Create Powerful Portraits with Hip Hop's Premier Photographer

Jonathan Mannion, Photographer

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6 Videos (1h 24m)
    • Trailer

    • Welcome to the Class

    • Photoshoot with Jon Contino

    • Psychology of Shooting

    • Pre-Recorded Live Stream: Making Selections

    • Pre-Recorded Live Stream: Closing Thoughts


About This Class

Portrait photography can yield some of the most compelling, descriptive, and authentic images of an individual. I have been fortunate enough to earn a living for several years taking such photos, and I am excited to work with all of you as part of this Skillshare class.

My name is Jonathan Mannion, and I’m honored to be the first to welcome you to my Skillshare class on portrait photography. I’ve been shooting photos professionally in New York and worldwide for about twenty years with a focus on music, celebrity, athletes, and advertising. My career in photography began when I moved to NYC in 1993 to accept a position with the legendary Richard Avedon.  I’m truly excited to bring my experience and knowledge to the masses through this groundbreaking class.

What You'll Learn

  • Creating a Mood Board. You'll create a clear understanding of your final shot by gathering a mood board of images that inspire you. 
  • Setting Up the Shot. I'll go over lighting, camera settings, and a number of other points that will give you a glimpse into how I operate behind the lens.
  • Making Selections. We will sort through our shots and go over: the truth in the photo, analyzing the success of the image, happy accidents and the guidance that can bring.
  • Submitting Final Project. I'll provide insight on some of my favorite projects and leave you with words of wisdom as you adventure out as better photographers.

What You'll Make

Once you run through this class, you will leave with a tangible collection of high quality photographs as well as the techniques, skills, and strategy to make yourself a better photographer.  You'll get plentiful positive vibes, encouragement, and creative support.

34 of 39 students recommendSee All

Very talented photographer!
this was a great class and would highly recommend doing it...i would do it again peas.
J Mannion did his thing in this class as it was very informative and I learned a lot. I feel as though he was just as excited about teaching the class as we students were to take the class. With his helpful tips, and upon completion of his class, I feel that I am a much better photographer. I already was a fan of his creative work beforehand and now that I was able to learn under his wing I respect his work even more than before. Big ups to Professor Mannion and Skillshare for hosting such a great class. I've already completed several other courses and am currently taking one now because of how much their courses interest me. Peace, Ryan/GoobJonze
Ryan Jones

Poursuite | Designer





Jonathan Mannion


Photographer Jonathan Mannion, a native of Cleveland, OH, began capturing images of up-and-coming urban music superstars after working for a year with world-renowned photographer Richard Avedon. In 1996, Mannion began his professional career by shooting the photographs for the classic hip-hop album "Reasonable Doubt" by Jay-Z. In the years since then, Jonathan's photography has grown alongside the culture he so loves, helping to visually define an era of urban music. As DJ Quik once pointed out to him, the world sees hip-hop through his eyes. Mannion views the opportunity to contribute to the genre as a blessing."I'm just a messenger, and I¹ve been given a talent to document an extremely important era of music history. I have a love for hip-hop that goes back to when I was a teenager, and I feel blessed to have had the chance to shoot the artists I've worked with. I've had the opportunity to grow with them and the photos I've shot over the years have become visual bullet points of their creative evolution and mine."

Mannion's images attempt to push the boundaries of his art, by constantly re-examining and re-defining the celebrity portrait. The influence of his work extends beyond the world of urban music. The broad range of subjects revealed by his lens include NBA superstars Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O'Neal, and Magic Johnson.

"My work is very intimate. I want people to feel like they're being let in to these superstars' lives through my pictures."

Soulful, pensive, often confrontational, and always beautiful, Jonathan's portraits attempt to blend the heroic with the intensely personal. Jonathan Mannion has already made a lasting mark on the collective American psyche, with no sign of slowing down. His celebrity portraits are often the first images that come to mind when thinking of the top talent in the music industry and the stars of the sports world. Jonathan Mannion's vision has indeed become our vision, and his creations have become an essential medium for the message of an entire generation.

In addition to headlining gallery shows during Art Basel, The Grammys, and at MILK Gallery NYC, Jonathan has spread his experience and craft through lectures at the Apple Store, Soho House Berlin, SVA, and Syracuse University.