Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Keeping Up With The Times – Workshops

Keeping Up With The Times – Workshops
The Digital Revolution entered our world faster and with more force than was anticipated, causing sweeping changes in the way we take photographs.  On the fly, there are ISO changes and more images on a memory card than was possible on a roll of film, to name a few.  We no longer develop in a “dark room”; instead, it’s done with a computer.   Those who embrace the changes have done remarkable things with the tools available.  However, they didn’t use tools as a crutch to make bad photos good.  They made excellent photos better.  
All of these innovations came with its own set of challenges – foremost, learning how to use them and keeping up with swiftly-changing equipment and software.  To be competitive in the digital world means keeping pace with it.  Falling behind affects the bottom line of a business.  I’m not advocating buying everything that comes out, as that is unnecessary.  While new cameras are being introduced before the ink dries on the receipt for the one just purchased, not all the improvements are going to make a difference in what and how we do things.  For example, having the ability to shoot video with my still camera is not just important to me.  On the other hand, this is a major boost to event and wedding photographers, making it a wise investment for the photographer to update.  However, additional time must be spent learning the system and software.  Additional profits and markets come at a price.
Fortunately, there are numerous venues available to decrease one’s learning curve.  These encompass on-line courses referenced below to hands-on workshops presented by many photo retailers and professional photographers.  Some also tape training sessions for later viewing or review.  These workshops cover everything from lighting to software, portrait to wedding photography, fashion to glamour, products to food.  Some are free.  Depending on the program, others range from a nominal cost to several hundred dollars. 
Following are some recommendations.  Let’s start with lighting.  To understand properties of light, there is no one better than Dave Piazza, the National Technical Advisor for FJ Westcott.  The presentation Dave gives is an in-depth workshop on the principles of light.  Then there is the all-time master of lighting, Joe McNally, one of the most creative photographers when it comes to small strobe lighting.  Nikon has sponsored Joe for years and is a major presenter at all their trade shows.  He is also featured on Kelby Training.
When it comes to location or studio lighting, the first name that comes to mind is Rick Sammon.  Rick is one of the world’s most versatile photographers.  He is one of the few whose specialty is not having a specialty.  He has also written over 30 books on photography and is currently producing iPod and iPad applications to assist photographers. 
Then there is Scott Kelby, the head man at NAPP and Kelby Training.  Scott is the best author and instructor for Adobe products.  The NAPP organization is worldwide with one of the largest memberships of on-line and training workshop sessions, whose training moves from photographing to postproduction.  To receive a monthly boost on education, join Ed Pierce’s Photovision.  Along with on-line information, Photovision produces professional DVDs, featuring many of today’s top photographers and demonstrating the techniques that make them successful.
If you specialize in portraits, check out master photographer James Schmelzer, a featured presenter at trade shows for FJ Westcott.  To expand on portrait lighting, check out Lindsay Adler’s fashion portraits.  Lindsay has already produced two books, one co-authored with Rosh Sillars, on social media.  New her book, Fashion Portraits, is due out this month.  She does frequent workshops at B&H, Adorama, Unique Photo and trade shows.  Her stunning work attracts the attention of leading manufacturers in the photo industry, who now sponsor her presentations.   If the fashion market captures your attention, watch for B&H events for Joey Quintro’s seminars.  When it comes to photography, Joey specializes in fashion and fashion images only.  Joey headed up the studio lighting department before moving to research and development. 
In summary, the photo environment is not static, but in a constant state of flux of emerging new hardware and software.  Fortunately, a new industry has been created to keep us abreast of the technology changes – from personal seminars and workshops, to on-line training courses from NAPP, Kelby Training, Photovision and the manufacturers.  There is no substitute for excellent images.  Tools expand personal creativity.  But these tools are just that – tools.  The education is out there.  We can lead you to it, but cannot make you do it.  

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