Barnet Workshops » Sharing Experience, Information, Inspiration

During a real wedding, we don’t  have the time to photograph our brides the way we can when working on a fashion assignment. We always enjoy shooting the bridal gown spread for Ceremony Magazine. This year we had that opportunity again. We did this shoot last June at one of our favorite venues, The St. […]

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  • February 20, 2014 - 9:21 pm

    Rick Thompson - love your blog every time I check it. Always so much I learn from you Joe.

    Best investment I’ve done is to seek you out and enroll in your workshops.

    Great Images, as always


    • March 30, 2015 - 7:42 pm

      admin - Thank you very much for the kind words Rick! Great to hear from you! Take care…ReplyCancel

We always enjoy our Recharge at Rancho workshops… This year was no exception! The event was sold out and we got to spend the day with a great group of photographers. This year we made a few changes. We had a slightly smaller group, and we shared all the classroom information before lunch so that […]

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  • July 22, 2013 - 9:29 pm

    mark - Wowww its so amazing…its very good job..and good pictureReplyCancel

    • July 22, 2013 - 9:43 pm

      admin - Thank you Mark! We really enjoy doing this workshop every Memorial Day!ReplyCancel

We love photographing weddings! And the photographic challenges that come along, like less than ideal lighting, limited time, etc. This is why I love the opportunity to photograph portraits, especially in a studio environment where your imagination is the limit. We always look forward to our Studio and Environmental Portrait Workshops at Samy’s Camera. We […]

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  • April 13, 2013 - 8:29 pm

    Tye - Great tips!ReplyCancel

    • October 1, 2013 - 12:41 pm

      admin - Thank you Rob! We love working in the studio… It’s great to experiment with lighting. It’s more about having the time, using your imagination and having a good subject than the gear…. But the right gear sure helps… We appreciate your comment. Keep in touch!ReplyCancel

  • October 1, 2013 - 12:23 pm

    Rob - I love the lighting in the studio photos, adds a nice soft touch to the portraits.


We had a great engagement session in San Francisco recently, we worked with a great couple! Carol and Greg love their City and took us to a handful of great places… Including Treasure Island. They like the view of the City from this location. Because we wanted to be at the beach with the Golden […]

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  • April 12, 2013 - 8:52 am

    David - I am a new photographer, wanting to learn more about engagement and wedding photography, and I find these posts very helpful. Its great how you show the exact thought process the photographer goes through. This site is becoming my favorite photography site!ReplyCancel

  • April 12, 2013 - 9:04 am

    David - In the second picture, the brides face has some shadow on it, I was wondering would it have been a good idea to have a second umbrella in front of the couple, or on the other side of the couple, to help solve that?ReplyCancel

    • April 12, 2013 - 9:23 am

      admin - Thank you for your comments David! I’m glad you enjoy the posts. I’m trying to do them more often… Regarding that second image; we did lots of photos in that area, the ones with the couple looking towards the camera and towards the light worked best. In that image the bride is still getting some light from the umbrella bouncing off the groom’s face. A second umbrella would have resulted in the light being a bit flat. Also, when doing an engagement session in different locations, it’s not always practical to set up lots of lighting, there’s so much gear you can bring and it slows you down… Thanks again for your comments… Keep in touch!ReplyCancel

  • April 13, 2013 - 12:10 pm

    Carly Street - That’s a really interesting lighting setup & makes the subjects’ skin look so pretty & soft. Shooting w/ overhead sun has always been a fear of mine & I don’t like the look of a blown out background, so this is a really great alternative. Thanks for sharing :)ReplyCancel

    • April 13, 2013 - 5:17 pm

      admin - Thanks for your note Carly! I know what you mean about shooting in sunlight. There are many factors that can help or hinder here… If your subject is wearing white or a very light color, that could be a problem. If you have enough power (in your flash) you can overcome most problems, of course, this is not always possible, especially if you don’t have a power outlet near by… The larger your light source, (in relation to your subject), the softer the light will be… Shooting outside also brings on another set of issues… How do you keep a large soft box or umbrella from moving around at the beach… Lots of weight and a heavy duty stand or a couple of assistants… Keep in touch!ReplyCancel

  • April 14, 2013 - 3:38 pm

    Rick Thompson - Another great article, Joe / Mirta. I’ve got to tell you, I’ve learned a lot from you two. Probably “THE” most important Technical items that you showed me was the Overhead Scrim and the light that came through, possibly coupled with a soft flash.

    This single thing has just opened up so much for me.

    Thank you for all your teachings, and the learning’s I glean from articles such as these.

    It’s wonderful learning from a master!

    FYI: just purchased three of Canon’s 600 EX-RT flash head and used them this past Saturday; one as a stand upright with a light modifier on the top. Between the modified “Bare Bulb” knockoff and my on camera flash as a master, lit the entire room. Took me some time “Playing” with it to get it to do what I wanted, now I have to become a master to adjust output to each. Neatest thing I did what to reduce output from the other side of the room. [Still learning, still practicing | getting better]ReplyCancel

    • April 14, 2013 - 3:53 pm

      admin - I’m glad you found this post helpful Rick! Looks like you’re headed the right way! It does take some experimenting to get the OCF just right… Keeping the off camera units on manual is key, in my opinion… That way they are consistent. Thanks for your comment! Keep in touch.ReplyCancel

  • December 14, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    Chuck McLaughlin - Great instruction. I started using the same technique this past fall of using one diffuser to soften the sun while shooting an off-camera flash through a second diffuser as the main light. Great minds think alike!ReplyCancel

