This may be a little long winded, but I think it's worth a read and will hopefully portray how great this day was. Read on for my thoughts on this One Light, Two Light tour.
Monday August 27th I had the pleasure of attending a Kelby Training seminar featuring Joe McNally! The title of the seminar was One Light, Two Light with the emphasis on using one or two smaller speedlites to provide great lighting without the need for big expensive studio strobes.
The whole idea behind the seminar is what caught my attention in the first place. I have been shooting more people recently and wanted to improve my lighting knowledge and capabilities without buying an expensive studio setup. This type of setup is also portable and could be used out in the field without too much trouble as well. When I heard it was Joe McNally running this thing, it was a no brainer to attend. Kelby Training prices these at such a low price, there's not much of an excuse to not go if you're considering.
Joe is a fantastic teacher and easy to listen to. He's incredibly knowledgeable and it truly shows. Despite being able to rattle off technical details and talk about in depth subjects relating to light and equipment; he's able to explain and describe exactly what he's doing so even the most novice photographers can understand. One of the biggest things I came to love and respect about Joe is his standpoint on mistakes. Mistakes happen, no matter how prepared you are. Whether it be an equipment malfunction or user error, these things happen. Understanding what went wrong and why it went wrong is an important thing. Don't freak out, stay calm, make a joke about it, and use your knowledge to correct it for next time you pull the trigger. There's nothing wrong with firing a couple test shots either if you're not 100% sure where to begin. Being more of a landscape photographer, these lighting aspects are not my strong suit. Making mistakes has been one thing I freak out about ahead of time and hope it doesn't happen on the job. After listening to Joe talk about this, and even witnessing these things happening in front of hundreds of people, I've got a much better grasp on how to handle a situation like this.
For a good half of the day, he used one off camera flash. He used a variety of different light modifiers to achieve different light and effects he was after. Sometimes he would block off parts of the light with gaffers tape or a flash bender, other times he would double diffuse and add additional interruptions to the light before it hits the subject. Joe would choose various people from the audience for his subjects and he would shoot tethered so we would see the results straight from the camera instantly. When things went wrong, he would explain what happened and make the necessary changes. He always made it a point to ask their name, what they do, and shake their hand. Little things like that add a lot to the experience.
One big surprise to me was that Joe uses TTL for all of his flash work and no radio triggers involved. He shoots with Nikon so it's the i-TTL stuff. He had one flash on the camera that was acting as the commander, not effecting the exposure of the image, and then it would tell the off camera flash how to expose. He was able to easily manipulate the flash using on camera settings without adjusting the shutter speed or aperture most of the time. Using a white background, most of the pictures he shot were black, and only lighting the subject as he wanted. A few times he would maintain the white color depending on the look he was after. Between each shot, he would review the camera settings and talk about the modifiers being used and what they do to the light. It's all simple and affordable stuff that even beginners could obtain easily.
Couple last thoughts on the day. Joe would take time to ask the audience if we had any questions, and would take the time needed to make sure the answer was addressed and understood. He and his assistants were available during the breaks for questions as well.
It was just a fantastic day and a lot of fun. I learned a heck of a lot, and from one of the world's best! This ended up being exactly what I was hoping it would be and touched on everything I was hoping for. I walked away with a far better understanding of light, and what my current gear is capable of with just a few tweaks here and there. If you haven't attended any of the Kelby Training seminars, I can absolutely recommend this one without hesitation. I will certainly be looking out for others in my area.
Thank you Joe McNally and Kelby Training for the services and knowledge you provide to us. I'd hug you both if it were possible!
If you would like to check out more about Joe McNally, visit his website at www.joemcnally.com
Also be sure to check out Kelby Training at www.kelbytraining.com One of the best resources on the internet for all things photography.