Learn from the previous attendees at our Facebook Page, and find more inspiration than you have ever found in an online course. 

Learning portraiture is more than where the light goes, or how to turn the shoulders. It is about the style of the photograph, the idea of the photographer and the way the portrait can be presented. We take a holistic approach to learning about portraiture and dig into the styles and work of 8 famous portrait photographers.

From dissecting their lighting to how they work with the subjects, this group of 8 photographers provides a wealth of ideas for the modern photographer. We look at some of their more iconic photographs, break them down, study the light as presented and work on ways to find our own voice while paying homage to theirs. We do not copy, we seek to be inspired by them, their work and their legacy.

Legendary jazz trumpet player Clark Terry once said this about learning to play jazz: “Imitate. Assimilate. Innovate.”

And that is what we do. We look to see what we can do that is similar, build that technique into our toolset and then use it in our own way, to create our OWN work, in our own style.

This is a rigorous, intensive 8-week workshop. You will have one new photographer per week, and two weeks to shoot the inspired assignment. You will be making a new photograph each week. Each week we will review the images, learn what you did and how you were inspired, and learn from the others in the class as well. These webinars are recorded for later review.

Students will have access to the workshop after the class for a period of at least a year. All recordings, notes, and links will remain active for as long as the page is up. As time goes, more links, tutorials, and reviews will be added to the class pages, so they are an evergreen learning point.

The Facebook Group is one of the best on the net and will remain a private group. All participants in this workshop are invited in. It will stay in place for as long as we can keep it going. The group is a fantastic association of photographers – all there to help you and for you to join in and help others.

Classes begin November 20, 2017, 5:30 PM, Pacific.


What the Students are Saying About This Course

Anna Gunn and Filipe Martins (Portugal) did a whole series of posts they did on what the class was about. Great stuff and you will learn a ton from these two.

Flavio Martins (West Palm Beach, FL) has a post to show the images he did over the 8 weeks. Really good stuff, Flavio.

Brilliant Portrait Classes

This is the last time this class will be available so sign up now if you are interested.

I fully recommend these online portrait workshops in which you study 8 well known photographers, learn about their lighting and portrait techniques and then use what you learn to inspire you to create portraits of your own! The class is intermediate to advanced because you should have some equipment for lighting and be familiar with how to use it.

I owe so much to the creator of the classes +Don Giannatti – he is a generous and patient teacher.
It also gives you access to a fantastic Group on facebook where all the class enrollees (from all his portrait classes) gather together in community to support each other.

The feefor class is a freakin bargain  $75 (one time payment), which covers Eight classes and includes weekly webinars with personal feedback on your submissions for everyone.

Sam Breach (San Francisco Bay Area)

Irene Liebler (Connecticut) has a wonderful post on her site of a recent assignment in the ‘102’ class.


Mel Arnott (Australia) has a very in-depth set of posts on her experience in the workshop.


Hiram Chee (Santa Cruz) just posted a wonderful article on what he did with the portrait class.


Technical Approaches To Portraiture

We examine 8 portrait lighting techniques from eight of the world’s best photographers. From natural light to blended natural and artificial light, students explore each technique as they apply it to the weekly portrait assignment. 

Posing Techniques for Portraiture

Learning about how the world’s top portraitists work with their subjects help photographers find and develop their own methods. Studying the images, re-engineering them and finding out how to present the subjects as they do adds more tools to the process.

Photoshop Integration for Portraiture

Each assignment also includes appropriate Photoshop techniques for the student to explore – from Frequency Separation to creating ethereal and emotional lighting effects, we have gathered the best tutorials available for each weeks workshop.

We Will Explore the Work of 8 Major Portrait Photographers

Each assignment features the work of a contemporary or modern photographer and provides the direction for the shooting assignment for that week. We examine the portraiture of Victor Skrebneski, Karsh, Sarah Moon, Peter Lindbergh, Herb Ritts, Dan Winters, Jeanloup Sieff, and William Coupon. Inspiration and insight. An additional bonus photographer was recently added. 

The study of each of these photographers will provide the direction for the shooting assignments each week.

Content Rich Classes

This is an intensive training workshop designed to build a photographer’s toolkit with real world approaches to commercial portraiture. Each class includes:

  • Technical instruction and assignments
  • Study of a Master Photographer
  • Applicable Photoshop Technique
  • Shooting assignment that has roots in real world commercial portraiture.
  • Live, recorded review of the images each student shot.


What you will need for this class:

A Digital camera with a normal lens, wide angle lens and telephoto lens. (Film cameras are fine if you have a way to quickly scan them for the reviews.)

In Full Frame mode that would be a 28 – 35mm wide angle, a 50mm – 60mm ‘normal’ and an 85mm – 135mm telephoto. Zooms are fine: FF 24-105mm would be a one lens approach. (Crop sensor around 17-85mm) Mirrorless systems are welcome of course.

You will need at least two lights that can be used on location. Whether they are speedlights or studio lights with battery power is not important. You must be able to fire the flashes off camera AND you must know how to use the flash and triggers. You will need the following modifiers:

An umbrella that can be used as a shoot-thru or a bounce.
A medium softbox (Westcott Apollo 28 or larger)
A snoot or grid for your light.
You will also need a medium or large 5-in-one reflector kit.
At least two stands with sandbags are required, and a boom is highly recommended.

Tripod. Please.



You will need someone (model, partner, kid) to work with you for the full 8 weeks. It does not have to be a different person each week. It is fine for it to be the same person each time. (Just think of the great body of work that subject would have at the end of this class… wow.) This is a learning class, not a ‘portfolio’ building class although it can certainly be both.

For reviews:

We use GoToWebinar and it is highly advised that you have a mic/earphones set for best audio.
The meetings usually run from between and hour and an hour and half, and will be recorded for later review. (Note, we can go over our time on this… so be prepared for detailed and deep discussions.)

We use a Facebook Private Group for keeping track of what we are doing. After signing up for the class, you will be taken to a page with a link to the group. You must request to be a member. No one can see our posts there – only members. We do not have trolls or wandering eyes.


WHILE THIS IS A CLASS for portraiture, it is not a ‘beginner’ class for those who want to learn to use their camera better. You must be able to work your gear, know what proper exposure is, how to control depth of field and work with flash or artificial light. Meters are suggested but not required.

Ready to boost your portrait work and become decisive in your portrait work?
Let’s get going!


75bucksAssignments are made weekly, with a two week lead for each.
You must be able to shoot one image per week.

If you have questions, please address them to me at don.giannatti@gmail.com

As you can imagine this is an intensive, hands-on training that is geared toward maximizing the learning. I would suggest that you set aside 3-5 hours per week to do the assigned work and shoot.

Be sure to use an email address that you check regularly when signing up. It is that email address I will use to contact you with more information. Fee for this class is $75 (a one-time payment).

Classes begin November 20, 2017, 5:30 PM, Pacific. Classes will be at this time for the following 8 weeks.

My name is Don Giannatti. I have been teaching commercial photography for the last 8 years. I am also a professional shooter as well as designer. I have taught on CreativeLIVE, UDEMY, and in workshops the world over. In 2012 I was recognized as one of the “Top 13 Workshop Instructors in the World” by Photo District News.

I also teach an online professional workshop called Project52Pro. This year long project has launched dozens of professional commercial photographers, and is one of the best online classes for discovering and promoting photographic talent.

Lighting Essentials is my flagship online publication.


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