An Informal Guide To The Formal Portrait with Mark Mann

MARK MANN talks about creating rapport with challenging personalities like Robert Downey Jr. and President Obama.  Photo by JUSTIN WILLIAM LIN

MARK MANN talks about creating rapport with challenging personalities like Robert Downey Jr. and President Obama.  Photo by JUSTIN WILLIAM LIN

On Saturday, Sep 24, we collaborated with Brooklyn annual photo festival Photoville and celebrity photographer Mark Mann on a wonderful, hands-on workshop called An Informal Guide To The Formal Portrait.   Born and raised in Glasgow, Mark assisted UK fashion titans Nick Knight and Miles Aldridge before branching off into creating his own, intimate style of portraiture.  His list of celebrity subjects and clients is too numerous to mention, so check out his work to see more.

In classic Glaswegian fashion, Mark delivered a very honest appraisal of his working method, which included his ideas on lighting, drawing out emotions from his subjects, as well as what to do when you're just too lazy to be bothered.  Mixed in with stories about photographing President Obama (in 4 minutes) for Esquire's 80th anniversary issue and some general philosophy (don't get bogged down by the technical details, focus instead on connecting with your subject), Mark assigned random emotions for groups of students to create in teams using both indoor and outdoor light.  

Below we've shared a few of of our favorite shots from the afternoon, submitted by students:


Which are your favorites?  Can you guess which portrait conveys what emotion?  How can you incorporate some of these strategies into your own portrait work?  Comment below to contribute to the discussion.  Mark will be joining us again in the near future as a guest lecturer in some of our lighting and portrait classes, so contact us and let us know if you'd be interested in taking a class with him.

End Of Summer Sale!

Despite the record highs this past week, we're still feeling a little wistful to be in the middle of August already.  We hope you made good on your summer plans and got plenty of sunshine and gave your camera a nice workout.  After what was probably a lazy summer, now's the time get sharp and book a class to shake off the lingering haze of summer heat.  

Try one of our new 1-Day Workouts, a group of classes designed to build your creative brain strength and muscle memory all at once.  From the fast-paced, high-intensity Camera Warm-Up! for beginners, to eye and skills development classes like Engaging Light!Color Calisthenics! and Composition Tune-Up!, these Workouts are the perfect way to dust off some cobwebs and keep your mind fit and lean.  

Or refine your vision with our Essential series of classes, meeting 6 weeks and tackling immersive subjects like PortraitureStudio LightingPhotoshop & Lightroom, and the all-new Essential Street.  Whatever your passion, book now to save 40% on getting motivated this fall.

40% off all classes

                                                          use this code at checkout


Summer Blaze!


We are coming up on our 5 year anniversary this fall and to pre-celebrate we are throwing a huge Summer Bash on Thursday July 14th here at BKC!  We want you to participate and share your talents for an evening of fun!!  We'll be playing several slideshows of student work during the course of the night, so if you would like your work featured please follow this link here to upload up to 5 photos for submission.  These could be anything you've shot during class or since.

We're also putting together a short programming for the evening so, if you're a musician or a performer, send a link to your Soundcloud or other Youtube/Vimeo pages to and let us know you're interested!  

Big Summer Sale!

You guys it's FINALLY summer!!  Memorial Day is this weekend, which means it's time for fun!  We can already smell the BBQs, beach adventures and bike rides through fire-hydrant sprinklers.  To celebrate our excitement we are kicking summer off with a big SALE.  Get over $100 off our popular Digital Photo I and Digital Photo II 9-week classes, hone your eye and learn important photo skills you can use to capture that summer feeling.  Let's have the time of our lives this summer and learn how to take better photos too.   


Get 30% Off Classes

>> Use this code TIMEOFYRLIFE at checkout <<

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Offer good for any class, Private Lesson or Gift Certificates (hard copy only) on orders placed between 5/25/16 and 5/30/16 at midnight.  Enter code at checkout where it says "Apply Coupon".  Questions?  Contact us!

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Jul 1 from 6:30pm – 8:00pm
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In Memory of a Student and Friend: Rita Foley

I had the unique pleasure of meeting Rita Foley back in 2012, when we were still a fledgling photo school finding our wings in Brooklyn.  Rita was a busy woman, always keeping herself involved in her many projects, from conference calls to writing books to a healthy social life filled with friends and family.  I was blessed to be able to spend time with her doing something she truly loved: creating beautiful images.  

Rita picked up photography after "officially" retiring from being a corporate badass, but her passion for life and work funneled neatly into her enthusiasm for learning the craft.  She threw herself into it, and pushed herself constantly to create new and better work.  In 2013, for her 60th birthday, Rita decided to launch a solo exhibition instead of a traditional birthday party, and came to BKC to help put the show together.  You can see how cool it turned out in the video above.

When doctors ordered her to stay in bed, she went on a bucket-list photo journey through New Zealand.  She was juggling a schedule of chemo, blood transfusions and weeklong-intensive shooting sessions in the wilderness -- The woman was COMMITTED.   More than anything she believed in staying inspired and living for the moment.  A warrior and a poet.

I'm a true fan of hers, as she gave of herself so totally to the things she loved.  Even when she had lost mobility, we were doing Lightroom sessions from bed to complete her final book Show Up For Life Each Day about her journey co-existing with cancer.  This strength of will continues to amaze me.  She was a role model of a woman, a mother who lived as she preached and who was both a powerhouse and an absolute joy to be around.  I'll be forever thankful to have had the opportunity to see her through some amazing moments. 

Thank you Rita for being a total inspiration and one of the coolest ladies around.

Rest in loving peace,

Founder/Director, BKC


Rita's three published books are all available on Amazon:

Show Up For Life Each Day by Rita Foley
The Retirement Boom: An All Inclusive Guide to Money, Life, and Health in Your Next Chapter by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, Jaye Smith
Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career and Life by Taking a Break by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley, Jaye Smith


Photographs by RITA FOLEY