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Workshop: Natural Light Portrait Photography

Spend an early fall afternoon in the park and learn how to take great natural portraits of your family and friends. Experienced professional portrait photographer and Meetup member Beth will lead this session and share her unique tips and tricks. Our location at Lakeview Park offers a nice background including open shade under the trees and nice light, and we'll practice on each other.

"Photography is about light. Learning how to see light is essential to developing your photographic eye." (dPS)

We'll talk about direction and temperature of light, white balance, focusing and working with back light (Digital Camera World).

So bring your camera, a reflector (or large piece of white foam core) if you have one, any props you might like to try. 

No flash or tripod needed. Both dSLRs and pocket cameras welcome. 

Rain date is active! Sun Sept 21st.


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  • Kris H.

    It sounds like Oct 4th works for many.
    And we could keep Oct 5th as a rain
    date. The Arboretum would be a
    beautiful backdrop... I'll create the
    meetup shortly!

    1 · September 27, 2014

    • Cheryl S.

      If it happens to rain I can make the 5th :>)

      September 27, 2014

  • Beth

    if the weather holds, we could get a group together for OCTOBER 4th or 5th…..who is interested????

    2 · September 25, 2014

    • Mike G.

      I could do Sat, Oct. 4th, but not the 5th.

      September 26, 2014

    • Cheryl S.

      My granddaughter may join us too. I have her my old camera so she could have fun too.

      September 27, 2014

  • Beth

    i thought it was great and we need to do it again during a WHOLE afternoon with models, props and kids!!!

    4 · September 22, 2014

    • Astrid T.

      The fall color report estimates the peak time to be the second week in October. We can start to see now beautiful colors. If it is decided to do the meetup the weekend of the 4th or 5th the colors are going to be great. May I suggest the arboretum or a place outdoors that we can have the fall colors as a backdrop? I think picture will turn out good. I had my wedding pictures taken at the arboretum two years ago, and they are my all time favorites.

      September 27, 2014

    • Astrid T.

      Here is the link if you want to keep track:http://www.travelwisc...­

      September 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    so... here goes. i have a family portrait gig (three LITTLE ones! yikes!) on sunday, late afternoon. everyone in my usual group of photog friends is busy that day, so i thought i'd come here. anyone willing to volunteer to play assistant? (basically holding the reflector.) i can guarantee that i'll return the favor whenever you need help next! pretty please? someone? bueller... bueller... ??? ;-)

    September 26, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'm game, what time exactly?

      September 26, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      YAY morgan!!! 5:30 at stewart lake park... in mt horeb. i'm meeting the family in the parking lot... though i might want to get there earlier to take some test shots of... umm... the trees... or you! :-) oh, i'm SO relieved! you can watch me make a total fool of myself for a 3 yr old... the youngest of the three kids. YIKES! lol

      September 26, 2014

  • Kat S.

    As far as lenses go, from what I was taught, you don't want a focal length shorter than 50mm on a cropped sensor or 85mm on a full sensor- due to unflattering distortion. Looking forward to this workshop!

    August 19, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      i've always been told 50 on my cropped sensor (85mm if i had a full frame). for which i'm grateful... a prime 85 is spendy! but a new canon nifty fifty can be had for $139 or so. unless you feel the overwhelming need for an L lens... then it's like $1600, i think!

      September 26, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I think everyone agrees actually. I think the confusion lies elsewhere. When reading over these comments, everyone agrees that a crop sensor "crops" the image. So, a 35mm on a crop sensor camera is like a 50mm on full frame camera. You just multiply the focal length x 1.4 or 1.5 when using it on a crop sensor to figure out the equivalent.

      Where I think people are getting confused is disagreement on what is the best focal length for portraits. I think some are thinking it's 50mm, and some are thinking it's close to 80mm/90mm. You're never going to get a consistent answer for a question like this, but if I were taking a test that my life depended on, I'd say 85mm (on a full frame camera) (55 on a crop sensor) is a portrait focal length. And the reason is for what someone above mentioned. Wide angle distortion. Means you have to stand a little further back.

