The Portrait Essay

with Steven Laxton

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Course Description

Award-winning photographer and filmmaker Steven Laxton invites you to wander into the enchanting realm of portraiture and equip yourself with the essential skills and techniques needed to create a stunning, cohesive photographic portrait series.

Our transformative journey begins with an introduction to portraiture; we then explore emotive photography and narrative development. To unlock the full potential of your visual storytelling abilities, we examine the concepts—both technical and aesthetic—that allow you to weave a rich narrative tapestry.

As we focus on the roles of posing, composition, and lighting in portraiture, we learn how to connect to our subjects so we can create a trusting environment that allows their unguarded humanity and authentic emotions to emerge. 

Finally, we hone our editing and sequencing skills. By delving step-by-step into post-processing and image selection, participants curate a visually compelling and thematically coherent group of portraits that embodies their intended narrative and vision.

You finish the workshop not only confident in your technical prowess but also with the creative insights and narrative skills to craft immersive and evocative portrait series that resonate deeply with audiences.

Additional Information

Advanced Amateurs, Professionals
What You Should Know:

Working knowledge of digital workflow 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.

Portraiture, Storytelling
Steven Laxton

Steven Laxton was born in rural Australia and began his photography career as a teenager. Dubbed one of American Photo Magazine’s 15 Rising Stars of International Photography for 2008, he was also singled out as “Fresh” artist by Communication Arts in 2019, the same year his series on Holocaust survivors was featured in Afterwards: Contemporary Photography Confronting the Past, at the Musée de l’Elysée, in Lausanne, Switzerland. In 2012, he won the Arnold Newman Prize and the Picture of the Year International Feature award, as well as a PDN award for his project Circo El Salvador. After directing the award-winning film Rewrite Your Story, he was named one of PDN’s 20 emerging filmmakers to watch.

Instagram: @steven_laxton

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