Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lighting & Portraiture Workshop by Tracy Wright Corvo

Yesterday, Saturday May 22, 2010 ... had a Great/Fun day assisting Tracy Wright Corvo with her " Lighting & Portraiture " Workshop, at Studio f22 at 3442 Waialae Avenue, * Lighting Gear sponsored by Hawaii Photo Rentals (which there shop is pretty much downstairs) ...
LINK here to Tracy's blog about the workshop:

FUN, because I did not have to put in all the hard advance work in that Tracy had to do ... in order to make this workshop as successful as it was, and I did not have to do "any" Post Processing work (the next day) ! That's an inside joke for Event/Wedding photogs :).

She "tricked" me though LOL. Told her I am NOT a good public speaker or teacher (this is not new to those that know me), and that I would love to asst. her with the Nikon Flash and Off camera Flash section of the workshop but I do not want to have to teach, or actually TALK (Tracy is a "very" good teacher and a great photographer, she also does a regular Children's photography class at UH ) . Anyway, she got me to work one of five sections she had set up (it's hard to say no, to someone as beautiful, talented, and nice ... as she is). It was to be a Nikon CLS section, but quickly turned into a Off camera Flash section, because more than half the students used Canon :)

Well, after the initial shock of not really knowing what to do ... I actually enjoyed it! Really. Obviously I love taking about Photography and Gear ... so, this was fun for me :) Now, I just need to learn how to incorporate more shooting for the students, and less talk about how I would shoot it. LOL

>>> * 5/31/2010 UPDATE: Tracy has told me (because of the success of this first workshop) there is already a second one planned ... Yes, I will bring my Manual JrX studio RadioPopper Triggers that "should" be able to work on any SLR camera with a Hot Shoe, and will trigger pretty much any Hot shoe Flash ... look for a date of July 25, 2010 SUN. The workshop will not be a Level two (next step) of the first workshop, but an improved version of the first, with more model shooting and a reveiw of shots taken, and how it applys to what was just learned.

OK, back to Tracy's MAY 2010 Workshop ....

For me, what I really loved about the workshop was that she included an actual shoot of Celia Kenny the Daughter of "Town Restaurant" owner , that is also a local actress.
Of course, there was a lot useful technical info being given ... but, this ... imho, was a demonstration of what makes Tracy great (and one of the reasons why I love her work) ... It is an essential element of portrait photography (imho) ... Moment, and Connection. In a few minutes in front of over 15 photography students (in a small studio) she was able to make the subject comfortable , Teach a class, AND talk to her subject enough to make her feel comfortable enough to reveal a small part of herself. Anyone that does this for a living knows this is not easy. (even more so, when you have a time limitation as well ... which is normal for this type of shooting)

Note: both was shot with the same "white seamless" backdrop and settings ... only the distance from the background changed.

This was a learning experiance for me :) ... and hope I was able to share some information that will be useful.

For the Nikon shooters at the workshop ... promised I would post two things, and here it is:

1) "My" Nikon D700 camera settings (which I have posted before, fyi)
This is "evolving" but here you go:

* First: and most importantly I put ALL my favorite D700 camera "Menu" items on the ... "My menu" , menu (did I say that correct?) ...
this stops me from having to dig deep into the confusing list of menu items (so, now I have no clue where they are in the real menus lol)
* I LIST them in my must used order ... currently

* Second: and very important for me ... I tweak/customize some of the wheels and buttons to work better for "me". I will START with that, because it is the most used tweak on a shoot.

