This hands-on portrait photography workshop builds on the foundation of traditional
portrait lighting styles and posing to explore more relaxed, candid contemporary

We will use both constant lights and natural light, paired with lighthearted environmental locations and high drama character sets.

Students will be guided through the process of lighting, posing and building rapport to produce creative and compelling portraits of our professional models.

A strong working knowledge of DSLR camera technique, exposure compensation and white balance settings will be necessary for students to successfully navigate the practical sections of this workshop.

Creative People PhotographyCreative People Photography


The workshop will unfold as follows:

Morning Day 1 -

Through slide shows and lecture we will review the 5 traditional portrait lighting styles and posing basics. Contrast range for creating mood will be discussed along with light modification techniques for balancing contrast ratio and for manipulating light direction. Contemporary portrait images will be introduced for inspiration and discussion.

Afternoon Day 1 –

Workshop photo session with models. Outdoors, weather permitting, or in-studio if more suitable.

Morning Day 2

Review of images from model session, Lightroom retouching demonstration. Flow posing lecture and review of lighting styles and modifiers.

Afternoon Day 2 –

Workshop photo session with models. Outdoors, weather permitting or in-studio if more suitable. Final Image Review – Students will present their final portraits from the workshop sessions for group discussion and critique.

Please Note: SLR Camera only
Aura McKay, Photographer & Instructor

I am an enthusiastic and precise communicator with both images and language, embracing learning in all areas and striving to facilitate learning in others.

As a photographer, I cherish the times I am able to shift my viewers perspective about themselves or the world around them.

As an instructor, I engage and educate on both the technical and mechanical aspects of photography to empower my students to create the artistic.




Intermediate Level. Participants should have a strong working knowledge of their personal SLR camera operation and be familiar with basic portraiture styles.


Maximum 14 participants.

What to Bring

Equipment Needed:

Bring your camera (must have manual controls) and at least 1 lens.
Optional: additional lenses

We Provide:

Detailed course notes in binder.
All equipment and professional models when shooting in a professional studio setting as part of this course.


Early-Bird Discount:

Most of our courses and workshops offer a 10% discount is applied automatically if you register before the Early-Bird Discount deadline date listed in the registration table below.

Some courses and workshops offer a discount if you're among the first 3 people who register. This discount will replace the 'standard' Early Bird Discount mentioned above, and will be applied automatically during the online registration process (as long as it is available). Check the course/workshop listing page for more details.

Group Discount:

A 5% discount will be appplied if 3 or more people register at the same time for the same workshop. (All 3 tuitions must be paid for by one credit card to be considered a group registration.) Please follow the instructions on the online registration page.


In order to provide the best learning environment possible VPW keeps class and tour sizes limited to 10-15 people (depending on the workshop). This is but one reason that we count on you to attend your chosen class or tour, once you have registered for it.

If you must withdraw for any reason please be aware of our refund policy as follows:

For our Local Lectures, Seminars, and Workshops valued at or under $100, VPW is unable to provide a cash refund. Transfers are limited to one transfer to either the same event at a later date, or a different event of equal value. VPW requires 48 hours written notice in order to make such a transfer (email notice is acceptable). The event you are transferring to must occur within 6 months of the original event you registered for. A $15 fee will be applied to all transfers.

For our Local Workshops, 1 to 5 days in length and our Local 4 to 10 Week Courses, VPW requires 30 days written notice (before the event start date) of your withdrawal in order to provide a refund. (Email notice is acceptable.)

For our Master Photographer Series workshops, 1 to 5 days in length, VPW requires 60 days written notice (before the workshop start date) of your withdrawal in order to provide a refund. VPW may retain 15% of fees paid or $150 minimum in processing your refund. If the tuition is less than $500 the minimum fee drops to $75.

Within 45 days of the Master Photographer Series workshop date all fees paid are non-refundable.

For our Photo Tours (national and international), the following charges will apply:

  • If you cancel up to 3 months before the tour start date and we can fill your space, your reservation (or deposit) fee will be refunded
  • There is no additional cancellation fee up to 8 weeks before the start of your tour
  • From 8 weeks to 4 weeks before the tour: 25% of your balance
  • From 4 weeks to 1 week before the tour: 50% of your balance
  • From 1 week to 72 hours before the tour: 75% of your balance
  • If you cancel within 72 hours of the start of the trip, no refund can be paid
  • Transaction charges incurred on accepting and refunding payments will be deducted from the refund amount
  • In the (unlikely) event that we cancel the Photo Tour, all monies paid will be refunded in full

We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance to guard yourself against monies lost due to unavoidable cancellation by either party.

Transfers (for all events over $100): If you wish to transfer to a different workshop date, VPW requires a minimum of 30 days written (email) notice. All transfers are based on availaibility, and subject to approval by VPW staff. For courses/workshops with tuition above $101, the transfer fee is $35.

Transfer Fees as based on event pricing:
Tuition of $100 and below, the transfer fee is $15
Tuition of $101 and above, the transfer fee is $35

VPW can give no refunds:

If you registered for any event valued at or under $100
If you do not show up for your registered course.
If you register for a course beyond or below your skill or ability level.

Refunds for all events valued at $101 and above (excluding Master Series Workshops):
If a student wishes to cancel their registration for any of VPW's events, and has provided written notice within the appropriate timeframe, a refund less a $50 administration fee will be provided.

Course Cancellation:

Occasionally, we may have to cancel a course due to low enrollment. In this case, we will issue a full refund of all monies paid to VPW up to that time.

Instructor Replacement:

In the event that a listed instructor is unable to participate because of a change in his or her professional schedule, we will replace the instructor with someone of equal or similar credentials. If we cannot find a replacement in due time before the course is about to start, a particular class may have to be rescheduled.


In the event that we cancel your course, for any reason, the extent of VPW's liability is limited to the return of all monies paid. We will do everything we can to register you in another equivalent course. VPW will not be responsible for reimbursement of travel expenses of any kind.

Please note: An administration charge of $50 applies to all refunds

Read complete refund and liability policy

"Great Workshop - Loved the hands-on shooting time where we could apply our knowledge right away. Thanks for a great day."

"Thanks again for the course...tons of very useful info for a newbie like me. Well worth the time and money!!!"

Read more testimonials......

The Contemporary Portraiture Workshop is taught by the following instructor:

Aura McKay
Read Aura's Biography

Please choose your workshop date from the registration table below.

Aura McKay PhotographAura McKay Photograph Aura McKay Photograph
Class Dates Time Early-Bird Discount Offer: Location Instructor Registration
Weekend July 7th and 8th, 2012 10am-5pm N/A VPW Studios Aura McKay Click Here to Register
Weekend TBA, 2012 10am-5pm TBA, 2012 VPW Studios Aura McKay Click Here for Wait List