Natural Light Portraits

Dallas Center for Photography, Patrizia Montanari tn
Learn how to use your basic DSLR skills to create beautiful and stylish natural light portraits on location - and now in the studio with our NEW VINEYARD WORKSHOP!
Upcoming Workshops
Sep 30
$250: * Special Vineyard Workshop *
EARLY BIRD PRICE (expires 09/24)

$275.00 $250.00 Add to cart

Nov 2
EARLY BIRD PRICE (expires 10/27)

$275.00 $250.00 Add to cart

Photos of the people in our lives are often among our most prized and meaningful possessions. Portrait photography is a true art that memorializes the essence of a person in a moment of time.

This portrait workshop is for any photographer wanting to learn how to capture stunning portraits of people of any age. Whether you are a parent wanting to take better pictures of your own family and friends, a photographer looking to start your own portrait photography business or if you simply want to learn some great skills for taking better portraits, this workshop is designed for you. You’ll learn how to take your basic DSLR skills and apply them to create beautiful and stylish natural light images. The techniques apply to any age subject and will help you become a more versatile photographer.

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The workshop is a combination of lecture and hands-on shooting with live models of different ages. We will be shooting on location at Heritage Village in downtown Dallas, Deep Ellum, Trinity Groves or a similar location. We’ll discuss and demonstrate location and style options for creating a unique experience and final product for your subjects. You will walk away with new tricks and tools to create better portraits that reflect the unique personality of your subject.

You should already be familiar with your camera and comfortable shooting in Aperture Priority and Manual exposure modes, using single point focus mode and have a basic understanding of ISO, f-stops, depth of field, shutter speed and motion blur. If you’re a beginner (or have been shooting for a while but still aren’t comfortable with these concepts) you can take our DSLR-1&2 evening classes or the Beginner DSLR Full Day Workshop first or some other equivalent training.

Patrizia Montanari-dallas-center-for-photography-natural-light-12 WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

  • Which combination of exposure and shooting modes create the look you want to achieve for your portraits.
  • How to use available light and shade to create stunning images.
  • How to select backgrounds and environments to bring interest, emotion and fun into your photos.
  • How to find flattering and interesting perspectives.
  • Which lens(es) to choose.
  • Effective and age-appropriate techniques to create a rapport with your subjects.
  • How to create a personalized experience and look to compliment each subject’s personality and style.
  • How to use wardrobe and posing to bring out the personality of your subject and make the images uniquely theirs.

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  • A DSLR with a full battery and empty memory card and a basic understanding of how to use your camera and its settings.
  • The DSLR-1 and DSLR-2 evening classes, Full Day Beginner Workshop or equivalent level of experience is a suggested prerequisite.
  • A laptop to download and edit your images after our model shoot.
  • Any lenses or accessories you want to use.
  • A handheld reflector if you have one.
  • An umbrella if it looks like rain as well as sensible clothes and shoes you can easily move around in.



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  • Cost per person is $250 early registration, $275 late registration.
  • Doors open at 7:45am.
  • Class starts promptly at 8:00am and ends at 4pm.
  • Advance registration and payment is required.
  • A laptop is required.
  • Maximum number of students is 14, minimum number to make a class is 8.
  • Location entry fees and modeling fees are included in the registration price.
  • Parking is available on the street or in the adjacent lot at Electric Light & Power.


8am-10:00am: We will meet at DCP for a discussion covering basic concepts and how to prepare for a portrait photo shoot. The instructor will review some basic settings and discuss her own professional portrait work, illustrating the tips and concepts to be used on location.

10:30-12:00: On location (Deep Ellum, Trinity Groves, Heritage Village, Farmers Market or another location). We will spend a little time scouting for the best light and backgrounds and going over the basic concepts of selecting and using available light and shade to our advantage. We’ll then be joined by our models and will spend about an hour and a half shooting. The instructor will be shooting alongside you demonstrating, and will be available to answer your questions and help you to get the images you want.

12:30 Lunch together at a local restaurant where you’ll continue to shoot portraits. (cost not included)

1:30-2:30 Set up your laptop to download, select and edit your photos. The instructor will be available for help and questions while you make your selects.

2:30-4:00 Using a projector, the instructor will comment on selects from each person. We’ll end the day with a slide show of your best images.

This special version of the workshop offers a new location and unique opportunities for working with natural light. We will be shooting at the Mitas Hill Vineyard in McKinney TX. Besides photographing outside on the grounds, this workshop will feature natural light studio portraits. Our studio will be a huge, circular dining room surrounded by big windows. Using backdrops and reflectors you’ll learn to set up and shoot photos that have high production value without the need for strobes or artificial light. There’s room for multiple setups so you’ll have lots of choices for lighting and subject matter. These skills translate to any inside space with available natural light.

To round out the experience, we’ll be having lunch at the vineyard. Pizza from their wood-fired oven, fresh salad and a wine tasting will follow our shooting session. The cost is included in the workshop fee. Read about Patrizia’s experience on her popular On the Square Blog.


(similar to our regular schedule)

8am-10:00am: Lecture and demonstrations
10:30-12:00: Indoor pop-up studio and outdoor location shooting with models
12:30-1:30 Lunch and wine tasting (included)
1:30-2:30 Image downloading and editing
2:30-4:00 Critique and slide

Q: What is the cost of the workshop?
A: Early registration is $250/person (up to 7 days before class date) and regular registration is $275/person.

Q: What’s included in the price?
A: Workshop registration, location entry and modeling fees.

Q: Are parking fees included in the workshop price?
A: No they are not.

Q: Do I need a laptop?
A: Yes. On Sunday afternoon you’ll be downloading and selecting images for review. You can use any type of editing or selection program that you’re comfortable with.

Q: What do I need for this workshop?
A: You should bring the following:

  • A DSLR with a full battery and empty memory card and a basic understanding of how to use your camera and its settings.
  • A laptop with an editing software you are familiar with (i.e., Lightroom, Aperture, Iphoto, Picassa, etc.) You’ll need to be able to export selected images to a thumbdrive which will be provided.
  • The DSLR-1 and DSLR-2 evening classes, Full Day Beginner Workshop or equivalent level of experience is a suggested prerequisite.
  • Any lenses or accessories you want to use.
  • A handheld reflector if you have one.
  • An umbrella if it looks like rain as well as sensible clothes and shoes you can easily move around in.

Q: Are there previous requirements for this workshop?
A: You should have a working knowledge of your camera settings including exposure modes, shutter speed, f-stop, white balance and ISO control. It’s recommended that you’ve already taken the DCP Beginner DSLR Workshop, DSLR 1 & 2 classes or equivalent training.

Q: How will I know if the workshop makes or not?
A: If the workshop doesn’t make and has to be canceled, you will receive an email no later than two days before the scheduled class date.

Q: What if I have to cancel?
A: Details on cancellations are on our Policies page.

Patrizia Montanari


Patrizia has experienced and created art all of her life. In the last few years her love for portrait and figure painting naturally evolved into a passion for photography. Taking photographs quickly became almost an obsession, a new way to express her creative side. Through word of mouth she was quickly able to build a growing list of clients and now runs a full time photography business based in her studio on historic Virginia street in McKinney.

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