      September 26, 2014

  • Astrid T.

    Oh another thing, the 4th I will be able to bring my 3 kids, great models by the way! I still need my head shot too :-)

    1 · September 26, 2014

  • Astrid T.

    October 4th would be great, I miss the last one because on Sunday my daughter has cross country practice, and she will have practice the 5th also.

    September 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I would like Oct. 5. Had to miss the last outing, but hopefully there are enough people interested in another session.

    September 26, 2014

  • Marla F.

    I would be interested in those two dates.

    1 · September 25, 2014

  • Mike G.

    I had a great time and hope we can do something similar in the future.

    1 · September 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Will you be going this Natural Light Portrait session again anytime soon? Sorry I had to miss the last opportunity and would like to get a chance to do it again.

    September 24, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      i hope you're feeling better, Dan. and I bet if enough of us want to, there'd be a repeat of it. I've already voted in favor of a redux :)

      September 24, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Anyone that was in Daniel's group taking pictures of Denise, we'd love to have any originals you think are extra nice if you're willing to share. Thank you.

    Ryan: [masked]

    1 · September 22, 2014

    • Chandrasekhar S.

      Ryan, I have uploaded the pictures I took, have a look and let me know if you liked any. I could send you the originals.

      September 23, 2014

  • Cathileen

    Very informative. I learned a lot.

    1 · September 23, 2014

    • Brian S

      It was fun. Our group probably should have rotated models like the other groups did.

      September 23, 2014

  • Cheryl S.

    I wish I could've attended this event! The photos I've seen are great!

    September 22, 2014

  • Cheryl S.

    I wish I could've attended this event! The photos I've seen are great!

    September 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    nice opportunity...liked the workshop

    September 22, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    ok - we probably need more hands on experience?

    September 22, 2014

  • Kris H.

    Thanks very much to Beth for heading up this meetup! Thx to Mother Nature for cooperating!! And thx to everyone who came out!!!

    September 21, 2014

  • Brad

    Wonderful event. Learned a few very important techniques that will definitely improve my natural light portraits.

    1 · September 21, 2014

  • Walter A.

    It was a great day for portraits. It just went way too fast.

    1 · September 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    it was great... i just wish it would've been longer! or more time for shooting, anyway. it was over in a "flash"!

    1 · September 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Another useful item that people might want to bring, other than a reflector, is a neutral (at least not bright) colored blanket. It helps avoid strange green shadows when your subjects are sitting on the grass.

    1 · September 17, 2014

    • Greg

      Great idea Morgan, with the possibilities of rain on Friday as well, you may just want to add a tarp or some plastic, to keep the blanket dry

      September 17, 2014

    • John C

      If you want to pack light and small, next time you're at a sporting goods place (or even WallyWorld) look for the small space blankets. Water proof (a good place to lay your stuff) and reflective on one side AND if you can find the gold colored inside surface (instead of silver), it adds a little warmth to the subject on overcast days.

      1 · September 21, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I asked this below in a reply but really want some input so thought I'd put it in its own comment, too:

    Is there a cheap way to make a reflector? For example, would tin foil do the trick for someone who just wants to learn the basics?

    1 · August 19, 2014

    • David

      A cheap piece of poster board from Walgreen's or Walmart works really well.

      3 · August 19, 2014

    • John C

      You're probably on the way out but for the future most craft stores and Walmart have a foam like board that is stiff enough to stand on it's own or with a small dowel rod prop. Leave it white on one side and use crinkled foil on the other. Nice when used low, on axis for portraits to reduce chin shadows.

      September 21, 2014

  • Greg

    Hi, did Madison get a lot of rain last night or did it miss you last night? I know Horicon had light rain for several hours, but looks clear. I plan to head in to watch the game & then will come over to the park. I will not be in town until after 22:30

    September 21, 2014

  • Licho

    Kris, has the location for the event tomorrow been agreed on? Thank you!

    September 19, 2014

    • Sharon M

      Is that the sprinkler park or where?

      September 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      If you click on the word "map" on top of the posting, it will show you the exact location. If you are coming from university avenue, take Allen Blvd, You will see Mendota Avenue on the left.

