Available Light Portrait Photography Class

a young girl in a dress is lit using available light from the window

Portrait of a young girl in dress using available light from window

Join Darlene Hildebrandt, managing editor for the Digital Photography School web site and owner of Digital Photo Mentor, for a photography class on Available Light Portrait Photography that will touch on some of the basics of using available lighting (window light and reflectors) along with small flash as fill-light for portraits.

These techniques are great for child portraits or pet photography, done in your own home.

I’d like to thank Darlene Hildebrandt for her “Available Lighting” course. I drove from Calgary to Edmonton to take this course not sure what to expect, and I must say that I was not disappointed! Darlene provided excellent training and has given me the confidence and knowledge I need to take my photography to the next level! I would highly recommend this class to anyone who wants to improve their photography skills and take their picture creation to the next level. Thank you Darlene, I look forward to attending more of your classes. – Tim A., Calgary AB

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

Availalable light is used outdoors for a photo of a young couple

A newlywed couple are lit outside using available light

Your Instructor for the Available Light Photography Class

Darlene Hildebrandt | BSOP InstructorYour instructor will be Darlene Hildebrandt.

Darlene brings more than 24 years experience as a professional photographer to Burwell School of Photography. She is a graduate of the Nait Photography program and was a highly honoured and awarded member of the PPOC (Professional Photographers of Canada) for 18 years, winning Photographic Artist of the Year in Alberta in 2006. She has worked professionally in the areas of commercial photography (product photography, food photography, editorial portraits, and event coverage); portrait and wedding photography (running her own studio for 11 years); and most recently travel and fine art photography.

Darlene is a seasoned traveler having spent time in Mexico, Singapore, Malaysia, Peru, Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Nicaragua, Cuba, 6 months in the US on an extended RV trip and many more.

Darlene loves exotic locales, exotic food and experiencing different countries directly through the local people and the cultural arts. She designs and leads custom photo travel tours for amateurs and pros alike in locations such as Cuba, Morocco, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Cambodia and India. Her goal is to bring her passion to photographer to others, and help new photographers improve their images and have fun.

Two full days with Darlene Hildebrandt is a great way to learn ‘Available Light’. The class size was small which allowed for individual help and sharing. The information given to us by Darlene was very clear and easy to understand. Having time for ‘hands on’ practice and then sharing was very beneficial. – Brenda D.
I thoroughly enjoyed the course – I have attended a couple of seminars at a photography store, and have been disappointed with the level and presentation of the instruction. This course was fabulous and was filled with information, much of which was new to me and I felt challenged. When I left the course I was very happy that I had learned so much new information and techniques that I could go away and follow up on and practice. (I’m a kinesthetic learner!) I also enjoyed your sharing of tips throughout the day, and have already been able to impress a friend with the leaning forward pose to lose the double chin! – Anna E., Edmonton

What You Will Learn

  • what equipment to use – camera, light meter, reflector kit, speedlights, light modifiers (minimal), light stands, tripod
    • can be done with Point and Shoot style cameras except for the fill flash techniques
  • how to set up for images lit by window light
  • why the angle of lighting is this important and how to create and control it
  • what is lighting ratio along with how to measure and control it
  • things to watch out for that could ruin your portrait and how to correct for them
    • camera shake, subject movement, harsh lighting, poor direction of lighting, spotting light
  • how to choose when to use a white, silver, gold, transparent or even a black reflector and why
  • how to balance fill flash with available or ambient light in the room or outdoors
  • how to use bounce flash indoors as fill light
  • adding an interesting element to the portrait (backgrounds, foregrounds, props)

What to Expect

  • 12 hours of classroom instruction
  • Hot lunch on both days
  • Certificate of completion
  • Small group size, limited to 12 participants

Prerequisites for the Class

Equipment Required

  • DSLR (or equivalent) Camera with external flash hotshoe
  • Tripod (recommended)
  • (Optional) External Flash Unit
a model used in class is lit with available light

Live in class models to practice with

a young woman is posed outdoors for her portrait

Outdoor portrait of young woman

a model is lit with light from window

Available light from window

a woman is photographed outdoors using available light

Outdoor portrait with available light

Class Location


  • $300 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, 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