Last weekend, I attended my first photography workshop. After teaching myself last year how to work the camera and appreciate the beautiful language of light, I committed myself to attend a few different workshops and classes in 2012 to learn even more, but more importantly to meet other photographers and share a few things amongst ourselves.
The two-day workshop I attended was the Wedding Photography workshop at Dawson College. Initially, the workshop was supposed to be given a week earlier, but due to some conflict, it was pushed back a week later. The only bummer was that I’ve already registered for another course on that same weekend, so I had to balance out which workshop to drop out of the two. In the end, I’m glad I opted for this one because the other will be given in the spring anyways. And here’s the reason why…
The instructor for this workshop was Monique Dykstra, a professional wedding photographer in Montreal. Right off the bat, Monique proved herself to be an excellent, funny, passionate, exciting and very professional instructor. I had a list of 20+ questions for which she answered them by giving us lots of real-world examples. I’ve only shot one wedding in my life before attending the workshop, but this year I’ve been blessed to assist a professional wedding photographer in a dozen upcoming weddings (more on that in another blog post…), so I’m currently in the stage of preparing myself for what seems to be like a very exciting year.
The first night Monique covered the business side of wedding photography. She presented various topics for which most of the information can be found on the Web (how to price your work, creating a price list, various wedding packages, contracts and workflows), however she told us the what and how in regards to her work, which shades a different light on the subject compared to what we mostly read on the Web. So that was cool because everyone in business has a different workflow, process and thinking about how to best succeed. Monique has been in the photography business for many years, so her wisdom in the industry was very much welcome and appreciated.
The second day, Monique answered lots of pertinent questions from students…that woman surely didn’t hide any secrets that would help us to succeed in this business! An open book is the thought that comes in my mind. She also covered with us how she handles various shots and poses (individuals and groups), how to work with on-camera flash by bouncing the light and also diffusing it with a few light modifiers (we even built a custom modifier made out of a white foam core…check on Ebay in a few weeks lol!) and also working with available light. In essence, the second day was pure hands-on. Though it was somehow expected that students knew how to adjust their exposure by using exposure compensation (in aperture or shutter-priority mode) or playing with the aperture, shutter speed and/OR ISO (in manual mode), Monique very patiently answered and helped students that didn’t know how to do that. That was cool, because meanwhile the other students could interact and try a few other things, such as firing remote flashes (think SU-4 for Nikon) with a commander flash and pulling interesting shots.
In the beginning, I thought that we’d be shooting models playing the roles of a groom and a bride just like in Cliff Mautner’s workshops, but given the very low cost of the workshop, I didn’t bet much on it. And I’m glad I didn’t. But that’s all right because we used the participants as a fake couple and various family members, and given the awful snow storm we had that day, I’m glad that we shot in a warm, fluorescent-lit room…always a trade off somewhere, right? One of the main ideas I took from the workshop was that wedding photography is HARD, but very rewarding (emotionally, financially and surely provides lots of challenges for which I thrive).
In all, I’m very satisfied to have attended the workshop. The content and quality of the training was excellent (thanks Monique!), and the value was great especially for less than $125. If you’re starting out in the wedding photography business in Montreal, I strongly suggest you to attend this workshop. To wrap this one up, here are a few candid shots from the workshop…