Every year for one week in the spring, I teach an intense week-long workshop in Texas for photographers who fly in from all over the country, and sometimes other countries as well. I am back from that event and am mostly recovered (as I get little to sometimes no sleep each night), and wanted to share some of the images I created while I was there sharing my entire system, everything from lighting, to digital workflow, to business.
This event is always amazing and inspirational, and this time in particular I have come home to some of the best thank you emails and calls from the photographers that I think I’ve ever had. I really appreciate it. I feel honored and grateful to be a mentor to photographers and help them learn and do better.
So I have specific steps to creating a portrait that I share. The trick is to get exquisite lighting, truly capture someone’s personality, and also nail everything technically as well for perfect skin tones, perfect brightness and contrast, perfect eyes, and fantastic expressions that draw you in as a viewer.
And with perfect images, it means I can spend some time on the computer doing artistic work rather than corrective work, so I have fun creating paintings, collages, and creating other art pieces.
Here I shot this model against a studio background using a specific fashion light setup. Nothing has been retouched, no eyes have been brightened and no skin blurred. All I did was convert to black and white and design this awesome collage that shows a lot of personality.
When an image is real, it has more power. The mind can tell when something is fake, and by lighting exquisitely and capturing emotion in a real way, the image is far more powerful. Then, if I want to do some artwork on it (like this image below), the image can retain it’s powerful draw because any retouching done to eyes and face is so subtle, that it can’t be seen, and all the heavy artistic work is done to the background.
Of course I love my paintings, and so I took this same image another direction as well, painting it too.
Here are more un-retouched images. For variety, I used the curtains in the conference room, and shot these all with one studio light. Again, none of these have been retouched, I just designed up this cool collage showing a variety of poses and emotions to tell a story.
I also shot this model in the hotel’s bar using the Einstein bulbs hanging in the back as a background. I had to be strategic to hide people in the background, but created this with a very minimal setup.
I took three images from that set and designed this trio.
And I shot other models both in studio and out.
One night in particular, I photograph a slew of models, each for only a few minutes, and each in separate locations around the hotel, inside and out. None of these images are retouched or corrected. These are all straight out of camera. But this also shows one big creative secret, and that is to not shoot the same thing twice – no two images can be the same. To truly be creative, you have to change up each shot making small changes and then big changes, and these thumbnails show that.
These were shot for the event so I didn’t work up any of them. But if I do, I’ll post them here on my blog.
So a special thanks to my cute models for coming and working with me, to my suppliers and sponsors, and everyone who came out and oversold my class.
I love speaking and teaching in Texas and love that it’s full of people that pour their whole heart and soul into making it a great event.
And did I mention that I played blues harp in a band there too? Here’s our official band photo shot by the famous John Hartman, shot just before our gig in the hotel’s garage.
And here we are backstage before going on, shot with my point and shoot camera on a tadpole selfie stick. I’m still hoping to find some video of us playing.
Well that’s it for now. If you’d like to attend one of my photographic events or get some online training, visit my site for photographer training at BryCoxWORKSHOPS.com.
And until next time, America.