I bought my Nikon D3000 November of 2009 with the intention of getting basic photography lessons but I haven’t really had the time. I tried reading some materials online but I’m not very good with self-studying either. I think my brain has a quota as to how much it could absorb self-studying and I’ve used it all up back in elementary having attended an ACE school. I did manage to find out what ISO and shutter speed does when I adjust it. Hehe.
Anyways, Chestknots Studio (headed by JayJay and Feliz Lucas of Lifestyle by Feliz) held a workshop about Photography and Styling in Dubai which looked really fun based on the photos I saw in their blog and I was hoping I could attend it. It was such a blessing that they decided to do the same thing here in Manila. Hooray!
If I remember correctly, they were actually requiring the participants to have a DSLR camera and to already have the basic photography knowledge so I was actually quite hesitant at first but eventually, I decided to go ahead with it (knowing that I risk looking like an idiot). And I’m glad I did. I think they have 3 or 4 batches and I was able to join the first one…
What: 1-Day Intensive Photography & Styling Workshop
Where: Ronac Art Center
When: August 6, 2011
Time: 8AM – 7PM
Admittedly, I felt kinda intimidated. There were only 8 participants for the day and 6 of them already have photography background. Judging from the initial photos we had to take, I realized that I was way behind. Sigh…
As an “icebreaker”, they asked us to take photos of random things that would represent our name. We were allowed to roam the place to take pictures except for the 3rd floor (because there was an event). I was very glad that the letters in my name consists mostly of straight lines (I used “Tel”) so it wasn’t that hard to find stuffs for my shots though it actually took me a while to grasp what was happening having only had 2 hours of sleep. -_- It was very insteresting to see what people came up with for their letters.
When that was done, another “task” was given to us. We were suppose to partner up and take profile pictures of each other and then introduce each other to the class. I was paired with Eugene and Lace (trio) because we were missing one participant at the time.
Jayjay then introduced himself and gave us a brief background of how he got into wedding photography. Feliz followed and did the same thing. Afterwards, we started with the lesson: JayJay on photography and Feliz on styling. I’ve already had a few posing tips from Feliz when we had our postnup before so I was familiar with some of them. She got the models to do the poses in front so this was a lesson for both photographers and the models.
Who were our models? I believe they’re clients of Chestknots Studio who agreed to model for us for the day. We had two couples: Enrico + Mitzy and Yogesh + Anna. They’re real couples who will be married soon. Both couples were great sport. I hope they had as much fun modeling as we did shooting them. (^^,)
After lunch, we got to do our first shoot for the day. And this is where I found out about the shortcomings of my kit lens. We were grouped into two. One group to shoot one couple in one location and another group to shoot the other couple in a different location. We had I think 10-15 minutes, then we swap. The shoot was a bit fast-paced because of the time-pressure and there were atleast four photographers shooting the same subject. Not to mention that I’m still trying to grasp the concept of White Balance and checking my manual settings. Sometimes, I’m still trying to figure out what my settings should be and when I finally get it, I look up and find that the poses and the positions have already changed so I didn’t get to take a shot of all the cool things they did. It was a bit overwhelming but I’m glad that the photographers of Chestknots Studio are always there to answer our questions and guide as when we need them. My shots are a far-cry compared to what I’ve seen from the other participants so I’m actually not that confident posting these but I don’t know how to give you a visual of what happened if I didn’t. So, please forgive the bad photos…
Here are my shots… I got a few nicer pictures for the second set but I’m not sure if we’re allowed to post them. -_-
After the photoshoot, we had another lesson in photography and styling where Caliber taught us about modifiers and creating DIY stuffs for photography. Since I haven’t really tried my camera with external flashes and what-not, I was very excited about what he was going to teach us. I couldn’t totally relate to everything that he said since I’ve never really had to use these stuffs before but it was definitely interesting. It was amusing to know that you can use simple stuffs in the house to help in taking photos. Even a white shirt! Hopefully, I get to use what he taught us in the future.
