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Review by Shelley England
Portrait Lighting That Sells
A PPA Class taught by Sonia Ahmad
Sonia Ahmad taught the most amazing lighting class to fellow PPGH members over the weekend.
We all learned so much about lighting and different ways to compose light while Sonia taught us with unending energy. So organized, Sonia gave us each a card with a printed diagram of the lighting set up we were learning to take notes on and refer to later. This will be a handy tool for all of us to have.
After giving us a tour of her amazing studio, Sonia started out by teaching us 3 different variations of One light set-ups: One light with a screen and negative fill, One light, High Key and One Light dramatic umbrella without fill. Class members took turns being the models for Sonia as she shot synced and we could see on a screen what it looked like. She also talked about equipment, light meters and stands and we all went home with a list of wants.
Next, Sonia went on to teach us 3 different Two light set-ups: Dramatic Umbrella and Rim light, Umbrella with bare bulb and reflector and Beauty Dishes with grids and a reflector. She also showed us her different methods of controlling light with scrims and barn doors.
Our last set of lighting scenarios was Three Light set-ups and the most fun! Sonia showed us at least 5 possibilities for lighting our clients with 3 Lights using gels, barn doors, rim lights, beauty dishes and my favorite: water spray! Sonia had a model come for this shoot and everyone practiced shooting these shots. The final scenario was the water spray. Barry Hanlon and I got to stand opposite each other by lights with barn doors angled behind the model and spray water into the light while Sonia shot.
We did this without getting the model wet! She talked about different lighting her clients have wanted for head shots, senior portraits and general portraits.
Sonia ended the day with showing us several Actions and editing tricks she uses in PhotoShop. This was so useful because we all know there are a zillion ways to do the same thing in PS! She went over converting to smart objects, combining exposures, liquify tools, blemish removal, hair clean up, dodge and burn, adding eyelashes and sharpening. I think the most useful was her editing skin tones using frequency separation.. This ended our super jam-packed day of learning! I know I learned lots and would take this class again! Learning is growing and Sonia Ahmad is a wonderful teacher ~ and yes, lighting does sell! It sets you apart from the others!