Lighting Workshop: January 13th, Baltimore/Washington Area

Editor's Note: The January workshop is sold out.

The likelihood of additional workshops will be determined by the attendee feedback following the first one. Given the lead time things like this deserve, I am beginning some long-range planning for additional workshops in the event that this one goes very well. If you have location ideas, or if your organization or school would like to inquire about scheduling a private workshop, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post and I will see it.


Strobist's first-ever lighting workshop will be held in Ellicott City, Maryland (between Baltimore and Washington, D.C.) on January 13th, 2007. The basics having already been announced on the Flickr discussion thread last week, here are some details.

The event is being hosted by the Central Maryland Photographers' Guild, who is generously arranging the space and handling the logistics. It'll be an afternoon session. We'll be running from 1:00pm until 6:00pm, which will give the eastern seaboard types the ability to one-shot both the seminar and round-trip driving in a single day if they wish.

Here's what to expect.

If you are attending the workshop, you should be familiar with the information in the Lighting 101 section of this site. We will go through some basics at the beginning, but the session is geared heavily toward theory, problem-solving and constant demonstration.

Being digital, we'll have a steady stream of results as the photos are shot. These will be visible on TV monitors on a real-time basis.

We are purposely keeping the class to a modest size (limit of 40) to allow the freedom of Q&A throughout the afternoon.

There are a lot of things I am looking forward to showing you, but I am retaining some flexibility to make use of your input before the fact. This is your seminar, and I want it to work in a way that will allow you to learn in the most efficient way possible. More on that in a minute.

The whole afternoon will be about controlling light. We'll be working both near the ambient and learning to overpower it when necessary. We'll start out with some basics and move quickly from there.

There will be some DIY gear featured and explained, with an emphasis on high usability and low cost.

The schedule will be as follows:

• 1:00pm - 1:30pm - Intro, further assessment of the group's skill level and basic gear/theory.

• 1:30pm - 4:30pm - Three, roughly one-hour sessions on lighting control. The emphasis will be on technique, demonstration and real-time problem-solving. These periods will be punctuated with breaks for questions, leg-stretching and snacks. (The latter will be provided from all four food groups: Sugar, caffeine, sugar and caffeine.)

• 4:30pm - 5:30pm - As you know, I am big on actually doing this stuff as a means of cementing it into your brain. So that's what we'll be doing. We'll break into pairs, with attendee "A" photographing attendee "B" for thirty minutes before switching off for the remainder of the hour.

• 5:30pm - 6:00pm - We'll close with a mix of Q&A, discussion of problems encountered (and solved) and by throwing some of your photos up on the monitors.

After that I will be available as I tear down, to answer any questions that you still may have.

After we break, anyone who is interested is welcome to meet at the nearby BareBones restaurant. This is optional, and the cost is not included in the tuition. There will be excellent ribs, burgers and a variety of less tasty healthier foods. (More info here.)

We can talk lighting as long into the evening as you want, as we ponder the difficulty of lighting the large, shiny copper fermentation vats that house the on-premises-brewed beverages.

Workshop seating is limited to 40, and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. When they are gone, they are gone.

The cost is $90 for those registering before the end of September. After that the cost rises to $100. If you are local and interested in joining the Camera Guild, there is a combination discount deal available.

Full details, location and payment links are here.


Who should attend?

Anyone with an interest in learning more about the use of small flash, off-camera lighting. Attendees should have a basic familiarity with the concepts in Lighting 101, to promote a more efficient learning environment for the whole class.

What should I bring?

Your DSLR camera, a couple of lenses, and any off-camera lighting gear you have. One light, with stand, light modifiers and your synching method is fine. Two is better. You should have small, battery powered strobes, as A/C power will (probably) not be available for all. If you do not have lighting gear, you may either observe others during this session or volunteer as a victim subject.

Can I record the seminar?

Audio, yes. Video, no. (I look much better on radio.) Handouts will be provided to minimize your need to take notes.

Where can I find out more, like carpooling and stuff?

Thought you'd never ask. Please post your notes, questions and suggestions about what you would most like to learn about here.

And for Strobist readers considering attending:

Given the nature of our little community (I'd rather work with you guys than a bunch of people I have never met) I am going to wait one week before posting the announcement at local photo gathering spots in DC and Baltimore.

After that point, it'll be much more likely to fill up.

I am looking forward to seeing you in January.


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