This past December I attended the Lighting Essentials workshop in Anna Maria Island, FL. I have been a big fan of the Lighting Essentials website and Don Giannatti's work for a while now, so when I had the opportunity to attend one of his workshops here in Florida I jumped at the chance. The Anna Maria island workshop is a great deal too. It's actually a 3 day workshop for the same price as the usual 2 day workshops. We started on Friday and went all the way to Sunday talking and learning about photography from 8am to 11pm. This may sound gueling to most people but for me, it was a very exciting weekend and if I could have stayed longer I certaily would have.
The workshop was a good mix of lecture and demonstrations by Don and hands on shooting. We started on Friday by all getting together at the condo of Billy Kidd (his real name) who is a professional photographer from Orlando and was helping Don organize the workshop. We talked about photography for a good hour and then went across the street to the beach for some shots.
The weather in Florida in December is kind of unpredictable. Sometimes it's warm and sometimes it's not. This weekend it definitely was NOT! It was freezing cold and to top it all off, it started raining just a few minutes after we got out there. So it was back to the garage for some studio work.
Don was going through his thoughts on studio lighting and the effects of different light modifiers when Jenna showed up. She had come to be our model that day and arrived just in time. Thanks to Jenna we had a real beauty to help demonstrate the uses for a beauty dish. Don demonstrated several different ways of using the beauty dish and the pros and cons of each technique. We then added other lights and reflectors incrementally to enhance the image.
We worked with Jenna for a while in the garage studio Billy had set up. Billy works for Disney in Orlando as a photographer and as the lighting guy for motion pictures. Fortunately for us he had access to an arsenal of lighting equipment that would make even Joe McNally jelous. With all those toys in the garage, we could have shot all day, but when hunger strikes, we all move to the local Jamaican restaurant for a bite to eat.
We went to the restaurant armed with cameras and speedlights (just in case). After a delicious meal we asked the owners if we could shoot in their restaurant. Not knowing what they were getting into, they agreed. We quickly took over the restaurant and started lighting everything. We started drawing attention from the locals hanging out at the restaurant, and the next thing you know people were calling their friends and girlfriends to come down to the restaurant to be photographed. One character that came out was Jason. He was a friend of the bartender with some interesting tattoos on his arms. Although he looked like something out of a gangster movie, Jason was one of the nicest people I have ever met. Towards the end of our shoot at the restaurant, I was able to grab this shot of Jason as I tried to focus attention on his interesting tattoos. I wanted a dark and mean look to him. I think I got what I wanted.
After the restaurant we went back to the condo to talk shop some more. That evening we all went out to a fine dinner on this great restaurant right on the beach. No cameras this time, just a bunch of friendly photographers hanging out with some great food.
Thus ended day one of the workshop. Stay tuned for day 2.