One of the things I promised myself I would do this year was to get out and get more involved, especially in the photography community. I joined a Facebook group for a local photography guild about a year ago and had already resolved to attend January's meeting to become an official dues-paying, event-attending member. At the end of that meeting, I started chatting with fellow photographer, David. He and a colleague (Craig) had recently started another photography group called POSE (Photographers of the Southeast). They were hosting their inaugural meet up and a strobe lighting workshop at the end of the month and, not buying my lame excuse of "I don't shoot people", he encouraged me to come anyways. Studio photography and strobe lighting wasn't something I'd had an opportunity to try before, so I figured, "Why not?" and made plans to attend. Even if it wasn't something I thought wanted to really get into, it would be fun to try something new and completely out of my comfort zone. At the very least, it would give me another chance to get to know and learn something from other photographers.
On the day of the workshop, I walked into the studio and instantly realized just how out of my comfort zone I truly was. What David and Craig had put together for everyone was amazing. There was a handful of other photographers there along with make up artists and several models. Not really knowing what expect when I arrived, it was a little overwhelming for someone who hadn't stepped into a photography studio since the Olan Mills days of yore. Thankfully, I was quickly spotted by David who explained how everything worked. There were six different lighting stations set up, each with a remote trigger and a card with recommended camera settings to use. "Just grab a model, pop the remote into your hot shoe and go!", he said as I gave him my best deer-in-headlights look. After observing everything that was going on for a few moments, I realized that I wasn't going to learn anything by just standing around, watching everyone else; as nervous as I was, I needed to just jump in.
Thankfully, everyone was warm, welcoming, and willing to help. I have almost zero experience when it comes to directing and posing, but all of the models I had a chance to work with were amazing and knew just what to do with very little guidance from me. When I struggled with getting the exposure right on some of my images, the other photographers were quick to jump in and give me some great suggestions on which settings to try differently. The entire workshop was a collaborative effort— models helping models helping photographers helping photographers helping models. It was amazing to see so many people working together and having a great time doing it.
The one thing that blew me away every time, was how each lighting set up produced a certain type of result. Every time I moved to a different station, I would go into minor shock after seeing the first few images on the back of my camera, trying to figure out "...HOW did it DO that?!". I think my favorite set up was the beauty dish with Lauren (first and last image in this post) and Courtland (second to last image), simply because it somehow made everything in the background completely disappear. What the photos don't show is that this station was set up in the middle of the room and directly behind the model is a wall of props and a desk of computers and everyone's camera gear lying about and a table of pizza and people standing and walking just a few feet behind them... 😳 Seriously, I had spent half the day trying not to walk behind anyone while that station was in use and it was totally unnecessary.
By the end of the day, I was exhausted but so happy I made the decision to go to the workshop even though it was so totally different from the type of photography I usually stick to (thanks again for the push, David!). I learned so much and made a few new friends in the process. And even though it's been a few weeks and I've looked at my photos over and over again, it's still hard to believe I captured the type of images I never thought I'd have the ability or opportunity to.
I hope you've enjoyed them, and if you're in the Athens area and would like to get involved in a photography group or two, be sure to join the Athens Photography Guild group and/or like POSE Athens on Facebook! Have a wonderful week and weekend!