Early May and I’m off to Chester to meet Eifion for my one to one on the alien (to me at least) subject of “Learning Basic Studio Lighting”. Having focused (pun fully intended) mainly on landscapes due to an innate fear and lack of knowledge about all things flash, this event was going to be a life changer, eye opener or maybe even direct me towards an alternate genre of photography.
Upon arrival I was greeted by the ever-genial Eifion and introduced to the day’s topic; a quick discussion proved that I was a flash and lighting virgin with plenty to learn! The room was immaculately set up as a studio with a multitude of toys to play with and we set about discussing each and every one with pros and cons of each highlighted.
LED panel lights, studio flash heads, my own Canon Speedlights as well as Eifion’s own flash units were all put to the test using a combination of brollys, softboxes, grids, beauty dishes and reflectors. For me this was a new world and fascination turned into something more. The variety of effects available from a simple, single light to a multi light set up were all fully explained and, more important, put into practice.
Time flew by and before long the session was approaching a close but not before I had acquired a more in depth understanding and knowledge of the subject matter. I can honestly say that there was not a single unanswered question or issue and the patience displayed at my initial ineptitude would have been a credit to a Saint; thank you Eifion!
From, what must now be pretty obvious, my zero knowledge standing start I now feel reasonably confident in my ability to set up and utilise a lighting set up that would flatter the subject, although I fear I may need more practice to do them full justice. I was quite surprised as some simple “tricks” such as using a second (or third) unit to illuminate the background, which when tested added additional depth to the portrait. Putting a grid on the additional light took the effect to another level, which is something else I would never have considered. Adding a coloured gel to the light was a further step in the process – wow, this was just getting better and better!
You may well get the impression that this is something that has now more than just “tickled” my taste buds! I ended up taking pictures of all the gear we had used, just so I could do some on-line research and maybe start shopping in the coming weeks. I was delighted with my one to one, and it doesn’t end there, I was given a standing invitation to call or email any additional questions or queries that may arise going forward and I’m sure that will be an invitation I take up.
There is a downside, and I am sure it is one experienced by many, if not all, who have photography as a hobby or pastime; that is that branching out into a new genre will require some further expenditure! We all know it is not a cheap game but Eifion was at great pains to point out areas where bargains can be had. Big brand names are clearly not essential, and by making careful choices savings can be had.
I am now away to further my new found fascination with lighting a subject, thank you for the introduction and opportunity to try out all your gear. I would heartily recommend this particular one to one to anyone with limited or no knowledge of studio lighting.