Friday, November 4, 2011

Photo Workshop At Franklin Park Conservatory

Just wanted to share with everyone about the photo workshop on 10/29/2011.

I've had a group that has been wanting to work on portrait techniques for a while now and the stars aligned and we were able to get a group together.  Ohio being what it is this time of year, we were not sure how the weather was going to cooperate.  I thought that the Franklin park Conservatory was a great location as there are both indoor and outdoor locations that lend themselves to great photo opportunities.

Ambient Light with silver reflector low
Nikon D300, Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D
1/80 @ f/4 80mm ISO 320
My wife volunteered to be the model for the workshop.   She is a very gracious and willing model.  She made it very easy for those attending to get some great shots.

We started off with some expectations.  All those attending had some prior experience with photography and I've personally gone through some of the basics of photography and some information about off camera lighting and how to craft the light in order to make a killer image.  So I knew that they had the "book smarts", but what they were clamoring for was some real world, hands on experience.  A way to be able to put theory to the test.

I gave them some time to scout the location and determine if there was a good backdrop for our subject.

Not too far in we decided that the rain forest room, with its lush foliage and numerous waterfalls would be a good place to start.

I gave them some basic instruction on getting their exposures dialed in and then let them start to get some shots with just the ambient light flooding the room.
One of the first things that they noticed was that the daylight streaming into the room was a great free resource, but as bright sunlight tends to do, left some pretty harsh shadows on the model.

So,I asked them...."what can we do to make the image better?"
We discussed it for a minute and came to the consensus that we wanted to lift the dark shadows.  But how do we do that?    External flash?  Change the models position relative to the ambient light?  Use a reflector?

Ambient exposure only, no reflector or fill light
Nikon D300, Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D
1/80 @ f/4 80mm ISO 320
Ah!  A reflector!    I brought with me a fold able 33" 5 in 1 reflector.  That sure did the trick!

Lesson here....good ambient light, proper exposure settings and a $30 fold able reflector and you go from getting a so so snapshot to a more professional looking portrait.

Nikon D300, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8D
1/250 @ f/7.1    38mm ISO 320
Main light at camera left SB-28 with a Lumiquest SB LTP
Hair light at camera right SB-600 bare
Next we moved to one of the outdoor areas.  This section had some very nice looking lattice fence and a spiral staircase.
Again, I had them take a few test shots to get their exposures down.   Once they did that they evaluated them also for any improvements and again, those pesky shadows from the overhead sun crept into play.  The reflector was employed and did the trick.

After 2 hours at the Conservatory, we took ourselves over to a local coffee shop that had a community room and relaxed for a minute.  We then went through some flash portraits.
Here will be some from the attendees(update coming soon).  Pretty successful shoot from the group.  

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