Sunday, 25 December 2011

Kit Review - Collapsible Beauty Dish

Christmas Day saw the arrival of Speedlight Pro Kit's collapsible beauty dish.

Here is an overview and summary of its capabilities compared to a solid beauty dish:

The kits comes in a flat bag about the same size as an LP cover.

The dish is a bit fiddly to construct and the instructions are not much help, but once it's assembled, it seems quite logical how it goes together.

The first thing to note is that it is a cone NOT a parabola and this is evident in the spread of light when shooting (see later).

The first shot was taken with the diffusing screen off and the translucent cup reflector attached:

Note the spread of light only hits about half the cone.

For the second shot I added the diffusion screen:

For the third shot, I used the silver cup reflector and no diffusion screen:

And for the fourth shot I added the diffusion screen:

I then used the solid beauty dish without and then with the diffusion screen:


For me the nearest 2 comparables are silver cup and diffusion screen on:

You decide which you like the best but, in terms of beauty dishes:

The one on the left cost £77.50 and flattens to a little larger than A3;
The one on the right cost £85.00 and doesnt!

Happy Christmas!

Background paper

At photographyworkshops, we dont advertise for traders.  BUT, when we find a supplier offering quality, a keen price and good service, we'll pass their information on to you.

Being Scottish and frugal (Terry is just frugal), money is not there to be wasted so, we are very happy with some rolls of background paper recently supplied to us by:

We can recommend them!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Our best of the year - 2011 (warning - nudity!)

Terry and I have been sifting through our archive for 2011 to choose our individual favourite efforts in the last year:



May we take this opportunity to wish all our delegates from 2011, and those who will join us in 2012, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Snappy New Year.

Sunday, 11 December 2011


Whilst shooting for our posing guide, I grabbed this close up of Sophie...

For those of you coming on LIAD in January - you have this to look forward to!..

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The posing guide takes shape!!

Sophie, Terry and Andy have started work on the PW Posing Guide which will help all photographers with posing their models and clients. 

There are several weeks of shooting to do, but here is a tiny taster:

Side notations to help and space to write down your own ideas and lighting - more to follow soon.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

The Posing Guide - production begins

We are continually being asked by photographers about posing.  It is probably the biggest hurdle to overcome when running a shoot.

Our new model at PW, Sophie, will be our star as we begin shooting the "PW Posing Guide", showing not only a multitude of poses, but also how they flow naturally into one another.

The studio work begins this week - look out for a couple of tasters!!

We are anticipating having the guide available in the early Spring.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Terry has gone mad!...

Having reached his glorious bus pass age, some of his marbles have started to leak out. 

Absolutely against his grain (and mine) he is giving stuff away!!:offering
Photography Workshops are giving away a free space on the next Speedlight Course to be held on 17th March 2012.
This is worth £95!!
This is a FREE draw and all you have to do is contact us and include the competition code: 
sp1703.  Simple as that. 
The winner will be chosen at random from all the email entries containing the correct code.  Good luck!!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Bradley - wow!

Bradley, who attended our Boudoir Course last weekend has been good enough to allow us to use this cracking shot of Roseanne - great atmosphere, great shot!

Bradley:  "Yet another great workshop, really enjoyed it. Thanks for a great day".

You are very welcome, sir.

Monday, 28 November 2011

How it was done - the blind shot

On the Boudoir Course yesterday, we demonstrated a simple but very effective shot using 2 lights and a set of blinds.

The very important thing to note is that the back light is 2/3 of a stop LESS than the main light - it is still very evident on the models hair in the final.

Here is a shot of the set-up:

And a diagram of the set-up showing the numbers:

And finally a result:

Simple yet striking- enjoy!

Boudoir Course - the day was fabulous.

Well done everyone who attended the PW Boudoir Course yesterday. It was certainly a packed programme and there was not a minute to sit down and relax.

Delegates' images and feedback to follow and look out for a "how it was done" explanation for one of the sets.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

How it's done - glamour glow in photoshop

In our series of "how it's done" and especially because we are concentrating on Boudoir at the moment, we thought we'd share a little photoshop sequence to get the added glamour glow effect to your images.  So:-

here is the original finished image to which we will add the glamour glow effect.

1.  Firstly, make a copy of the layer and change the blending more to "overlay":

2.  Next select Filter-Blur-Gaussian Blur.  Select a percentage of blur that softens  the image but leaves the features discernable - we used 20% in this example:

3.  Now we have lost a lot of detail in the darker areas that we need to bring back and just leave the glow effect on the skin.  Select a layer mask and using a black brush, paint out the darker areas to being the detail back, especially in the hair:

4.  Finally, to take some of the orange out of the skin, with the mask selected - "create new fill or adjustment layer" - "vibrance". Adjust to taste - we used -40 on the vibrance:

5.  Before & after:

Try that sequence a few times then save it as an action - good luck!!