1) f9 reverse rotation = ON: so the comp wheels work in the right direction, * Change main/sub = ON ... both these changes helps me in my most used mode "A" Aperture priority ... allows me to change the Aperture with the BACK wheel ( I like changing the Aperture while my finger is on the shutter ) , and EV comp with a press of the EV button and BACK wheel. OR I can EV comp with the Front wheel (with no EV button press ... needs a b4 change)
* Menus and playback = ON
2) f2 Multi selector center Button : one of my most used feature ... * Shooting Mode = Reset to bring back my AF point to the Center quickly , * Playback Mode = Zoom so on a "automatic" Review on the LCD after each shot , I can quickly / easily Zoom in to 100 % aprox on the shot , this also keeps it in Review mode , and not shut off. (of course you need to Turn ON "Image Review" in the Playback Menu as well)
* another Big Trick in this menu is to set Playback mode>Zoom on/off>MEDIOUM MAGNIFICATION (which is about 100%) ... you can also in playback with this center button zoom trick , roll thru your shots at this zoom , cool when you want to compare two seq. shots.
3) f4 Photo info/playback ... Info at Up/Down , and Playback Left/Right ... in Photo Playback this allows me to quickly scroll thru my Fav Info OR go back and forth on my images.
4) Relates to above : in the Playback Menu ... "Display mode" ... I have Focus point, Highlights checked ... "my" most used playback modes. note: I can still scroll thru and see a histogram, but because the Histogram is generated from the imbeded JPG (in the RAW file) , and that I ONLY shoot RAW ... the Histogram is only slightly useable ... Highlight Blinkys more useful imho in the RAW digital age, where you can push to the Right.
5) Have the Focus mode selector switch to S (single shot) , and the top left dial to CL (set at 5fps) ... caution: whenever you take the D700/D3 out of your bag , check this Focus mode selector - You will thank me latter. This switch moves sometimes.
6) Metering Selector to "3D color Matrix II" ... fancy for Matrix ... and adjust all my comps with that in mind. The D700 Matrix Metering is very consistent and predictable ... and that is the most you can ask for. I will put myself down as Loving it, so I use it all (most ) of the time. Well, whenever I can. :)
7) AF area mode selector : Dynamic Area AF ... Very Fast AF/Accurate, and great in Low Light. I am super happy with the AF on the D700 and the new f2.8 lens.
8) d4 CL mode shooting speed 5fps (CL is my default setting) (CH is 8fps) ... If, you are the Focus and recompose type ... this will create problems for you, because after each shot in CL the D700 does re-focus , so your AF point needs to be above your subject.
9) e1 Flash sync speed 1/320s (Auto FP) ... so anything above 1/250 is auto HSS Flash
10) f1 switch : both , so on a right move of the light switch BOTH the back LCD and the top lights up , so I can do a quick check on the settings via a large 3" LCD
11) f11 No memory card = Lock ... no memory card , no shooting ... note: default is unlock (not a good thing)
12) f12 Reverse indicators to - 0 + ... logical for me
13) a1 AF-C priority selection : Release + Focus
14) b4 Easy exposure compensation = ON ... this let's me comp the EV in A using the front wheel (this in combo with my other settings)
15) in the Set Up Menu , LCD Brightness set to -2 ... this will give you a more True Brightness of your shot on the LCD ... listed this last , but is very important imho ... you might have to play with this for your own Monitor and PP (Post Processing) style.

Now, on to my Favorite "MY MENU" choices: (IF, you leave it on My Menu ... the Menu button quickly goes back to it. "My Menu" on the D700 has eliminated my need to ever go into the regular menus :)

1) e3 Flash ctrl for built-in Flash ... Which actually has the controls for Flash Commander Mode CLS , Love it, Use it. I am a strobist CLS kind of guy :)
2) ISO sensitivity settings ... auto ISO is a great feature , but you just have to be careful with it. I probably change this the most ... with my default at ... base iso200 top end iso6400 (being that on a D700 the "Unity Gain ISO" is iso6400 the hint is the dial setting, even though "in camera" it can go higher ... anything else can be pushed processed from a RAW file in Post, with the same results) ...
* and the shutter at what I can handhold "specific" for the Shoot/Lens. This is best when the conditions are changing fast. Shadow and Bright as you turn.
I also must note: "whenever" Lighting conditions are tricky ... say, almost anytime after the Sun actually sets ... I Turn Auto ISO OFF , and set the iso manually (most of the time, anywhy)
3) e2 Flash shutter speed ... my default is 1/30 but that changes.
4) a8 AF point selection ... when speed in selection is important I use 11 point
5) a3 Dynamic AF area ... 9 pr 21 depending on things around target
6) a5 AF activation .. I need this then I want to lock a AF in MF ... then I turn AF-ON only. Something I do often.
7) a9 Built-in AF assist illuminator ... so I can quickly turn off and ON
8) c3 Self-Timer delay ... let's me set the sec ... can use this instead of a remote shutter
9) Active D-Lighting ... allows me to turn Off an ON ... because it does affect how you expose in A mode , and therefore underexposes the RAW file (and can create a slightly more noisy file). (I shoot RAW) ... but, even in RAW D-Lighting ON shows you better (via the imbedded JPG) what can be done with the RAW file, and fyi LR v2.6 at default DNG LR import is very close to the D-Lighting JPG but less noisy imho.
10) Focus tracking with lock-on ... this is for AF-C shooting if you need to change
11) Long exp. NR
12) Multiple exposure
* I also have Shooting Menu and Custom setting BANK listed ... but, have not really used this much yet.

*** So, there it is ... IF, you have any improvements, to MY Nikon settings ... or something I left out , that would be important to use ... let me know.

2) a Digital Photography web site that has a wealth of Nikon information, as well as general Digital information for anyone ... trust me, it's worth a look no matter "what" camera system you use (Nikon info is on the earlier videos):

Of course, if you have some great web sites you want to share ... please, feel free to email me. There already was many that was discussed at the workshop. So, we got a chance to all learn from each other.

Hope this helps someone,
Ross D. Hamamura ...