Night Portraiture in the Catskills

Adventure Series Night Photography Workshop

Master the fundamentals of night portraiture. Mash up night photography with classical portrait lighting to create dramatic long exposure portraits. Unleash your creativity.

photos © Matt Hill

Workshop Details

This workshop will be held twice in 2018 with variations in shoot locations:

SPRING: April 27-29, 2018

This is a 2-night, 3-day workshop. Your adventure begins at 2 p.m. on April 27, 2018, and ends after a final slideshow on the afternoon of April 29.

$1,350 + applicable taxes. Apply below.

Workshop leaders: Matt Hill
(learn more about your teacher)

Skill level: Intermediate/Advanced

Class size: 4, with 1 instructor

Note: Deposit of $500 required to reserve your spot at the workshop. Balance of $850 due on or before January 27, 2018. Or you may choose the "Pay in full" ticket if you desire to pay all at once. Last day for a cancellation request is January 26 (see details here).

FALL: October 12-14, 2018

This is a 2-night, 3-day workshop. Your adventure begins at 2 p.m. on October 12, 2018, and ends after a final slideshow on the afternoon of October 14.

$1,350 + applicable taxes. Apply below.

Workshop leaders: Matt Hill & Tim Cooper (learn more about your teachers)

Skill level: Intermediate/Advanced

Class size: 6, with 2 instructors

Note: Deposit of $500 required to reserve your spot at the workshop. Balance of $850 due on or before July 14, 2018. Or you may choose the "Pay in full" ticket if you desire to pay all at once. Last day for a cancellation request is July 13 (see details here).

Matt has been practicing the art of night portraiture for a couple decades, with an intense focus over the last five years. But this is the first time he is teaching an in-person, hands-on workshop. We hope you join us for this rare opportunity.

See more of Matt’s night portraiture: MattHillArt.com


The Workshop Experience

This will be a workshop focused solely on teaching and mastering the fundamentals of night portraiture and harnessing its powerful creative potential.

The workshop will take place in the studio at NPAN headquarters in Catskill, New York, plus select rural and wild locations nearby.

You’ll have access to male and female models. This is not a figure portrait workshop—the models will be clothed. We will have fun accessories to experiment with to add drama and storylines.

Included:

  • Four (4) hours with two (2) professional models each day
  • Catered Lunch and Dinner at the studio featuring farm-to-table gourmet fare by local chef JD Eiseman of North South Catering
  • All studio and lighting gear (professional flash, speedlites, more). Feel free to bring yours, too.

Not Included:

  • Travel to Catskill, New York
  • Alcohol

What You Should KNow

Participants must have adept night photo skills, know their cameras well, and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode with a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera. Night photography experience is absolutely necessary.

If you also have experience photographing people, it’s a big bonus. It’s not required, but it certainly helps you achieve results faster.

Upon registration, participants must submit a portfolio of 10 images showing their mastery level of night photography. If this makes you uncomfortable, that may indicate that you should perhaps try another one of our workshops first to gain mastery.

If you are unsure whether you have adequate night photography skills, we can offer pre-workshop tutoring to help you get ready.

What You Will Learn

Matt will teach his methods for properly planning and managing all light sources, exposure and deliberately adding time dilation and a little chaos to make night portraits.

This is a “high flame” workshop. We hope to push you to step outside your comfort zone—to test the limits of what you and your camera can do. You’ll go home after the workshop with a solid grasp of making portraits at night in any location.

Topics covered will include:

  • planning for a location model shoot at night
  • composing for night portraits
  • choosing and using appropriate light sources
  • understanding light quality and color
  • portraits with star points and star trails
  • getting funky with light painting and light writing with portrait subjects
  • development with Lightroom
  • mashing up all your techniques with an eye for experimentation
  • and more …

This workshop will have classroom instruction, in-studio techniques, practice and location shooting with models. We will be in the classroom each day, and out in the field at different locations each night.

While in the field, instructors will demonstrate their own techniques, and work with participants one-on-one to make sure everyone gets the most out of the workshop. During classroom sessions, there will be presentations by instructors, but we will focus on developing your images and sharing everyone’s work and ideas with one another. Each day will include a review of the previous night’s work.

