Sunday 22 Jan: Learn Lightroom

This coming Sunday, January 22, I host two Lightroom courses at my home studio. Small size, only a few students (4-5 max).

Adobe Lightroom: optimize setup and file structure

Sunday, Jan 22, 2017, 11:00 AM

Michael Willems Studio
48, Wilkes Street Brantford, ON

1 Emerging Photographers Attending

Lightroom ROCKS. Forget Photoshop, Lightroom can doing all if you’re a photographer. But to get maximum benefit, set up your file structure, preferences, and presets properly! That’s not always done… I see many users with messy file structures and sub optimal settings and presets. The good news: everything in Lightroom can be changed, an…

Check out this Meetup →

… and part 2: https://www.meetup.com/Brantford-Photography-School-Meetupome-join/events/236919051/

Who is this for?

For you, if:

  • You have always wanted to use Lightroom effectively.
  • You are not sure how to set it up: where to store the files? How?
  • You are always losing files.
  • Importing is a big gamble: you always end up with things more confused than before you started.
  • You see question marks meaning “can’t find file”.
  • You wish you . could make your own presets.
  • You still use Photoshop for editing, but you wonder if it is doable in Lightroom.
  • You, too, would like to edit your shoots in one fifth of the time it took you in Photoshop.
  • You get the big picture but it’s the tips and tricks that elude you.
  • You know a lot of functions, but you’re not sure when to use them.
  • You want to learn an effective workflow

…and so on. Come join me; bring a camera and a laptop and, if you have it, an external drive, and I’ll set it all up for you.  Lightroom is the way to manage your files, and to edit them and to use them: in one day, learn how. 

Follow the links above, or contact me to reserve your spot. Only 4 students allowed, so hurry before it’s full .

Time and space

Sign up now: there’s time and space to learn all about flash. A model and make-up artist will be supplied for the workshop I am teaching on January 28 in Toronto. In this workshop, from knowing “nothing”, you will learn creative flash in half a day.

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Recent single flash shot. Studio settings; manual; off-camera; 1/8″ grid.

And this includes:

  • Setting up your camera for flash.
  • Why use flash when it’s bright outside?
  • TTL or manual flash: Why go manual, and when?
  • Speedlights or studio strobes?
  • What are the limits to using speedlights?
  • Modifiers: gels
  • Modifiers: grids and snoots
  • Modifiers: softboxes and umbrellas.
  • “Magic recipes”: shortcuts for outdoors, indoors, and studio flash.
  • Common mistakes – and avoiding them.
  • Off-camera flash: How? Why?
  • Using radio triggers (which ones?)
  • Secrets of creative lighting – examples with model and make-up artist.

You will leave with a few great portfolio shots, but also with an understanding of, and “quick start” recipes for, handling each flash situation that you will come across.

This course is intended for everyone from beginner to pro. What you have in common is that you have an SLR camera, you know little about flash, and you want to learn all about it. Bring your camera! If you have a flash, bring it; if not, no worries: everything is supplied.

There are spots left but space is limited, so sign up now.

Blurrrr.

“How do I get a blurry background?”, asks a student.

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OK… so if you want a blurred background, as in a portrait:

  • Focus accurately (using one focus point?) on what should be sharp. The eye of your subject, for example.

Then, use some combination of:

  • Get close to your subject.
  • Zoom in on your subject.
  • Use a longer rather than wider lens.
  • Use a lens with a large maximum aperture, i.e. a low minimum “f-number”. (Most prime lenses and most pro lenses are like this).
  • Use a low f-number
  • Use “portrait mode” (which uses… a low f-number!).
  • Have a distant background

And that’s how you do that. As my students at Sheridan College are learning this semester.

 

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from The Speedlighter! 

As for your 2017 resolutions, how about this one: Make this the time you finally perfect those skills you always wanted to hone! Skills that allow you to quickly and easily do pictures like the ones I took over the last couple of weeks. These include a few animal (and animal-plus-owner) pictures:

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All those were made with the 85mm f/1.2 lens, and used a single speedlight in an umbrella.

But I also did an executive portrait, just yesterday:

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Do you see the difference between the two above? For the first one, I did not want to show the outside (boring, homes). Easy, so the picture,like almost all my pictufes, was stright out of the camera.

For the second one, however, I did want to show the blue sky. So I exposed that one less (using the magic Outdoors Recipe–one of the things you will learn if you turn up). Both used flash, of course; fired by Pocketwizards and with their power set manually. The second one used much more flash power because I was using low ISO and small aperture to kill the outside light. I also had to, therefore, brighten the Apple logo in post-production.

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I would almost call that last one an environmental portrait.

The next ones are certainly environmental portraits:

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The one above used a 24-70mm lens and a speedlight with a Honl Photo 1/8″ grid. The one below, a 16-35mm wide angle lens and a speedlight with an umbrella:

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What do they all have in common? Simplicity, good exposure, and a thorough knowledge of the technical necessities.

You can learn this too. Why not do it? I have several great opportunities coming up!

All of these are excellent learning opportunities, and will broaden and deepen your knowledge significantly. Hope to see you there and then. 

 

 

Stars and stripes

A technical post today—after all, this is a technical learning blog.

When you see a picture with details like this (from my Mac’s background picture)…
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…then you know that a small aperture was used for this photo.

The only way to get the sharp star shape you see here, you see, is to use a small lens opening. Meaning a small aperture (“aperture” means “opening”). Meaning a high “f-number”. In this case, I used an aperture of f/22. The reflection is from my flash, which was aimed straight at the car.

I have other clues. Other detail in the picture includes:
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That is at least proof that the lens was not wide open. If it had been, the polygon at the top would have been not a polygon, but a circle.

Other notable facts: the lines (there’s your stripes) all converge where the sun is. And finally, the lens is probably an expensive one: the polygon has seven sides. Most have five or six sides. The more sides, the more the lens approaches the ideal, a circle. That ideal gives you great bokeh.

Bokeh

THE TERM BOKEH, by the way, when used correctly, is used to describe the quality of the fuzzy background. “I want bokeh” is not a correct term: when people say this, they usually just mean “I want a blurry background”.

Correct usage: A lens that has great, beautiful bokeh is a lens whose blurry background is wonderfully smooth and evenly creamy. A cheap lens, on the other hand, has bokeh (especially “fully open” bokeh) that is more like clotted cream: much less smooth, more uneven. I can tell a cheap lens from an expensive one immediately, and I bet you can, too, when you see them side by side.

And that concludes today’s lesson. For more, attend one of my many upcoming workshops: scroll down to read more.