Creative Portraiture Master Class with Laura Sheridan

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Creative Portraiture Master Class with Laura Sheridan

March 9, 2019 10:00 am
March 9, 2019 4:30 pm


We’re flying the amazing Dutch Photographer and Broncolor NextGEN Ambassador Laura Sheridan in to share her Creative Portraiture secrets with you in this shoot and edit along 1 day UK exclusive workshop…

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We’re flying the amazing Dutch Photographer and Broncolor NextGEN Ambassador Laura Sheridan in to share her Creative Portraiture secrets with you in this shoot and edit along 1 day UK exclusive workshop…



The introduction will cover briefly who I am – what I do and what I will be covering during the day(s) to come. In the introduction we will be mostly covering the following subjects:

  • Inspiration: where do I gather inspiration from? What are my influences? How have these
    grow over the years?
  • How I grew into studio – what I’ve learned and what I’m doing. This will tie in with my inspiration as well. Why I take studio over location.
  • What I will be teaching, using current examples from the past year showcasing what can be done, how I did it, with before and after examples to show the importance of light, using the absence of light, styling and getting it right in-camera.


How will we be using light and light sources as a way to create interesting portraiture that are still flattering for our subject: think working with just one, two or three lights, a variety of modifiers and using reflectors and bouncing on surfaces to do more with less.

The goal is to make working in the studio and using artificial light much more approachable and less intimidating; but also interesting and fun. Another goal is to show that the techniques can be budget friendly – therefore I want to use just a few modifiers and showcase what’s possible with just those.

Modifiers I frequently to always use are: octabox, striplight and beauty dish – since my broncolor ambassadorship I also work a lot with a picolight with a Fresnel. For the workshop I want to focus mostly on only the first three modifiers as there are plenty of results and combinations to teach and I rather focus on a series of building up setups rather than overwhelming the students with too many.

An important step I want to teach in each part is how to use these modifiers to create interesting looks and feels – but also how to properly lit your subject as to keep it flattering with as little postproduction as possible so there is no need to fix what could have easily be solved with the right light set-ups. From (temporary) skin issues to softening any blemishes. This can also easily be extended to showcasing how light can be used to lit costumes or clothing properly.

Once I’ve covered a basic set-up, I will be adding color(gels) to the set to showcase how color can be used to enhance a look, feel or story. For example using blue and teal hues are amazing for “winter” or “underwater” stories, while using warm tones like orange and red can be epic for stories that are inspired by warriors. These can also definitely be used in class


Practical can be divided in 2 subjects:


Pre-production: creating the story, sourcing costumes and clothing, finding the right model, how to find a team, … all the aspects that come to prior to actually creating a set.

My entire business is build up on “collaboration” – which is working together with an (international) team to make concepts come to life. This is often done with designers, but I also did this with models who travelled abroad. All of this is on unpaid base and aimed to enhance our portfolios. I can cover how I started with this, how I approach a person for collaboration, how to successfully connect and
build up – but also what you should take care of as asking party.

These days I also often purchase, work with companies or loan items – which is also an interesting way to gather costumes and wardrobe. Where can you find affordable items online or in-store, where to start building your own wardrobe, what do you need in your wardrobe, …

When it comes to models, I can cover how I find my models, what I pay attention to, what I need in someone and what I give prior as demand to take care of. How do I work with compensation and what some good advice is to build this up.

Finding a team is one of the hardest part as good make-up and/or hair stylists can be difficult to find; which could be an interesting topic to cover: do you pay for hair & make-up? What do you need to pay attention too? What are some do’s or don’t to create realistic creative portraits in the studio? What does a creative team need on set or in the studio to work properly?

A topic I want to briefly cover is also on how to set up a communication and release: without giving any actual legal advice – but mentioning that it’s important to set clear agreements, dates and right of usage what can or can’t be done with the image(s), to ensure that everything is clear regarding loaned pieces from designers (who covers what in expenses, when do they need to be back, what if a piece
gets damaged or broken, …).



How to properly set-up a session: prior to the date set up a call sheet, exchange information on how to reach each other in emergencies and if anything is necessary to bring extra that won’t be in the studio.

The production itself will be mostly (re)covering the technical aspects (see part 1) – but will include information on how to work with your team and model especially on set. And how the light will work on the subject, what it does, what is flattering or not and how to use all of the modifiers to create a certain feel and vibe. This will be very practical and ideally be tethered for a live-preview and
showcase of each shot made.

