Noel Allen | Laura Tillinghast


Laura Tillinghast

Several months back, a friend of mine discovered she had a conflict with a photography workshop she was about to attend and was hoping to find someone to fill her spot.   I'd been thinking about finding workshops given by solid professionals before, but with years of portrait experience, I was concerned "Introduction to Portrait" might not be enough of a challenge. 

In the end I decide to:

  1. Go have fun - I don't always have an appreciative audience to discuss my photography so this is a great chance to talk with fellow photographers.
  2. Be open to learning - I know that there's plenty out there for me to learn, and I do believe that everyone I meet has something they can teach me.

So now excuse me while I pat myself on the back because taking Laura's workshop was one of the best decisions I've made WRT my photography.  While we covered several things I'd already knew or had hear before, actually doing them (and making sure we did then right), gave me a much better appreciation for the impact it made on the image.  To paraphrase from The Matrix, "It's the difference between knowing the path and walking the path".

One of these things was 'Shoot to the Right'.   They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, for photography it can be found about a half stop over exposed.   Overexposing has as the effect of compressing the range of the skin tone.  The compression means there's less of a difference between the majority of the skin and say the shadows caused by pores or other imperfections without actually removing them.  It's like adding a bit more soft to your softbox.

Another was the value of a reflector and the minimalist setup.   I am used to having a several lights with me, and I'm usually shooting on my own, so while I own a reflector, I don't own an arm to hold it and I don't have someone handy to hold  for me.

The setup for the shot. Look ma, no hands.

And now, what this looks like from the camera.

The workshop was a great opportunity for me to realize and break some bad habits such as laziness on metering, using too many lights when a reflector made more sense.

In any case Laura provided provided plenty of opportunities for me to refine my technique, and to really internalize all those pearls of wisdom I'd been getting over the years but perhaps not really "getting".

For anyone interested in more of those tips and tricks, I'd strongly recommend keeping an eye out for any new workshops she might be putting together.  Maybe I'll even see you there.