Melbourne, Photography, Portraits, Teaching

Weekend Wanderings – Portrait Class

I know this isn’t strictly something you expect for these weekends, but doing a photography class is something you can do everywhere on the weekends.  Yesterday I taught a class at Living & Learning Nillumbik in Eltham.  I have started teaching quite a few classes there, and if you would like to take a class that is taught by me, then check out the link.

Yesterday’s class was on portraiture.  We had the gorgeous Emelia come and be our model.  She was great and allowed us to boss her around and tell her where to stand and what to do, as you do.  I was not able to take images of her as I would have if she were modelling for me, but I managed to get some shots as well, so I thought I would show some today.

Emelia 1We tried many different things, and she was so patient,  The only time her smile left her face was when we asked her not to smile.  Look at those eyes, I did a little bit of stuff to them to make them stand out.

Emelia 2I was trying to show the class how to edit a photo quickly and what do you think happened?  My comment crashed.  Of course.  So if any of them look at this they can see how the image would have turned out.

Editing seems to be something more and more people are asking about and could be something that I might have to start incorporating into the end of my classes.  Though it will only work if my computer doesn’t crash.

Emelia 4

I think this was my favourite shot.  Though I realised after I finished it, there was something I forgot, so I added a texture.

Emelia 4-1I liked the image before, but I love this one even more.  I really like what I have done to these images.

Here is a gallery with all the images I did.

I was unsure about teaching a few months ago, but I am really starting to enjoy it.  I get so much support from the people at Living & Learning Nillumbik.  My next class in next month on the 25th of June, sports and event photography, should be fun too.  I need to plan my classes for next semester now.  We are also thinking about running some short courses, maybe some full day workshops, the ideas are endless.

So if you love photography, think about a course you can do, great way to meet like minded people.


  1. I so wish I lived close so I could attend your classes! (Plus, I would love to see Australia! Beautiful images! What did you do to her eyes?

  2. Love the texture as it is one of my favorite effects that I first learned from one of my favorite photographers. That effect is so addicting that for some time a few years ago I kept adding textures to every photo that I took! Hehehehe!

    • I think adding textures is pretty common when people start doing it. I tried it a couple times, but didn’t like it, but I am starting to see how I can and can’t use them. Glad you liked what I did, thanks

  3. Incredible gallery! Too bad Virginia, USA is so far from Australia!

  4. Those are excellent portraits. I can clearly see the advantage of texturing it is a very dramatic effect. BTW your beautiful subject has the most amazing eyes. :)

    • Thank you, the texturing did work well, I think, I might need to work on that idea more. She did have amazing eyes, beautiful colour and that beautiful skin.

  5. Beautiful work Leanne! And the young lady is absolutely gorgeous too. ;)

    • She was a great model to photograph and I think she really enjoyed the attention. Thanks John. :)

  6. Namaste,
    Those are some gorgeous portraits…Thanks for sharing…
    best wishes and regards,

    • Thank you, that is great to hear Carol. I am trying to do some new processing and trying to make them more than just portraits, these are very much like portraits, but the processing is something I want to do more of.

  7. Great shots Leanne, and if I didn’t live a few thousand miles away I would definitely sign-up for a class 😊

  8. Amazing to see what can be done with a portrait. I’m sure your vegetable photography (artichoke texture) course will be brilliant! :)

  9. Beautyful shots with a nice model. My favorite is the first one. A smart low key with the center on the eyes. It looks some mysterios.

    • Thanks, I think that one is going to be popular I put it on my facebook page and it was like by a few.

  10. kilted1 says

    Nice work. My faves are the first two and the last. Beautiful model btw.

    • Thank you Julian, I had so much fun doing it, it was just little annoying having to share her with my students, haha. Though I might be getting to photograph her again soon.

    • I run the classes in Eltham, suburb of Melbourne at Living Learning Nillumbik, there is a link on the page.

      • Thank you for that. I love photography and with my amateur skills, i like to capture nature mainly. I love to watch the process of change especially in Autumn as Hawkes’ Bay is so green and the towns are surrounded by orchards and farm animals not to mention streets lined with trees. Would love to have lessons except Melbourne is a bit far, thank you

  11. Sonel says

    Absolutely stunning shots of a gorgeous model Leanne and I can see you thoroughly enjoyed it hon. Wow! Wish I could be at your classes. It looks like lots of fun. Thanks for sharing hon. :) *hugs*

    • Thank you, I did really enjoy them. I think I could fill a few classes with the blog. Thank you Sonel, I love the support. :) :)

    • Thank you Marie, I love the intensity of the eyes, very cliche shot, but I don’t really care.

      • These are great photo’s. I don’t normal do posed people. Always was scared to go there, but last summer I did shoot of my granddaughter. She had to have photos for a pageant she was entering. I was really please with how the turned out, but no where near this good :) Thanks for sharing. Maybe I will post the ones I did someday.

