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Online Photography Course
Portrait Photography Using Available Light

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: Portrait Photography Using Available LightLearn how to capture memorable portraits without sophisticated lighting equipment. In this 4-week online course, portrait photographer Ibarionex R. Perello will show you how to make your subject - and not the camera - the focus of successful portraiture. Capture great images of faces in perfect light, where the eyes come shining through. You'll put what you learn in this class to good use every time you aim to make outstanding pictures of people.
Key Features

  1. Laying the Groundwork - Approaching potential subjects.
  2. Getting Started - Looking for the light.
  3. Refining Your Vision - light and shadow.
  4. The Final Look - environmental portraits.

  • For serious hobbyists, intermediates, and advanced photographers.
  • How to take a better portrait.
  • Seeing and controlling available light.
  • Mastering your digital camera.
  • Enhancing a portrait in software.

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Ibarionex R. Perello Ibarionex R. Perello
Ibarionex R. Perello is a writer and photographer who has over 15 years worth of experience in the photographic industry. For six years, he was the associate editor for Outdoor Photographer, PC Photo, and Digital Photo Pro magazines. He was a technical engineer for Nikon Inc. for 8 years where he provided technical support and training on both film and digital technologies.

Ibarionex also hosts and produces “The Candid Frame”, an audio podcast where he interviews the best professional and emerging photographers in the world. The bi-weekly podcast is available by visiting

His personal photographic projects include a 5-year documentary project that focused on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. He is currently producing a series of portraits on established and emerging writers of Southern California.

A Couple of Photos by the Instructor

© Ibarionex Perello 

© Ibarionex Perello 

Course Outline


Lesson 1: Laying the Groundwork
Approaching a potential subject. Creating a comfortable setting. Getting equipment ready: lens selection. The importance of a tripod and remote release. Exploring the frame.
Assignment: Approach someone you have not photographed before and ask them to sit for you. Create an image with a simple background.

Lesson 2: Getting Started
Looking for the light. Using the histogram for best exposure. Depth of field and selective focus. Interacting with your subject. Importing and prioritizing best images from a shoot.
Assignment: Shoot a series of portraits under different lighting conditions: direct sunlight, window light, open shade, and tungsten bulb.

Lesson 3: Refining Your Vision
Creative use of light and shadow. The use of reflectors to control light and contrast. Pacing yourself and your camera. Using burning and dodging techniques and layers to control the look of the image.
Assignment: Create a series of portraits under high-contrast lighting conditions, using a reflector to control the shape and appearance of the light.

Lesson 4: The Final Look
Shooting the environmental portrait. The importance of confidence. Sharing only the best images with your subject.
Assignment: Shoot an environmental portrait of a subject with an interesting hobby or job. Use an object from their activity as a key element in the portrait.

© Ibarionex Perello 

© Ibarionex Perello 



  • Digital SLR, but a film SLR is acceptable too.
  • Tripod.
  • Light reflector.
  • Intermediate to advanced image-editing software.



Is this course intended for beginning, intermediate or advanced photographers?
This class intended for intermediate or advanced photographers who have a good familiarity with an SLR and are comfortable working with image-editing software.  

Do I have to have a digital camera?
No, the majority of techniques and suggestions are applicable whether you’re using film or digital. However, some of the topics will be specifically targeted for the digital shooter.  

How much time will be involved in completing assignments?
You should likely shoot a portrait for each assignment within a hour. Besides image editing, some of your time may be taken up by an arranging for a subject to photograph. Approach several subjects and arrange a specific time for a sitting.  

What kind of lens do I need?
You will need a lens that has a focal length range of between 50mm and 135mm. A zoom lens within this range is acceptable - though I recommend investing in an affordable 50mm f/1.8 lens.  

What kind of reflector do I need?
There are numerous light reflectors available through any local camera store. These collapsible light modifiers come in varying sizes. I recommended a minimum size of 24 inches to begin with. Otherwise, a white foam-core board will be sufficient.  

Do I need a tripod?
For the best results possible, it’s highly recommended. But you can apply many of the techniques without one.  

© Ibarionex Perello 

© Ibarionex Perello 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

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At a Glance
4-Week Short Course
Category: People Courses

$198.00 USD
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Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Read all 11 reviews

Course Reviews:

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Adam Stephenson
member since: 9/29/2013
Excellent experience with Mr. Perello. I have learned a lot from this course. Not only is he very patient, but is very prompt in his reviews and gives real world advice on photography techniques. Very impressed indeed.

- 11/6/2013 10:29:59 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member wilart narin
wilart narin
member since: 8/18/2012
this course is very interesting.i enjoy this class and instructor is very helpful

- 9/26/2012 3:00:29 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Oscar J. Pung
Oscar J. Pung
member since: 5/16/2010
Great class. Challenging and fun. Ibarionex's lessons, critiques, and answers to questions were very helpful.

- 10/4/2011 5:32:17 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 4.5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Pam Bosch
Pam Bosch
member since: 4/8/2006
Ibarionex presents excellent material on technique, style and concept and reiterates it throughout the course during his indepth critiques. His approach really assists the student in learning.

I took away loads from this course as well as developed confidence in using tools I had owned for quite some time. I'll approach portraiture with a lot more awarness of light than I've ever had before. Thank you Ibarionex for a fabulous course!

Pam Bosch

- 9/28/2009 7:18:21 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Janice M LeCocq
Janice M LeCocq
member since: 6/3/2007
This was my first attempt at portrait photography and Ibarionex was terrific, anticipating an amateur's reticence to approach potential subjects. I suffered the anxiety of that first approach, but then I had a great time. My only criticism is that the course went by way too fast. I'd love more lessons and critiques on this subject but, of course, that is also possible with Great site; great classes. The model of having a real class joined online is brilliant, providing lots of input and an esprit de corps.

- 3/26/2008 11:32:31 AM

Read all 11 course reviews...

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More Delighted Customers:

"This is an exceptional course by an exceptional instructor. Ibarionex is enthusiastic and passionate about his craft. He provided excellent feedback that demystified the process of taking portraits." -Michael Keppell  

"This was my first Betterphoto course but it won't be my last! I have been taking pictures for years, but have learned more in 4 weeks than I had been able to figure out from my own research. Ibarionex is very encouraging and speaks clearly when critiqueing. The lesson plans are clearly laid out and easily digested. He responds quickly to individual questions. He is an excellent photographer and his examples are impressive as well as inspiring. You will walk away from this class a much better photographer than when you signed up!" -Chris Grey 

"This was a fantastic course. Ibarionex gives great critiques. He's able to combine constructive criticism with lots of support. I can wait for his next class. I'll definitely be signing up for it." -Mary Reagan 

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