Sunday, March 4, 2007

Workshop Information

Environmental Portraiture

New and Forthcoming Photo Workshop
Details announcing next photo workshop to be posted soon. To be scheduled for 3 1/2 days Mid-October 2017, held in Western Mass.


Below are photos and information about our most recent photo workshop held May 11th - 14th, 2017
Student work to be posted soon.

Lior, One of our models, photographed by Shelby at The Herman Melville Home, Arrowhead

Donny, Model for Arrowhead Workshop

After teaching photo workshops for over 25 years across the country, I feel the best learning experiences are often simulations of what an engaging relationship is really like. When I began teaching, I used to try and find for my workshops authentic, exuberant or hard-lived people, much like I photograph back home in Kentucky. They are most everywhere, but when teaching a class with lots of cameras, many absorbing and gazing eyes, many of the less photographed and more sensitive people get a bit spooked and understandably close themselves down. For our workshop we will have both a male and female model that are experienced posing for photographers. You will be able to concentrate more on your photograph, learning to apply what we do in the workshop to your own special environments and people.

WindRose [model], photographed at Herman Melville's Arrowhead, a commissioned photograph now selected to be published by the Berkshire Historical Society for a poster to advertise their summer activities.

Arrowhead Poster, Summer 2017
This image was made by photographing through Melville's study window, in total there are 5 light sources combined to create the above photographic effects.

Photo made by Peter Bergman, Director of Communications at Arrowhead.
Photo illustrates model in Crown posing for photographer who is outside window.

I will be teaching lighting in general, we will discuss the contribution or distraction of the environment and background and how to light, various approaches to lighting the eyes and face, engaging the subject/model, creating a look that communicates, making challenging compositions, the histogram exposure, mixing ambient light with strobe and balancing color temperatures, among other refinements. The student will come away with more understanding of this multi-faceted process. When a group works together, assisting and sharing their successes and failures making photographs everyone learns more.

Martha Petting Puppy, October 2016, Shelby Lee Adams©2016, Wolf Creek, KY

Workshop Dates — May 11th - 14th, 2017

I will be offering my first workshop taught in my home and studio in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Mass. [Pittsfield]. I will offer two workshops per year, May and October. Each workshop will have a minimum of 4 students and a maximum of 6 students. In this way the small class will facilitate a personal exchange between all students together with the instructor. The fee for this 3 day + one evening workshop will be $650.00.  The first day of the workshop will begin at 7:00PM May 11th. The Thursday night meeting I will provide food, drinks and a reception for class, ending with the instructor's slide presentation. Classes on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will start at 10:00AM each day and end at 5:00PM. Registration will open after New Years 2017. Students will need to make their own local hotel reservations. Two recommended hotels are close by, one in walking distance. Many other hotel and bed and breakfast accommodations are in area. Do a Google search. Several diverse ethnic restaurants are close by and instructor will make reservations for us as a group. Individually or with others, evenings you are welcome to explore the area.

Lodging: Two close hotels recommended, The Berkshire Inn of Pittsfield, more affordable, less than a mile away. 
The Crowne Plaza Hotel, more expensive, easy walking distance.
Other hotels and Bed and Breakfasts are close by.

Public Transportation: From NYC the most convenient way is to take the train from Penn Station to Hudson, NY. Depending on arrival times arrangements to pick you up will have to be made. There are local car services that can be booked from Hudson to Pittsfield. If flying, the closest airport is Albany, NY, a 50 min. drive, arrangements will have to be made for airport pickup or car rentals. Train from Boston to Pittsfield is direct and close by.

Our one day photographing on location will be on Saturday May 13th at the historic Arrowhead, the famous 18th Century home of Herman Melville, where he wrote his novel Moby Dick. The class will be divided into 2 groups with a teaching assistant and myself with each group. Photographing within this unique environment all students will have the opportunity to photograph both models in diverse environments. Professional lighting equipment will be provided.  Lunch will be catered to our location assuring optimum photographing

Arrowhead Link


A diversity of environments are available to photograph in at Arrowhead.

 The demands of working in unknown locations, familiarizing ourselves with our model or subject, creating collaboratively a satisfying and revealing image, with the environment as apart or as a minimal abstract element, adding studio lighting or not, all often overwhelms; yet these decisions create, challenges and stimulate our photography. You may be contemplating purchasing and working with lighting gear and this workshops hands on experience can be beneficial. To see and learn how different lighting affects and presents our subject, psychologically and technically is limitless.  