Once Caliber was done, Feliz then taught us about conceptualization. After the discussion, they paired us up and we were to conceptualize our shoot, style our model and direct them. A model, location, stylist and a photographer were assigned to each pair.
I was paired up with Fatima (aka Wings) and the concept style we got was “Campaign” and “Constructed”. JayJay was our photographer. I really couldn’t think of any campaign we can do (I’m mostly interested in Editorial, Literature and Literal concepts — I suck at draw lots. Why do I always get the last thing I wanted?) Anyways, we were suppose to come up with a concept in 10 minutes and my mind went completely blank. Good thing Wings had an idea. I didn’t really grasp what she was talking about at first but everything worked out in the end. We even got the “Best Concept” of the day.
The concept was K.I.S.S. (Keep It Short and Simple). Our first few shots was suppose to be our model (Enrico) in nothing but shorts (with the permission of Mitzy ofcourse) and the word KISS written on him. JayJay assisted us with our shots and I got to use a trigger and a flash for the first time. Yay! The next was our model, over-styled and getting confused with all the clothes we put on him. He was practically drowning in clothes. Hehe. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to take a photo of this. Wah!!! By the time it was my turn to shoot him we were called by one of the organizers telling us it’s time for us to leave our set. Apparently, the photographers were suppose to take turns shooting each concept (which was actually kinda nice since we get to take photos of all the models and we weren’t stuck with just what we did). It was kinda confusing at first, though because we had no idea what was going on.
We were taken to the next set. It was Mitzy lying on a bed looking really comfy. JC who was the photographer assigned to this set lent me his flash (SB900 i think) and I got to use it. Yay again! It was really nice to see the difference and I very much loved the output (now thinking of getting one for myself). It was REALLY heavy, though. I’m not sure my hands can take more than just a couple of minutes using it. We only spent a few minutes on the bed and we were to go up the 3rd floor (event was already over) when we got stuck in the elevator. Why? That’s where we took more photos. The venue’s elevator is really nice. It looks like a sauna! Hehe. Too bad I didn’t get to take nice shots. I didn’t have the flash anymore and the lighting wasn’t very good inside. 😦
When we reached the 3rd floor, we went to our next set with Anna looking like a gypsy princess. This set was headed by Caliber who helped me out with the settings of my camera. Though I liked some of my shots, I find the photos a bit noisy. PLUS, there are times that there would be a little something extra in the photo that shouldn’t be there (like the stylist’s feet or hands).
Up next was the basement with Yogesh, who was “dressed” like a monk. Nobody was there to assist us when we got there though so we couldn’t ask anyone for advise. I didn’t have any flash or reflectors or anything I could use and the lighting in the basement was not very ideal. Now that I think about it, maybe we should have just changed location. That would’ve probably made our lives easier. I think Wings was able to take some nice photos though. By this time, I was already really tired from all the running around and stuff. After a while, the head photographer of the set arrived with Lia and Feliz. He only has a video light though and I find the light too harsh. I tried to take more photos but I’m afraid none of them were good enough. I’m very disappointed with myself with this set but I vow to be better. 😛
Afterwards, we went back up to sit down and take some rest. They then awarded the Best Concepts and Best Shots of the day. Ofcourse, the day wouldn’t end without taking group photos…
I learned a lot from this workshop. Not just in photography but in communication. Some people might have second thoughts about photographers taking styling or posing lessons too but it’s actually very important. As a photographer, you should know how to make your model look good. What is flattering and what is not? You should be able to direct your model since the model might not always know what to do. I remember during our prenup shoots, I usually rely on our photographers to tell us where to go, what to do or how to pose. I’m still having trouble with the directing part but hopefully I get to do better next time.
Before I end this post, I would just like to share that Lace won the Best Shot of the day. Aside from me, she was the only other one who didn’t have any photography background. Actually, she didn’t even know what ISO or shutter speed was. PLUS, she didn’t even have a DSLR camera with her. She was using a Lumix LX5 which she just bought the week before. BUT she managed to produce the best shot of the day. It goes to show that good photography is not all about the camera. I really love this shot.