This 2 day workshop was held in the village of Lacock in the very barn where Fox-Talbot made his historic first photographs. There were 8 of us in the workshop. The leader was Chris Burfoot, who is an excellent tutor. We spent the first day learning equipment, technique and style, concentrating on setting up shots with one light, a brolly and a reflector and shots with two lights, a brolly, a snood and reflectors. We had the services of an amazing young model named Hannah.
The second day we broke into groups and applied what we had learned. Getting acquainted with the equipment is a task in itself, as is setting the lighting properly. We learned to look for a triangle of light at the forehead and to take care that shadows did not extend down to the subjects lips. We also learned to work with a variety of backgrounds, blue, black and white. We worked on lifestyle photos, which are very, very popular at present and we also got the experience of working with a model.
Burfoot emphasized the business aspects of portrait photography as well as the ethics of working with models and working with clients. His manner was respectful and courteous to both model and students. This was in sharp contrast to a studio photography workshop I attended in 2010 which was like the set of a blue movie.
In addition to working with the model, we photographed each other. I find models to be a little to perfect and stiff for my taste, but Hannah was happy to pull all kinds of faces for me so I think we both had a good time with the work.
One of the students has suggested we join him in Bristol for a follow-up session so we can review and refresh our work while another student who lives locally wishes me to join her in doing some sessions in her employer’s studio so I think I will have a chance to practice what I learned before I forget it.
This was a wonderful chance to learn lighting and I intend to make the most of it because I am extremely interested in doing living history portraits of some of the people in my village. I am especially interested the beauty of older faces, perhaps because I have one myself.
Here are three examples of the shooting we did. These were taken with single lights and a brolly augmented by a reflector. My camera was set on f/11 for the entire session. I used a little dongle to synchronize the flashes. We set up each shot using the modeling lights available.