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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Another successful One-on-One Workshop

I love running photography workshops. As I have said often in this blog before, while I certainly welcome the financial rewards, I consider the real reward to be seeing the 'lights go on' in the hearts and eyes of those who attend. Normally my workshops are small groups, ranging anywhere from around 4 people through to about a dozen.
However, having recently embarked upon a course of One-on-One workshops, I have been able to see more closely the emotional and creative effect of my opportunity to teach others. This was particularly true of a recent workshop in which I was able to assist Tara, a photographer in Geelong who had established a home studio after purchasing a lighting kit. She had little idea how to use these lights and lighting accessories.
After spending four hours with her, I was able to show her how to establish lighting setups for Rembrandt, Narrow, Broad and Hollywood lighting. I watched as she set each of these up for herself, setting lighting ratios and utilising each of her three flash heads for different purposes within each setup. She was so thrilled. And, to be honest, so was I. It is an esteemed honour to be able to enable someone further in the pursuit of their passions. It is even more wonderful when you know that your customer can now combine their passion with the beginnings of a small business.
This is what Tara had to say in her very kind follow up email:

"Hi Shelton
I just wanted to write and thankyou for yesterday. What you taught me yesterday will be invaluable, and I am no longer aprehensive about walking into 'that' room! I know now I can use the studio to create some pleasing results (which is great for Winter). I think the main thing I need to work on is communication with my subject...I am generally not as bad as I was yesterday. You are like a photographic genius in my eyes, and I was NERVOUS!
...I came away feeling very happy as well as relieved! Your teaching style is amazing, you truly are gifted in that area. Thankyou again"

No. Thank you Tara. It was my pleasure!
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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Kodak PictureMaker DVD slideshows.

This is a video taken from a very high quality DVD that I made in a matter of minutes yesterday while shooting for Kodak. The new PictureMaker Kiosks have a facility by which you can take a maximum of 60 images, add music (that Kodak has the rights for and is available on the Kiosk) and then simply click 'Done'. The PictureMaker then synchronises the images and adds transitions, pans and zooms. This is very handy for family holiday slideshows and even quick wedding DVD's, etc. I was quite impressed!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Things We Do...

Kodak Australia is naturally one of my favourite clients. This is not just because they are a huge corporation and unequivocally synonymous with photography, but also because we have been working together for so long.
I got a call the other day from them requesting that I come to PacPrint to take a team photograph of their staff on their stand...which I did. Because I have a three hour minimum charge, they asked if I would stay on the stand and take photographs of the staff as they interacted with each other and with customers...which I did.
The following morning the images were shown to the staff during their morning wind up. They loved them so much that they asked if I could come in again and do the same thing..which I did. And now, they have asked if I will once again return and do the same thing again tomorrow...which I will.
Hey. I don't mind. Its work. I have bills. They are Kodak. There are worse things I could be doing. 
Etc etc..

Monday, May 18, 2009

Once more into the Bowels..

One of my favourite clients sent me an email the other day. It read in part..."I  think it is quite a boring shot so I need some of your best imagination to make this look exciting. I will hunt around for some reference materials to assist for ideas..."

And once again I am sent to do what photographers are paid to do. "And what is that?" you ask. It is the job of photographers to make something extraordinary from the ordinary, or less than ordinary. Don't get into this profession unless you understand that.

But really, if you think about it, that is where the professional photographer comes into his own. It is where he finds the image and creates from nothing to make something that his client would never have been able to conceive. I suppose that is why we get hired and paid such exorbitant amounts of money. Speaking of which, I will have to head out in a minute to put a coat of wax on my gold Maserati.

In this particular case I had two working guys and a bunch of waterpipes in the bowels of a shopping centre. I did what I could in a short time with a 14mm lens, some framework composition with leading lines and some off camera flash. I was pleased. Apparently my client was more than pleased....and that is what really counts.

I don't complain (much) about the nature of my work. Personally I think almost anyone with a basic knowledge of studio lighting and a $10,000 a day model can create a cover for Cosmo or Marie Clair. I wouldn't mind seeing what the same photographer could do in ten minutes with some water pipes and two average blokes. 

So...me? I am proud to do what I am asked to do.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Understanding Your DSLR Workshop

Yesterday once again saw me at Abbottsford Convent..again..running another workshop...again...
But don't for one minute think that I am tiring of this privilege! Absolutely not! If there is one thing I love doing, its running workshops. The Understanding Your DSLR workshop is a little different to the workshops Glynn Lavender and I normally run because it is a 'start from scratch' workshop that explains the rudimentary aspects of photography - apertures, shutter speeds, ISO, etc - that the digital age seems to believe can be omitted from the photographer's education.
But the comments at the end of the day by those in attendance were interesting...