      • Yes, maybe you could post them one day, but make sure you let me know when you do. Posing people can be awkward, we all find it hard to boss people around, which is what you have to do. It is one of the first things I do with my class when the model is there, I start to pose her, direct her how I want the images taken. It is probably the hardest thing to do. Thank you, good luck with doing it, and just experiment and do it. LOL :)

      • Things are cliche for a reason…they work.

        Lovely pictures of a lovely lady…why did you have to make her sad in that one shot, you meanie!

      • That is so true, and I don’t people care when they are cliched either.
        Thank you, she was gorgeous, but she isn’t sad, I just asked not to smile, I like photos of people not smiling, we don’t all smile all the time, and I think photos of people without expression makes the images more intense. That could just be me.

      • Oh I know she isn’t really sad..but after all the pretty happy shots, the emotion pops out all the same.

        Although if it would get a better shot, I can just see some photographers poking at the model with pointed sticks or some such! Aht must be served!

        Don’t listen to that one fellow above, he’s just jealous.

      • Nice surprise maybe.
        That is hysterical, poking models, could be interesting.
        I won’t listen, it was just so weird and so not what I was expecting. Thank you.

    • It is all experience, though having said I took some portraits recently and I hated working them and couldn’t make them look good, but I might have to go back and try again. Thank you.

  12. You DID lose your temper, but she was WAY WAY off base. I look at those pictures and think WOW, especially that first one! That woman who didn’t think they had sour was/is crazy! Crazy! Nuts! Bonkers. She has no taste. That first picture, BTW, is one of most alluring portraits I’ve ever seen. It just sort of made me intake my breath. The combination of the color of her hair and the dark turquoise, and her eyes – gorgeous work!

    • Oh yeah, I did. I couldn’t believe the comments, I can understand them saying they didn’t think that, or that was their opinion, but the way they were telling me what was wrong with them, and how they are somehow they know what everyone should think. It really gets me people like that, it is their opinion, and what they want is not necessarily what I am thinking or what I want.
      thank you Marsha, I remember taking that image, and I was so happy with it. I thought the scarf around her was a great idea, gives her face a different shape, and focus.

  13. F. Meingast | Halldóra says

    So beautiful! I love when the photographer captures the expression of the model’s eyes… This is a powerful and quite personal thing ;) Congratulations on your work!

  14. The first photo set the tone for the rest. It reached out and grabbed my total attention. Beautiful photos, all.

  15. Emelia 4 is my favorite, with 3 and 7 not far behind. She has gorgeous eyes.

  16. Hey Leanne, in case you have not seen it, you might enjoy this video by Clay Enos. I use it as an intro in the portrait session of my classes:

    • that is an interesting video, not quite what I want to do, but if you don’t mind, I am going to send it to someone I know who likes street photography and might really enjoy this. So thanks for the link.

    • It is a cliche in some ways, but I think it is a great idea, and it really does make you concentrate on the eyes. Thanks.

  17. Well, I just LOVE the first one…. but I like the one you added texture too as well. Maybe it’s just the color in the first one, with her red hair and beautiful eyes. :D

    • I think the intensity in the eyes is what is getting everyone, I do love the one you said also, but I do understand why people like the first. Thanks Keli.

  18. beautiful shots Leanne…I don’t recall seeing portraits from you before? I think you must be a fabulous teacher…I say that because of how you write your posts! I would love to take one of your classes…but transportation would be a bit costly! :)

    • Thank you Heather, I haven’t done a lot, I have always wanted to, but haven’t been able to find a style I like, but I am starting to work on some new stuff, and I think you will start seeing more. I just finished a session with a girl.
      I have been told I am a good teacher, so I hope so, it is hard to tell yourself. It would be great if you could take one, but yes, the transportation costs would be horrendous. Nice idea though.

  19. Im not interested in the sports photography course but I’d love to know about other topics you’ll focus on! Very interested!

    • Next semester I am running a whole new set of classes, well the same as this semester, so intro to your DSLR, Landscape Photography, Architectural Photography, Portrait Photography, they will all run again. I think in term 4 we might try offerring them altogether in a short course, not sure yet, but hopefully it will cover the computer as well. Would be great if you could come to some.

  20. Beautiful portraits yet the first one I simple love, it has something that is hard to describe about it, not only the model but the image in its whole.

    • That first image has been nearly everyone’s favourite, perhaps I should have sent that one to her. It is quite mesmerizing.

    • Thanks Nia, she was beautiful and was a great model. Most of the images are a bit too posed for me, I like different sorts of poses, but it was a class, and we had to do that. I am hoping she will model again for me soon. I might take her into the park and make a flower child or something. Will see. the first one has been nearly everyone’s favourite, well, except the person who said I had no connection with her and that the images had no soul, can’t please everyone.

    • Thank you, I’m not in the business, but hope to be about to, did that make sense. I want to start a portrait business, that is the new venture for me. I took some more photos of another girl yesterday, I put one up on my facebook page and will put some more up here later. Another gorgeous girl.

  21. Top Class job here, Leanne – my favorite is the one with the red blouse.
    All of them are fantastic!!! What a beautiful young woman – and you really have the talent for this … I would trust you with my portrait.