          We will study in slides, Robert Bergman, Mary Ellen Mark, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, O. Winston Link, Jock Sturges, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus, Jeff Jacobson and Larry Fink, among other historical and important portrait photographers. Paintings have influenced many photographers, such works by Rembrandt to Odd Nerdrum, have inspired many and will be studied. Original photographs by Mary Ellen Mark and Jock Sturges will be available for study, among others like Clarence John Laughlin. A few video shorts will also be shown from Shelby's work in Kentucky with his exhibition prints.  During our slide studies, stories from other photographers presentations about their techniques and experiences explaining how specific photographs were executed and completed, each always differently, can be informative. Seriously made photographs challenge, teach and reveal something about us all together.

Below is a paragraph describing how my work has evolved working with those I know:

“While visiting and re-photographing my subjects from year to year, our relationships grow and mature. My visual approach shifts as an individual might change, as we become more acquainted and invested in each other's lives. When photographing, I encourage folks to experience themselves within, to bring up, to give, even to give-out a part of their inner being, to strengthen themselves by doing so because many are generous people. I ask folks to look directly and straightforwardly into the camera, to concentrate, center themselves, and to search for their reflection in the camera’s lens. At that moment of they're finding and seeing their own reflection, I press the cable release.”
—Shelby Lee Adams

Submission of work and registration:

 Step 1. A 12 to 15 image folio is required for admission. Students can submit low res. Jpegs by e -mail, use WeTransfer or Road Runner to submit a PDF to instructors e mail address or just send a link to your site designating your folio for review. Because of spammers, Google recommends not to link e-mail address here. E-Mail separately. — 

         Step 2. An approximate 20 min. phone interview with instructor is required, starting after New Years, after submitting photos for admission, send phone numbers. Students should also bring a folio of 12 to 15 prints or digital slides to view, project and share with the class for critiques. Prints preferred. The work should be recent or a long term project where the feedback would give you ideas for more photos, directions and maybe avenues for exhibits and publications. Each student will receive approximately a 1/2 hour focused critique with entire class. 

        Step 3. $650.00 US workshop fee must be made in advance to hold a place in workshop. This includes a $50.00 fee charged for model fees. Will Accept PayPal or personal checks. During phone interviews, additional information will be provided. If students need to withdraw from workshop, they will receive full refund up to 30 days before workshop date is scheduled to begin. That date for full refund will be April 14th, 2017. Withdrawals made after that date—students are expected to attend and full refunds cannot be guaranteed after April 14th. Attendance is important to maintain the program with only from 4 to 6 students making a full class. The deadline to register or withdraw is April 14th. 

April 14th, 2017 — Deadline to complete registration process with phone interviews and pay fees, also deadline—for early withdrawal, if paid and student can not attend. Full refunds can't be implemented after April 14th If workshop is cancelled for any reason by instructor, and students have paid the $650.00 fee, refunds will be in full, minus if used Pay Pal's minimum processing fees.

Workshop has sufficient enrollment to run - Can add 2 more students.

             Students are to bring their own camera's and have a working knowledge of how to use them. Students will process images with their own laptops during the workshop. We will discuss the optimum work flow with photoshop. I consider this an intermediate to advanced photo workshop. Approaching people, learning how to relate and work with others is an emphasis of this workshop, the photographer will share important experiences. We will study psychologically how different lighting affects our perceptions of others and the viewers interpretations. How we find or develop our own visual sensitivity, create our personal style and manner of working comes from studying others work, experimenting and working with many tools.

               Technically we will work with a variety of lighting equipment, umbrellas, reflectors, soft boxes, ring light, honeycomb grids, Pocket Wizards and the important placement of light itself affecting the compositions. A darkroom is available for those who wish to develop traditional film. But, I think time is limited to developing negatives and making contact sheets only. Most students today work digitally, camera formats and process will be open and discussed individually in phone interviews. More details to be posted. Contact me with any questions. 

Shelby Lee Adams
Posted Dec. 30th, 2016-Updated March 14,'17

Current Exhibit

The University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming.

Jan. 28th – May 13th , 2017

Shelby Lee Adams
One person exhibition.

Portfolio Magazine Naples has featured Shelby's work in a 10 page spread in their March 2017 issue. Link to view on Home Page.


Last Photo Workshop

August 15th - 19th, 2016
International Center of Photo, NYC

Environmental Portraiture

Model - Lior Alley, photo by Shelby Lee Adams, made during photo workshop, Mid August 2016

Students photo of Shelby photographing, Photo by Kara Hudgens

Students worked with Profoto B1 500 Watt lighting systems.

Photo by Hadley Henry

Part of our crew.
From Left to Right, Argus, Nick [photo assistant], An [photo assistant], model Tracy.

Photo by Kara Hudgens
Example of Rear-curtin-Sync.

