Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lighting Essentials Workhop (Day 3)

Giannatti's AngelsSunday, day 3 of the Lighting Essentials workshop on Anna Maria Island. By now I'm completely hooked and can't get enough of this workshop. The last 2 days have been amazing. I have been learning so much, not just about lighting but about photography in general. Don covers everything from using your speedlights to communication with the models. He also goes over some very important (and amusing) "don't be this guy" tips.

This last day of the workshop was all about shooting. We again met at 8am to start and the first thing we did was to create our "light meters". This is a Don Giannatti trick for a DYI light meter (which works surprisingly well by the way) but I will let you learn about it when you take his workshop. Again, it's not a secret and you can probably find a post about it on the Lighting Essentials website if you dig around enough but I just don't want to give everything away. I really would encourage you to find out when he will be close by and sign up for one of his workshops. If he doesn't have one scheduled close by, send him an e-mail and offer to set one up where you live. If you organize it, you can attend for free!!

Back to the workshop. Once we finished making our light meters, the models started to arrive. The beautiful 13 year old Tiara came back for a second round and we were graced by the presence of two more models, Katelyn and Catherine. Now with 3 beautiful models to shoot, we got down to business.

Tiara at f/2.8Don split us up into 3 groups and each group got a model to shoot. He passed out assignments to each group, and off we went. My group got shoot Tiara first. Our assignment was to do a head shot. We picked a location right there on the condo, where the garage covers all ligned up to form a great tunnel all the way down the road. The weather was still cold but the sun was a little stronger that day which allowed for some natural light shots. The picture on the right was my shot in available light with a silver reflector just to camera left to throw a little light back on her face.

After a few shots in this location we moved on to a little garden where some palm trees were growing.  Since Tiara was wearing this pink sweater, I thought it would be great to get her in the middle of all the green leaves. I asked her to put her hood on to get more of that pink in the shot, and we moved her right in the middle of all the leaves. Jungle colorsTiara was a great sport about all this, since there were thorns all over those leaves! I really liked the way it turned out. This was done in all natural light with just a silver/gold striped reflector underneath to throw some warm light on her face. I love the colors in this shot and the expression on her face.

After our session with Tiara, we went back in to exchange models and go on to the next phase. Don talked about beauty lighting and demonstrated a clamshell setup using 2 umbrellas. As he was demonstrating, lunch was brought in (which is included in the workshop price by the way) and we ate while we listened.

After lunch we again broke up into our groups and went off. My group got Katelyn and the assignment was to do a clamshell portrait and then move the lights for a full body shot. Not a bad assignment, and Katelyn was perfect for beauty shots with near perfect skin.
Beauty in beauty light.
The second part of the assignment was just as exciting. We moved the lights placed Katelyn right up against the wall. Now with the clamshell set to one high up and one low, it was almost like having a ringlignt on your camera. The hardest part - as it always is for me - was directing the model.  I did get a cool shot when we started to play around with a hat. I called out "Jazz Hands!" and got a really cool pose out of her.Jazzhands!

We spent so much time on the second round, that in the end there was not enough time to shoot Catherine. We decided as a group that we preferred to do a shot with all 3 models together than do another round with the groups. Off to the beach we went to work some magic against a setting sun behind some really nice cloud formations (see opening shot for this post).

Overall this was a fantastic experience. I had a great time and learned a lot about photography and lighting. Thanks to Don Giannatti, Jenna, Tiara, Katelyn, and Catherine for making this such a great experience, and to Billy Kidd for hosting us in his condo.
You can see all my shots from the workshop including setup shots on my Flickr site here.
Also please do your photography a favor and sign up for one of Don's workshops at his Learn to Light site.