Portraits of Nature on White: The Field Studio

with Niall Benvie

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Course Description

Field studio photography is an enticing field for many reasons, not least that it has a low-cost entry point and can be practiced locally. Over three weeks, Niall Benvie covers everything you need to know about making photographs of natural subjects on pure white, backlit backgrounds while taking you on a journey to explore the creative possibilities of these images.

Working in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, we cover subjects from equipment and capture to processing and compositing. You acquire lighting and post-production skills—including knowledge of flash modifiers, cross-lighting, brush options, and color sampling, among others—with wider application in other photographic arenas.

During week one, we learn about the work of photographers who’ve come before us, exploring field studio protocol as well as types of sets and equipment choices. Then we learn how to set up our gear and manage lighting. Participants produce five images using the protocol and import them into Lightroom for processing in the following session.

Our second week is a deep dive into Lightroom processes, including input sharpening, cropping, brushing corners out to white, and using the luminance slider. We also continue to produce images for further experimentation with compositing, color blending, and image scale and assembly. By week three, we are discovering the range of uses for color selection and typography, learning how Photoshop’s brushes can create watercolor-style composites.

Join Niall this spring to take advantage of showy flowers and abundant wildlife—crickets, frogs, beetles, moths, lizards, and worms—this glorious time of year offers, and discover natural history photography’s exceptional scope for creativity as you produce distinctive, personal work in a field studio.

Additional Information

Amateurs, Advanced Amateurs
What You Should Know:

Entry-level knowledge of digital workflow using Lightroom and Photoshop on your computer and manual mode on your digital SLR or mirrorless camera. Participants must be able to download and select images using image editing software for class sessions.


View Withdrawal and Transfer Policies for online programs.

For the convenience of participants, recordings of each class session are posted privately for one month after the end of each session. Santa Fe Workshops takes the recordings down after one month to protect the intellectual property of our instructors.

Nature & Landscape, One-of-a-Kind
Niall Benvie

Niall Benvie has been a professional photographer, writer, designer and teacher for almost 30 years and is regarded as one of Europe’s most innovative outdoor photographers. He began publishing and experimenting with white-background photography in 2007 and, in collaboration with US photographer Clay Bolt, founded the worldwide Meet Your Neighbours project in 2009. The initiative was given NANPA’s Environmental Impact Award in 2015. Niall finds the process of sharing his techniques and ideas highly rewarding as other photographers master and rework them, providing him with new ideas to develop further. Originally from Scotland, he now lives in rural France.

Instagram: @niallbenvie

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