I’m very fortunate, in that I get to do a job I genuinely love. This love for my craft makes me want to continually improve and add new skills to my repertoire. Sometimes, this takes the form of creative development, like the 3 day MyVision Creative Workshop that I took part in earlier this year, and sometimes it is about improving my technical skills to enable me to take complete different types of images from the ones I do now.
So last week I took myself off to the ShootFashion Creative Lighting Workshop with fashion and wedding photographer Paul White. I’ve known Paul for quite some time and what he doesn’t know about studio lighting is not worth knowing. Now this is not the first time I’ve been on a lighting workshop. But usually they involve 20 people, yes you learn the theory and you watch people demonstrate what they are teaching, but you don’t really get fully involved yourself.
This workshop was different. Set in a converted barn in North London, the fact that we were in an intimate group of just 4 participants meant that we were able to really take in everything we were being shown, ask as many questions as we needed – even if those were specific to our personal photographic needs and not necessarily those of the whole group – and there was plenty of time to experiment with the different light setups ourselves and work with our delightful model Charlotte. Paul explained and demonstrated everything in great detail, so that even a complete lighting novice would be able to understand what was happening.
We set up different situations using a big octabox, and also used standard sized softboxes given that not everyone has an elaborate studio space to accomodate the bigger lights, and we also used off camera speedlights bounced into an umbrella – showing what could be achieved even with the most modest lighting equipement. We learnt to feather the lighting to light larger groups evenly with just a small flash, we learnt about how to create different effects on the background, and all with a maximum of 2 lights.
We also headed outside using using reflectors in different ways, as a scrim to shield from direct sun, as a diffuser to shoot the flash through and simply as a reflector.
Here are some of the images and impressions from the day.
I would recommend Paul’s workshop to anyone who wants to improve their studio lighting skills (and the cafe next door serves a mean all day breakfast too!) – the intimacy of the workshop means that each individual participant’s needs and knowledge requirements are addressed. Ifeel completely inspired and motivated to try new things and can’t wait to apply what I’ve learnt. I already have my model lined up for my next shoot – so watch this space.