3-Day Portrait Photography Workshop

Portrait Photography Classes

Photographing people is one of the most difficult things to do and yet one of the most common subject matters.

Our portrait photography workshop is presented through an intensive 3 day workshop format that will cover many aspects of portrait photography and leave you with the knowledge and skills to create more flattering, creative and well lit portrait photographs.

Posing individuals, couples, children and groups is a main focus of this portrait photography class.  You will learn how to guide your subject into classic and casual poses to suit the mood and background of the image.  We will also discuss how and why to select certain locations for your photographs so that the photograph will convey the message that you or your subject want it to.

What good is a great pose and background if the people in the photograph are not well lit? In our portrait photography classes, you will learn and practice lighting techniques using natural light, window light, reflected light, subtractive light and flash photography.

ALL NEW! JULY 29 – 31, 2017

DAY ONE – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

NECESSARY EQUIPMENT FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY. We will discuss exactly what a photographer needs to do great portrait vs the extra items that will make your job easier. Some handy items will be provided to help students create great photos during the workshop. This discussion will explain why certain focal lengths of lenses are more appropriate for portrait photography than others.

TECHNICAL ASPECTS. Once we understand what we need, we will discuss the best approach to using the equipment. The instructor will explain why manual mode is the best option for your camera settings, and offer some guidelines to what the best camera settings are for different types of portraits. In a very short while, manual mode photography will become very easy.
A Study of Light. Students will study the various qualities of light and learn exactly “what is good light?” for portrait photography. We will then learn how to control, create, or find good light to use in our portrait photography.

LUNCH – included in the cost of the workshop

CLASSIC POSING. We will spend the afternoon learning the fundamentals of creating a good pose. Students will learn to observe people and understand how to guide a subject into the most flattering positions. This will include both casual and formal positions. Together we will explore both masculine and feminine posing with attention to details such as head and hand positions. Students will practice taking photographs of each other both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting).

DAY ONE – 7:00 to 9:00 PM

SUNSET PORTRAITS WITH MODEL(S). Sunset or sunrise tend to be the favorite times of day for serious photographers to create photographs out doors. After students have dinner on their own, we will all meet at a location to be determined, for a sunset photography session with live models. In this session, students will be given an opportunity to apply what they learned during the day with live subjects. This evening session is dependant upon the weather. In case of bad weather, the session may be rescheduled to the evening of Day Two.

DAY TWO – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

BASIC COMPOSITION. A little knowledge of how color, tone, line, and space create impact and strong focal points is very important. It is better to “design a portrait” than to simply “take a picture”.

PREPARATION FOR PORTRAITS. Posing and lighting are certainly the most important aspects of portrait photography, but no great portrait happens without being properly prepared. In this segment, students will learn how to communicate with their subjects before the photography happens. This includes defining the “look” of the portrait in consultation with the subject(s). Topics include; coordinating clothing, scouting locations, selecting backgrounds, including props, and scheduling the best time of day to create the photographs. A properly prepared photographer is always the most successful one.

LUNCH – included in the cost of the workshop

FAMILIES & GROUPS. Now that we have learned to pose people, we will learn how to put them together. Once a photographer understands how to pose one person, posing groups becomes easier than you might expect. The instructor will give some important tips and guidelines for group posing and offer expert advice to help your family portrait sessions go smoothly. After demonstrating these techniques, students will begin to practice by taking group photos of each other. Students will practice formal and casual posing, both indoors and outdoors (weather permitting).
Family Portrait sessions with live models. At the end of the afternoon, a real family(s) will join the class. Students will then gain practical experience working with parents and children while taking family portraits in the beautiful gardens of the Providence Center.

DAY TWO – 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Please keep this time available. If there is bad weather on day one, we may reschedule the sunset portrait session to this time.

DAY THREE – 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

POST PRODUCTION. We will take some time to review the images created during the first two days and learn some simple techniques to enhance the images using Adobe Lightroom and/or Adobe Photoshop. Creating a great portrait with your camera is the most important part of the process. Enhancing your images in post production will take them to the next level. It will be most helpful to bring the latest version of Adobe Lightroom CC and Adobe Photoshop CC on a laptop computer. If you do not have these software on a laptop computer already, you can download a trial version from the Adobe web site at no cost.

