I've been teaching at Skip's program since he launched it in Las Vegas. Skip is one of my favorite people to work with as he just "gets it", and knows what photographers want and need. This year, the workshop was in Chicago and I taught two full-day lighting workshops - while my kids went to 6 Flags, the movies, and played in the pool. It was fun for all! If you were an attendee of the workshop, you can download the notes here. Be sure to use the password I gave you in class. Please remember that the notes are for attendees of the class only. Thanks for being there!
My goal at this lighting workshop was to share some simple tools and techniques to get great lighting with natural light and speedlights. We shot in our conference room and on location around the hotel. The goal being to create great lighting in any situation or under any lighting conditions. One of the main techniques we worked on was using a neutral density filter to allow shooting in bright, sunlit situations while using a wide aperture, like f1.4, to achieve that beautiful, painterly feeling out-of-focus background. Using the ND filter allows setting the camera to normal flash-sync speeds to get the most power efficiency from the speedlights.
One of my favorite lighting tools is a small Photoflex Octodome fitted with a speedlight mount. I've customized my speedring to add a second flash mount. Using 2 speedlights is just about ideal for any situation, and gives me plenty of power, faster recycle times, and a backup in case one flash doesn't fire.
Here's a photo of the speedring customized with a second flash bracket, and all the parts of my speedlight Octodome kit. You have to drill a small hole in the ring to mount it, but it is very easy to do in about 5 minutes.
Below is a list of the products used so you can check them out on B&H, make sure to order (2) of the Shoe Mount Connectors if you want to use 2 speedlights!:
I also used these tools for the edge light and to color the flashes:
Singh Ray thin mount variable ND filter (77mm size). You should order the largest ring size for your lenses and then order step-up rings to fit your smaller lenses so you only need one filter.
Here are some of the images from our class, you can hide or show the captions to see what lighting was used: