Foothill Technology High School Digital Photography Portraiture Project: Natural Lighting Studio Lighting


  Yousuf Karsh
Howard Schatz Eve Arnold
Herb Ritts Philippe Halsman
Richard Avedon 2 Irving Penn
Mark Seliger Steve McCurry
Links to examples here  Student Work 2008
Behance: 1 2 3 4  Student Work 2009
   Student Work 2010
ICP  Student Work 2011
Photomuse Student Work 2012
  Student Work 2013-2014

Annie Leibovitz

Mark Seliger




The Portraiture project is designed to allow each student to experiment with the creation of portraits and develop a style of photographic expression.
The Portraiture Project is designed to encourage/force pre-planning. As such, 95% of the work for the project will be done “pre-shoot” and “in camera.”What this means is that it will be up to the photographer to setup the background, lights/lighting, makeup and props.Images may be retouched in Photoshop and Lightroom. Images may have a tint applied to them such as sepia, brown or blue; this must improve the image quality. Do not use extreme filtering in Photoshop.

It is highly recommended that each student contact friends or family who they think will work well as models.Suggest clothing styles, makeup, props, time of day, and most of all; explain to the model the type of image that you are attempting to make.If a particular photographer’s style or specific photograph is being attempted, print out a copy to show the model for reference. Communication is key in the success of working with your model or models.


60 minimum unedited (20 points)

20 edited portraits (100 points)

All images must be of people, and the faces need to be seen; no silhouette images


It is recommended that the final images be of at least two different people, preferably of both sexes. Do not include more than two people in a shot.  The majority of the images need to only include one person. Create a small cache of people who have agreed to be photographed, no strike that- WANT to be photographed. If the person doesn’t want to be photographed-like blood from a stone. Creating great portraits will be difficult and time consuming, plan accordingly.

 It is recommended that each student experiment with both studio light, (artificial/modified) and natural light, (ambient). The only images allowed to be shot on campus are with the studio lighting.  Otherwise, please find locations that will make for interesting backgrounds.  Please consider throwing the background out of focus using shallow depth-of-field.

Here is an example of how changes in lighting create an entirely different looking image:



  1. Unedited RAW files, (at least 60  (20 points) Due 12/12
  2. The final images 20 images (200 Points) 12/16
  3. Final images MUST be in JPG format at highest, (12) quality. 
  4. Unedited images should be RAW files, (Canons create CR2 files and Nikon creates NEF)



Visit Us On InstagramVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our Feed