Dean Karnazes
Dean Karnazes (Photo by Michael Lewis)

The Art and Craft of Portraiture

Michael Lewis, September 27 to October 2, 2009

Dean Karnazes


Designed for accomplished portrait photographers, Michael challenges participants to move beyond their comfort zone to the next level of portrait work. A “crazily diverse” range of daily assignments and subjects throughout the week imitate the real world of editorial portraiture. Assignments include shooting a magazine cover and feature, a reportage portrait, a street portrait of a passerby, and a portrait created under extreme time pressure. Subjects might include musicians, artists, business people, politicians, or street people, in addition to models.

Michael guides participants through extensive planning and preparations for a photoshoot, while stressing the importance of being flexible and versatile enough to abandon all plans on the spot if the subject or situation warrants an alternate plan. Michael discusses techniques for communicating and collaborating with the subject to make an exciting and unexpected portrait. While technique and knowledge of cameras, format, and lighting is essential for successful portraits, Michael encourages participants to pursue a more intuitive and spontaneous approach while photographing the week’s assignments to avoid formulaic results.We cover the business aspect of photography: how to run a successful studio, how to profit from stock images, how to handle self-promotion, and more. The business side always impacts the shoot on some level and needs to be considered for every assignment.

Finally, Michael discusses the importance of taking advantage of commercial job opportunities for taking personal images while on location. It’s not just about photographing the assignment. It is critical to continue to nurture the creative personal work that makes for a “rounded” photographer.

MICHAEL LEWIS has spent the last several years working mainly in the world of editorial portraiture. He began taking pictures while going to college in Philadelphia and later received an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. He then moved to Los Angeles, where established himself as an environmental portrait photographer before moving to New York City. In addition to assignments for Outside, Michael has worked for Esquire, Wired, and Newsweek.

Along with commissioned photography, he has been working on a body of self-portraits taken during the years he lived in Los Angeles through the present. Self-portraiture allows him to experience empathy for the people he photographs. Michael’s web site is:


Advanced Amateurs and Professionals


A digital SLR and laptop computer are required. Details on equipment requirements are provided on the registration page.


Participants should have a working knowledge of manual mode on their digital SLR camera and digital workflow (downloading images from camera, organizing files on laptop, and using image viewing software to edit and select images).


A portfolio submission of twenty images is required to maintain a consistent level of photographic proficiency in this workshop.
Portfolio details are provided on the registration page.


$1,800 package price; includes tuition, model and location fees, two dinners, five lunches, and evening instructor presentations. The workshop is limited to 15 participants.
Details on all policies can be found on the registration page.


Adobe Lightroom Intensive with Jerry Courvoisier

Basics of Digital Photography with rick Allred

Photographing People with Jeff Lipsky

Outdoor and Travel Photography with Paolo Marchesi


From Outside Magazine, April/May 2021
Filed to:
Lead Photo: Photo by Michael Lewis