      September 20, 2014

  • Astrid T.

    So sorry I can't make it now that is on Sunday. My daughter has a cross country practice and I need to take her. Too bad because I still need the portrait of me for the website :-(

    September 20, 2014

    • Kris H.

      Sorry to hear that! Keep your eyes on the schedule for a lighting workshop coming soon!

      September 20, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    now, scattered rain for Sunday too!

    1 · September 20, 2014

    • Kris H.

      If it's anything like today, it'll be fine! ;-)

      September 20, 2014

  • Kris H.

    OK, the forecast for Sat hasn't cleared up--still 50% chance of scattered t-storms, some may be severe. SO let's move the workshop to Sunday instead. Hope you all can still make it!!

    September 19, 2014

    • Sharon M

      I'll be there.

      1 · September 20, 2014

    • Kris H.

      Of course the skies are mocking us this morning. Make the most of it and we'll see you tomorrow!

      September 20, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Kris, Will not be able to make it today. Had a medical emergency last night. I am OK, but I need lots of sleep.
    Hope to connect up on the next adventure.

    September 20, 2014

    • Brian S

      This will be Sunday not today (Sat). Hope you are doing well.

      September 20, 2014

    • Kris H.

      Sorry to hear that, Dan! Maybe you'll be up for joining us Sun instead.

      September 20, 2014

  • Mark F.

    I believe that the location for this event is actually in Middleton and not in Madison? If so, I think the address for the event should be corrected so that people don't get confused/lost.
    Mark

    September 19, 2014

    • Sharon M

      What is the address for this?

      September 19, 2014

    • Kris H.

      The address above is correct. I don't know why it came up as Madison. The address is: 6300 Mendota Avenue Middleton, WI 53562

      September 19, 2014

  • Beth

    here are the directions to the park and our apologies for the madison/middleton mix-up regarding the original address posted.
    http://visitmiddleton.com/splash-pad-in-lakeview-park/

    STAY TUNED AS WE DECIDE WHAT TO DO BASED ON THE WEATHER FORECAST. murphy's law:if we change it to sunday, it won't rain tomorrow…..right????

    1 · September 19, 2014

  • Beth

    great idea morgan!!!

    September 17, 2014

  • Kris H.

    You may have noticed that the weather forecast for Saturday includes rain! However, it's still early in the week and we could get lucky. If we do have to bump it--our rain date would be the next day Sunday the 21st. Watch this space for a rain notification by Noon on Friday! And keep your fingers crossed!

    September 16, 2014

    • Sharon M

      50% chance. :(

      September 16, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      my weather "app" calls for thunderstorms on and off all day saturday and "mostly sunny" on sunday. but, as you said, kris... it's still early in the week. here's hoping!

      1 · September 16, 2014

  • Marsha H.

    Is it OK if I only bring my camera? I don't have the other things that were talked about nor do I have time to get those things right now.

    September 16, 2014

    • Kris H.

      Of course! See you on Sat! And hope for clear weather!

      1 · September 16, 2014

  • Marla F.

    I really hate to miss this event. I will be visiting a friend in Toronto, Canada. Any suggestions for lens

    September 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just received my 5-in-1 reflector last week. First thing I learned was how to open and close it. Closing it is an acquired skill that takes a few practices. Otherwise, I am ready to learn how to create great light with it.

    2 · September 7, 2014

    • Walter A.

      Chicken!! LOL

      September 7, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      bawk, bawk, bawk!!!! ;-) oh and... hi walter!

      September 7, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    hey! I'm really excited about this workshop! I should have my brand new DSLR camera by the time this workshop occurs so I can practice with it! I might also require having some people model for me if that's okay :)

    1 · September 6, 2014

    • Kris H.

      That's the idea, that we'll shoot each other. I, for one, need a professional-looking headshot for my website...

