available light portraits – after dark!

photography walk: 2.5 hours


So you’ve learnt the basics of how to use your camera. Now what? This outdoor photography walk/workshop is one of a series of sessions I run to teach concepts of photographic lighting.

The walk moves between different light sources where I demonstrate how they can be used to light portraits. Participants then work with each light to take photos of each other. Appropriate camera settings are suggested for each light source and assistance is provided as required.

Unlike some other casual photography walks, the photographs taken are set exercises in using light and as such, there is limited scope for creativity. My intention is to force photographers out of their comfort zones and use unusual lights in ways they probably hadn’t considered. I’m a firm believer that a little knowledge can be a much more powerful tool than fancy equipment.

This walk is best suited to photographers who are already comfortable with their camera controls and have a working knowledge of the concepts of aperture, shutter speed, film speed (ISO) and white balance. The recommended equipment for the walk is a camera capable of at least ISO 3200, an appropriate portrait lens (eg. at least 70mm or longer) with a reasonably wide aperture (eg. f/2.8 or wider). If you own a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens and a cropped sensor camera, that’s ideal. For full frame cameras, a 85mm f/1.8 is preferred. Tripods should be left at home as they are usually impractical on this walk. You will not require a flash or any other lighting equipment.


We meet at sunset at Federation Square and return to finish at the same location 2.5 hours later. Each walk is limited to 4 photographers. The fee for each participant is $69.

This walk is scheduled and organised through my group on the meetup.com website.

I’ve occasionally run this as an activity for the Melbourne Camera Club and it’s one of the most popular sessions of my recurring 6-week Photographic Lighting course.

previous students said:


“Lots of fun with David, lots to learn and improve! Highly recommended!” – Christian, June 2017

“Really enjoyed this meetup. I learned heaps. David is a great teacher.” – Simon, May 2017

“I must say David is a great teacher and very knowledgeable person. After this class, I have started seeing the lights so differently. It changed my perspective of portrait photography and night shooting. Highly recommend this class !” – Shailly, April 2017

“Excellent evening building skills in available light portraiture.” – David, August 2016

“It was an amazing session and we learned to work the light and the camera in a very professional way. The best part was, it was loads of fun! Time and money well spent!” – Beena, May 2016

“The evening was extremely informative, David has a wealth of knowledge that he does not mind sharing with everyone. David takes the time to explain camera settings for people like myself that are fairly green in the hobby. My understanding of portrait photography at night has been turned around 180 degrees after attending this session with David, highly recommend attending.” – John, March 2016

“Cannot look at light the same again! :)” – Chris, May 2015

“Learnt a lot, with a few key messages that I can add to my photography. Also appreciate some of the tips with camera set up… Lots of fun and even though we both had the two ugliest models to work with (namely ourselves) still got some good shots. For anybody else reading, this meet up is excellent – jump on board.” – Warwick, May 2015

“It was absolutely mind-blowing! I have never thought about looking at objects like that and thought that I would need flash in order to take night photography. I have learnt to observe my subject and find the best angle to shoot in terms of light.” – Maggie, December 2014

“Fabulous, very informative and I will now look at taking photos with available light in a very different way. David explained each different light situation very well and I didn’t come away feeling ‘overloaded’.” – Sandy, December 2014

“Money well spent. A bargain for the amount of stuff I learnt. I’m seeing more potential in the light around me.” – Sharon, November 2014

“Great learning experience with well thought out practical photographic tasks under different outdoor lighting situations with minimum equipment. Learnt heaps on how to assess existing night lighting options and how to use them optimally and creatively. Don’t hesitate to join David on his inspiring photographic journeys! :)” – Jennifer, October 2014

“Awesome!! Totally gets your brain buzzing about light and lighting.” – Deanne, October 2014

“Excellent. Very informative session to get you thinking of the best ways to use available light.” – Maria, October 2014

“Great way to see Melbourne at night and use available light to take photos. David’s experience is great to learn the art of seeing light. Thanks David.” – Eranda, October 2014

“Thank you David for a very informative and fascinating portraits session with available light. I’m so inspired and excited with experimenting further with minimal available light sources. I look forward to your future sessions.” – Dorothy, August 2014

“Thanks David for a hugely instructive session!!” – Ross, June 2014

“It was an interesting night, can’t wait to take more night portraits, thank you so much!” – Chris, May 2014

“Good walk and learn. Worth doing. David thinks about all the options and gives clear direction.” – Lee, May 2014

“The evening was very interesting! Definitely opened up my eyes to alternative lighting and how to work with what is available at the time. Great night.” – Samira, May 2014

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