    • December 14, 2014 - 1:26 pm

      admin - Thanks Chuck! We normally use a Profoto B1 or an Elinchrom Quadra for that kind of light. In this case it was an out of town e-session and we were traveling light. The client really wanted to be photographed in that spot, so we went with it.ReplyCancel

Most of us don’t like to use flash. We prefer to use “available light”… Well, I consider available light to be all the light that is available to me, including the light coming out of my SB910 speed lights. The trick, or rather the skill, is to make the light from a speed light look […]

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  • April 2, 2013 - 11:11 pm

    John T. - Great information on a variety of flash situations condensed in one brief article. Nice job. Especially liked using the white card as flag, and the Manual vs. TTL situations. Great BTS images too. Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • April 2, 2013 - 11:20 pm

      admin - Thanks John! Glad you liked the post… We’re doing more and more of this kind of lighting on location, after a while, it get’s very intuitive and you can set it up in no time. One thing I forgot to mention… When using speed lights up on a light stand on remote, it’s a good idea to go in the menu and cancel the stand-by mode. That way if you don’t shoot for a while you don’t have to waste the first shot to “wake up” the flash. It uses a bit more power, but if you use a power pack it doesn’t matter… Take care and keep in touch!ReplyCancel

    • April 3, 2013 - 11:20 am

      admin - Thank you Carly, I’m glad you found the information helpful. I used to use self contained AC heads at receptions too, mostly I’ve gone to the smaller flash units with a power pack instead. I’m sure you noticed that we were using a round translucent panel (not a reflector) in front of the flash. Sometimes, like at the beach, we do bounce the flash off a reflector, a totally different technique. I’m glad you mentioned that, I’ll be sure to talk about out door use of speed lights soon. Take care…ReplyCancel

  • April 3, 2013 - 10:58 am

    Carly Street - Very helpful article! At weddings, I use Alien Bee B1600s, and I’ve been wanting to try using my SB910s more instead since they’re so much more compact. I like your trick of holding the reflector in front of the flash. I’ll definitely be trying that this weekend!ReplyCancel

  • April 4, 2013 - 12:32 pm

    Billy Higginbotham - Hello and thank you for the informative article. I am occasionally forced to photograph at high noon settings with very little or no shade available beach settings. Sometimes client wants back lit beach images, so I light them up with a flash. In doing so I get well lit clients with a blown out background which spoils what the client wants in the background. Is the solution just get closer like in your group wedding party shot where you used the wide angle, or is there something else. Also do you have any ideas in this beach or bright scenario if the an onboard flash has to be used for compensation? By the way I am a Nikon user.

    Best wishes,

    Billy HigginbothamReplyCancel

    • April 4, 2013 - 1:41 pm

      admin - Hi Billy! Thanks for your comment… You’re right. When shooting with strong backlight at the beach you need to have the fash close to your subjects. If your flash is mounted on the camera, you can’t use a long lens and achieve the “look” a long lens gives you, especially stopped down. However, if you place your flash on a stand with a remote triggering device, you can back up, use a long lens and still have your flash close. BTW, using the FP setting doesn’t work very well in these cases when you need lots of light from your flash. Firstly, FP won’t work on manual, and even if you used a remote TTL system, FP requires the flash to fire several times during the same exposure. If you’re using lots of power, the flash won’t recycle fast enough to do the job. For those images we use a larger, self contained flash unit, like the Profoto 600 w. or the Elinchrom Ranger, 400 w. I’ve been using the Elinchrom Ranger more lately because even though it’s 200 w less power it’s much lighter and easy to set up and carry. If you use a large flash with a soft box, you should bring an assistant. In the last few images on this slide show from one of our Samy’s camera workshops you can see how this set up works: Take care!ReplyCancel

  • April 6, 2013 - 9:51 am

    mary - This is such valuable information! thank you! Could you comment on how the flash heads are positioned at the reception- on camera bounced off ceiling with card or omni-bounce, flash unit on the stand has card or diffuser? Also, I shoot in manual mode on my nikon D700 but usually have my flash set to TTL. Could you talk a little about Manual mode with the flash? I have no manual mode experience with the SB900. I do own the pocket wizard flex tt5’s. honestly i haven’t used them much. Still haven’t implemented them into my work flow. Lastly, do you ever do workshops in the Chicago area? or midwest? I don’t make is out to the west coast very often. many thanks.ReplyCancel

    • April 12, 2013 - 10:39 am

      admin - Hi Mary; Thanks for your comment! Good questions… We also shoot Nikon, and SB910’s. At a reception, especially indoors where the light is not going to change very much, I use my camera on Manual and the on-camera flash on TTL. In this case, the off camera flash (1 or 2 depending on the room) are set to manual at about 1/8 power. They’re as high as possible on stands near the walls, pointed up and have the large, white snap-on diffuser. The off camera flash is triggered with regular Pocket Wizards (not Flex5’TT5’s).
      The FlexTTS system is great, but not well suited for this use, unless you use them in manual mode (you can do that). At some point I’ll do a post on the FlexTT5’s.
      Workshops in Chicago… We’d love to! My cousin is a photographer in Chicago and we’ve talked about it… If you know enough photographers that might be interested we can put something together…
      In the mean time, our flagship workshop of the year is coming up on Memorial Day: Recharge at Rancho, at Rancho Las Lomas, is a full day portfolio building workshop with classroom instruction and lots of shooting, great models and a fabulous location. A “Day-after” session is also available for those who come from out of town and want to maximize the trip investment. This workshop is a game changer for most participants, in the business, technical and creative aspects of our profession. Feel free to email us if you have any questions. Here’s more info:
      Thanks again Mary! Keep in touch…ReplyCancel