Lately I have been getting more and more questions from friends, other photographers, and people just interested in learning more about photography. With that being said, I wanted to start blogging more tips, how to, and product reviews for those with an interest in learning and expanding their knowledge of photography or even just general questions. On of my 1st tips… I Instagram everything! And not just # tagging on my own posts but I actually search product # tags to see what others post. I will write more on this later but in the mean time the # tag for the Justin & Mary work shop is #jmlightingintensive if you want to check out everyone’s posts from that evening.

For my 1st informational post I wanted to share a little about the Justin & Mary Lighting insensitive workshop which I attended last Thursday in Smithfield Virginia. If you are on the fence about this workshop, take the plunge and go! You will not regret it. Justin & Mary are incredibly passionate about what they do and just about people in general! They are open and honest about sharing their knowledge with other creatives. 2014 was a real ground breaking year for me in the world of Flash. Prior to 2014 if you asked me how to use my flash I would have told you I know enough to get by and that’s that. Well, last year I really focused on asking questions, learning the difference between the modes and more importantly when to use them and when to use others. I successfully completed night portraits, and went from using only an on camera flash to using 2 off camera flashes (OCF) and one on camera. Needless to say I have come a long way in 1 year. But my philosophy is that there is always opportunities to learn & improve. >Insert reason why I attended J&M’s lighting intensive workshop< PROCESS IMPROVEMENT! Justin & Mary teach this workshop at a very fundamental level and I mean that in a good way! Its simple, clean and surefire methods and knowledge. That don’t just spit information and you and say GO! they actually explain the WHY behind what they are teaching. And if you know me, you know how the ‘why’ speaks to my pretty little heart. All I have to say is that this workshop really shed light on what can be an agonizing tool and made it something not so scary! I cant wait to utilize the simplistic approach to lighting and the additional thoughts these two shared with us.

My biggest take-aways from Justin & Mary:

  • Number 1 take away… My husband better watch out because I think Mary could take him on in a movie quote head to head battle… Beware Mr. movie buff! LOL
  • Don’t fear your flash! Mastering artificial lighting is one of my goals for 2015, and this was a fantastic start to achieving that goal. Don’t fear flash, embrace it! J&M taught so many techniques that simplified flash for multiple settings both during and outside of the wedding reception.
  • Authenticity. Not following the trends, using flash to emphasis what is already there, not to creating a photo that screams WOW, look what that photographer did. My job is to capture images that tell the story of the couple and their wedding day for generations to come.
  • Simplicity in background. Simplicity is the Anthem of my life for 2015!
  • Balancing natural and artificial light to conquer not so ideal venue lighting.
  • Flash does not have to look artificial!
  • And one of my biggest take away of the evening. Embracing the church for family photos. Why do we hate doing family photos in the church? because we don’t enjoy using flash! But in reality family formal photos in the church and perfect. Everyone is together, everyone has a seat to sit in while they chat among themselves and watch everything taking place, you don’t have to yell to round everyone up, and light is exactly the same for every group you have. Something else that I concluded on my own, formality. Formality in the images from one to the next but also, churches are usually gorgeous and why not take advantage of that beauty so the couple has something more than just their ceremony captured in the church. Don’t get me wrong, I love a gorgeous outdoor setting for group photos but I am really looking forward to embracing these beautiful churches that Baltimore has to offer!

J&M brought in 2 beautiful models for us to photograph so after the teaching portion we were able to play around with some lighting and just have fun. It was perfect going from learning, to hands on practice. Here are a few shots I took at the workshop (p.s. no real editing was done to these – basically SOOC) – this little portrait session really solidified my love for more editorial work… I seeing a new piece in my 5 year plan. If you have questions about the workshop or anything else, please feel free to comment or email me I am happy to take topic ideas and answer any questions.

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Gear used: Canon 5d mark iii | Canon 85 1.2 | Profoto B1 | Profoto Speedring for B1 | Profoto Air Remote for Canon | Profoto XL Umbrella