Browsing Tag

Photography Instruction

OneLove Date Auction | Preview Shots

-Posted by Mark

It’s been a while since I’ve gotten out and about and photographed an event (other than you know, weddings, fashion shows, and working with the Intern Army) – so last night was kind of a change of pace for me. +Laura and I attended One Love Generation‘s Date Auction fundraiser.

“One Love Generation (OLG) is a 501c3 non-profit organization empowering youth to inspire positive social change through art, service and awareness. OLG believes that the arts create awareness and that awareness creates the opportunity for change. The program matches gifted teen artists with professional artist mentors to create studio art projects focusing on specific environmental, socio-economical or philanthropic issues facing our world. Artists and mentees establish relationships with communities throughout the world and work together in developing artistic projects as a way to generate awareness about the issue on a larger scale.”

So. I’m always telling the Interns that every photoshoot is a game of ‘stump-the-photographer’, and last night was no different. When you’re photographing in a place like Johnny’s Hideaway – forget thinking that you can just use ‘natural light’. You need to bring in some flash. Now you can go the normal route of on-camera (which we did half the time) – but if you’re up to the task of even better photos – you’ll find some way to set up some speedlights off camera.

But you start with on-camera to see what it looks like: (and if you’re the boss – you make +Laura stand in to test the light.)

This is with the speedlight on my camera – and aimed up at the ceiling tilted about 35 degrees forward. Usable but not super awesome glamorous! So we went with the two light setup. You can see the lightstands on +Laura’s left and right. There are actually TWO speedlights on each stand, taped together. I wanted +Laura to be able to use the light setup as well, but we didn’t have room to have FOUR lightstands up there – so hey – in case you’re new to us here at LeahAndMark & The Intern Army – we are not limited by our gear and we just come up with whatever works.

So we have the two lights crossing each other and aimed towards the middle of the ‘stage’ – meaning that we didn’t have a ‘fill’ light. Then I noticed that there was a disco ball – and decided/hoped that it would reflect back enough light. (And yes – I know that if we had brackets then we could have fill light without setting up another lightstand.)

After I’ve set up my lights and while I’m waiting for things to begin – I do still kind of get anxious. I mean – conditions change – people move – and I may or may not be able to make any changes to the light stands after things start. You just never know. So you set up your lights in a way that you’ll get the most coverage, with an interesting look, and with the highest probability of not sucking once things start. You just have to be better than your gear, the people moving and blocking your view – and all the while aware of the movement that’s going on. Things don’t only happen on stage – and you have to make sure you get the ‘audience’ reactions or else you’ll just end up with a gallery of pretty photos. Pretty boring photos.

Have a great weekend. We’ll post the link to the full gallery soon. Thank you.


Atlanta. One. Love. Date. Auction. Johnny’s. Hideaway. Photos. Photographers.


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Training Exercises

-Posted by Mark

Every season of our Internship is different – and we’ve been very happy with the surprises. I’ll be honest – a few months ago I thought that it would be difficult to surpass the Awesomeness that was Season 3. The group really came together and totally, totally rocked everything we did.

Fortunately – Season 4 hasn’t disappointed at all. Even better – like every season before them – they’ve taken the Internship to another level. For Season 4 we were able to implement more restrictions (restrictions force creativity), more training sessions, and project exercises.

Along with simply blogging better – and pushing them to blog better (more open, and telling us more than just the obvious ‘this is what I did, then I did this, oh and then I did this’) – the Interns have really put themselves in vulnerable positions (writing-wise!) and they have shared with us much more than we could ever really ask for.

One of the exercises? Basically to study more photographs. We felt that the Interns hadn’t really spent enough time looking at enough photographs – not with the focus and new eyes that they have since starting the internship. So – we had them all get on Flickr and ‘favorite’ 96 photos. Obviously there is value in studying other people’s photographs – and studying photographs beyond the ‘Masters’. Studying variations of modern photography.

[Andre] [Gabriel] [Jen] [JAwesome] [Marj] [Whitney] [Silvana]

In looking at their ‘favorites’ – some of the interns mentioned how they realized that they shoot nothing like the photos that they selected – even when they thought that they were shooting like that. Or they realized other preferences about the photos they chose, and then they saw those preferences coming out in their own photography – or again, none at all.

Part of being a better photographer is knowing yourself and how you shoot. Sometimes we’ll fight what we naturally do because we think it’s wrong – when really we just need to explore and develop that a little bit further.

The next assignment we gave the interns was as follows:

The next assignment is to recreate one of the shots on the main blog. Any shot by either me or Leah, going back as far as July of 2009. Not only recreate the shot, but reinterpret it – whatever that means. The goal is so that you can knowingly make a specific photo – instead of trying to ‘discover’ a good shot. You should be able to reverse engineer lighting and other aspects of a photo, such as composition and environment. You should basically be able to deconstruct photos you see and KNOW how to make them – or know how YOU would make them. You have two weeks and then the blog entry is due posted – and you’ll post the ‘original’ photo for comparison.


Comments from the blogs on the 2nd assignment included:

“I learned a lot in doing this assignment.  I learned that I should have spent more time studying the photos I wanted to copy.  I am having trouble taking the image I see in my mind and making it happen in reality.  I think it’s an extremely effective lesson because it forced me to think about how to build in my light, direct my model, frame the shot, etc.  It’s not just getting lucky with a spray and pray method.  It’s actually designing the exact shot you want and putting each piece of it together.  So, I’ve got work to do.  I want to be able to copy, understand each element, and then use what I’ve learned to create my own works.” – JAwesome

“To be perfectly honest, I didn’t think this assignment was going to be that hard, I will also be the first to tell you that I was wrong.” – Gabriel

Now that we’re in the last month for Season 4 – the posts are reflecting some of the growth that the Interns realized they’ve made over the past few weeks.

“We still have 4 weeks left, but in just a couple weeks LeahAndMark will be accepting new interns, and there is already a mental shift going on in my head as I am beginning to think of what’s next. One thing that I know for sure is that I will be pursuing many more routes of photography than I was previously. Niche photography is a very common business methodology, but if you know anything about LeahAndMark, they encourage you to branch out and take pictures of everything. The shift in my thinking has been dramatic over the last 2 months, and while I have seen a marked difference in my photos, I am excited to watch and see my photography continue to grow past this internship.” – Gabriel

“Okay.  I’m going to try to express this in words.  This shoot was something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time.  Like years and years.  And this internship gave me the confidence and the resources to make it happen.  And now that I did it.  Well, I want to do it again.” -Marj

“This internship…even with it’s ups and downs…has been a blessing for me. And because of all this I am now, not only a stronger photographer…but a stronger person as well.  I walk a little taller these days. I have become more assertive.  I can, without being bossy, manage a team much more efficiently than I would have before.  I find myself seeing the shots I want a lot quicker, and explaining to my clients what it is I need them to do in order to make the shot a lot simpler. The internship is a starting point for the rest of our lives.  There is no longer an excuse not make it, because we have the knowledge and the tools and the support group that most photographers don’t have.  We can do anything now.” – Whitney

The fact that anyone would say such things about our Internship is amazing, and Leah and I cannot possibly tell you that we ever expected it to be anything like this at all.

Thank you.

See you tomorrow.


Atlanta. Wedding. Editorial. Event. Photographer.

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