    • Thank you Viveka, I’ve done portraits before, but I found it hard, though I am really looking forward to a new venture now.

  22. Marvelous portraits, Leanne…especially the ‘textured’ one, which looks very da Vinci-esque (think “Mona Lisa”) in its coloring and composition! She seems to have been a wonderful model…but I see a lot of mischief in those telling eyes!

    • That’s it, I knew the textured image reminded me of something. She was a fantastic model and so easy to use, nothing was too hard for her, it was great. I don’t know about mischief, but for the first time of me running a class with a model she was fantastic.

  23. I agree, number one is great, but I think my favourite is actually number seven. And then probably tree, six, and one all tie for second favourite. They are all great though.

    I would love to be able to go to one of your classes, (or all of them…) but I don’t think that’s possible right now. Have you considered maybe doing an online version, or just video taping your classes, so those of use who live in different countries could watch them?

    • I think 1 and 7 have been the most popular. It is always interesting to hear what people like. Thank you.
      I tried offering some on line classes a while back but no one seemed interested, unfortunately. I don’t think I would be allowed to video tape my classes, I’m not sure what I could do. I have considered selling my notes that I give the students, but I am not sure people would be interested in those either.

      • I actually saw that you had a link, but forgot. I would love to have taken some of your classes, (there’s only so much you can learn from a book!) but since I am under eighteen I can’t pay for it, and I figured that you would get upset if I took your class but didn’t pay for it.

      • Yes, sometimes you just need to see it, you should check out CreativeLIVE, they show workshops for free, but you don’t have any control over then they are on. Might be a good option for you.

      • I looked at that when you mentioned it in your post a little while ago. I need to keep checking it to see if they put more photography ones on there.

      • They do a lot of photography ones, it is about working out exactly which ones you want to watch and which ones are for you. There is a calendar there, you can enroll in ones you are interested in, doesn’t cost you anything, but then they send an email to let you know it is about to start. Pretty good, I’ve learned so much.

      • Or maybe I won’t use CreativeLIVE. It turns out that you have to be eighteen to use it too. :( Oh well. There’s only a couple more years.

      • Why do you have to be 18? That seems very odd, what even to just watch it without being registered. How would they know?

      • I don’t know why, but that is what the terms of service say. And they probably wouldn’t ever know, but by using it you agree to abide by their rules, which say you have to be a legal adult. (Which is 18 where I live.)

      • I don’t know why either, it is very strange. I’m not going to tell you to just watch it that would be wrong, but you have to do what you think best. Do you watch things on tv that are meant for adults. I would recommend you ask your parents and seek their advice. I know if my daughter came to me I would probably say that it wasn’t a problem, but that is me and my daughter. I think they have this rule because sometimes photographers show images of naked people, not much, I think I have seen one photo. Silly really.

      • I don’t want to agree to not do something with the intent of doing it, even if my parents were fine with me using it. I’ll just keep watching the blogs of photographers (like this one!) and pick up the tips that they leave until I am eighteen, and then I’ll look at CreativeLIVE again. :)

        (And, no, I don’t watch things on TV that are meant for adults. The only thing I watch on TV is a little bit on news/weather every now and then. :) )

  24. Really love what you did with these shots! She’s a beautiful girl, but you really did a great job softening her face! I’m so clueless when it comes to portraits and how to make people look better… lol! I think I will look into portrait classes

    • I think photographing people can be the hardest thing to do. I used to love it, but I really didn’t like the look at the camera and smile, be happy, it isn’t what we all want. So I am finding young girls are more willing to have their portrait taken, if you aren’t looking for that. I still think the photos are beautiful, but not in the conventional way. Thanks Amanda, hope you find a class.

  25. I can see why this young lady was pleased with these Leanne . In a way I keep expecting her to move or blink as I look at each image . I would say however you asked her to pose … that she totally got it right . To both your benefits.
    A pity I wasn’t here earlier in the comments …. I might have had to be very unpoppytump like in a retort ;-)

    • Thanks Poppytump, yes, as I was teaching a class on how to photograph people, I had to get her to pose, and then they all had a go at it. Quite a fun session. I think the portrait classes are the best fun. She was also a fantastic model. I love photographing her.
      Haha, the earlier comments, I know which ones you are talking about, the ones where I lost my temper, which was very bad of me really. ;)

  26. No worries about you losing your temper … :-)
    … and did you ‘hear ‘ me say it right on here with the correct Aussie accent Lol

    • I missed that, but yes, you said it right, or the other one that lots of people say is “notta problem”. You did good. :)

  27. Nativegrl77 says

    So, think of me …point click and get your next camera bag …

  28. Love the contrasting backgrounds, it influences the mood of the subject and the art piece in itself. Very interesting.

  29. These are beautiful pictures, you are so talented and it comes through in your work. :) I hope to be just as good someday. Thank you for visiting my blog.

    • What a lovely thing to say thank you, and there is no reason why you can’t be as good as you want to, persistence, maybe a little obsession, okay a lot of the last one, that is what my husband would say. You are very welcome and thanks for coming by mine as well.

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