Portfolio Building 1ON1 two-day workshop 

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These are, without question, my favorite "work" days of the month. I use quotes around the word work because it's a whole lot of fun.  We talk love, life, and the pursuit of the perfect portrait. There's more to portrait photography than getting the light right and doing a cool color grade. I'ts about so much more than that. It's about understanding the relationships between colors. It's about using the right lighting technique to convey the mood you're searching for. Personally, I like to shoot with constant light, and I think it's the best way to learn how to light. Constant light allows you to see the results of the changes you make immediately. I primarily use Westcott Flex lights in an assortment of modifiers to achieve this goal. It allows me to build the light without a need for a light meter or test shots. What you see is what you get. The best part is that it all transfers directly to strobes. We'll shoot with my Profoto D1 kit too. This workshop is about you being able to go and recreate this at home, so to a certain extent, we'll customize the class to the gear you have.  I can achieve my light using just about anything but a beauty dish. Don't get me started on beauty dishes... If you think this sounds like your kind of fun, I strongly encourage you to reach out. Before you come to Chicago we do Skype portfolio review, so I can get an idea of your style and give you an opportunity to share your story. I'm a people person. That's why I became a portrait photographer in the first place. I look forward to hearing from you.

Areas covered will include the following:

  • Strobe Lighting (PROFOTO)
  • LED Lighting (Westcott)
  • Gravity Hand Painted Backdrops
  • Set Building
  • Pre-Shoot Planning
  • Direction
  • FUJI Medium Format System Overview
  • Tethered Shooting
  • Color Grade Using Photoshop
  • Light Photoshop Edit

Todd Dring



Deciding to attend a 1on1 portrait workshop with Mike Schacht was one of the best career decisions I have made. The information he shared saved me at least 12 months of trial and error learning on my own. Having him demonstrate lighting, set building, and retouching as well as posing and coaching the model right in front of me was worth its weight in gold. Mike teaches from your current skill level. He makes sure you understand everything he is sharing. I walked away from this experience able to finally create the portraits that I saw in my mind without compromise.

 Norman Jaillet 



Recently I’ve taken workshops with Mike. Mike is one of those artists that helps you gain confidence as he explains his developed techniques in an easy manner for you to create a great portrait. Mike is a master at light, lighting theory and posing. You come away with portfolio shots that you are proud of. My eyes were opened; seeing is believing. Whether you are an advanced amateur or pro you will take something away from his workshops that create an aha moment! Mike makes himself available for follow-up questions once you head back to your studio. A pro’s pro, Mike’s developed techniques create stunning images that should grace the covers of popular fashion/Hollywood style magazines.

are you ready to take your portraiture to the next level?


Day 1 is all about the education. We start at 10:00am with a presentation I've developed over the last two years of teaching portrait workshops. It's about developing an understanding of the why. I'm a big fan of renaissance painters and it has a huge influence on my work. The lighting, the colors, the mood. It all comes from a time way before the first camera was ever invented. The presentation goes over my entire process from pre-production to post. After a quick lunch we start shooting. First I shoot you. I think part of understanding how to direct people starts with being able to put yourself in their shoes. While I'm shooting you, I do a lot of talking out loud describing what I'm doing and why I'm doing. We build a set, then we build the lighting, then I direct you through a portrait session. I'll show you how I cull images and then I'll show you how I edit the image. I record the editing process with a screen capture software so that you can take it home and study. We end day one turning the tables. It's your turn to photograph me. After the session, I"ll give you some feedback on your direction and lighting, and then you'll edit that photograph using the techniques you learned earlier in the day. From there we celebrate with dinner, and call it a night.


Day 2 puts you in the drivers seat. You'll find yourself with 2 portrait clients to photograph and I"m your assistant. We'll meet at 9:30am to pre-light and your first client will arrive at 10:30am. We'll cull images together, edit your favorite shot, and break for lunch. Your second client arrives at 2:00pm and we repeat the process. At 5:00pm we'll break for dinner and recap the day. I"ll answer all of your questions and give you a pat on the back for a job well done. 


When you're planning your trip to Chicago you can fly into O'Hare (ORD) or Midway (MDW). There is a train that will take you downtown from either airport. Our studio is located at 212 N. Sangamon St. The closest hotel is called the Crowne Plaza Hotel and I've arranged a special rate for my students. If you have any questions, please give me a call at 312.546.3582.


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