Many Opportunities To Learn
At Soft Lite Studios we have put a lot of thought into the information that we would like to share with you, the locations that we would like to take you to and the techniques that we would like to show you. As we considered each of these points, we kept one thing in mind, what could we do, to enable you to come home with images in your possession that are some of the best you have ever taken. It's easy to build a list of these ideas, because they are ideas that are near and dear to our hearts and we have used them to achieve the same goals for our own personal portfolios.
There is, however, one learning opportunity that you won't see as a time slot on the itinerary, or in a printed handout or PDF file and that is the value of networking with the workshop guide(s), local resources, and your fellow workshop participants. Photography is a journey without a destination, a never ending learning experience if you will. The very best photographers out there are constantly connecting with other photographers and seeing what they are doing. You find these constantly evolving professionals don't categorize other photographers as better than they are, or even as less talented, they simply see them as different points of view. Photography is all about how you see the scene, how you interpret the elements in front of you and in the end how you render the final image. There is HUGE VALUE is seeing what others are doing with the same scene, what does their point of view say to them and what might that point of view say to you.
We treat every workshop as a group learning environment, for truly the sum knowledge of the group far exceeds that of any of its individuals, the guide(s) included. Come prepared with an open mind, a willingness to try new things, and a desire to see things in a new way. It will serve you well.
All of our workshops are field based, meaning we get out into the field, to capture wildlife and nature as we find it. As such we spend time addressing working in the field, tools needed to make your field work experience that much more enjoyable and the knowledge needed to apply these lessons to your own independent field work in the future.
Half the battle in field photography is geting to where the shot is, at the right time, to capture the light, in its ideal form. As we work our way through the itinerary of the workshop, we will share with you the thought processes and tools that we use in selecting each of our shooting locations and the times that we chose to be at them. Some of the selections will be self evident, but nothing can beat some inside knowledge of local routes, topographical considerations, and keeping a keen eye on developing weather.
Our choice of location and schedule for a workshop is not a hap hazard occurrence and a number of tools exist to help us intelligently make those decisions. These applications and the available web data also prove invaluable while out in the field, for making realtime choices. We are happy to share with you the tools we like best.
Seems simple, take the camera to the field and press the shutter release. If you are at the right place, at the right time, the rest should take care of itself. But often times it doesn't, there are a number of considerations for taking your camera and its associated gear out into the field. We have a number of field tested techniques that we use for lugging all the gear around in the field, caring for it in the elements and at the same time staying nimble so you can move quickly as the shot develops. Nothing beats eliminating the "will I be ready for the shot" question from the field shoot equation.
We will spend a fair amount of time, throughout the course of the entire workshop, discussing exposure techniques that we employ to achieve high quality images. Careful attention will be paid to the typical DSLR's exposure modes and which one(s) we recommend for which types of scenes.
We will also explore the notion of not trusting your camera's meter and preview screen and provide techniques that will allow you to know that the exposure you are getting is the best one possible, given the available light. You'll likely never trust your preview screen again and actually come to love the histogram!
Lastly we will address some specific techniques for dealing with differing qualities and volumes of light. We will give you the necessary insight to ensure that your raw images allow you the latitude you need in post-production to realize the envisioned image in your head.
We realize that likely your number one priority, after you have traveled all that distance, is to be out shooting the vistas and wildlife of our chosen workshop location. That being said, we still try to work in some seminar sessions that allow our guide(s) to share their knowledge on post-production techniques. We make every effort to slide these mini workshop sessions in between shooting times on the itinerary.
Certain workshops, due to timing and / or geographical challenges, may make inserting these mini workshops into the middle of the day. However we are very flexible and we will make the time to cover any of the topics that participants are interested in. It is not unheard of to find our participants all huddled around a couple of laptops at the local bar and / or restaurant. There could be worse ways to edit!
Ask any photographer, that shoots a reasonable volume of images and they will tell you that managing all of those images is a critical skill. The ability to quickly import your images into some form of organized catalog will serve you well and furthermore getting those images quickly edited and efficiently exported, for their respective audiences, is a process that we know well and will readily share. We have a number of insight on end-to-end workflow and we will be happy to share those pearls of wisdom with you.
Lightroom Editing Techniques
Under the category "de-facto workflow software", you will find Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom leading the pack. This product has become the industry standard for quickly cataloging images, providing a management interface for finding previous works and most importantly an excellent tool for Adobe Raw based editing. It is the editing tool of choice for photographers that quickly want to perform both global and batch edits. We will share with you, some of the tools that we think are the best in Lightroom and will get you up to speed with this application in no time.
Where Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom is the workflow engine of choice and the ideal global editor when it comes to localized editing, compositions and retouching, nothing comes close to the power of Adobe's Photoshop. Closing in on almost three (3) decades of being an industry leading editing product, Photoshop has unbelievable power packed into its interface and is the tool that many, many photographers use to turn ordinary images into extraordinary works of art.
We will focus on some of the tools that we think will have the biggest, most dramatic impact on your images as well as spend some time showing you how to make Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop play well together.
A voluminous number of plugins exist that are compatible with Lightroom, Photoshop or both packages. We have a number of favorites, that we routinely use and we would be happy to spend some time providing you with some insight into the programs that we like best. From presets to plugins, it amazing what tools exist in the marketplace and we'll whittle the list down to our favorites, for you.