Workshop Reviews

Glamour Photography Workshop Review

I had the pleasure of attending another workshop by Danny Griffin on glamor photography. We started with the basics. First setting the camera for our location. The location was a nice studio in downtown Kansas City on the top floor of an older building. Lots of large windows, bright color walls and old hardwood floors. It was a really nice location. Next we setup the lights to create highlights on the model. The back lights were more of a harsh lighting. These were set about 1 stop above the main light. The main light was a large soft box set slightly off center. We also used a kicker to ensure our model had even lighting.

We then had the pleasure of working with model Jessica Vaugn. We shot several different outfits. In addition we changed up the lighting to several different styles ranging from a single center to color gels for our back lights. Our photoshoot with Jessica was about an hour and a half.

Following the photoshoot we had a photo editing session. I always learn a lot from these. Even if it is a simple tip it really helps.

The other great part about the editing session is the fact you get feedback on how your images look. You get to see how others shoot the same model in the same setting. This is a great tool to learn what to change or not change.

Now as I always say I don’t give ratings. I think like any training you get out of it what you put into it. Each person learns differently. So, here is what you will get out of the workshop. First a chance to work with an experienced model. Second lots of lighting tips, ideas and the ability to put them to use with practice. Finally, a chance to learn new editing techniques. If this sounds good then the workshop is well worth your time. I know I enjoyed it and learned a lot. I would recommend this workshop.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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Grunge Motel Workshop Review

Danny's Grunge Motel Workshop Review

Before I start the review let me just say workshops and training are different for each person.  You get out of them what you put into them.  That being said please use your own judgment on how the content best fits your needs.

The “Grunge Motel” workshop is unique for a workshop.  Many times workshops are all about portraits, glamour, products or fashion.  This theme was one I just wanted to do.  It doesn’t fall into the everyday images we tend to shoot.  So let’s set the stage for this experience as it is.  Start with a rundown motel that, when you see it, the last thing on your mind is stopping.  You walk in and you really don’t want to even touch ANYTHING!!  Imagine stained carpet, curtains that are painted to the walls…  furniture that is just falling apart in fact there was one room condemned by the city.  Now add a beautiful semi-nude/nude model to the mix and…

Jessica Vaugn

Well, before I get ahead of myself lets talk shop!  The workshop is done by Danny Griffin and is semi-private with only 2 participants per workshop.  You can see his work at www.dannygriffin.net.  We start with a handout going over the basics of the type of lighting, the mood, what we want to accomplish.  Then it is how to set your camera for this style of imagery.  Then we are introduced to model Jessica Vaugn.  You can see her portfolio at www.jessicavaugn.com or find her on several modeling sites.  She brings a variety of lingere’ and lets you pick the looks you want to shoot her in.  To top it off all of the items have a photo of her on the front so you can see exactly what she looks like wearing the item.

We began the shoot by setting our white balance.  A good idea for any shoot however most people tend to rely on “auto” white balance.  If you don’t know how to set this on your camera I suggest reading up on it and getting a grey-card.  The shoot lasted about 2.5 hours with several changes.  Between changes lighting modifications were made.  Most images are done with a single mono-light but we did add in a reflector as needed.  We( I ) also shot a few images using natural light.

Danny used a very experienced model as Jessica needed little direction to give us incredible images.  We used every aspect of the room, all the furniture, rather Jessica was on the bed or standing on the night stand. (luckily some of it was nailed to the wall!)  Safety was a concern as it should be in any shoot, but there was no stopping her from climbing on things to give us something different.  It helps to have a model that is experienced and willing to give her all!  We were not disappointed, she delivers.

Upon completion of the shoot we went back to the studio to edit time images.  Danny looked over our images and helped us pick out a few for editing.  He gave us a mini critique of our shots and some pointers on how to improve them.  He provides a layer file and gave step by step instructions on how to finish an image.  It took roughly 30 – 40 minutes to edit the first one and I was able to complete a second one while watching the other participant work on his.  Some of the others have taken even less time to do now that I know the steps and have the provided sample file.  I did learn some KB shortcuts (THANK YOU!) and how to use some tools I’ve never tried before.  My weakest area is photo finishing so this was a very useful learning tool for me.

Danny did allow us the freedom to try new things, we were not tied to a set agenda.  I was able to pop out the “Lens Baby” for a few.  In fact Danny barrowed it for a couple shots himself.  Towards the end while the other participant was shooting I put on my 35mm F/1.8 and got some nice natural light shots.  This was very different for me to shoot as I normally shoot commercial type images, 90% of them on white.  I wanted to do this workshop because it is so different in style and creativity.  It is not the everyday images I am use to.  Think outside the box, be creative and look at what you can accomplish.

Ok, now for the wrap-up… I don’t put a rating on my reviews because training and learning are different for each person.  If you are looking for something creative and different then this workshop is for you.  Don’t sign up thinking you are going to be in a controlled studio environment because you won’t!  Be ready to step outside the box and have fun.  The price for this workshop… we shot for 2.5 hours (shared time) so model fees alone would be at least the cost of this workshop.  Top that off with the instruction and a lesson in photo editing (Damn I need to learn those CS keyboard shortcuts!!) and you have a very reasonable price.  Total time was about 4.5 to 5 hours.  Workshop is highly recommended.

Still not sure… After posting some of the images I have been contacted by 3 different models wanting to do a similar shoot.  I have 2 of them scheduled in 2 weeks from this posting.  Lesson…the door to the studio lets you out if you just walk through it.  Take the chance and let it payoff in the end!!

