Last weekend was my first time teaching a photography workshop. I wasn’t nervous about getting up in front of people as I have done that quite a bit in my Navy career. There were a couple of other things I was nervous about though.
My primary concern was having enough material to fill up a whole day. When I developed my course outline, I thought for sure I’d have some extra time to spare… boy was I wrong! I ended up concluding the class at 7:30PM that night and we started at 10:00AM that morning. I spent a LOT more time on lighting (natural, on camera, and off camera) than I thought I would. The attendees were really into it though, which was cool for me and made it that much more fun.
My second concern was being able to hold everyone’s attention all day long. But I didn’t seem to have a problem there either. No matter how many times you go over your material, there’s really no way to know if you’re going to be interesting or not. You just have to wing it and see how things go.
One thing I focused on at the end of the day was working on location portraits and lighting them without making them look, well… lit. I shot the image above of Adrian, a workshop participant, while we were on location at Balboa Park here in San Diego. The flowers and greenery made for a nice background and I shot at a wide enough aperture to throw them out of focus and prevent them from being so distracting.
I lit Adrian with a single SB800 with only the diffusion dome on the speedlight. I triggered it with CLS, but in manual. I wanted to control how much light I was throwing into the image. This type of lighting style allows me to use the shutter speed to control the background exposure while using my aperture to control my foreground exposure.
Overall everyone seemed thrilled with the workshop and were looking forward to more. They also commented on their desire for me to offer more topic-specific workshops as well. That’s in the works for the near future.