Day 2 of the Lighten Up and Shoot workshop - Toronto Edition

This is the final write-up on the Lighten Up and Shoot workshop - Toronto Edition. To see the activities from day 0 go here, for day 1 activities go here.

On the final day - we were back at the Creative Images Studio for some debrief of Day 1 activities and some photoshop tips.

I believe there were issues with the scheduled models again but if you remember Tamara who we found on Day 1 in our get strangers to pose for us exercise - she agreed to be our model for the afternoon.

I switched to the Lastolite Ezybox 24" for the 2 shots below because that is what I have - I remember going to Vistek and asking for a Westcott 28" and being talked into the Lastolite because they didn't have the westcott in stock. The Ezybox 24" is a direct light set up with 2 diffusion panels vs. the indirect light setup with 1 diffusion panel of the Westcott. The Ezybox gives easy access to the controls of the flash while the Westcott has the flash set inside the box and access to the controls is more difficult. The Ezybox is also more efficient than the Westcott but the lighting is not as even as the Westcott.

Here is a comparison of the two products. I found that the Ezybox was harder to avoid hot spots on the model. I went and got a Westcott a week after the workshop...

Here is Tamara - lit with the Ezybox from camera left - single light setup.


Natural light only




We had an opportunity to go around the streets shooting more strangers but I got lured into shooting the pretty model - looking back, I should have used the chance to practice my opening with strangers rather than do the Paparazzi thing. I am sure to get lots of chances to be a Paparazzi when TIFF rolls into town.

So looking back on the 2.5 day workshop from Lighten Up and Shoot what did I learn:
- bare bulb flash sucks, I though I could get away with the flash on the stick trick but it doesn't work too well, maybe if you snooted it like Nick Turpin does it, it may work out.

- I need to practice my opening and approach to photographing people on the streets

- I need to lug that softbox with me more often

- I need to look at the histogram more closely and ignore the image on the LCD screen, too often I trusted the LCD more than the histogram.

- I need to make some business cards

I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone interested in photographing human subjects with small lights. This is not a workshop on the big pack and head systems that can overpower the sun at high noon. You will not be using Beauty dishes, large Octa boxes, large strip lights, etc - you get to use what you can fit into a backpack.

I recommend it not because of the lighting technical knowledge, because that can be obtained from their website or other web sites like strobists for free - just use google but what Andy and Mikey bring to the workshop is humour and practical approaches on how to get strangers on the street to model for you. It's also the feedback they give to you when they see your work. I recommend that students bring in their work or bring the past day's photos for Andy and Mikey to review - their teaching style is very interactive.

There were issues with models not showing up for the workshop but to me a good workshop is not about shooting hot models (which I sometimes forget), its about learning new techniques or finding out what you are currently doing wrong. The models are there for you to practice your techniques. Which is why their lessons on getting strangers to be models comes in handy.

Compare to the big names who have come to Toronto to give workshops - Lighten Up and Shoot rates very high on the value scale. Plus they have a money back guarantee, if after day 1, you are not happy - they give your money back.

Some of the big names who had come to Toronto before:
Martin Prihoda in 2008 - Big Lights Far Away - $699 CAD (I believe) - capped at 20 students
Don Giannatti in 2009 - Lighting Essentials - $450 USD - capped at 10 or 15
Andy and Mikey in 2010 - Lightenupandshoot - $200 USD - capped at 10

You get 2 instructors instead of 1 and they may have problems with the TF models but I guess you can always request to pay extra to guarantee the models, make-up artists, hair stylists, and clothing designers you want. I rather pay for that stuff after I perfect my lighting techniques first.

I had a fun time and learn some new tricks along the way.

Thanks Andy and Mikey for coming to TO and Mark for bringing them here.

Here are their next scheduled dates and locations - check their website to confirm as things may change!
Tampa, Florida - September 18th, 2010 - Westcott Top Pro Tour!
Seattle, Washington - September 25th and 26th, 2010 !
San Francisco, California - October 2nd and 3rd, 2010 !
Los Angeles, California - October 9th and 10th, 2010 !
San Diego, California - October 16th and 17th, 2010 !
Phoenix, Arizona - October 23rd and 24th, 2010 !
Las Vegas, Nevada - October 30th and 31st !


  1. Happy to hear you enjoyed it and for thanking me too :)

    They WILL be back.

    Keep up the great work your doing Edwin and if you ever want to do some Street I'm happy to help.



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