PPA: Lifestyle Photography-Use Existing Light & Achieve Studio-Perfect Portraits


Lifestyle Photography!

Find Existing Light to Achieve Studio-Perfect Portraits

Full Day of Hands-On Training!
Once all spots are filled, an automatic-waiting list will activate.

Course#: VA03
Register for this class

Instructor & Lifestyle Photographer: Philip Brasch
Co-Instructor & Studio Artist: Gil Jackson, Ph.Cr, CPP

Spring is the perfect season to promote your outdoor environmental portraiture or lifestyle photography. With the right lens and technique, you can render gorgeously lit subjects and backgrounds that resemble fine art paintings. Whether you are a photographer for passion or profit, this Super Monday course will teach you innovative and portable techniques for capturing stunning natural light and breath-taking composition in any situation.

Philip will share a career of photography secrets with you... pulling highlights from his highly-rated lectures as on this one from 4/28/2011, with over 21, 5-of-5-star reviews!

"The 'Lifestyle Workshop' presented by Philip was inspiring, it moved along in a smooth rhythm that seemed to hold the interest of the audience; it certainly held mine.  Philip was so knowledgeable of his subject matter that he presented it with such ease. The hand out "TipsLifestyle" was most informative, and his explanation of each item on the list was given in a way that it was easily understood. There were some things on this list that I knew, but did not know how to put it to use in a practical and hands-on way.  After this workshop the dots were connected, now all I have to do is go out and practice!" --Rose Virgil, Photographer

Join Philip to learn elements of lighting, the creation of emotion, and composition:

  • Understand, control, and plan the use of existing light in an outdoor environment.
  • Analyze your environment to position your subject and/or yourself to create a naturally lit candid image.
  • Pose clients naturally using simple cues calculated to maximize the use of existing light.
  • Use multiple techniques in the field to ensure accurate color, skin-tone, and exposure in-the-camera.
  • Use "short-light" consistently in outdoor, existing light settings to create drama, depth, and dimension.
  • Create beautiful, modern, lifestyle portraits without a studio, expensive strobes, or soft boxes.
  • You will be able to determine if flash is truly necessary and use it gently indoors or out (bare bulb, off-camera flash, manual, or TTL).
  • What is "fill light", determine if you have enough, and options to add it.
  • Execute the perfect Lifestyle Portrait using: directional existing light, warmth, separation from background, catch lights, hair light, dark ear towards camera "short light", background clean and soft, open shadows, and rim light.
  • End with dusk, night & low-light portrait photography with video lights, and on/off-camera flash.

Why learn better lighting? Our potential clients can easily purchase the same pro cameras that we use - and they do! Set yourself and your people photography apart with one thing that they can't buy - lighting technique! In Philip Brasch's Super Monday "Lifestyle Photography: Find Existing Light to Achieve Studio-Perfect Portraits" you will do just that and maximize your use of available / existing light and your environment for Engagement Sessions, Weddings, Seniors, Children, and more. You can begin to create sellable images that emanate light and emotion! Your client will have a hard time not purchasing more than one.

What is Lifestyle Photography? After adopting this phrase over 5 years ago to describe his unique environmental work, Philip defines it as the action of photojournalism combined with the beauty and consistency of portrait lighting.  

We will start the course with a classroom lecture (PowerPoint presentation, slide shows, and an invaluable tip-sheet handout). Then you will be ready to take it outside for hands-on practice experimenting with "finding the light", using multiple lighting options, posing a model, and getting instructor feedback in the field! In this Super Monday, learn to achieve studio lighting without the studio!

Class will start at 1:00 and run through the "sweet hour" of sunset. This is going to be a unique opportunity to LEARN HOW to achieve those FABULOUS outdoor portraits and dramatic sunset images that clients LOVE to BUY!

Course Date: May 19, 2013

Course Hours: 1:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Items to Bring

Equipment: Digital SLR, a flash if you have one, at least one lens.

