I’ve become addicted to photography workshops.
It’s true. Here’s the shortlist: David Tejada (portraiture), David Ziser (wedding photography), Rick Sammon (HDR), Ethan Meleg (Algonquin Fall Colours), Philip Bloom (videography), Joe Buissink (Wedding Photography), Ben Willmore (PhotoShop) and a ton of live online three-day workshops on Photoshop and Lightroom from Creativelive.com (The joy of being retired.) among many others unnamed to protect the presenters who weren’t wonderful.
She’s only been shooting a short time (I’m past 40 years shooting as a pro and 50 years as an enthusiast) but she sure can shoot and she sure can teach.
I used to teach for Henry’s School of Imaging back in the day when they had real photographers teaching their courses (which despite who teaches them are universally pretty good for the new and intermediate photographer) and they are now trying something that competitor Vistek has been doing for years and that’s bring in a name-brand celebrity photographer for a day-long advanced course.
To make this work at under $300, there were 30 students which I think is about 10 to 15 too many to really benefit from one-on-one time with the celebrity shooter but two guys from Henry’s did their best to fill in the gaps as after Jen’s teaching session we broke out into two separate rooms with a different model in each and Jen doing her best to cover both spaces. The girls who were modelling weren’t full-time professional models but were more than skilled enough to substitute for the typical client that would show up for a boudoir session.
Esther and Sarah did a super job and after getting over a few moments of doubt when disrobing in front of 15 strangers (about 25% were men) by mid-afternoon we were all buddies and in this together and nobody though anything of pushing out a tushie when asked.
So was the workshop worth the price especially if you add in an additional $100 for Jen’s Posing Vol. 90-minute DVD? (Which I bought.)
The short answer is yes and while the DVD is at the high-end of what I’ll pay for a video here’s the deal: If you buy Jen’s posing video and watch it and study it several times, you’ll know everything you need to know about shooting boudoir images. That’s pretty good for a $400 investment in your business.
Of course, not everyone was an intermediate or pro shooter. Typical of a Henry’s course there were a lot of people who were pretty new to photography. One women I ended helping was shooting with a Sony mirrorless and was shooting JPGs when shooting raw would have been preferred.
Speaking of shooting mirrorless I did take my Olympus EPL-7 and it worked like a charm as I had my 12 and 40mm (24 and 80 mm equivalent in 35mm terms) f/1.8 with me. Should have brought my 17mm f/2.8 (35mm in 35mm terms) as it would have fit right in. And with their 16-meg sensors despite smaller than Nikon’s DX sensors were better in low light and produced amazing images. I really can’t tell which camera shot what without checking the metadata.
We were shooting in very small rooms, which Jen says were bigger than her New York studio and all was fine until the sun went down. Now everyone with slow zooms were in trouble but thanks to Henry’s which supplied a bunch of continuous lights it wasn’t bad but those of us with fast lenses kept shooting with abandon.
Speaking of lights, despite the $499 price at Henry’s a Westcott IceLight is an ideal lighting source for location shooting. We used one and they are easy to carry and easy to use.
One of the new things I was trying was back-focus on the Nikon D-300 which worked pretty well. Most of my Nikon images were properly focused with the odd shot a little fuzzy due to the slow shutter speeds (I never exceeded ISO 400.) but the Olympus nailed every focus on every shot. Very impressive.
The images look fine but there’s a certain amount of grit that comes from single-light shooting. I like it but I had thought boudoir shots would all be low key and sort of soft. Boy was I wrong.
I tell you folks, mirrorless is the way to go. Olympus is promising a new pro body in the spring and I am going to be looking very very seriously at it for all my work.