On September 7th I participated in a portrait photography workshop by Agata Serge, a young and bright portrait and fashion photographer who started her career in Amsterdam, lives in Poland and works all over the world. Agata has a thing for freckles and she made it her trademark. You just have to take a quick look at her portfolio to see what I mean.
For me it was the first time to work in a setting with professional models and styling in a daylight studio and I can tell you it was a very rewarding experience. Not only could I benefit from the experience of Agata and the models, it was great fun to meet with the other participants, 16 in total and of different nationalities. Some of them were professionally involved in portrait or fashion photography, all of them were advanced photographers and very kind and enthusiastic. It was a pleasure working together with them.
The workshop was such a success because of the wonderful crew. Besides Agata herself I’d like to mention the models and the makeup artist. Check out their work on Instagram. I provided the links here:
For some of you it may be daily routine to work with such professionals, for me it was a real eye opener.
At 10:00 AM the workshop started in Studio 13 in Amsterdam. Agata started the day with an introduction of herself, her work and her process. What really struck me in her story is that she is a very gutsy lady! She took chances, bluffed her way into assignments, worked very hard and basically build herself a career in a short amount of time. I can only say I admire her strength and mentality. And her skills of course. Above all, she turned out to be a great teacher with a very warm personality.
After the introductions we were introduced to the models and the rest of the team. Agata showed us how she would do a shoot in the studio and than we were split up in three teams to do some shooting ourselves, every time with a different model.
Shoot one: Vicky
Our team went outside to a nearby park with Vicky. Agata showed us how we could make the best of the place and the available light. At the end we also worked in front of the door by the studio. The lighting conditions were fairly clouded, but bright, so the sky looked like a big softbox.
Shoot two: Marie
Back inside we got to work in the main studio. It was a roomy daylight studio with plenty of indirect light and a dark background. I think it’s safe to say that everybody fell in love with Marie a little bit. She has beautiful red curly hair and freckles and she made it really hard for us not to make a good portrait.
Shoot three: Rebecca
The third and last shoot was with Rebecca. This shoot took place in another floor in the studio building. Agata showed us how to shoot with the model laying down on the floor and to explore some other poses and positions to make the most of that particular place. I struggled with getting a good photo with the model laying down. At the end I chose to use another part of that room and make a more conventional portrait.
About all shoots
The one thing I noticed with all three models was how experienced they are. They would assume a position and after every click move into a slightly different pose, so we as photographers got a lot of variety in our shots. Beside their professional skills they were all very kind and lovely to work with and they did not hesitate to give tips to improve our results.
You can see the result of the various shoots on this page.
When we were done with the shoots we gathered again at the main studio where Agata showed us her method of post processing with some portraits she made herself during the day. It was great to see how she used Photoshop to get the results that she is after. Remember I told you in the beginning that Agata has a thing for freckles? Well, she explained how to emphasize freckles and keeping it natural at the same time.
After the post processing demo there was some time left to show ones own portfolio, say goodbyes and go our way with a big hug from Agata. My goal was to kickstart my portrait photography and to get inspired. The workshop was a great experience and I’m looking forward to the next portrait shoot.