Optional Equipment: tripod, monopod, grey card or white balance target, Quantum FreeXWire transceiver,  wide-angle zoom f/2.8, mid-range zoom f/2.8, a fast 50mm or 85mm at f/1.4,[masked]mm f/2.8 zoom telephoto, laptop w/Adobe Lightroom 3.6 or 4

Prerequisite: This is an intermediate to advanced class for photographers that love to work with people. We move quickly through concepts so as to learn and experience the reality of being in a session with a client. Please contact Philip if you are unsure if this course is for you.

All students should be familiar with basic camera functions including the ability to: find their white balance set option, set ASA, set shutter, set aperture, set exposure modes for manual exposure and aperture priority, and display the histogram (Okay to not know what it means) of each image and/or check for clipping. If any of this is new for you, please study in advance, bring your camera manual, and we'll assign you a buddy to stay on track!

More Testimonials:

“Philip did such a great job [on the lecture,] I knew that I had to take one of his weekend workshops. The information at the meeting was great, but working with Philip to put the theory to practice was incredible. Seeing the effects of his techniques in my pictures is awe inspiring. Philip is the master when it comes to available light portraiture. His passion shows in the pictures of those who took his Engagement seminar. I can't wait to continue practicing his techniques. Thanks, Philip for working with Kelvin, Sally and me.”-- Tien Dao, Photographer

Click image to enlarge...
Infrared film effect created with LR and Photoshop on spring bride in giant tulip garden.

“This meeting was more like a 10-star! Philip, you are so very generous with your time and expertise and I thank you. There is nothing like hands-on instruction. Learning to capture portraits with existing light especially at dusk and later was an amazing lesson. Philip, thank you for shedding light (no pun intended) on this subject through your eyes.  Again, another wonderful meeting. If any photographers out there are wondering how to feed their passion for photography, this is the place to be.” --Wendy C. Fike

These beautiful photographs were taken by Julie Socher during Philip's "The Art of the Natural Portrait" workshop.

“The course was one of the most beneficial I have ever taken. In a few hours I improved from taking average photos to taking professional-level photos. Phil took his time to make sure I understood some basic camera functions. He also demonstrated some essential equipment a wedding and event photographer needs to have. Course would be beneficial to both the amateur and professional photographer.”  --Charles Outlaw, Charles Photography

On Sunday I participated as a helper for Philip Brasch’s “Children, from Smile to Finish™ with Adobe Lightroom®” workshop. Philip is a good friend and an awesome photographer who specializes in portraiture and weddings. The workshop, which took place both in-class and outdoors at “Dolphin Beach” in Montclair, VA was a great opportunity for beginning as well as advanced photographers to learn some Lightroom tweaks, workflow tips and most importantly, capturing beautiful images with all natural light – which is Philip’s specialty. Watching Philip work and interacting with the people he photographs is very inspiring. Four years ago I actually assisted Philip in a few weddings and what really intrigued me was his ability to work in any given lighting situation and maximizing the usage of available light.-- from Moshe Zusman's blog (a WPPI speaker and Profoto endorsee)

Taken during Philip's "Environmental Light Control" hands-on lecture / workshop.

"I have attended other photography seminars; however, this seminar is the only one in which I was fully engaged and learned the subject matter. Philip not only demonstrated his style and his techniques of shooting, he and Gil worked with us to make sure that we understood what he was talking about. They had us taking plenty of pictures and time to review them to make sure that we were shooting right. I am looking forward to working with Philip again."  --Johnnie Boyette, Photographer

Click film strips to enlarge...





Workshop and Lecture Curriculum History:



REGISTRATION is only $120 (Register by RSVP and contacting Jenny Harrison at PPA, space permitting. Contact instructor.)

Visit the links above for more information about each class and to register!!
You do not need to be a PPA member to attend.

This workshop is sponsored by PPA and requires registration via the link in this event post.  Please RSVP here too so we know you are planning on attending.  

If you are an NVPPA Gold Member as of January 2013 and are conducting a Super Monday workshop, please inquire as to how you can post your own Super Monday. PPA instructors / photographers are volunteer and not reimbursed for expenses.

PPA Super Monday Photo Workshops


Be sure to check out the upcoming image competition in June.



