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 after the break we could shoot until the end of the day. This resulted in more shooting time. The marketing, branding, contracts, pricing and post production segment were all in the morning while everyone was fresh. We also offered a “Day After” session for those who wanted to come in on Tuesday for more business training, off camera lighting, posing, etc.
Next year, Recharge at Rancho is growing up! It will be a two day event. We’ll meet at our home studio on Sunday for a much longer “classroom” section and then, Memorial Day at Rancho Las Lomas will be shooting only. This will eliminate the need for the Next Day session because we’ll have more time on Sunday. Early registration for Recharge at Rancho 2014 will open at the beginning of the year as always.
We have had many of our students send us their images this year. Great stuff!! I have noticed that many of their images have made it to their sites and blogs. Good for you! That’s the idea of this Portfolio Building Workshop.
As always, we owe a big thanks to Ceremony Magazine, Bay Photo, West Coast Albums, Pixel2Canvas, Fundy Software, Kubota Imaging Tools, ProSelect, Jerry Ghionis’ Ice Society, SmugMug and Undfind Camera Bags. These sponsors always give us great gifts and prizes for our photographers. We urge those who receive them to put them to good use right away! Great samples mean great bookings. And of course, a big THANK YOU to Rancho Las Lomas and especially the owners and the staff of this beautiful place, it’s really more like the Rancho Family. Everyone there has always been so kind and helpful to us!
Here are some of the images Mirta and I made, except for the groups. The groups were photographed by our friend Michael Erdkamp. Many of our photographs will go to the models that generously participated, as well as Mon Amie, the bridal shop, Friar Tux, Design Visage, who did the makeup and hair, the florist Amazing Blooms and Ceremony Magazine. If you attended the workshop we urge you to please make some of your images available to our models. Their email addresses were included in the handouts. If you need them again, please let me know.
This is the Recharge 2013 group, including our four great models, Mirta, myself, and at the far right is Autumn, our studio and wedding assistant. We always do a group photo just before we start shooting. This is a very cool area, right above the steps you’ll see later…
Our day starts very early in the morning. Mirta and I have photographed many wedding receptions here, but on “Recharge” day, we set it up as a classroom at one end and our model’s makeup and wardrobe area at the other… The Bay Photo bags are full of goodies from Bay Photo and our other sponsors… The raffle items come later…
These are some of the items we market to our wedding and portrait clients. We can’t emphasise enough the importance of including albums in your wedding collections and offering a wide variety of products to all your clients. Great samples are key. Your clients need to see these products before they decide to purchase them.
After breakfast, we get right into it. This year, our friends at Glass Eye Productions recorded our Rancho workshop. We’re looking forward to having the finished video soon. In the center isle, you can see our projector, it’s on a Tether Tools table supported by a tripod. We used this set up this year for the first rime, it worked much better than our regular table, and it’s much easier to transport.
Here are our great female models Kim and Colleen being made up by Lauren from Design Visage, they’ve always helped us with hair and makeup and we see them at many of the weddings we photograph. They always do a fabulous job and our models and brides are always ready on time.
This is the other end of the ballroom, where the make up and wardrobe activities take place. In the background are the tuxes from Friar Tux and the gowns from Mon Amie.
These steps are great location! One of many at Rancho. In the afternoon, the backlight is incredible! Mirta did her magic here with two different looks in the same location. She goes over all that during the post production part of our workshops.
This is the area above the steps, very rustic. Sometimes it’s hard to get “real brides” to let us take them to this area, but it’s worth it. Notice the spotty light because of the trees, but also notice, that, because the light comes from the back, it doesn’t present a problem, and it gives us a very nice rim light on our subjects.
As we shoot, we check our progress, Mirta and I explain what we’re doing, in this case, we were talking about photographing our subjects in a back lit environment. Your camera meter will not work here, without heavy compensation. Mirta is a manual exposure shooter, and I use aperture priority most of the time.
Here’s that nice backlight again… Kim looks great here! Notice how the shallow depth of field below helps separate our subject from the busy background…
The two images above, were shot seconds apart. From pretty much the same spot. Prime lenses are great, but when you have to work fast, I’ll take a 70-200 2.8 any day. These are two very different images with only minor changes in the posing, Kim just turned her head a little… Don’t forget to vary your crop in camera, and mixing vertical images with horizontal ones will give you more variety.
Again, shallow focus made the two images below. After placing Kim in this area, we moved to one side for the photo below, and then to the other side for the image after that. It’s a good idea to move around your subject and get different points of view, without moving your subject any more than necessary.
