Shutterstories field trip Spring 2011

A very lovely Ally Rutherford helped us out during our visit to Shutterstories. Canon 5D Mark 2 ISO 400 with studio strobes triggered by Cybersync radio slaves.

Two Mondays ago I met my students at Shutterstories–a photography studio in Riverside owned and operated by husband and wife team,Terry and Melissa Tippie.

In case there’s some of you thinking, “Lighting, isn’t that for the advanced folks?”

That might have been true in the  film days, but not anymore.

Learning to light

Ray, Adam, Ashley and Brittney were lit with one softbox on the right. Powershot G11

In the days of film, learning to light with flash or strobes required an all-important piece of equipment: a special light meter that could record that very brief flash, so you can figure out what aperture to set on your camera.

But that wasn’t the most difficult part.

Waiting to see the results of your effort even if you processed the film yourself was agonizing.

Andrew Lewis, right, works with Stephanie Resendez while Marco Rodriguez, left, watches and waits his turn.

But that slow process did have a good side effect. It forced photographers to be selective, more thoughtful and methodical about their approach–all very important skills.

You had to take careful notes so that you can analyze your results: figure what you did right or wrong so that you’re not blowing all your money on film and processing.

Today, you don’t even need to own that much gear.

You can rent a studio which comes with access to the equipment as well.

Our host photographer Terry Tippie set up 3 locations within the studio space.

That allowed all my students  a chance at using the radio remotes which triggered the strobes.

I also asked my students to recruit either a friend or family member as models so that every student got to experience the class.

Two important Points

In the studio or anytime your studio flash is totally dominating the scene:

  • exposure is controlled by the aperture and ISO
  • you need to know the highest shutter speed your camera will synchronize  with the radio slave/strobe

**This limitation of maximum shutter speed sync doesn’t apply when using proprietary Speedlights or external flash units in HSS (High Shutter Speed Sync mode)

Sandra shared this image she made of me and her lovely daugher Ally. Thanks

Before we began the session, I had asked “What shutter speed are we setting for all these pictures?”

Interestingly, even though I had mentioned this time and again during lecture, some of my students were still stumped when they saw there was a dark band of underexposure on the bottom of some of their pictures.

It only serves to illustrate that some concepts don’t mean much until you actually goof up and see the results for yourself.

I’d like to believe that instead of the alternative: I’m a lousy teacher and their tuning me out.

How else can I explain the handful of students who were trying to set their exposure by centering the LED in their viewfinder by adjusting their shutter speed and apertures? 😉

Many thanks to our beautiful models that day: Stephanie Resendez, Anita Rodriguez, Daisy Zurita, Ally Rutherford and Ashley Rye.

Shutterstories 2011

A sampling of images my students captured on our field trip to Shutterstories photostudio in Riverside

Peter Phun Photography

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