Photography Studio Workshop   

Studio 1a

Studio 3a

Studio 2a

Photographing Autumn 1a

My latest photography workshop, Posing and Lighting, occurred just outside Kamloops this past weekend at a local studio owned by Dave Monsees of Cherry Creek.

I will begin with a perfect quote I have used before by photographer and author Frank Criccho that goes with what I was wanted the participants to think about. Criccho stated, “The success of a photographic portrait depends as much on the photographer’s artistic and creative use of lighting techniques as it does on his or her skill with the camera.”

Much of the time photographers either prefer to photograph people in the daylight or, if forced to shoot indoors, just increase their camera’s ISO. And there are too many that when they do decide to employ On or Off-camera flash go for the easiest method of just filling the space with lots of light.

During these sessions I lead my goal is to get participants thinking about not only posing our model, but also about the using the flash light as more than just a device to brighten up the environment.

I want them to begin making decisions as to how to apply light on their subject in the same way they might decide to use a long focal length lens rather than a short focal length lens.

As always, when I lead a full day session like this one, I feel my task is to present information and keep things going. And I always leave plenty of time for the participants to engage with the model and experiment with techniques. Watching workshop participants grasp and learn photographic lighting is a fun and satisfying activity for me.

I began the workshop with a quick slide show. Hmm…I guess we don’t have slide shows any more and instead connect a computer to a digital projector to provide a PowerPoint presentation. In any event we started the day off with a presentation that showed how different modifiers affected the light on a subject. So when our model Autumn arrived it was, “lights, camera, action.”

We spent the majority of the day (barely breaking for lunch) using many different light modifiers, changing the angle of the lights, applying light in creative ways, employing different backdrops, and of course, studying posing.

I will say these kinds of workshops are really demanding on a very patient and hard working model as she constantly and quickly alters her outlook and holds any pose the excited photographers request; all the while giving each photographer time to apply what I was continually introducing.

I can’t really say much regarding those enthusiastic photographers, I expect they were filled with the energy most photographers get when they are learning and creating, but by 4pm Autumn and I were ready to wind down. A good day well done.

“A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound.” – Charles Baudelaire, Poet – 1859

 

 

 

 

 

Lighting The Portrait Workshop

Class Participants

Bart&Sarah&wind Machine

Sarah

French poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire once said, “A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound?”

Last weekend I led an interactive studio session with students that covered off-camera lighting for portrait photography. My goal was to leave participants with enough knowledge and skills, that with additional practice and experimentation, they would be able to produce pleasing and creative portraits of friends, family, and clients.

Learning to take better portraits, or as I emphasized in my workshop, portraits that flatter the subject and which shouldn’t just be a flat documentary of a person, involves understanding lighting techniques and posing.

In this one-day course participants experienced several aspects of portraiture including directing both male and female subjects, as well as an introduction to light modifiers and their application.

My teaching experience has now expanded to over three decades. That experience has taught me (yep, I have learned lots too) that, rather than acting like a star or celebrity standing on a stage demonstrating what I know, I can be much more effective standing by their side leading photographers as a participant into new territory.

My job was to present information on the subject at hand and keeping things going. I’ll admit that wasn’t hard with last Sunday’s group. I stood back and could see what progressed from a spark to a wildfire as each photographer started getting the concepts and began excitedly making the kind of portraits future clients would definitely pay for.

Building bridges between what those photographers already knew and what had eluded them regarding portrait lighting was fun for them and, of course, for me and I enjoyed their enlivened interaction and creativity.

As with most of my current workshops this was held in a well-equipped studio filled with an assortment of lighting gear, complete with a drawer full of wireless senders for participants to use. There are soft boxes, umbrellas, diffusion screens, reflectors and a great selection of wall-mounted backdrops.

All equipment and setups I employed for this workshop could easily be added to any photographer’s kit without a large outlay of cash and could be used in a basement studio.

As the day progressed I included an assignment for participants to make a “business” style portrait of each other. That added to the fun and gave our overworked model some respite. My intention was to get photographers thinking about being creative and complimentary in their directing, posing and lighting.

Our model came made-up and ready to be photographed, whereas the rest of us, well, we intended to be behind the camera, not in front of it. So this was a perfect way to get photographers thinking about how that not so willing portrait client might feel.

By now regular readers know that I really like quotes. So I’ll end with this one by photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson that fits the mindset I hoped to impress on participants. He said, “Photography is not like painting. There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life offers itself to you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative.”

I always enjoy and respond to comments. Thanks, John

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com