Raw Portraits

by Mitzi Starkweather

Raw Portraits

(7 customer reviews)


Diversify your offerings by learning how to create “Raw Portraits.” Mitzi Starkweather’s course reveals how to create an accepting space for clients to come just as they are for liberating, transformative photographs that are fully authentic and un-retouched. Learn how to craft a fun three-part photoshoot with Mitzi’s guide to directing clients through a nurturing and emotive experience that will result in powerful images. You’ll also get tips on lighting, gear selection, marketing, and pricing, so raw portraits can become a profitable part of your business. 


Included in this Bundle:

What’s Included?

6 Hrs, 38 Mins

12 Videos

A series of short, impactful lessons that you can fit into your schedule or binge watch all in one sitting.

Lifetime Access

You'll have lifetime access to this course---watch anytime in your Portrait Masters account

What You’ll Learn


Raw Portraits Intro

Raw Portraits is about your creative journey as a photographer who loves to see clients light up because you have documented them through the lens of love. Even if you are already offering fully styled glamour portraits, you can add raw portraits to bring even more value to your brand. When you shoot in a stripped-down way, you have the potential to improve your craft, including lighting and posing, and your client connection can also get a boost. Mitzi recommends also taking self-portraits in this style, so you can lean into your own discomfort about your appearance. As Teri Hofford says, “There’s no judgement in curiosity,” and when you approach yourself and your clients in this loving, tender way, what you’ll find is profoundly transformative healing for yourself and for your clients. 

Lessons in this module

07:35 Intro to Raw Portraits

Raw Portraits – Creating Connection

In this lesson, Mitzi shares how she came to offer “As I Am” sessions in addition to her fully stylized “Luxe” sessions. As photographers, our vocation is to see the beauty in others and reflect it back to them. We do that in glam shoots, and it’s equally important to offer shoots where people can show up just as they are. Mitzi reveals her process for learning to accept ourselves through self-portraiture that enables us to show up in a judgement-free way for our clients. In embracing imperfection and breaking the rules, we can create an accepting space for clients to relax and be themselves. In this lesson, Mitzi also shares how she prepares clients for her raw, un-retouched shoots, the 3-parts to each session, and how she creates a positive, loving reveal session. 

Lessons in this module

1:14:40 Creating Connection

Raw Portraits – Lighting & Gear

Mitzi delves into the critical role of lighting and camera equipment in crafting emotive portraits. She shares her personal approach to selecting and using gear, from lens choices to lighting setups. Mitzi emphasizes the importance of understanding the tools at your disposal, encouraging experimentation and adaptation to find the perfect combination for each unique session. This lesson offers insights into how the placement of just one light can dramatically alter the mood and focus of a portrait. Mitzi’s guidance is grounded in the philosophy that the technical aspects of photography should not overshadow the connection with the subject, but rather enhance the authenticity of the moment.

Lessons in this module

14:47 Lighting & Gear

Raw Portraits – Pricing & Product

Mitzi tackles key business elements of portrait photography, focusing on creating value-based pricing and selecting impactful products. She emphasizes the importance of treating raw portrait sessions with the same esteem as stylized shoots, sharing insights from her own experience to maintain high sales averages. Mitzi advises on product selection, encouraging photographers to choose items that resonate personally, as this passion translates into sales. This lesson covers practical aspects of pricing transparency, the psychological impact of package structuring, and the significance of storytelling through products, equipping photographers with the skills to price confidently and curate a product line that reflects their artistic vision and meets client expectations.

Lessons in this module

18:27 Pricing & Product

Raw Portraits – Marketing & Prep

When it comes to raw portraits, it’s important to let the images speak for themselves. They are emotive and connected, and they express just how powerful the experience is better than anything else can. In this lesson, Mitzi explains the best way to build a portfolio of raw images so that you’ll have images for your marketing. She also tells how to gather the all-important testimonials that will be the backbone of your marketing copy. Additionally, she shares more details about her client prep guide and how you can adapt it to be uniquely yours.  

Lessons in this module

19:26 Marketing & Prep

Raw Portraits – Directives & Prompts

In raw portraits, we’re doing more than just having people “act natural.” The photographer needs to lead their clients on an emotive journey where they feel safe, supported, and like they’re doing a great job. In this lesson, Mitzi shares her quick reference guide for directing clients through a raw portrait photo shoot. She shares how she pays attention to how clients feel comfortable in their bodies and what conversational topics can be a point of connection with them. She shares prompts that bring out natural postures and movements, that explore their emotional repertoires, and that keep the shoot fun and silly while also creating the space for deeper expressions.  

Lessons in this module


Raw Portraits – Full Shoot

In this lesson, Mitzi brings us through a complete portrait photography session. She guides photographers through each phase of the shoot, including setting up the environment and her preferences for lighting, backdrops, camera, lens, and props. She takes us through her initial client interaction as well as how she directs and gives prompts in each of her three setups. Emphasizing the importance of authentic client engagement, Mitzi provides techniques for creating a relaxed and trustful atmosphere, crucial for capturing raw and emotive portraits.