      September 7, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      i don't know about that "in front of the lens" part, walter. much as i love taking photographs, i'm phobically camera-shy! :-( i can't do heights, small spaces or open flames either... *sigh*

      September 7, 2014

  • Beth

    kat, you were taught correctly. given that many in the group are new to portrait photography, the two lenses suggested were two that many might already own. in general, prime lenses like the 50mm or 85mm are somewhat of a luxury and not owned by everyone. i could have also included a[masked] as that would work if it's someone only available lens.

    August 19, 2014

    • Ryan M.

      @Jp - the[masked] should work just fine.

      August 28, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      thanks Ryan! I was scouting around for a 50mm to borrow, but I won't now :-)

      August 28, 2014

  • Beth

    hi everyone…i can't believe how many people are coming to this workshop. WOW! as kris mentioned, light reflectors are great for any kind of photography and i highly recommend getting one if you don't have one already. assuming we'll have a sunny day, they will be used to help diffuse/control the light. if it's cloudy, they help bring the light back in. as far as props go, think about small chairs/stools, funky wide brimmed hats, vintage quilts for the ground and even fabric or sheets to hang over a tree limb if you want a more structured backdrop. for those shooting with a dslr, please know how to use the light metering option on your camera. (link at bottom} as far as lenses go, i tend to use my 50mm or my 17-50mm lens for portraits, but i have seen some incredible shots with other lenses/lengths.

    also, since we'll be practicing on each other, think about what you wear. solid colors are best.
    see you all soon!!
    beth

    http://photographylife.com/understanding-metering-modes

    1 · August 19, 2014

    • Mike G.

      I found something similar (maybe even the same) on Amazon—http://www.amazon.com...­

      August 21, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      i just received mine, from the ebay seller (jiju's link). it wasn't what i'd call a fast delivery, but it did arrive before this meetup!

      August 28, 2014

  • Ryan M.

    Great meetup idea! I'm hoping to attend. The location is perfect with plenty of light and shade. I almost always shoot portraits with an 85mm, but everyone is different.

    August 28, 2014

  • Astrid T.

    Hi all, I'm very happy about this workshop. It just so happens I need some head shots for a website and if anybody needs to practice with me, please let me know, I need one or two good pictures. Thanks.

    2 · August 27, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      I like to...good to know this. Because I can come prepared with the right equipment for head shots.

      August 27, 2014

    • Astrid T.

      thank you very much! I appreciate it!

      August 27, 2014

  • Dan C.

    I recently moved to Whitewater, so this will be my second hookup (first being the Sept. meeting) with this group. Looking to meeting new people and learning some new photography tricks.

    2 · August 23, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Any Portrait photography fans out there?

    1 · August 19, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Oh no, your wife wont pose? Do you have any kids that will help you practice your portraits?

      August 20, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      No. it is not a problem for me. I keep entertained with macro and landscape.

      August 21, 2014

  • Kenny Y.

    When I bought my reflector, it was 2-for-1. So, I'll have an extra reflector to let people others play around with that don't have one.

    2 · August 19, 2014

  • Kris H.

    Our lead for this event has asked us to change the date to Sat Sept 20th. I hope most can still make it!

    August 19, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      YAY!

      August 19, 2014

    • Lysa G.

      Fine here.

      August 19, 2014

  • Kris H.

    We're looking for location suggestions for this. Pls add your idea below (keep in mind ease of parking). Thx!

    May 16, 2014

    • Kris H.

      One location we're considering is downtown Mineral Point. Pls let us know if you would be willing/able to make the trip out there for this session!

      1 · May 17, 2014

    • Lysa G.

      I am new to the Madison area, so any place is fine for me as I don't know any .

      August 17, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I like the idea of staying close to Madison, too. Otherwise I likely won't be able to make it. And this one in particular was one I really wanted to attend.

    1 · August 17, 2014

  • Kat S.

    I don't care for Epic for natural light photography. I would prefer to be in nature. Would Poe Farm Park off Old Sauk Rd work? It is beautiful there and it is near Madison.

    2 · August 17, 2014

  • Marla F.

    How about going back to Epic ?

    1 · August 17, 2014

  • Marsha H.

    I do like the idea of staying closer to Madison if possible.

    1 · August 4, 2014

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