My friend Bob Clark (pictured) was fortunate to be able to attend photographer, and award-winning author, Scott Kelby’s, Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it seminar last month. In his fact-filled tutorial Kelby showed participants how he produces a portrait; taking participants through an entire “live portrait” shoot – start to finish – controlling studio lighting with different lighting set-ups, a how-to on working with models, and his very latest PhotoShop portrait retouching techniques for finishing.
I have known Clark since my time at the University College of the Cariboo, (now Thompson Rivers University). He recently retired and opened a small photo studio located in a back space of the Public’s Own Market building at 970 Victoria Street. Bob’s clients are dancers, actors, and models looking for portfolios and in his own words “people that normally would not go to a traditional photographer”.
I would have liked to attend it, however my schedule didn’t work that day. I knew Clark was going and that I would be able to sit with him for a review of Kelby’s photographic discussion, so when he invited me over to check his studio out, of course, I made the time. We have always had fun bouncing ideas about photography off each other, and I wanted to see his new space, and knew I’d have the chance to quiz him on Kelby’s class.
I asked him about Scott Kelby and he said he was delighted with his lecture style. “He didn’t talk down to anyone no matter their experience, and it was obvious he could relate to everyone equally”. I asked Clark why he decided to take the class. He said he “had been reading and researching portrait lighting and photo retouching for some time, and Scot Kelby’s name came up continually, so when I saw that he was giving a workshop in Vancouver I knew I wanted to attend. I wanted to be surrounded by people of the same interest. This was not a social occasion for me, I wanted to be nothing more than a photo geek for one solid day.”
Clark told me he joined 500+ photographers in a spacious conference center fitted with two large video screens and equipment filled stage with many different portrait lighting set-ups. There was actually a full working studio on stage exhibiting moderately priced lighting equipment that the average photographer could afford, not the fancy out of reach, high priced stuff that he expected at a workshop of that caliber.
Kelby began with a basic one light setup, photographed his models using different backgrounds, showed how he would use PhotoShop for those subjects; then moved to a two light setup, photographed the models again changing backdrops a few times and took that subject to finish demonstrating PhotoShop techniques; then repeated the complete process using a three light setup.
I asked Bob if there was a high point or something that really got him excited during the class and he said definitely the part when Kelby photographed a model and in less than thirty minutes was able to change the background using PhotoShop. He had used a plain background then seamlessly placed the model on an album cover, and reminded participants that step-by-step instructions for that process were in the handbook provided.
Clark commented that one could easily reach information overload with all the information that was being shown and discussed, but Kelby reminded all the participants that everything in the workshop would be in the techniques book handed out at the beginning of the session and that if he had strayed a bit there would be additions available by going to his website.
Clark mentioned several times how much he enjoyed that class and highly recommended it to my readers. He said the class also comes in three distinct parts if one is reluctant to go for the whole package. And he emphasized that anyone will get something from Kelby’s Light it, Shoot it, Retouch it seminar, no matter his or her experience. I am hopeful the Scott Kelby road show will make the trip to British Columbia again next year and plan on attending if it does. This type of event features one of my ongoing bits of advice to aspiring photographers, and that is to continually upgrade photographic skills by attending appropriate educational seminars.