The image of Kim above is one of Mirta’s. Foreground and background vegetation with Kim in the middle made this image. The soft treatment goes with her gown and the location.
The image above and the two below are at “the swing”. By first photographing the bride and then adding the groom, (and vice-versa), you can get lots of different images in a short amount of time, while shooting individual images of your couple. This is something that our clients like and photographers often don’t do enough.
Above is Rancho’s “small bridge”, (there’s a big one too), I like this one because is less photographed, I also like the background, and we can shoot from above. When you use a low or high angle, it can make your images more interesting, and add variety.
Here’s Mirta helping Colleen with her gown. This is something I wouldn’t attempt. It’s nice to offer a husband and wife team to our couples! After the adjustments were finished, Mirta posed Colleen and Alex and everyone got their unique point of view. The following image is Mirta’s version, with help from Kevin Kubota’s “Old Leather” action from the Instalooks collection.
Walking images are great! They don’t look posed, but a little direction makes a nice grab shot into a very nice image.
If there’s no wind, actually a good thing for the most part, you can give the veil a little help… I’m setting up the shot above. Next is the group taking advantage of the opportunity, and lastly, the finished image… It looked great full length too…
This is me above posing Colleen for the image below. Shallow depth of field and something in the foreground, along with backlight make this image. I think we used a white reflector to throw a little light on the face.
Above is Colleen at the Teatro, this is where most of the ceremonies at Rancho Las Lomas take place. Mirta shot this image, I love the post on it… The cross lighting brought out the detail in the gown. I love the natural relaxed feel of this image.
The previous four images are groom alone… Obviously… This is something some photographers don’t do enough. It’s important to learn to pose your grooms, they usually don’t enjoy the experience as much as the brides do. The guys appreciate it when it’s done fast. Again, remember to shot variety, and include horizontal as well as vertical images. It’s nice to have choices for the album design…
The shot above is a must at every Rancho wedding. The challenge is to do it differently for every Client… It’s tempting not to do the “tried and true” shots at our favorite venues, and instead, look for something “new and different”, but we must remember, many of our Brides dream of seeing themselves in these spots, so we should give them what they want, and then add our vision of the location… Just my opinion…
The two images above and the three below are at the same location. The water tank… We like this area because it’s very dramatic. Especially when you use a flash to light your subjects and keep the sky nice and dark. In the past we’ve used our Profoto AcuteB 600R, that’s a self contained battery strobe with one head that puts out up to 600 watts. That’s the same as 8 Nikon or Canon speed lights at full power. This is a vert nice unit, but it’s a little heavy and not easy to use at a wedding. This year we used our new Elinchrom Quadra Ranger RX Hybrid with “S” heads. This is my newest toy! It puts out 1/2 stop less than the Profoto (400 watts) but it’s soooo much lighter! And the heads are smaller than a Nikon SB910!! “Hybrid” means that it takes the new Lithium Ion batteries, smaller and much, much lighter than the traditional lead acid batteries… AND, they’re more reliable with many more “pops” at full power… The thing is expensive, but the best usually is. Autumn has the unit on her shoulder and the very light Rotalux Deep Octa box, also by Elinchrom, is held up with a painter’s pole fitted with an adapter to turn the end of it into a light stand. I love this thing! And, it was cheap! Just don’t get the Home Depot version, spend an extra $20 and get it at a Pro paint store, that’s what I did… Ok, enough about gear! If you want to know more about the photo equipment we use, leave a comment on this post. The three images below have different treatments. All Mirta’s work of course… If you want to know what she did in Photoshop for any of the images, ask us by leaving a comment below!
And this was the very last exposure of the day! Kim and Colleen were great! They are very good friends, that’s why I wanted to get this photo of them together. Kim is also a great photographer as well. The guys, Tim and Alex did a great job as well of course, but in all fairness, they didn’t have to wear long gowns and walk in high heels all day. The girls look just as fresh as they did at the beginning! Lauren’s make up held up too!
Mirta and I want to thank our sponsors again. We couldn’t do our workshops without them, and our business would not be the same without their great products and services. Every year, we donate a percentage of the proceeds from our workshops to The Soul Society, a non-profit organization established by Jerry and Melissa Ghionis. This is a charity that builds orphanages in impoverished countries around the world. It means a lot to us to be able to contribute in a small way to this cause. To find out more about The Soul Society, click above or on the logo to the right.
Finally, we want to thank our great group of photographers this year. It was a privilege getting to know you! Please keep in touch!