Lessons in this module

53:18 Full Shoot

Raw Portraits – Instant Reveal

In this lesson, Mitzi guides a client through image selection, demonstrating how her reveals emphasize self-love and authenticity. She also outlines her approach to pricing and products, including storybooks and digital files. In addition, Mitzi shares the discreet way she implements payment plans, ensuring photographers can sensitively handle financial challenges. Central to this lesson is how to create a comfortable environment for clients, fostering an atmosphere of genuine self-acceptance and expression.

Lessons in this module

52:54 Instant Reveal

Raw Portraits – Conclusion

Mitzi reviews key points from the course and offers guidance for how to push farther into areas that may have raised doubts and questions for you. She offers prompts to help you come to a deeper understanding of how to build a raw portrait experience that you truly love. When we align with our passion, letting go of self-imposed barriers and limitations, we position ourselves to provide a client experience that is truly honoring and transformative. This is the energy that can shift the culture and the world by bringing more love into the art you create and into your clients’ lives. 

Lessons in this module

20:58 Conclusion

Raw Portraits: Bonus Content

What if you offered a photoshoot that revealed how your clients feel vulnerable about themselves? What if those portraits were so powerful and incredible that your clients loved them, printed them, and hung them on the wall? What if the idea of leaning into their vulnerability was the very thing that drew them to you? 

In this special bonus lesson, Mitzi shares her full ‘As I Am’ photoshoot with Sue Bryce, founder of The Portrait System and a reveal session with Melissa, someone Mitzi connected with through Sue Bryce’s Self-Value workshop. Both were so moved by Mitzi’s ‘Raw Portraits’ that they had to have a session, too. Both talk about how the very vulnerability of ‘Raw Portraits’ is what drew them in and made them feel so empowered by the shoot. 

Watch the shoot with Sue Bryce from start to finish with commentary by Sue and Mitzi. In the video with Melissa, Mitzi and Melissa go over the images Melissa chose and talk about why they both felt so moved and inspired by them.  

Lessons in this module

27:53 Sue Bryce Full Photo Session
49:00 Sue Bryce Image Reveal
38:16 Melissa Image Reveal

Go beyond the rules you’ve learned about portrait photography to create healing and transformative images for your clients! “Raw Portraits” with Mitzi Starkweather offers a map for creating authentic portraits that capture the beauty of your clients just as they are – vulnerable and un-retouched.  

This course offers a method for creating powerful images – from setup to reveal – in the span of time it typically takes just for clients to have their hair and makeup done. With no need for hair and makeup or retouching, it is a lucrative genre to add to your brand, and it is accessible and welcoming to all types of people. 

Mitzi’s course about her “As I Am” sessions offers a pathway for photographers to embrace imperfection in themselves and their clients while creating a safe space that is playful, open, transformative, and fun. 

Moreover, in “Raw Portraits,” Mitzi imparts crucial knowledge on marketing, client relations, and sales strategies, ensuring that your passion for photography translates into a thriving business. She emphasizes that with the right skills and mindset, you can create not just photographs, but experiences that resonate with clients and will have them telling their friends all about it.

Included with this course is a 50 page workbook to go along with all the lessons and a PDF with the English transcription of the course.



Visit Mitzi’s website for more information!

7 Reviews

“Mitzi, I wanted to write you and tell you how much I love your course. I have never ever binge watched a course before. Usually, they sit and sit in a folder marked "Watch" and then I don't end up watching them, or start and stop and never finish. Your energy and your teaching is so refreshing and I thoroughly enjoyed it. And your sharing of your story is so open and real, thank you. I just did my first "As I Am" Session last week and it was so amazing. This type of session is the answer to a new kind of session I've been hoping to offer. It's freeing, and creative, and so much FUN. And such a nice contrast to what my sessions are usually like (very planned and styled). So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! I do hope I get to meet you in person one day and give you a big hug and thank you in person. Steph”

Stephanie E.

“Mitzi, this is such an amazing course. Your teaching style spoke to me in such a personal way. I can't wait to explore it's possibilities for my business.”

Janice S.

“I love this on so many Levels! I can't wait to dig in and Present these concepts to my clients. This is Brillant!”

Ariel F.

“Awesome course Mitzi. I love how these sessions are truly focused on capturing peoples authentic self.”

Oren S.

“Mitzi Starkweather's course has changed me, my views and resparked the passion I once had. I am incredibly greatful and would buy this course 10x over!”

Amanda B.

“I absolutely loved Mitzi's course - such a fresh approach to a portrait session and she breaks it down well and also encourages to explore and make it yours. Thank you, Mitzi!”

Irina L.

“I have finished the course - and it's refreshing! Such a free way to think about creating beauty and making it easier in a studio to accomplish this. Mitzi is great about emphasizing that this is just groundwork, take it and make it work for you. There's just enough structure to unleash creative freedom. Excited to offer this in 2024.”

Liz S.