CUPS Portraiture Workshop

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You wish your Instagram photos looked this good

This past Saturday, the CU Photography Society hosted a portraiture workshop to help budding photographers as well as seasoned semi-professionals with portraiture. Due to the fact that New York is now a fall wonderland, the event took place in Diana Center, instead of Riverside Park as originally planned.
When I arrived, the workshop was already in progress. Three of the four models posed together against a white wall on the 6th floor as soft afternoon light filtered gently through huge windows. Sharply-dressed photographers filled the room with the sound of clicking shutters, and trendy, light house music played in the background.
After each the photographers were able get the shot they wanted, the CUPS board proceeded to set up multiple stations with different models, in a couple locations around Diana. One group went to the staircase between the 4th and 5th floors, playing with the shadows from the window dressings and the bright light while another worked in an angular enclave behind another stairwell.

The board members were there to provide both instruction and helpful tips to keep the workshop accessible to all skill levels. Even I, an amateur photographer with zero skill, was able to take a better picture by the end of the workshop. According to them, the most important thing to keep in mind when taking pictures with models is the importance of communication: always ask the model before touching them and make sure to clearly express how you would like the model to pose. Don’t be afraid if some things look weird in person, because you never know how it’s going to look on camera until you take the photo. For the model, the main tips were focusing on keeping the facial expressions natural, and then playing with rigidity or fluidity with the body and limbs.
It was fascinating to watch how each photographer worked with the group to execute their individual artistic vision. It was not a competition and the photographers and models seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves: vibing with one another, enjoying the music, and perfecting their craft. In one corner, a photographer laid splayed on the ground, while across the room another got up close with the models. Every photographer was capturing their own piece of the larger scene.
Everyone was welcoming and open, and as the afternoon progressed, the groups became smaller and smaller. Eventually, the photographers were modeling for one another. Everyone had a turn (even me, with a blissfully short turn in front of the camera). I had a blast, loved the playlist, and even scored some nice shots.
If you’re at all interested in photography, or just want to hang out with some other artsy kids, come to the next CUPS photo workshop! It will be on how to edit your photos.

Instagram goals via Kurt Huckleberry for CUPS (with permission)

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