To be honest, the thought of using on camera flash (and OCF!) used to freak me out! I was an art/photography major in college, and the one and ONLY time I broke out my flash during my four years of schooling was when we were forced to for an assignment — and I dreaded every moment of it. I didn’t like the harsh shadows, blown out highlights, and overall unnatural look and feel that it gave my photographs. Once that assignment was over, I put my flash back into my camera bag and never touched it again until well after I graduated.
Flash forward a couple of years. A family friend asked me if I would photograph a surprise 50th birthday party for one of her relatives. It was at night, and I knew the restaurant where the party was at was going to have pretty low lighting. Ok, no problem. I popped my flash into my bag just in case and drove over to the restaurant. When I got there and looked around I found that I was completely surrounded by orange walls. There wasn’t ONE white wall in the entire restaurant to bounce off of. Cue ALL of the anxiety.
When I got home that night I realized that something had to change. I decided to take a whole bunch of courses specifically in flash photography, but nothing helped me the way that Justin & Mary’s Lighting Guide did. After downloading it, reading through it several times, and practicing their teachings and techniques day in and day out, I finally felt like I had a grasp on something that I avoided like the plague. I was able to get a natural look & feel from my flash at any point that I wanted during a wedding day and I had confidence in myself to be able to whip out a one light stand set up and photograph professional head shots.
When I saw on Instagram that J&M were having a class up in New Haven, CT, I jumped right on it! Who doesn’t want to learn in person from the best of the best, am I right? J&M are such WONDERFUL teachers, and I loved how hands on that they made the workshop. They taught us about the different characteristics of light, how different angles affect your subject, and how to balance ambient light and flash. Then they broke us into small groups and gave us all different possible lighting situations (high contrast, large light source, 90 degree angle vs. low contrast, small light source, 120 degree angle) and let us photograph different objects to see the changes for each scenario on the backs of our cameras. Towards the end of the night, we learned about photographing reception details, dancing at weddings, as well as different ways to take a portrait all using flash. I walked away yesterday having no more fear of bright orange walls and feeling more confident than ever using OCF and on camera flash! If you’ve been thinking about taking one of their lighting workshops, seriously, DO it! J&M’s next workshop is in Philadelphia on August 9th and they would LOVE to see you there 🙂