Lighting Seminar @ Bristol 04/04/09

Steve Aves Beginners Guide to Lighting pensive

I presented a great seminar last Saturday at a very unusual venue, ‘@ Bristol’ right in the heart of Bristol’s dock area, an area that’s seen a big change over the last ten years. Chatting to the people who run the venue, it was a derelict part of the old Bristol docks that had been a wasteland for many years. Millions have been spent on the new complex, an exhibition centre with further space upstairs for meetings and seminars. Our two rooms were superb, a big space to demonstrate lighting and another room with a huge outdoor terrace to take our tea breaks and lunch overlooking the river.

I always get a good mix of people and this seminar was no exception. As you would expect there were some true enthusiasts who wanted to gain more knowledge about lighting. There were people who already ran a studio, but wanted to know more. And of course a lot of people who came to the seminar before they bought their own lights to see what they really needed.

Hello Steve, I was at your course on Saturday, it was fantastic. I found it very useful, I didn't know anything about lighting before and it inspired me to take more photos.

As usual I ran through the basics of flash, moving on to basic set ups to the point we actually started to shoot. I asked everyone to get their equipment sorted out and it looked like an advert for Canon, I’ve never seen so much hardware. Being an old Nikon man I was pleased that two people pulled out Nikon’s and said that at least a couple of people had some decent kit!

So after a bit of camera banter and general uproar we started to shoot some very basic set ups using a brolly and softbox. The results were pretty good and we broke for lunch. The sun was out and we had lunch on the terrace overlooking the main concourse and river, it was great! During our lunch break everyone chatted about cameras, lenses etc which makes the day so interesting. The day is not just about lighting, the day is about having the opportunity to meet like minded people from all parts of the UK and talk photography. This group were really great and could have chatted away all afternoon if I hadn’t have dragged them back into the darkness of the studio.

Hi Steve, Just wanted to thank you for the fantastic portrait lighting seminar on Saturday. I'd been struggling for a few months with an Interfit two head kit, but I felt much more enlightened, knowledgeable and confident after walking away on Saturday. I thought your style and delivery was excellent, very relaxed and clear, and the content covered all the bases for me. All I need now is a wad of cash to buy a third head and a shedload of accessories!

After lunch I showed the group some images taken with the Bowens Ring Flash and Ringlite Converter, always interesting to see how fashion stuff can be taken with one light. I also showed them the low key shots Chris Reeve and I had shot in the style of Karsh. We then shot some low key portraits using a similar technique which worked really well.

Wex Photographic Lighting Seminar Steve Aves B+W

After the low key it was time to use other portrait accessories and we had a good session using combinations of main lights, effects lights and background lights. At one point I used a gel filter on the background, a red one to show the effect they have. It maybe not the best shot, but it does show what they can do!

Wex Photographic Lighting Seminar Steve Aves Filter

After a tea break we returned to the studio to look at high key lighting still the most popular part of the seminar. We used various accessories like the Softlite for main lighting and High Performance Reflector for background lighting, both ideal for high key work.

Hi Steve, Mike and Diane here fresh from your course earlier today. Exceeded our expectation, great presentation style, very professional. We both appreciated the friendly, informal yet effective environment. Superb value, great venue, great day.

To finish off the day, we went back out onto the terrace, (off mains) and shot a few images using the Bowens Travel Pak. The sun was bright, but the shadows were very harsh and a small soft box on a Gemini 250 made the light much more even. As you will see in this picture of Richard who certainly seemed to enjoy the experience!

Wex Photographic Lighting Seminar Richard At-Bristol

The day was a great success and everyone enjoyed themselves. I was pleased that I managed to answer everyone’s questions and leave them with much more confidence about buying and using flash. I hope to get a few more images of the seminar to put on the site over the next few days.

Hi Steve, Thanks for today's course. Had a great time. I certainly got a much better idea about how studio lighting can be put to work which will make buying kit and getting going much much easier.

Hi Steve, I just wanted to drop you an email to thank you for the portrait lighting course in Bristol a couple of weeks ago. I found the course extremely useful. I had already been practicing with my home studio set up but the course filled in many gaps in my knowledge which will help me to improve greatly. The course also reinforced a few things that I already knew but most importantly gave me the confidence to use that knowledge. I found the overview of the various different accessories particularly helpful, it's great to finally understand how many of the effects are created! I now know what I want to buy, what not to buy, and what to do with the equipment once it arrives to create that "wow" shot !  Finally, your enthusiasm and obvious experience made the course very enjoyable as well as informative. It's fantastic to be taught by someone who has clearly been there and done it, as opposed to someone who just understands the theory. So thanks again and all the best!