Boudoir tomorrow

Tomorrow on the 27th November, PW will be running the last boudoir course of 2011.

9 delegates, 2 tutors, 2 models and we promise you images, feedback and a "how it was done" on one of our instructional demos.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Wedding Course

Terry was lucky enough to teach a full 2-day wedding course last weekend.  Looks like he is having all the fun (for now!!)

Dave Goodman was kind enough to share some of his images from the course:

Very nice work Dave - you can see how concentrated tuition and good lighting technique can really raise your imagery.

Unfortunately, not all of Dave's weekend went well:  "Thanks for a very informative weekend - thoroughly enjoyable... only dampened by dropping a flash gun in the drink (!) - that won't happen I again - lesson learnt... "

Highs and lows Dave!

Friday, 18 November 2011

More Portrait Course images and feedback...

from Terry the tutor(ttt!):

Everyone on the portrait workshop had a great time, lots of humour and co-operation.

Models: Becky, Malcolm and Katie & Mark.

I started out with demonstrating the various lighting positions, highlighting the shadows, if indeed you can highlight shadows?

Day 1 concentrated on studio lighting using grids for carving light, beauty lighting with a 1m softbox and tri-flector. We also set a 1940/1950's lighting set. There was a chess player and poker player sets.

We moved on using a speedlight for texture lighting with Malcolm against the stone room wall, pulling out the texture on the wall.

Day 2 started with balancing ambient light outside.  We later moved on to fisherman sets, couple and Becky for ambient portraiture using speedlights.

The tight crop portrait shots of Malcolm with the fishing rod etc were shot with just a silver reflector.

From Alan Roderick:

"The Portrait course was a great two days. Terry's instruction and enthusiasm helped deliver the key messages and had all of us re-assessing how we could use light to achieve the results we wanted. Lots of time to practice and shoot a variety of models and different settings. Learnt a lot !!! And now practising like mad, so that I can encourage Terry to do a Part 2 soon."

Nice gritty shot by Malcolm - well done!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Introducing Sophie

A warm welcome to Sophie, our latest model to join the photography workshop stable.  Sophie will be joining us for 2012 and we are delighted to have her on board.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Boudior Course - 27th November - FULLY BOOKED

The boudoir course is fully booked and the day is packed with shooting and theory. 

There will be 2 models - Zoe and Roseanne, two of our experienced boudior models, and both Terry and Andy will be teaching lighting, posing and how to break into the industry. 

The level of interest in the boudoir market is very high and the demand for good photography is as strong as ever...

Bob Massey - get you!!

Bob, who attended the last weekend's portrait course has been good enough to send through some of his images.  I have selected my 2 favourites to share.  Well done Bob, the first one is very well lit indeed and the second is very nice - images to be proud of.

Just watch chopping off those fingers, Bob - think sausages when your eye is composing in the viewfinder!!

Monday, 14 November 2011

How it was done...

We like to pass knowledge on - thats what being a trainer is all about.  Occasionally then, you will find an image and a breakdown of how it was shot - we'll keep it simple, because we like simple.  Remember, good photography need not cost a fortune in expensive cameras and lighting;  good technique and good knowledge win every time.

The day after the course...

...and Terry is a shadow of his former self!  This weekend's portrait course was a resounding success.

This is what was said:

"I really enjoyed the course, made my confidence really zoom up !
Before going on your course, I never dared even go off automatic, as is was too daunting (I still got some good shots though :-)
Now another world with the "magic triangle" (aperture, speed, ISO) has opened, boosted with understanding of Flash modulation ! Thanks really very much."

High praise indeed! - now look out for the "how it was shot" breakdown and some submissions from the delegates themselves.

Friday, 11 November 2011

portrait workshops

Andy McConnells efforts

One day to go before the portrait workshop and we are delighted to share some images from the last portrait course taken by Andy McConnell.  Excellent control of the light Andy – well done!  Here’s what he had to say about the course:  "Thank you very much for an excellent course that was well worth the money. Your approachable manner helped create a warm supportive atmosphere so that the delegates felt free to ask questions.

I learned a lot about the use of modifiers indoors and the use of off-camera flash outdoors. The models were all very good too".

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Portrait Workshop - this weekend 12th/13th November - FULLY BOOKED!

Terry is chomping at the bit and looking forward to a full portrait course this weekend. We run the course at The Mayfield Hotel in Crudwell, a super Cotswold location. 

I am looking forward to seeing the delegates results - and posting them here!!

Good luck to everyone on the course - you'll have a brilliant time

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

photography workshops blog is open for business

This is the new photography workshops blog, created so that we can keep you right up to date with everything happening at the workshop. 

 It also serves as a method whereby pw's delegates can show off the results of their hard study and we welcome comments or questions - at pw, there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Course dates for 2012 will be published very shorlty.