Photo by Janet Susin

Photo by Kara Hudgens

Special thanks to all our assistants Paul Barcena Mapi, An Jozef Debie and Nick Zanetti and of course the staff of the International Center of Photograph with special thanks to Chaska Jurado, Karen Furth and The Mayor's office for Central Park-park permits.


Jan. 8th, 2016 Workshop at ICP

To view as slide show only click on any image.

ICP Jan. 5th - Jan. 8th Photo Workshop, 2016

Some Images from Jan. 2016 ICP Workshop

Model "Darius"
Photo by Shelby

On Location with students.
Photo, Larry Ford, TA

Prep. for model, "Dayne's" Session.
Photographer, Larry Ford, TA

Discussion while viewing exhibition prints, ICP studio.
Photo: Jeenah Moon, TA

Musician in front of Bed, Jan. 2016 workshop. Mixed lighting.
Photo By Shelby

Student Photographer - Dana Nancy deLaski
Model: Larissa

Location: Penthouse, Night Hotel, Times Square, NYC, 2016


Photographer's photo presented to discuss metering and exposure.
Three Sisters, 2011, Shelby - Photo.
[Further discussions on relationships to subjects, and their input and response to photo.]

Grand Central Terminal Building Location, where Shelby's workshop's have been held before.

Introducing and discussing different lighting techniques, Shelby uses in his work.
Saul, 2015, photo by Shelby

With the subjects input from viewing photos in-between sessions over the years, we collaboratively work with varied approaches.
Saul and wife, 2013

Halloween, Chroma, Kentucky, 2015, photo by Shelby.

          "Each of us responds differently to the same stimulus and especially to photographs that are informed from our personal and past circumstances. A photograph is perceived with varied eyes and many points of view, identifying infinite possibilities and importantly something about ourselves’. Yet, we find only what is within us, to recognize. It takes some kind of transformation, to clearly see. Sometimes, this happens to those searching, a benevolent personal makeover occurs, a touch to ones heart making whole, gives the gift to see an interconnected—humankind."

From Essay: Neighbors Look

Shelby Lee Adams

Summer Workshops

Central Park, Bethesda Fountain area.
New York City  August 10th - 14th, 2015

Shelby Photo, made during ICP workshop
Bethesda Fountain Location
Central Park, NYC

Summer 2014

"Chloe," Photo made during Summer 14' Photo workshop by Shelby
Central Park, NYC

Examples of Photographers recent work to be studied.

Above photo process below. Title: Oma, 2014

              Oma, 2014, this photo was made last October in Kentucky with Oma Collins a friend of 30 + years. So a relationship is established. I gave her and her husband photos from my summer visit earlier that year and this nightgown caught my eye. So we photographed Oma in the black dress she had on with hanging nightgown. I placed 2 - 500watt tungsten Lowel lights in the background, faced into the ceiling to warm up and define the background. Then placing two strobe lights in silver umbrellas near Oma, changing the lighting ratios to study different effects. Then placing a sharper and more direct Nikon speed light on Lernion [man sitting in chair]. Counting the ambient room light, used 6 light sources in total. Pocket Wizards sync everything together and we made photographs.  F32 handheld at 1/2 to 1/4 sec. to allow the background hot lights time to burn in. The foreground flash and speed light exposed Oma at 1/400 of a sec. flash duration.

Connie, 2014

                         Had photographed Connie 20 years ago. She moved around from place to place,  and we lost touch until last summer. When we reconnected, she asked me to photograph her again, because I had given her photos from 20 years before. 
In this case I had two friends working with me as assistants. One assistant placed a single omni spot light on a pole lamp with one snoot and angled up quite high in the background. Directing light through materials into doorway and on Connie's hair and shoulders. Two strobe lights were placed left and right of Connie with one light on right being turned to block part of the light from the subjects face, both light reflector's - silver umbrella's. The left light was mask with frosted tissue, being careful to keep some reflection in subjects eyes. Aperture on camera was reduced to get the exact blending of light I wanted in camera and we made several photos, while engaging Connie in conversation.


Jan. 20 - 23, 2015

Title: "Your Voice In Portrait Lighting"

Workshop Definition:

It is my approach in photographing people that we, observe, create, and form a space of intimacy and directness where both your subjects and the photographer are comfortable. A photo workshop I consider a simulation preparing us for the joys and difficulties we encounter and need to photograph in life. A great photograph can be made during one of these workshops, but the emphasis should be on learning as much as possible in an accelerated manner.   

 Lighting is often introduced indirectly, combined with the natural available light often illuminating a part of the subject and backgrounds. Lighting ratios, the psychology of light placement, how the light affects your subject, are all important to the overall composition, while reading and applying the histograms correctly and creatively.

