Breaking The Rules

The primary goal of this workshop is to help hone photographers skill sets in creating more compelling portraits within our day-to-day shooting. Whether it’s an editorial spread for a magazine, fashion shoot, senior portraits, on-location with a wedding couple or a family in the park, our end goal is to remove the technical anxiety that often surrounds us in order to focus our attention on interacting with our subject. In doing so, we’ll move away from awkward and poorly constructed images by breaking the traditional rules of portrait making to develop a more self-defining body of work. We’ll begin to look at re-inventing the way we shoot and get you thinking outside the box to spark a new level of creativity within yourself when shooting a difficult and sometimes dreaded subject; PEOPLE.

Although I’ll talk about using available light to your advantage and explore the creative uses of off-camera lighting to add dynamic depth to your photographs, we’ll hit on other key components to this process. Subject-photographer interaction, creative direction, composing strong photographs and utilizing any location in which to shoot.. elegant or ugly, day or night, indoors or outside. I also plan on covering basic post-production techniques, efficient workflow, getting shots right in-camera and maintaining consistency in our work. Although the first and last portion of the day will be in a relaxed “classroom” setting covering these topics, I’ll spend some time demonstrating a shoot with a typical subject on the job, in various environments. Later, we’ll break into small groups to shoot ordinary people on-location in which you’re images will be critiqued at the end of the day.

Please understand this is not a wedding photography, business development or lighting workshop by any means, nor will we delve into deep photographic philosophy and confusing technical theory. I will be speaking to the ground level of my photography work; creative portrait shooting. It is my expectation that participants will walk away with a new perspective on creating a more visually impacting image. Although I’m not looking to clone your methods of shooting to my specific style, it’s my hope that you will be able to apply these techniques to any area within your work. This day is geared towards the advanced amateur and working photographer. A fundamental knowledge of photography is important including the relationship of shutter speed, aperture and ISO along with basic camera and flash operation. All workshop dates are limited to 8 participants per class in order to ensure each student is given proper attention, critique and adequate feedback.

There will be coffee, bagels and donuts on hand in the morning to help kick-start the day. We’ll break for lunch, order-in some amazing pizza for dinner (included in the cost) and continue working late into the evening. The day will be generally structured and we’ll cover a lot of ground, but we will run it as an open-forum as well. I encourage you to interact with the group and fire-off random questions throughout the day. Plan on an 8-hour day beginning at 9:00am, running later into the evening in order to cover as much ground as possible. Never fear, we’ll have plenty of breaks and beverages available throughout the day. Here’s a rather loose run-down of the topics we’ll cover during day:

* Introduction and an informal meet and greet. Be prepared to share something about your photography, areas within your work with which you struggle and individual goals
* Shooting in manual mode to maintain consistency
* Composition
* Creative direction and subject-photographer interaction
* Location selection and working with your surroundings
* Using available light to your advantage
* Off-camera lighting
* Shooting demonstrations
* Break into groups for a live shoot on-location
* Straight forward post-production and workflow
* Individual image critique
…and more!

What To Bring

As we plan on breaking up into small groups to shoot later in the day, please bring your photo gear and if possible, a laptop computer. Lighting equipment is NOT essential, as I will have gear on-hand to use if desired. But feel free to bring what you have. Nonetheless, please bring the following:

* Digital SLR, lenses and charged batteries
* CF cards and card reader
* Laptop computer with editing software (Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom is ideal)
* Note-taking materials
* Plenty of questions for me to tackle throughout the day
* A good dose of humor



The workshops will be at the Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center in Sturbridge, MA and will begin promptly at 9:00am each day. Plan on arriving about 30 minutes early to get settled, fed and refreshed.

Sturbridge Host Hotel & Conference Center
366 Main St.
Sturbridge, MA 01566