Click on the map below to zoom; note where the RED "O" is placed.  Print the map.  No joke -- Folks have had a hard time finding the building.  The NVPPA PPA Super Monday Workshop is in the Harbor Room. MapQuest and Google do not find the correct building!!

NVPPA VA/DC Woodbridge, VA - Regular Monthly Photography Meeting
For more information on NVPPA and joining, please see our  About Page .


Make a 6 or 12-month membership investment.


Not Ready to Join?

You do not have to join NVPPA to attend this PPA Super Monday.

NVPPA is a non-profit business & educational association. We pay honorarium to our speakers, instructors, and judges and host them for dinner -- joining helps us maintain the high quality programming we are known for, respects our profession, and its mentors.


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  • Philip B.

    NVPPA Image Competition on Wed 6/19! 4 FREE Entries with Your New 12-month Membership or 12-month Renewal! Use your entries now or for the October competition. Vet your images prior to the June 28 deadline for the PPA IPC. Please ask for details from Michael George or Roger Hammons.

    June 9, 2013

  • Philip B.

    For Meetup Albums, please post your images at a resolution of at least equal to 600 pixels on the longest edge. You can post larger. Meetup will maintain separate versions so the viewer can zoom in. I am going to post specifications so I can centrally collect (on a site other than Meetup) all the model's images and then share them out to each model individually.


    1 · May 26, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Friends, I found a really nice hard cover spiral notebook left at the venue with a brushed metal pen. It appears to be someone who attends NVPPA. Please email me if it's yours!

    May 25, 2013

    • Sandra L.

      I think it might be Wendy's.

      May 25, 2013

  • Philip B.

    See Tip: STOP THE ABUSE of the Portraiture Plugin http://www.seniorsignite.com/stop-the-abuse-of-the-portraiture-plugin/

    May 25, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the workshop. I took away useful information and a new approach to lighting in the natural environment. I'm looking forward to similar workshops.

    May 24, 2013

  • Philip B.

    A big THANK YOU to both Daniel Douglas and Kenny Bullock who just recently joined NVPPA. They will both get the PROMOTION of 4 FREE IMAGES and the associated on-site evaluations (critiques) from our judge panel. (Entries are anonymous unless you tell someone :-).

    If you join for 1-year during this promotion, you will get the next competition for FREE. Use these critiques and scores to baseline your IPC PPA entries and achieve your PPA Master's degree. You will save more money by getting feedback and guidance prior to sending them to PPA national... what an excellent NVPPA benefit / BONUS!

    May 22, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Gil and I may opt to evaluate / critique the photos uploaded so please check the *** LIFESTYLE TIPS *** prior to your submission. You might not have all of them but the priority ones are important. For example, if you don't have one catch light in each eye, it's an indication that your subject doesn't have light direction across the mask of the face. In other words, the main light is not evident and/or out of position. The catch lights are a reflection on the eye of the main light. Turning the models head just a couple degrees into the light might have been all that was needed to create them!

    May 21, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Dear Friends: Please select and edit your photos *wisely* based upon the LIFESTYLE TIPS handout. If you don't do this, you missed the value of the course -- sorry. Compare your images to the check-off list. Stay tuned and I will announce the REUNION class which will feature an hour of refresher training taking some existing light portraits, and then EDITING your own workshop images quickly and professionally in Adobe Lightroom 4. We'll have the LR class when 5 students agree to attend the course. Let me know what Sunday of the next 3 weekends will be convenient for you!?? See and EVALUATE your fellow class-mates images. I'll offer CONSTRUCTIVE ways to improve your work. I'm curious as to how all of you did AND it's a win-win to place emphasis on selecting and editing your images professionally and decisively prior to using them as your portfolio pieces or post online. Cheers! Philip

    May 20, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Dear Class: You guys were awesome! We couldn't have wished for a better bunch of photographers and professionals to learn with! I wish I could have spent more time with all of you. With 2 instructors, 9 or more gorgeous models (lost count :), 1 lecture, Q&A, 3 shooting locations, and more, everyone had opportunity to learn a ton! In addition, thank you for trusting in me, and giving me the opportunity and honor to teach you. A special thanks to my team Gil Jackson (instructor), Donna Wilks, Johnnie Boyette, Orlando (window-light location, hair / makeup) of Beyond Studio www.BeyondStudio.com, and Patricia Bowles of www.PatriciaBowlesModeling.com! The models were unbelievably beautiful and so patient and calm, weren't they??