LUNCH – included in the cost of the workshop

CHILDREN & BABIES. Much of what you will have already learned in the two days will apply to photographing Children and Babies. But what is different can be crucial. Your instructor will go over some important aspects of photographing younger subjects and demonstrate some baby photography techniques.

LIVE MODEL SESSIONS WITH CHILDREN. In our final live model session, we will practice photographing different children ranging from 5 to 10 years old. Once again, the beautiful gardens of the Providence center will provide the settings for our photography. Students will spend a few hours photographing these young models in a series of short sessions. We offer these models frequent breaks to keep them fresh and cooperative.

THE BUSINESS OF PHOTOGRAPHY. Many of our students desire to move beyond photographing their own family and friends. For those who might be considering photography as a fun way to produce some income, your instructor will share some tips on presenting your photographs and setting your prices. A discussion on photographer’s copyright and protecting your images will be a part of this segment. Students will be provided with copies of legal model release documents that you can use for your own photography in the future.

A Certificate of Completion will be presented to each student at the end of the class. For those students who are working to earn their portrait or wedding photography diploma, this course replaces both the “Portrait Photography” class and the “Posing Families & Children” classes.

I highly recommend it. Chris Stambaugh is an outstanding instructor. Classroom instruction was balanced with lots of hands-on practice. Since the groups are small, I received plenty of individual advice and had ample access to the models during our practice sessions. I am now very confident in taking any type of portraits, groups, children, or adults. Providence Centre is an excellent location as it has beautiful gardens with fountains, flowers, and trees to photograph in. – Irena V

Please read above and if the class you are interested in sold out, please click here to add your name to the wait list

Your Instructor for the 3-day Portrait Photography workshop

Chris Stambaugh - Photography Instructor BSOPYour instructor for the class will be Chris Stambaugh.

Chris is the former president of the Professional Photographer’s of Canada and has been a professional photographer for over two decades.

Chris holds the designations of “Master of Photographic Arts” and “Honorary Lifetime Member” by the PPOC and has won numerous awards for his work including being a finalist in the Alberta and Canadian Portrait Photographer of the Year.

Chris runs his own photography business Imagine That Photography where he specializes in portrait photography, commercial and school photos / graduation photography as well as teaching photography at NAIT and the U of A Faculty of Extension.

Along with this 3 day portrait photography workshop here at the Burwell School of Photography, Chris also teaches the Digital Camera Fundamentals class, the Photographic Composition class, the Posing Families and Children class and our Portrait Photography class.

I recommend this portrait photography workshop to anybody with basic knowledge of DSLR and computer based on the following (not necessarily in order of importance) eight points: 1. personality of the instructor – funny, respectful, easy going, unpretentious. 2. methodology of instruction – examples/counter-examples, theory/practice, immediate feedback. 3. unheard-of tricks of trade. 4. pointers to business of photography. 5. effective and flexible handling of student body (splitting into groups). 6. invitation to instructor’s own studio. 7. short, but interesting trips down the memory lane of portrait photography. 8. personal example of time management during a fast portrait shoot on location (Friday evening).-Josef V

The instructors enthusiasm about photography made for a great learning environment and was easier for him to share his knowledge – Blaine M

What You Will Learn

  • Camera Equipment for Portrait Photography
  • Studio Photography Equipment
  • Portrait Lighting Techniques
  • Classic Posing Techniques
  • Digital Darkroom Considerations


What to Expect

  • 1 Day of Portrait Photography instruction with demonstrations of posing and lighting
  • 1 Day of hands-on portrait photography with a minimum of four models
    • Maximum of four students per model
  • 1 Day of portrait image processing and critique
  • Hot lunch on all days
  • Certificate of completion
  • Small group size, limited to 12 participants

Equipment Required

  • DSLR camera
  • external flash (recommended)
  • A sturdy tripod

Class Location


  • $675 Canadian Dollars (plus tax).
    • Current currency exchange information between the Canadian dollar and your local currency is available here.

More Information

Policies and payment information are available here.

For additional information about our Portrait Photography classes, please contact us at:
E-Mail: Contact us Electronically
Phone: 780-669-1261

Please read above and if the class you are interested in sold out, please click here to add your name to the wait list