Archive for the ‘Workshop’ Category

Shoot with Beckstead

April 7, 2009

I had an amazing three days in Tampa at Shoot with Beckstead, an intense three-day workshop. David Beckstead is a world-renown international wedding photographer who has worked hard at creating imagery with composition. The three-day workshop was just the break I needed to get the creative juices flowing. The first day David talked about his photographic experience, composition, and business practices. He delved into ways to experiment and have fun with wedding photography – which really opened my eyes to how much better photography is when it’s fun.


On day 2 we went on a model shoot with David at Lange Farm, University of Tampa, and Ybor City. David found locations and gave directions to the models, and then explained how he was approaching the shot and what compositional elements he wanted to incorporate. Then we were encouraged to play with the scene. I really pushed myself to use my 16-35mm lens so I could become more comfortable with wide angle. I love David’s approach because it isn’t as formulaic as many other photographers. He doesn’t have any hard and fast rules that he uses to shoot – he looks for composition, and then plays around. We were shooting for nearly 10 hours – I won’t even admit to how many pictures I took. I really took the experimenting to heart.


On day 3 we were back in the studio. The night before we had to pick out our 30 best shots and edit them. We gave them to David and he took time to critique each of our work – in front of the class. I learned so much from listening to what he had to say about each photo – the good, the bad, the ugly. I now have a means of critiquing my own work and a new approach to photography. It was exciting!


















I spent three days at Shoot with Beckstead in Tampa. It was, in a word: enlightening. We worked on composition, and thinking and playing outside the box. I’ve been working with my 16-35mm lens, and this workshop focused on just that. I will have a lot more to say once I get a little more time, but for now here’s a teaser:

As a photographer, I find there’s a balance between being satisfied with my images and desiring to produce greater images. One friend described it as having a mild dissatisfaction with your work – just enough to push yourself to grow. Since I live on the west coast of Florida, I’ve experienced some pretty harsh lighting. Instead of shying away from that light, I made it a goal to learn how to use it. When I saw that Susan Stripling was offering a workshop that would focus on using the harsh Florida light, I jumped on the opportunity.


I was so pleased with my decision. Susan is a gifted teacher and an absolute joy to be with. The first part of the workshop focused on how she began her business and grew as a photographer. She explained how she approaches a wedding – lighting, lens choice, locations, everything was discussed. Then we got the opportunity to shoot.


Susan’s workshop was different from many workshops in that she explained how she thinks through her shots – everything from lighting to metering – and later in the day we were able to work with the models ourselves. We had 6 model “groups” – 4 couples and 2 girls in their wedding gowns. With only 15 workshop attendees, we were able to work with the models in groups of 2 or 3 and put what we learned into practice! I also loved that the models were normal people – not “models” at all. It’s more challenging, but also more realistic to work with people who have not modeled before.


The workshop was a huge success – I developed new skills and ways of using harsh noon or 2 PM light to my advantage! I am looking forward to putting our new skills into practice!


Here are some images I created that day:













I had the awesome opportunity to attend Susan Stripling’s workshop in St Petersburg today. It was such an amazing workshop – definitely one of the most helpful things I have done since I began shooting. We learned how to create compelling images using the harsh Florida light. I would love to write more, but since I just got home, I thought I would post just one image from the day. And, yes, this is literally straight out of camera:

noon workshop image