Most of all, you should sign up for this workshop if have an urge to create unique portraits at night and seek the confidence to make long-exposure night portraits anywhere.

Travel

You are responsible for your airfare and car rental. If you are interested in sharing a car rental, let us know and we will try to connect you with someone in the group. We wholeheartedly encourage carpooling!

You can also travel by train via Amtrak to Hudson, New York, and take a cab 12 miles to Catskill Village. Or there are bus lines from Port Authority in NYC to Catskill, NY.

Nearby airports:

Additionally, all major NYC airports—Newark (EWR), LaGuardia (LGA) and JFK—are 2 to 3 hours away from the Catskills by car. 

Food & Lodging

The workshop will be based in the village of Catskill, New York. There is no official workshop hotel, but there are many options for bed-and-breakfasts, hotels and AirBnB’s.

You are responsible for your own breakfast, but we will serve catered lunch and dinner at the NPAN studio. Catskill is home to many outstanding farms and chefs and you’ll eat local from some of the best Greene County has to offer.

You are responsible for arranging and paying for your own breakfast and accommodations. If you are interested in sharing a room with another participant, let us know and we will try to connect you with someone like-minded in the group.

Weather

Catskill weather can be unpredictable. We’ll update you as the workshop gets closer.

Recommended attire: Comfortable, dark clothing and layers.

Considerations

Demonstrations and image review will be conducted in Lightroom and Photoshop.

No vigorous activity will be required, but please consider your physical abilities in cool weather prior to registering. There will not be any long hikes, but you should be comfortable carrying your own equipment over uneven ground in the dark.

We’ll be carrying a little extra lighting gear on this workshop.

Please read our FAQs section for more information about skill and gear requirements, and other information that pertains to all our workshops.

If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.

 

The Origin Of Matt's Night Portraiture

I often think about ways to combine things that did not belong together.
— Matt

One day I asked myself, “What if I combined the two things I love making the most—night photography and cut paper art?” The answer came immediately. “Dress people in paper and make crazy, surreal long-exposure portraits of them. And yes, they will be naked under that paper.”

And so Night Paper was born. Now, for the rest of the story: I was terrified to start the project. I had more questions than answers. And I was primarily a landscape/urban photographer at the time. Who was I to undertake such an ambitious project? How do I make sure I get a good exposure on the model and the background? Who would say yes to such an insane idea? Will they think I am a creep? The questions beleaguered me. I put off starting the project for over four years.

But one day I started. I said to myself, "You know a lot about portrait lighting, silly. And you’re making images you really love at night. So what if you haven’t made a paper outfit? (Or any fashion, for that matter.)"

And it worked. I was so happy that I kept on shooting. I dreamed up even more complicated lighting schemes, developed new ways to show the passage of time. I even studied how to make it a part of the portraits without making it an overwhelming part. I found ways to set up the shoot for success while leaving some portions wide open for chance, luck and inspiration. I built in a collaborative spirit with my models, my assistants and my wife (who helps me on every Night Paper shoot!).

It keeps on working, getting better as I hone my craft. And it makes me very happy.

I’m delighted to package all the lessons I’ve learned while making my artistic vision come to life and to share them with you. Hopefully I can help you identify and define the start of your own vision of what night portraiture can be. Join me, and let’s find out together.

 

MAP

 

Sun and Moon

Sunset Astronomical Twilight Moonrise Moonset Ilumination Milky way
April 27 7:50pm 9:37pm 10:26am 11:02pm waxing crescent The galactic core rises at 1:00am
April 28 7:51pm 9:39pm 11:29am 11:31pm waxing crescent The galactic core rises at 1:00am
April 29 7:52pm 9:41pm 12:30pm waxing crescent The galactic core rises at 1:00am
Sunset Astronomical Twilight Moonrise Moonset Ilumination Milky way
October 12 6:18pm 7:51pm 10:39am 8:49pm waxing crescent The galactic core is below the horizon
October 13 6:17pm 7:50pm 11:40am 9:30pm waxing crescent The galactic core is below the horizon
October 14 6:15pm 7:48pm 12:37pm 10:14pm waxing crescent The galactic core is below the horizon