August 1, 2010

Portland, Oregon Photography Workshop With Lighting Wizard Joe McNally: Day 2


**warning, warning brain overload**

Ok, luckily it wasn’t that bad today as I really felt like I hit the ground running in the right direction as opposed to feeling like I had two left feet, or something to that effect.  Today, Joe showed us how he’d light a group of people and much, much more.  The shooting felt more (read way freakin’ more) synergistic as I was able to process all the information from yesterday and make it happen.

With 15 people in the workshop, we split into three’s and, well I have to say I’m now really spoiled after having two assistants working for me when I shot…..back to reality Byron.  Actually, my hot wife is my assistant so that’s way better than two any day…..right hun?  I got to work with Steven (dancer) again and the beautiful Kyli and we had a great time.  Really trying to push it with Steven in an area with some tagging on the wall.  During those last shots I really began to feel like I was in control of my light.  Ok, here’s some images from today, (again, unprocessed) and I’ll start dumping some info I learned on you in the next few days.

UPDATE: Top 10 takeaways from this weekend:

1. On Nikon bodies with the pop up flash, using the CLS (creative lighting system) is super easy but has limits mainly with other flashes being triggered by the pre-flash of the small pop up. Use a SB800 or 900 as the commander, point it straight up and put the diffuser on. The pre-flash signal is WAY stronger and 9 out a 10 it’ll trigger. Also, using the SB800-900 as a commander allows for adjustments with 3 groups of flashes and the pop-up only allows for two, providing you with an added level of control.

2. When shooting profile shots, position the flash at about 45 degrees in front of and BEHIND the persons face (the flash will be facing more towards the camera). This way the light will gently wrap around the subjects face and prevent the background from collecting unwanted light.

3. Great use of a Think Tank CF card holder: Cut the middle seam which initially separates them into two CF holders and presto, great holders for all your gels!

4. Wana light up a city block? Gel your car headlights and watch out!

5. Paint poles with male stud (for attaching softboxes, etc) can be used just as well as monopods for creating the “light on the stick”. In fact, these poles will be for the most part much longer and a bit more versatile (but a little less collapsable.

6. Any time your camera goes into High Speed Sync mode, (any time your shooting with flash and using a shutter speed of 1/250 or greater) remember this will draw lots of power away from your flash and you may need to either double up flashes to get what’s needed. Trying to overpower the sun is hard!

7. After you have accessed the location (light and background wise) and have a concept, place your subject in the frame where you want them and take a few test shots using AP (Aperture Priority) to determine what the ambient light is doing (looking for hot spots, etc.) and then build your flashes in from there.

8. Reflectors below the chin can light up peoples eyes. Or throw the reflector on the ground-just play around to see what you can get!

9. When changing auto compensation while using flash, this affects flash power when in TTL. Switch over to manual on the commander rather than using TTL to lock in the flash power.

10. New ideas can come from mistakes in prior frames you shoot. Maybe one of the faces you blurred gives you an idea. Don’t be afraid to just shoot and see what’s happening!

Review: Day 1 Portland, OR Joe McNally Photography Workshop

Best looking guys in the class!  Thanks Joe.

Below:  Behind the Scenes – a jungle of lights

The mind reels………….hey, by the way check out all the flashes on that light stand.


Byron! This is great info & so appreciate your time in sharing. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am Nikon shooter so this is so helpful! Thank Wendy too for bringing this to us! Be well…Stacie (Part of the Bend Photographer’s Group) with Jill Rosell!

Hey Byron thanks for writing the list. I bought a SU 800 and a 2nd sb900…..can’t wait to begin experimenting!

Tana & Mike

do what you love…Love what U do! & wendy Too!
Never Stop Learnning!