Portrait Lighting Techniques: Studio and Natural

Discover how to capture true character and intimate moments by understanding and controlling lighting.

©Bobbi LaneThis fun and intensive workshop provides essential information for understanding and controlling lighting, both strobes and natural, and applying it to portraits. Portrait photographers use the light to create the feeling and description of the subject, literally "painting" with light. Learning how to use lighting, in the studio and on location, is the key to making a successful and meaningful image.

This workshop is designed to give the photographer confidence in their vision and the tools to execute it. With this in mind, the class gains a strong foundation in the elements of lighting, from esthetics to hardware. The participants will have hands-on experience working with the strobe power packs, umbrellas, boxes and grids. Metering techniques, stands, C-stands, booms, use of flags, diffusers, and reflectors are covered in great detail. 

Every photo has three aspects of light: direction, quality and depth, which I call The Big Three! Each of these areas are explored: the intricacies of lighting patterns and how they define the face; how to appropriately use light modifiers to make the perfect quality of light, and then decide the level of the shadows to set the mood. All of this translates to natural light as well, and we work with reflectors and diffusers. On location we look for ways to use the background to help tell the story.

There's no such thing as a simple headshot- all the aspects including lighting, posing, tonalities, mood, expression, camera angles to backgrounds must harmonize to create an effective photograph. Break out of your standard viewpoint and discover new ways to set up a portrait. We talk about the psychological aspects of establishing a comfortable rapport with your subject, as you capture intimate and revealing moments and true character. We cover portraiture for commercial, retail portrait, editorial and corporate clients and posing for headshots to full length. The emphasis throughout the class will be to develop each photographer’s personal vision and style.

This workshop is for advanced amateurs and emerging professional photographers, who want to develop their skills in photographing people as they improve their portfolios. Students should have a good working understanding of their cameras and equipment. No lighting experience is necessary!


"Wonderful, growing experience, definitely will come again, life enriching/ career enriching experience"
- Jeanne Caron, Winterport, ME

"If you want to be a better photographer, learn from Bobbi Lane.  She will teach you to find the light"
- Jennifer Smith, Blue Hill, ME


Bobbi Lane

© Bobbi LaneBobbi Lane is an award-winning commercial photographer specializing in creative portraits on location and in the studio. Lane's multi-faceted approach to photography incorporates over 30 years of technical experience with innovative artistic interpretation. Lane shoots primarily people on location for editorial, corporate, and advertising accounts as well as photographing "real people" and travel for stock.

As a dedicated photo educator, she brings insight and enthusiasm to her students in workshops held worldwide. Bobbi's excellent rapport and communication with her students inspires and motivates, while her straight-forward teaching style reaches students of many different skill levels. At APA National’s 25th Anniversary, Bobbi was honored with a Special Recognition Award for Education. Photo District News named her one of 13 of the Top Workshop Instructors.