Cooking Class: Understanding Light

As the main ingredient in our images, understanding and controlling light is critical. Light can certainly be difficult to understand, though. In the studio, a strobe fires in a fraction of a second, often not enough time to register what your light actually looks like on a subject.

For the second Cooking Class we’ll work at taking the mystery out of light. We’ll start with a discussion on the ways to describe light and its qualities, things like color, intensity, and quality; we’ll talk about specularity and the inverse square law, a little on dealing with reflections… We’ll then move on to a few demonstrations to help fully grasp these ideas. In the studio we’ll make hard and soft light, play with specular highlights, color, reflections, and using light distance to control its “depth of field”.  Finally, we’ll put these ideas to practical use by making some portraits.

Understanding Light will be held on Monday, May 20th from 7PM to 9PM at the M10 studio downtown and cost $40. Want to attend? Send an email to paul@pdaphotography.com and I’ll put you on the list!

A Photographer’s Cooking Class

Many of us have at some time prepared a meal by following a recipe. A pinch of salt, a pinch of tarragon, crushed basil… We add the ingredients without really knowing what it is that they bring to the dish. Do this enough though, and you start to get a feel for how each of these ingredients work together. Eventually you’re preparing meals without recipes, even original dishes.

There are classes that teach recipes, so that, when done, you can replicate exactly what was shown. I’ve been planning to teach for a while now, but I want to help make chefs instead of short order cooks. I want to break down the recipes into the ingredients, so that the photographers who attend my classes can make their own work and say their own things.

My plan is to offer a two hour class on the third or fourth Monday evening of every month at M10. I’m going to limit the classes to 15 attendees and they’ll cost $40.  Subjects will include basic lighting equipment, using light modifiers for motivated lighting, basic portraits, embracing technology for creative portraits, using gels, basic composition, emotion and color theory, working in projects, finding your voice…

Through these classes I’d like to progress from the craft of equipment and technique to non-technical (and in my opinion, more exciting) subjects of vision and voice. The first class, though, will start with the basics: Lighting for beginners. I’ll mostly be covering equipment with this one: speedlights and studio strobes, triggering options, grip equipment like stands and brackets, and a little bit on modifiers. We’ll also have time at the end for a basic demonstration and some Q and A.

This first class will be April 22nd from 7 to 9 PM. Questions? Want to sign up? Send me an email at paul@pdaphotography.com!