Saturday, July 28, 2018

Portrait Workshop? Yeah, I did that.

Likely not a surprise to anyone who knows me that I do not shoot a lot of portraits of people.   It's not that my introverted self doesn't like shooting people (tho that remains outside of my comfort zone), it is that the traditional head shot style that I associate with portraits doesn't really stoke my creative energy. 

However I do believe that one can learn valuable insights that will help ones photography by learning about all aspects of the craft, not just ones preferred genre.  Plus, when the workshop instructor is as amazing and accomplished as Ron Clifford, I couldn't sign up for the workshop fast enough.

This is why, in the middle of my recent vacation, I found myself in a studio in Newmarket Ontario with my wife, 6 other photographers, a make-up artist, a model, and Ron Clifford, attending a workshop on natural and single-strobe portrait photography.

At the end I even changed my mind, a little, about portrait photography feeding my creative spirit.

So, first some behind the scenes shots.

The workshop started with some math to cover the theory of cameras and light.

The math took about an hour, then we got down to actually shooting. First Ron would demonstrate the concepts:
Then we, the participants, were given the chance to practice the concepts, under Rons supervision.
The model used for both days of the workshop is Ron's daughter, Beth.  Over the course of the two days she, with the help of the make-up artist Dio put on several different looks. 

Beth was an amazingly good sport, and a lot of fun. 
Once I got over the social awkwardness of pointing my camera at new people, I got into the swing of things.  Me, being me, made it a meta game by asking Beth to do weird things, more to get her to laugh (and thus remove my social anxiety), but also cause of the theory that the natural smile of someone can be discovered the moment after they laugh.

It started with my asking her, while dressed up in a prom dress, to put on boxing gloves. I really liked the idea of a tough girl in a pretty dress.  Girl power and all that.

Someone else asked Beth to get on the floor for this post, but I jumped in and grabbed this shot anyway.

After a while everything got artsy.

This is my most favourite shot I got from the workshop.  I love her timeless expression, and that lonely chair in the corner.  This girl is alone somewhere in the world, with only her dog and a guitar to keep her company. 
So that was the workshop.  I learned a ton, had a ton of fun, and got some decent shots in the process.  Not a bad way to spend two days of vacation eh?