 Know that the background and environment is important to your subject, no matter how minimal. You find and create a container of space, a safe or tense balance or zone if you will - expressing yourselves together – photograph your subject’s inner expressions, states of mind, and feelings—unguarded. 

Intuitively you learn to release yourself unmasking working with your subject, finding and expressing your voice together creating a collaborative vision. Make a thousand photographs and views if necessary when learning and we are always learning and seeing differently.

 Mastering the craft and techniques, discovering and creating yourself, finding your style and personal vision, applying your approach to representing all of us, interconnecting with another and everyone, solidifies your personal vision: all takes a lifetime. When learning—photography should be a joyful experience, as an instructor of many years, it seems—one retains more when excited about something. To inspire that excitement with photography is my job. Later, one applies their acquired knowledge from such workshops to the complex world we each represent and live in. 

Shelby Lee Adams

Photo By Moth Dust

Instructor discussing the work of Annie Leibovitz and how she achieves specific lighting effects. We study the work of Dr. Howard Egerton, Mary Ellen Mark, Larry Fink, Jeff Jacobson, Joey Lawrence, Robert Bergman among many other photographers works, studying digital slides. Instructor has had many interviews and attended lectures with many photographer's and their assistants, sharing knowledge. 

Photo: Moth Dust
Instructor shares his own original prints, discussing his relationships to subjects and how the prints are made.


Photo©Moth, 2015





Colorado Photographic Arts Center
Denver, Colorado
May 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2014

Valerie, 2014
The Colorado Photographic Arts Center
Denver, CO.

Photo Crew at The Colorado Photo Arts Center, May 2014


Your Voice in Portrait Lighting
Jan. 2014

International Center of Photography

Student Photographer - Nicolas Enriquez Velez
Full-time program in PJ at ICP
[Example-Flash Speed Duration.]

Halloween 2013

In this series, we are demonstrating what one can do with two speed lights handheld, at night, in the streets of NYC, with a full frame digital camera, hand held.

Times Square, NYC

Times Square, 2013

Weed Man, 2013

Halloween, Times Square, 2013

Above photos by Shelby Lee Adams, made with the assistance of Adam Bernstein and Adam Buteux, using hand held Nikon Speed lights. Final folio consist of 12 images.

To all the great people in Times Square who allowed us to photograph them, a sincere Thank You.

©Shelby Lee Adams 2013


Photo Workshops 2010 - 13

Lila and Thoth, 2013 
ICP Workshop, Summer, Central Park, NYC

Marelena, Photo By: Shelby, 2010, Venice Beach, CA
Julia Dean Workshop

Kelly and Dale, Palm Springs Photo Workshop, CA,  2011
Photo by: Shelby Lee Adams



Aperture, NYC

July 13th - 14th, 2013

Aperture, 547 West 27th Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10001
“Seeing, connecting, and nurturing love while recalling and sharing the more difficult times requires a balanced perspective. It can be tender, or tough and thorny, but all parts are necessary to integrate visually and intellectually.” —Shelby Lee Adams, Salt and Truth (2011)

Aperture Environmental Portraiture


Critiquing work during Aperture Workshop, July 2013

Location Aperture Workshop: Tompkins Sq. Park
Shelby's Photo. 2013


Student work from Aperture Workshop
Tompkins Sq. Park - 2013

Linda Cicero

Anne M. Connor



Photos below from:
ICP Sponsored Workshop Summer 2012

International Center of Photography, On Location with Shelby's Environmental Portrait photo workshop, One Week Annual course - August 2012, NYC

Bethesda Fountain Area
Central Park


Critiquing work with students.

Having discussion on photo in Bryant Park with students.

International Center of Photography
5 day workshop.

Self-Portrait, December 2012
[Background lighting, room - tungsten bulb,
foreground speed light using Orbis light modifier.]



 "Your Voice in Portrait Lighting."
Jan. 2013

Larissa Marie, 2013
Photo made by Shelby in ICP studio with students participating during 4 day workshop.


The Center for Photography at Woodstock

Woodstock, NY

August 2012 Weekend Workshop

Shelby and student reviewing histograms at Portia Munson and Jared Handelsman's 
unique farm in Round Top, NY, with model in swing.
Photo by photo assistant Alex Myers

Discussing lighting with students on location in Woodstock.
Photo by Alex Myers

All photographs and text copyrighted - © 1978 - 2017 Shelby Lee Adams, legal action will be taken to represent the photographer, the work taken out of context, subjects and integrity of all photographic and written works, including additional photographers published and authors quoted. Permissions - send e mail request with project descriptions.

Click on  Older Post - Bottom right for:

Kentucky Photo Exhibit Summer 2008

Quotes and Vision
Stenger's Cafe
Middle East

Grand Central Terminal Building, NYC, Student Photo.