Photo 101 :: This is what it looks like ::
I’m not the type to talk much about my workshops but a number of folks have expressed interest in the three day Photo 101 as to what that actually look likes if you were to attend one. Someone from this weekend’s workshop asked why I didn’t blog about my workshops. I said I didn’t want to seem like I’m trying to sell them all the time so I just keep quiet about it. They said they would appreciate seeing something about the workshops and a blog post would have been nice to read before coming to one. So…
First, what is the Photo 101? It is an intense three day workshop I’ve been developing for a year that is aimed at the hobbyist / amateur photographer that wants to take photography from a hobby or interest and move it into a job. It’s limited to 10 students per workshop.
Friday :: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm :: The first day of the workshop is lecture, lecture, lecture. Everything about aperture, shutter speed, metering modes, working with available light, and optimum camera settings for different photographic applications like portraits vs. events. Just before lunch I break the students up into pairs and have them photograph each other. We then critique those images at the end of the day. These images are shot at the beginning so I can judge the level of everyone involved before the class gets into the meat of applying the lecture material. We also spend a good deal of time talking about lens selection. Choosing the right lens for the picture you want to make is one of the most important things you do as a photographer. If you don’t know your lenses and know what they do you are shooting blind.
The goal of all of this information is two fold. One is to understand the foundation of photography as it applies to shooting photos for clients and two; the importance of knowing the fundamentals and rules to get started with as you walk on to a shoot. Yes we want to be super creative photographers that push boundaries but if you start out never knowing those boundaries then you never have a rock solid starting point to build from. Starting out you have to be able to nail the fundamentals. They have to be second nature to you. You want things like reciprocal exposures, camera features and settings, and foundational lighting principles to be hardwired into your brain stem along with heart beats and breathing patterns. If you don’t have the foundation you are going to have a hell of a time trying to build something of value on… nothing. Well, that’s my philosophy about it.
Saturday :: 9:30 am – 7:00 pm :: This is the day of shooting, shooting, shooting. We started applying information from the previous day’s lecture to working with actual “off the street” clients. We started with simple headshots. Nothing revolutionary here but the goal is you should be able to fall out of bed and nail a headshot. We starteded with window light only, moved to window light plus reflectors, and then moved outdoors to use scrims and reflectors. We spent the first half of the day working with 5 clients to nail a headshot in and around our studio with the emphasis being you don’t have to have a “studio”. Any old window light will do.
Since your first foray into professional photography most likely will include portraits that is what we concentrate on. Note that very little has been done to the photos in this post. Maybe a hair of color correction, a slight tweak of contrast, a bit of crop, and an occasional B&W conversion. Light is our photoshop.
After lunch it was time to start with the headshot and then find out where and how to break the rules and why you would want to do that and when you most definitely do NOT want to break the rules. For the rest of the afternoon and into the evening we worked with three models and two “clients” who were fellow photographers but easily opened up in front of the camera. Our amazing sexy location for this? My yard. We all descended on my yard for the afternoon to create portraits. The exercise was learning to shoot in any location. Please note that I do not have a manicured English garden for a backyard. I still have a dead old Christmas tree thrown in the bushes because the city never picked it up. One of those back yards.
For the first part of the day we had very clearly defined constraints we were trying to work under and then it was time to throw some of those constraints out the window and remind ourselves that our job is supposed to be fun. We can nail the safe or the expected or the needed shot but how can we go beyond that? Can we shoot an out of focus portrait? The answer is yes we can. I love this shot by Jessica Cook.
Here are some more from the yard… Find a simple background and get all up in it…
Light the eyes. Light the eyes. Light the eyes!
This is Meg’s recording studio in the backyard. We call her Loretta.
I love this image that Lisa created in the front yard of Esther laying in the grass.
Hawke Danger gets in on the action…
I don’t get to shoot a whole lot at workshops because that isn’t the goal. The goal is to have students shoot as much as possible. I don’t care for those gang bang shoots where fourteen million shutters are clicking 8 inches apart from each other. I would rather folks get a more hands on approach to building images with me roaming around giving feedback and answering questions. I will piggy back off of you though from time to time. Here is one I squeaked out as Terry was setting up her own shot.
I really love these next two…
I love ‘em all really. It was really, really, really hard to edit for this blog post. I just did it by gut reaction to photos and there are about 15 others that I’m not posting because the Internets would blow up with this many pictures in one blog post.
After a full day of shooting we headed down to the beer garden at the Marlay House for dinner, beer, conversation, and more beer. It was a gorgeous evening of beer and photography and beer.
Sunday :: 10:00 am – 1:00 am Monday morning :: Yes. We go until we go on the last day. We started the third day off with editing the work that was shot on Saturday and going through post production and archiving and file management and all of that fun stuff. We went next door for lunch and then had two models come in for a few hours in the afternoon. I split the group of photographers into two groups and gave them assignments. THEN… get this. I taped their screens for part of the shooting time so they couldn’t chimp. They couldn’t see if they got the exposure right. They couldn’t see what the photo was turning out like. They had to, get this… think it through and you know what? When you don’t see what you are shooting it is possible to still create great work! Like this…
After the shooting session we got into business and marketing and working ideas as you get started in this industry. We ate dinner, we kicked back a few beers, and we critiqued the images from the afternoon. It was a long, long, long day. You can expect 35 or more hours of workshop time in a three day period.
I’m really proud of this group. I mean, I’m proud of all the photo 101′s so far but as I get this class tweaked and focused I’m really glad to see the kind of work folks can produce after a relatively short amount of instruction time. You should see their images from the first assignment on day one! ;)
We have some spots left for November and we *may* be announcing one in June but the folks on the waiting list have first dibs on that. It has not been listed yet. Details will be on the OneLight Workshop site if we open that date. Note that for now these Photo 101 workshops will only be in Atlanta and will always run Friday – Sunday.
So here you go Jessica! A blog post about the Photo 101!