"I used my camera in manual for the first time"
"Now I know how to control my camera and why my pictures don't turn out sometimes.."
"Shelton, you're a beautiful man and I want to have your children..."

Well, maybe not the last one...

But the comments about the growth they had experienced were truly encouraging. It is very rewarding to take a person from one place to another in terms of their passion and their craft. Knowing that they all left the workshop yesterday with the ability to take control of their photography was a wonderful feeling.
I was joined at this workshop by friend and fellow photographer, Richard Annable and his lovely girlfriend, Tamara who has herself recently acquired a Nikon D90. She is one of those 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em partners who has discovered the love of photography through association with their loved one. Yesterday, she learned how to talk the talk...and she can really walk the walk too!
But her D90 also came in handy when later than night Richard (an awesome drummer!) and I were asked to play with the band we were listening to at a function attended by a client of mine. We were invited along, and found ourselves on stage with the band!
Tamara's D90 was on the spot to record this not so epic moment...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Another Creative People Photography workshop

Saturday once again saw me at Abbotsford Convent running the Creative People Photography workshop. My old friend and colleague, Glynn Lavender was there also, providing the needed assistance for all those in attendance.  Together we run Creative Photo Workshops and we have much in the planning for future workshops.
Among our attendees was Mike Holliman from New Zealand. I know Mike from my digital photography tutorials website, The Five Minute Photographer. It is always great to have people attend from interstate, but this time we were graced by the company of a Kiwi! We had a fabulous time and Mike - who is inherently a landscape photographer - fell in love with the concept of photographing people, something formerly alien to his photographic thought processes. Now, we could attribute that to our model, Natasha Humble who is not only very attractive but is also a bright spirit who ensures a laugh a minute. Or, it could be that he just fell in love with the photography! 
This workshop is an interesting one because while it is entitled Creative People Photography it actually teaches several aspects and principles about photography that can cross over into other photographic arenas and endeavours. We cover depth of field, metering, posing, interaction, lens perspective and composition. These principles, while necessary to understand in all aspects of people photography, are a lesson that enable the photographer in so many other kinds of photography.
Apart from the financial rewards of workshops, I must admit that have too much fun running these things. I really do. And there are other rewards which it is difficult to put a price on. I love that moment of epiphany I see illuminate the minds and eyes of those who attend.I enjoy the fun and fraternity of our photographic family.I enjoy the brief opportunities I get through each day to take photographs, of course. And then, someone says something that kind of leaves you somewhat awed.
Mike pulled me aside during the day to praise me for my abilities, which is always nice. I appreciate that. But when he told me that the workshop that he had been on with renowned photographer, Moose Peterson, was not as educational or as enjoyable as this one, I was rather humbled. He said more, but modesty dictates that I just keep that in my heart. This was enough for me to feel encouraged enough as it was. 
Thanks Mike. While you say I made your day, you made mine...without a doubt.
There are plenty of workshops being planned for the future folks. So stay tuned. Somehow I get the feeling I was made for this. I love it too much...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Five Minute Photographer - the first assignment

My digital photography tutorials website, The Five Minute Photographer, has one of the friendliest photography forums I have seen. Apart from the video tutorials on the site, the forum has proven very helpful for many.
I have started a weekly assignment section for all those on the site so as to keep everybody's cameras clicking and their imaginations firing. This first assignment was a self portrait. I finally got around to doing mine, as you can see above...

Yesterday's Creative Wedding Photography Workshop

Well, yesterday's Creative Wedding Photography workshop was a hit. It was booked out and included two photographers from Brisbane - Naomi and Nicole - who flew down just for the day to be at my workshop. Well! I am indeed honoured! Thanks to my models, to Tamara for being a great assistant, and to all who attended and laughed and clicked the day away!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

One on One Workshops

As a result of being on air last week on 3AW with Denis Walter, I was contacted by a lovely lady named Anne who was looking for someone who could spend a day with her to explain how she could use her DSLR. She had been shooting for some time but with less than satisfactory results. Using a DSLR on Program or Auto modes does not always yield the desired image and the lack of control does not satisfy the creative soul.
So, I spent the day with her yesterday. The morning was spent teaching her about the operation and the creative options of shutter speeds and apertures. Then, a lesson on exposure and the need to be able to manually control your camera. 
The afternoon was spent taking photographs in various lighting situations.
By the end of the day Anne was able to set the camera to manual and work out why the photographs I had asked her to take around her home were not working out in Auto modes. She was able to take control of the camera, work out what the problem was and reshoot in manual to achieve the desired result.
We were both so happy!
Thanks for a great day Anne! I want to do more of these!

The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller