Light … Making It and Finding It

Like many other photographers, I have a flashgun. In fact, I have three of them … like many other photographers! They were bought when I believed that in order to take a better photo, I needed even more equipment. However, such is life … at least the life of a photographer. 🙂

Aimee by John Mee Photography
I also believe that many of those photographers that have a flashgun don’t actually know how to use it – at least, use it properly. We buy equipment thinking that it is going to improve our images, when all it does is just make the whole creative process more complicated.
So that is why I decided I needed some help, in order to get the most out of my flashgun and to learn more about artificial light. How to bend it, shape it, anyway I want it … so to speak! 🙂

Aimee Boyle by John Mee Photography

A few months ago, early on a Sunday morning I drove over two and a half hours with my buddy Nick, to an off camera flash workshop. I must mention the tutor – it was Nigel Fleming Photography in Dungannon, county Tyrone. As we say in the west of Ireland, he’s a sound guy. After the workshop, we were very impressed and felt that we had learned a lot. It had really whet our appetite for flash photography. That was back in the summer of 2014.

Wiktoria Andrysiak by John Mee Photography
Fast forward to November and a few days ago, we decided to go to another of Nigels workshops. This time it was an advanced off camera flash workshop. The day lasted over 7 hours. There were four other photographers, two stunning models, an awesome MUA, Catherine and an equally awesome hair stylist, James.
This workshop didn’t disappoint either. We were guided through the a series of shots including a bridal look and a high fashion look. The shoot took place in a variety of locations at Parkanaur Manor House. The day was professional, relaxed, informative and throughly great fun.

Wiktoria Andrysiak by John Mee Photography

Amongst many other things, I also learned to love ISO – or more specifically, high ISO. As someone who shoots a lot of landscape imagery, high ISO is a big no no! Everything has to be shot at ISO 100, despite the fact that most of our cameras can shoot up to 6400 and beyond. For a landscape photographer, high ISO leads to digital noise, or graininess. But shooting with off camera flash and my Nikon D800, I now feel much more comfortable using ISO to “get the shot”.

Aimee Boyle by John Mee Photography

A shoot like this is a real collaboration between all of those involved and at the end of the day, this workshop confirmed to me that I love to photograph people. Incidentally, two of my favourite images from the day were shot using available, natural light only!
I still have lots to learn about mixing artificial and ambient light and I have no doubt that I will attend other workshops. But I feel my photographic journey has broadened and that I can finally attempt to create some of the images that are in my head.

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