Dawson has been a professional photographer for over 32 years, starting back in college when he was earning his commercial art degree. As a student, he was required to take a beginner's black-and-white photography class that involved capturing images, learning to process the film, and printing and mounting the photos. After college, Dawson became a press photographer for the Martinsville Bulletin, an experience that improved his confidence and taught him to compose images in ways that better tell the story.
Since starting his own photography business in 1978, Dawson's specialty has evolved to nature and environmental portraits. "Being out in the open air has allowed me to learn to control the sunlight with off-camera flashes and reflectors," he says about his photography's development. "Telling a story with less equipment just expands the artistic beauty I first experienced in my college photography classes."
"By using live models, each photographer who attends will learn how to control the sunlight with either a hand-held reflector or remote control flash," explains Dawson.
But light isn't the only consideration to make when creating environmental portraits. What about capturing the environment itself? Dawson believes wide-angle lenses hold an advantage over telephoto lenses for such outdoor portraits, and he will demonstrate why: "Changing the lens from telephoto to wide-angle will help you include more of the background...while making sure the distortion of the couple is kept at a minimum that can be easily corrected with AdobeÂ® PhotoshopÂ®."
Learn more about Dawson's Martinsville class, and browse more Super Monday classes in more locations at www.ppa.com/supermonday.
Super Monday is an educational program, sponsored by PPA, every spring and fall. These daylong, interactive workshops are conducted in locations around the country, allowing PPA members to earn merits for sharing their craft and enabling all photographers to learn new skills and develop professional networking contacts.
Images Â©Rick Dawson