VVS Workshop Review

VVS Workshop - Bobby Deal, students and model Kiti Kobain

Before I start the review let me just say workshops and training are different for each person.  You get out of them what you put into them.  That being said please use your own judgment on how the content best fits your needs. 

Vegas Vision Studio Lighting Workshops.  I first saw the promotion for this on a stock photography site in the forum.  I sent several questions to owner Bobby Deal and then check out his website http://vegasvisionstudios.com or on meetup.com.  The studio is a 6000 square foot commercial studio located in, as the name suggests Las Vegas Nevada.

They have 3 main photography studios an array of lighting and modifiers.  Photographers can shoot Hi-Key, Low-Key and also use the daylight studio as the situation calls.  There are lounges and makeup rooms for models.  Make up artists are provided for workshops or can be arranged for other projects.  Members of the meetup group can rent the studio setup with lights for $50 per hour.

I took 2 workshops over a weekend.  The first workshop was a non-instructional stock shoot out.  There were 3 models with multiple clothing changes.  Like I mentioned earlier makeup was provide by the staff MUA.  Even though it was non-instructional Bobby did assist when asked.  There was one person that bought his DSLR the day before the workshop.  Bobby spent quite a bit of time giving basic instructions and posing tips to make the experience good for a new photographer.

VVS Workshop - Jolene Hexx

The models for the day were great.  We kept them going the full day.  Each going from studio to studio always going us great shots.  I was able to get 400+ stock images and a few fashion type images.  All in all a full day of shooting.  I liked this type of shoot for stock because I was able to work with different models, try new things and could do some small group shots.

VVS - Sydney

Day 2 was a bit different.  We met at the studio but the workshop took place in Nelson Nevada.  A very interesting place to say the least.  In fact the main picture in this article is of Bobby Deal taking a shot of Kity Kobain (model) while being assisted by other workshop participants.  This workshop featured 6 models both male and female.  It was more of a fashion themed workshop again non-instructional.

Even though it was non-instructional we worked in teams and Bobby again assisted us as needed.  If you are a studio shooter this defiantly got you out in natural light.  Back to nature so to speak.  What a great location, so much to take in I think I could have spent several days there and still found new things to shoot.  Just when we thought we had seen it all Bobby loaded us up took us about a half mile down the road.  There we shot in old gold mines.   I also have some images from that shoot on my creative lighting article.
The second day shoot was just incredible for me.  I like trying new things and getting out of the studio, not having as much control was an eye opener.  The fun does not stop with the workshops.  After we finished and wrapped up the night life was great as well.  You know it is Vegas so there is a lot to do and no shortage of great dining places! 

I would highly recommend VVS Workshops.  The cost is very reasonable, the studio is setup well and the people are fantastic.  They offer a variety of workshops so check the meetup site often.  I’m not going to rate my review because I think each workshop or training is what you make of it.  Even though it works for me only you can say if it works for you.  I really don’t think you can go wrong here. 

Hope you enjoyed, thanks for reading!!

Loyd Rosen Workshop

I had the pleasure of attending a workshop by Lloyd Rosen a couple months back. But lacking time I have been bad about finishing up the review. Let me start as always by saying any training or workshop is only as good as the effort you put into it. That being said let’s begin.

Having taken many workshop’s there isn’t a lot of difference other than instruction method and theme. Lloyd does ok with instruction but tends to be less formal than others. I tend to disagree with a few of his suggestions. First I think one should always set the camera white balance but loyd told the group he doesn’t worry about it in RAW mode as it isn’t needed. That is kind of true because you can adjust it but for me it seems to make things much easier to set it at the shoot and save post adjustments, just my 2 cents.

Second I asked about a light he was using because I have a couple and they seem to run hot so I only use them as background lights. Lloydm said a light is a light. True but mixing lights for me has always seemed to give unreliable results. Again, my 2 cents, I just prefer to keep things as consistent as possible. I will agree to disagree on these points. Like I said I want to shoot it with out additions post work if at all possible.

The main reason I like workshops it that you get so see how other photographers think. We were shown how to look at a location and how he picks places to shoot. Not just where but how he would use the space. It changes the thought process some when you have additional input. Once we have the space then it comes down to lighting the model. Again, insight on the direction of the light for the location and the amount of light. Very informative and useful information.

The Style was more editorial again not what I normally do so it was a great change of pace. I like doing things that are different you always learn more when it’s new to me. The set was simple using a bar area, living room and bedroom. The model was great, she knew where the light was and how to play to it. Workshops are always better when the models are experienced.

What I liked about this workshop. 1. The editorial style was fun and different for me. 2. I liked the mix of strobes for some parts and natural lights for others. 3. The laid back atmosphere not so structured that you could not suggest changes in pose or setup.

What I didn’t like about this workshop. 1. The white balance comment still bothers me. Especially if there are new photographers that don’t know anything about white balance. 2. I did not get a release for the images. Not even for my portfolio so that is why none are posted here, no release to post them.

To some it up… I don’t give ratings. Would I take this workshop again? Maybe, if I liked the model and was given a release. Would I recommend this workshop? I think it depends on the person. If you are beginner to intermediate the answer is yes, you’ll most likely enjoy the learning and working with models. If you are advanced to pro then YMMV. If you don’t do editorial, it will be fun… Use your judgement, have fun!