Five-Day Workshop: Paso Robles, CA, 4/27 - 5/1

Two of the most common feedback items I have gotten at the one-day lighting seminars over the last few years has been the lack of a student shooting component, and a desire for a longer format.

So this year, I am teaching two, five-day shooting workshops being hosted by two separate organizations. The first will be for Paso Robles Workshops (4/27 - 5/1) in Paso Robles, CA. The second will be for Santa Fe Workshops (10/18 - 10/25) at their San Miguel d"Allende campus in Mexico.

Registration for Paso Robles (almost exactly between LA and SF) is now open. Hit the jump for more info.

Wait, How Much?

Normally, I teach in a single-day, larger class format, the tuition for which is $159. But for Paso Robles, with the smaller class size (15 max) longer format (five-day) and overhead (models, food, location, logistical support, etc.) the tuition basically gets a zero added to it.

This is the hardest thing to rationalize for me, as my goal is always to make the process as economically efficient as possible. I will admit to being a little conflicted about it, too. But some people value a more intense, low class-size environment -- and the ability to immediately be working through new techniques. So, I am going to give it a spin (two spins, actually) and see how it goes. Paso Robles and SFW are the only 5-day lighting workshops I have planned for as far as I can see. So if you are interested in that format, those are the options.

Not that I am going all high end from here on out, 'cause I'm not. At the other end of the scale I am working on a project for next year that will take the current seminar costs down an order of magnitude, too. More on that later.

In a nutshell here is my most important thought on this workshop with respect to the price, and I am dead serious about this: If this workshop is a real stretch for you, money-wise, you shouldn't do it. Keep your powder dry for other things, and make use of all that the internet has to offer in terms of free info. Do meetups with other local lighting folks and leverage the peer-to-peer thing for all you can.

But even if that kind of money is no big thing for you, you still have a right to know what to expect.

No, This Doesn't Mean Long Pants

I was lucky enough to be a participant in the second Eddie Adams Workshop way back in the late '80s. So I understand how valuable an intense week of learning and shooting can be.

Not that I will compare this week to an EAW, 'cause I can't. That's basically like being plugged into the Photo Borg Collective. They say that if your head doesn't explode, it'll take five years of mistakes off of your career. My head didn't explode (came close) and that week has paid be benefits ever since.

So I am going to rationalize the price this way. First, we are going to go hard. Don't show up here looking for a nice, easy week.

Two, when we shoot we will work in small teams, and there will be a little competing involved. This is straight EAW influence, as it balances the shared learning concept with the little kick in the pants that competition can bring. Even more than the memory of being an EAW '89 member is my memory of being a Team Purple EAW '89 member. Those of you who are alums know exactly what I am talking about.

Three, as an offshoot of the above, this will not be a 1:15 teacher-to-student ratio. This will be a 16x16 network. Every person there will bring a different perspective, and I expect to learn things from each one of you just as I hope you will each learn things from me and each other. No one holds back.

The flash workshop will be taught in manual mode. If you are a TTL shooter, that's just fine. But working in manual gets us away from the specifics of brand and makes things far more universal. If you are a Nikon CLS guy, you will most definitely want to go with Joe McNally's workshop the week before at the same location. Joe will be going full-bore CLS, and there is no one better to learn that method of lighting from anywhere on the planet.

We will at first be looking at photos, talking and demo'ing light. Next, you will be shooting each other. Granted, some the subjects will be butt ugly (one of you will likely get the short straw and have to shoot me) but we will get some quick experience on both sides of the lens. Nothing helps your bedside manner as a photographer WRT subject interaction better than having the gun pointed at you occasionally. It's no coincidence that many photographers are uncomfy in front of a lens. Being in the hot seat will make you better behind the camera.

Next we'll be photographing models on location. You'll be rotating through roles as shooter, grip and assistant for each assignment. That way you'll not only be picking up tips on how other people are working, but be able to work with a support staff typical of a normal assignment. To the extent possible, your shooting level and your brand of gear will be taken into account so that you can learn from and/or pool gear with each other.

After shoots we will be editing, critiquing and working through some minor post processing, although the latter will not be stressed too much.

Lunches will be provided, and we will have a dinner together at the end of the week. I'm thinking there will probably be a visit or two to a local watering hole, too.

Couple Final Things

First, the "novice+ to intermediate" skill level.

We will hit some basic principles early in the week to make sure someone does not go through the whole process feeling like they are behind the eight ball. We won't be leaving anyone behind because we have the time and small class size to do it right. But if you are a been-there, done-that pro at this stuff, you'll probably resent the other 15 of us by the end of day two. And I really do not want anyone feeling short-changed on the week.

Second, we are going to leave it all on the field. So don't come here looking for a vacation. We'll have fun but you will work hard.

Registration Link: Paso Robles Workshops


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