting discussion we had, and for about 20 minutes, I furiously scratched down lots of notes:

Interestingly, I found out that this class was part of a series in the computer track. It started out with basics of digital and ends with post-processing and printing. My next class is approaching quickly and it's 2 nights and lives in the Photography track, so maybe this one will be packed with more creative potential.

Filed Under: Photography