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

 

 

 

 

 

Another Strobist Meet-up for Photographers

Demetra Koutsopdiotis  Monica Nicklas   Monica Nicklas 2

My friend, Dave Monsees, decided to host another Strobist Meet-up at his photography studio, and I was definitely up for that. I like trudging around photographing snowy scenics, but, the thought of spending a photo-filled day in a warm, wood-heated studio was enticing, and when he extended the invite I didn’t hesitate to accept.

My request to the other photographers was to continually change the two lighting setups  that we were using. I had participated in past meets, and, they were fun and photographers got to make lots of pictures of models; however, even though the resulting pictures were great, the lighting remained basically static for every image. For this day I wanted to change the modeling lights and modifiers every hour.

That meant photographers and models had to rethink what they were trying to do, but after the first change everyone got into the swing and began to get really innovative. Photographers changed lenses, shooting angles, helped each other out by moving the lighting around, and our models went through several clothing changes and were as involved in the creative process as the photographers.

The studio had lots of lighting equipment set up with wireless camera connectors for each photographer. There were two different backdrop set-ups, and we had our choice of lights and modifiers like softboxes, umbrellas, snoots, barn doors, and reflectors.

When I wrote about the last studio meet-up I attended I said that photographers always need to explore and experiment, and get-togethers like this are perfect for practicing off-camera lighting in a studio (that most photographers don’t have access to) without the pressure of actual clients, and it is a fun way to refine one’s skills. Monsees commented that he liked being around fun people with a true passion for photography, and dedicated to off-camera flash.  He also said that he enjoyed himself so much that he intends to try to have photographer and model get-togethers in his studio every month if he can.

Although photographers have been using off-camera light nearly as long as they have been making portraits of people, that practice has really been limited to a few that owned studios. Recently all that has been changing what with quickly advancing camera technology, and the word “strobist” now refers to a photographer who uses off-camera flash to take pictures, instead of the usual pop-up flash, or hotshoe flash attached on top of the camera.

I am often asked, “Why use off-camera flash?” Instead of using just a camera, one must lug around a light stand and a flash. That means carrying extra weight. Sometimes a photographer would require an assistant since weather conditions might knock over the light when shooting outdoors.  My response to the question is, “Better pictures.” Light is the language of photography. Without light there are no photos. With off-camera light one adds light and control over the final image. Adding light might introduce drama in a picture and can increase detail or hide it. The extra work greatly affects the output.

I like quotes and here is one regarding light from George Eastman, American innovator and entrepreneur, who founded the Eastman Kodak Company and invented roll film. He summed it up for me when he said, “Light makes photography. Embrace light. Admire it. Love it. But above all, know light. Know it for all you are worth, and you will know the key to photography.”

I always appreciate your comments, Thanks

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com