In this part I will let the students participate as well; which will allow me to go in-depth about questions, remarks, practical experience and feedback.


Post-production will be half of the course – as it’s a major part in my workflow and result. While I will always focus on ensuring that as much as possible is done in camera – this is to make this kind of work feel real – post-production plays a major part into translating what we did in camera to a full piece of art. This is a different way than photomanipulation – but ensuring a lot is done in camera will always be beneficial no matter your genre as it makes you pay more attention to details.

Creating as much as possible in camera is very important to me when I’m creating more images in the fantasy direction; but also because some practical effects are hard to realistically recreate in postproduction; but also because you can’t cheat with bad light. A good execution will always lead to better results.

Post-production will cover first on how to cull images: what do I look for, what do I need, what do I
want and why I pick certain images.

After we are done, I will take them through my retouching workflow for RAW – which is now done primarily in Capture One; but could be given in Lightroom as well. The steps will cover how I tone my images using all the tools available: curves, levels, color adjustments, split toning, luma, levels and the basics of exposure, contrast, clarity, highlights and shadows. Each step will be explained why
and in detail.

The second step is Photoshop – where I will be covering the (basics) of skin and blemish removal, as well as any distractions or small flaws I might have missed in camera or don’t work out in the composition of it the image. We will also be doing dodge & burn to give the portraits an extra touch.

Color toning and adding texture(s) is a major part of my workflow, as well as cinematographic vibes like adding snow, fire sparks or smoke. This depends on the type of portrait as well – each of my portraits first goes through toning and adding textures so this will depend on the image we work on.

Toning will cover a wide selection of tools, how to use overlays, opacity & fill but also why I choose certain color themes or directions. This is usually a very organic and flowing part of my workflow and depends highly on the image, intent and story I was going for.

Textures are almost always used in lesser or higher degree, again depending on the image itself.
Working on a piece that has a more painterly approach will require more and heavier texture work anda specific type of toning compared to a classic portrait

Workshop Subject

For the workshop itself I would like to work out two : One would be a fantasy set, second which will be a more modern approach to creative portraiture and third will be a contemporary, painterly set.

With the fantasy set, working with a styling inspired by my “Arcadia” series would be ideal: armor, weapons, cloak, … which would allow for more dramatic posing as well and post-production featuring elements like smoke & fire sparks.

For the contemporary, painterly set it would be idea to get inspired by the old masters and preraphaelites – getting inspired by how they used light, simple yet timeless posing and beautiful clothing. This is more about working with shadows then light.


Delegates should:

– Bring their own camera
– Bring their own laptop loaded with a version of Photoshop (not Elements)
– Ideally bring a computer mouse and mouse mat, to make fine adjustment of images easier
– Feel comfortable working in Photoshop Layers


Why will this make me a better photographer?

It’s a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself into the world of creative portraiture with one of Europe’s leading digital artists.
There is a large ‘edit along’ practical section to enable you to adsorb and practice your new skills.



What’s included?

Amersham Studios is the UK’s foremost photography training center and working studio. We’ve created a warm friendly environment where no question is a stupid question and all makes and models of cameras are welcome. You’ll get to play with the latest gear, spend time with our experts and leave a better photographer.

We limit the number of attendee to small numbers to ensure we deliver a world class experience.

As with all Amersham Studios courses will be providing:
– FREE transport to and from Amersham Station.
– Kick ass coffee, refreshments and cucumber water.
– A scrumptious buffet lunch (We’ll ask about any dietary requirements by email a week before the workshop)


Our Experts Credentials:

Laura – who works under the pseudonym “Laura Sheridan” or “Sheridan’s Art” is a Belgium based professional photographer & educator based in Antwerp. Born in 1991 in an art loving family, her path into the art started at a very young age. Thought she didn’t pick up a camera until the age of 17, she was always fascinated by creating art. Just a year after graduating in 2015 at Karel De Grote Hogeschool in Antwerp, she started her own professional photography studio where she has been pursuing a full-time career since the summer of 2016. She received her European Qualification in the same year and become one of the five broncolor GenNEXT ambassadors in 2018.


Click on the picture below to go behind the scenes at Amersham Studios:

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