    1 · May 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Excellent Class - was just the material I needed to improve my existing light photography. I want to thank the models for their wonderful co-operation and efforts which made them a pleasure to work with.

    1 · May 19, 2013

  • Daniel D.

    Great workshop! I always make it a point to learn at least one new thing when attending a workshop and today's exceeded that goal. Meet some really good people today and really appreciated the feedback from Gil as well.

    1 · May 19, 2013

  • Philip B.

    We now have a second PPA certified Photographic Craftsman instructor to help in the field! My friend, colleague, and studio artist, Gil Jackson, Ph.Cr, CPP, & MDPPA member, will join us. Gil has held studio photography seminars for NVPPA several times. He has also conducted numerous Super Monday workshops in order to achieve his degree. I co-instructed my first Super Monday with Gil Jackson over 3 years ago! What a bonus!!

    3 · May 16, 2013

  • Philip B.

    OK folks, There is now only 1 slot left at PPA registration as Wendy let me know she was attending at last night's meeting. Please call direct to Jenny Harrison, Marketing Coordinator,[masked] x240, at PPA to register.

    1 · May 16, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Really looking forward to it!

    May 13, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Hi Friends, There are now only 2 slots left at PPA registration. Please call direct to Jenny Harrison at PPA to register. I want all of you to attend but I need to be fair to the folks that want to register in advance w/PPA. I also haven't heard back from anyone on this RSVP list that hasn't registered. I want the 2 slots left to appear on this event and the only way I can do that is to remove non-registered RSVPs. As soon as you register, let me know, and I'll add you back in! Thanks for your understanding!

    May 7, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Hi Friends, You don't have to be a PPA member to sign up. It's the same amount for a member or non-member. In order to be fair to everyone that already registered at PPA, and to not overfill the class, I'm going to move the RSVP's that have not registered AND have not contacted me, to the Waiting List. If you want a contact person and phone number to officially register at PPA, please let me know! At this point, there are only 3 PPA slots left, and PPA registrations take priority on a first-come-first-serve basis. Thank you for your interest in my Super Monday -- You can still register (but not online). And, I can help you get a by-phone registration if you ask! Due to demand, I will have other workshops available soon if you miss this one…

    Thanks for your continued support!
    Best, Philip

    1 · May 2, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Please sign up on the ***Waiting List***. You still have hope -- Not all RSVP's (friends of NVPPA) have registered with PPA which is the official attendance list. Thanks!!

    1 · April 30, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Hi, I just checked with PPA and TODAY is the LAST DAY for DISCOUNT pricing! May 1st and after, you can register in person based upon availability. Please contact the instructor prior to attending to ensure there is space available.

    April 30, 2013

  • Philip B.

    For the detail-oriented that noticed the title change on our board, the official PPA title of this event is: Lifestyle Photography - Find Existing Light to Achieve Studio-Perfect Portraits. Meetup has a max number of characters that was reached due to my addition of the search term, "PPA" in the title. I shortened the title a bit to fit. I'm not a fan of new (and old) Meetup quirks...

    April 29, 2013

  • Philip B.

    My Friends, please don't forget, Tuesday is the last day for discount pricing! I'm not sure if *on* May 1st, you can register at the discount, but I'll check... On Friday, I checked with PPA, and the RSVP's here, combined with the folks that have already registered at PPA leave only 1 spot open! (PPA members who are not members of NVPPA are not required to RSVP on our board.)

    April 29, 2013

  • Tish U.

    Sorry Philip...we have another workshop on that same day. We're attending a PPA super Monday class in Richmond on the 13th. Have a great session!

    April 24, 2013

  • Philip B.

    Thanks everyone for RSVP'ing so quickly! I hope that means more fellow attendees. Let me know if you have any questions...

    April 23, 2013

  • Mike G.

    Sorry, I will be on vacation that weekend.

    April 23, 2013

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