Recognize your inhibitions and learn to question in order to create compelling portraits.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

2021 Dates coming soon!

NOTE: This class will be held in a live, online format using the Zoom Platform
Class meets Mon/Wed/Fri 10:30am-Noon, 3:00-4:30pm EDT + One-on-One meetings Tues/Thurs

The process of creating honest portraits is much like a good conversation and takes a kind of bravery. It is an act of discovery of others and of self. Develop sensitivity to your subject, and learn to create images that are both compelling and trustworthy. Explore the art of portraiture and address all of its accompanying hopes and anxieties. What we see is always, in some way, a projection of our own self-image. The process of creating honest portraits takes bravery and, when realized, is a great and exciting discovery of humanity and of self. Students focus on their sensitivity to the subject with the intention of arriving at a picture that is not only interesting to look at but compelling and trustworthy in spirit – much like a good conversation.

Special emphasis is given to a very simple working process, the use of available light, and the photographer’s awareness of his or her surroundings. Consideration is given to the intangible issues of making portraits such as: Who is this picture for? What are the expectations? What is hoped for? What is feared? Practical picture making concerns are also addressed such as: How much time do we have to shoot? Where will we work? What is the light like?

Through examining these questions and the path of discussion and practice that follows, students acquire immense knowledge of the portrait. The combination of theory, approach and logistics demystifies many of the questions and accompanying inhibitions photographers associate with compelling portraiture.

Class Schedule:

Monday, Wednesday and Friday there will be two class sessions per day. These sessions will be lectures and presentations, group discussions, assigning exercises and reviewing student’s work. 

Morning class session: 10:30 – Noon EDT
Afternoon class session: 3:00 – 4:30pm EDT
Michael will be available for one on one sessions on Tuesday and Thursday between 9am and 4pm EDT.


The experience of being with Michael and accomplished classmates in a nurturing setting is priceless.
– Kent Fairfield, Maplewood, NJ


All image credit ©Michael Wilson


Past student work (left to right): Andy Price, Terry Clark, Virginia Apostolacus, Kyle Santheson

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Instructor: Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson was born in 1959 in Cincinnati, Ohio and has never moved away. Discovering a love of photography in college he started to make pictures in earnest and eventually began work as a freelance photographer in 1987. His work in the music industry is the most recognizable face of his work. Among the artists Michael has photographed are: Lyle Lovett, b.b. King, Waylon Jennings, Randy Newman, Emmylou Harris, Bill Frisell, David Byrne, Philip Glass, Dawn Upshaw and Doc Watson. Clients include: Nonesuch Records, Warner Brothers Records, Sony Music, Capitol Records, Alfred A. Knopf, Penguin Putnam, Mother Jones Magazine, Health Magazine, Uncut Magazine and Pentagram Design.