Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Review: Steve Carty Advanced Lighting Workshop

It was a casual web search that turned up Steve Carty’s website. I was looking around to see what options were out there for a photography workshop that was within a comfortable driving distance. Steve’s website was polished and professional; from his online portfolio, I could see that he had things to teach me. I was also quite impressed with the many celebrities that he had photographed; an indication that he’s well positioned in the photography business. As he states, “I’m a magazine photographer.” Steve has shot for some big names.

Several of Steve’s workshops appealed to me, but the high-drama shots in the “Advanced Lighting” workshop really caught my eye; this is a style of shooting that I really love. A quick PayPal transaction and I was registered for the one day workshop.

A few days before the workshop, Steve emailed me to let me know that his fourth floor Toronto studio would be occupied by just the two of us. Summer vacations and a busy labour day weekend resulted in a single registrant for the workshop … me. I would have expected him to cancel, but I was pleased to find that he was still willing to go ahead. So, instead of sharing his time with many other photographers, I had it all to myself. One on one shooting and discussion … my lucky day; it doesn’t get any better.

I arrived at 10am and we went the entire day, until almost 6pm. We started with a review of my work, experience and expectations. Steve spent a bit of time showing me work from other photographers, talking about the industry and how to get work out there, then we moved into shooting.

We left the studio and went out into the Toronto streets and alleyways to work with the natural light. He showed me ways to shoot in the bright mid-day sun, taking what most would shy away from, and using it like studio lighting. A variety of techniques that really turned out great images.

Later we moved into the studio and continued shooting. He walked me through all sorts of lighting setups and instead of just teaching me to replicate what he was doing, he gave me great pointers to help me see things for myself.

One light, two lights, three lights, umbrellas, multiple angles, reflectors, backgrounds, grids, gobo’s, flags, light metering, and more, all covered in a day with some amazing results.

All in all, it was a great day of learning and while Steve moved quickly, he was very thorough in covering topics, answering questions, and ensuring that I understood. Steve’s style is, in my opinion, best suited for an experience photographer that is looking to get that “real world shooter” edge.

I left with a feeling of what it is to shoot for a magazine and the skills to be able to pull it off. Steve went the extra mile to ensure that I got what I needed and I have to say, he did a great job. His high energy and direct-to-the-point style made for a great workshop. I would highly recommend his training to anyone thinking of shooting this style of photography.

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