by Ben Willmore | Oct 31, 2012
Hi everyone! There’s one month left to sign up for my “Mastering HDR” workshop in Los Osos, CA. We’re looking at five full days of shooting, post-processing and stylizing HDR images. Before giving the workshop description, I want to mention something about this type of photography. The term “HDR” is often thought of as an illustrative and unrealistic look, but it’s important to understand that this look is just one of the potential end results. HDR is also used to create very realistic images by simply expanding the tonal range from what your camera can capture. In this class, we’ll go over all kinds of HDR processing, from the photo-realistic to the illustrative style.
Here is the full workshop description. I hope you’ll be able to join me for five days of intense training and shooting!
Mastering High Dynamic Range Photography
Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 2012
Learn to capture the full brightness range of a scene and present it to your viewer as either a photorealistic image or as an image that more closely resembles a hyper-detailed drawing.
With over two dozen choices of HDR processing software, you’ll learn which software is worth using and which should be ignored. You’ll also see why you should avoid Photoshop’s standard HDR processing and how to use alternative methods in Photoshop and Lightroom to produce far superior results.
This course will teach you how to deal with common problems such as subject motion, scenes with extreme dynamic range, images that feature people and a lot more.
• Best practices for shooting HDR that will help you capture much sharper images and avoid common problems
• How to best merge multiple exposures into a single High Dynamic Range image
• Which file formats are more ideal for unprocessed HDR images
• The best software choices for tone mapping your images
• Post processing techniques needed to tackle common problems
• Retouching techniques to remove telephone wires (even through trees) and other distractions
• Image optimization techniques to help direct the viewer’s eye through your image
• HDR panorama shooting and stitching techniques
You’ll learn all this from one of the original pioneers of HDR photography: The guy who the author of “The HDR Handbook” dubbed “The Godfather of HDR.”
In the images below, drag the sliders to see the before & afters.
by Ben Willmore | Oct 15, 2012
Hey gang. We just wrapped up the 3rd annual California Photo Festival (aka Click!) in San Luis Obispo. It was my first time teaching at this event, and I had a blast. This festival it a week-long photography infusion, with tons of classes going on nearly 18 hours per day. Some of the classes are lecture style and some of them are live location shoots. I taught a good mix of both.
The event kicked off with an instructor meet and greet on Monday night where I got to reunite with a lot of my great photographer friends. This is always a bonus when it comes to events like this. The following night was an opening reception with all the volunteers and students.
My work was shown at the Light Workshops headquarters during the festival’s opening reception.
During the course of the week, I taught several classes, the first of which was on HDR. We had a lecture session which was followed by a live shoot at a funky place called Sunny Acres, which is full of old cars, barns, tools and more. It was a great place for students to practice HDR photography, and everyone had a great time. We returned to Sunny Acres the following night for my Lightpainting class. You can see the result of that shoot below.
My lecture on HDR photography
The HDR live shoot at Sunny Acres
One of my images from the evening lightpainting shoot at Sunny Acres. What’s funny about this image is that in the process of shooting, I was thinking aloud that a fog machine would be great. Well, the person standing next to me said, “oh, I have one in my car. I’ll go get it.” What are the chances!? We used the fog machine to make it look as if the engine was smoking.
There were also a couple of sunset shoots on the beach where we had horses on the beach, dancers, surfer models, etc. It was truly a photography playground for the festival students. Not only was there excellent subject matter but there were instructors available to make sure everyone was getting great images. After long days of shooting and teaching, we would go out to dinner, catch up with friends and make new ones.
One of my beach shots, with the horses in the sunset.
One of Karen’s shots from the sunset/horses shoot
Post-class dinner and drinks with my friends (and fellow photographers/teachers) Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis.
During the week, I also got to sneak out and pay a visit to the Really Right Stuff gang. They make extremely high quality tripods and accessories and I highly recommend them. I’ve been using their stuff for years and not only is it great, but their customer service is outstanding. They just moved into a new and bigger building in the area and they were nice enough to give us a tour.
Here I am in the new Really Right Stuff showroom.
Overall, the festival was excellent! The classes were diverse, the instructors were all very good and the whole vibe of the event was just plain fun. I’d really recommend it for everyone from photo enthusiasts to seasoned pros. There’s something for everyone. The California Photo Festival is put on by the folks at the Light Photographic Workshops, located in Los Osos, CA. I’ve taught with them several times and always have a great experience. I’ve got a 5-day workshop coming up with them in late November/early December that will focus completely on HDR photography. Check out the WORKSHOP PAGE for more details on that one.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a little video/slideshow that Karen made from her festival photos. Next stop, San Diego and then Portland. More to come…
by Ben Willmore | Sep 25, 2012
It’s hard to believe that summer, 2012 is already over! That means two things: 1. That we should get ready to photograph fall color; and 2. The California Photo Festival is right around the corner! If you haven’t signed up yet, you can find the registration page here.
I wanted to give a little sneak peak at what I’ll be teaching:
High Dynamic Range Mastery
Part 1: Wed. Oct. 10 – 10:30 – 11:30 am
Part 2: Wed. Oct. 10 – 1:00 – 2:45 pm
Learn to shoot for and process HDR images using Photoshop, Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro. You’ll learn how to think about the process in the field as well as get the most out of your images using post-processing techniques. Ben has been described as “the godfather of HDR” from the author of the HDR handbook. Come learn his secrets, including what’s essential in stitching HDR panoramas. If you want to shoot with Ben you have to take this session! If you can’t fit into Ben’s shooting sessions, there are plenty of shooting opportunities during the week to practice what Ben is presenting during this session.
Getting Started with Lightpainting
Part 1: Thurs. Oct. 11 – 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Part 2: Thurs. Oct. 11 – 6:15 – 9:00 pm
Discover how you can start with a dark scene and paint light onto your subject to create some of the most unique images you’ve ever seen. The only light source you’ll need is a common household flashlight to create these masterpieces. Ben will go over his gear, techniques and show a presentation slideshow of his Light Painting examples done over the years.
Panos & Beyond
Part 1: Fri. Oct. 12 – 3:30 – 5:00 pm
Part 2: Fri. Oct. 12 – 5:45 – 7:30 pm
Nothing beats the panorama when you want to capture the grand scale of a scene. In this class, you’ll learn how to properly shoot panos, stitch them effectively in Photoshop, and post-process for maximum impact. Then, we’ll take things a few steps further and enter the world of HDR panos. To wrap things up, you’ll learn how to create unique and artistic panollages.
Directing the Viewer’s Eye
Fri. Oct. 12 1:30 – 3:00 pm
Learn to have some influence over where your viewer looks first in your scene as well as where they linger. See how Photoshop can be an effective tool for manipulating your viewer’s experience through simple changes to the brightness, contrast and color of an image. With time for Q&A.
Sunset on the Beach
Wed. Oct. 10 – 5:45 – 6:45 pm
Learn how to think about shooting at sunset so you can get the most out of the detail, color and contrast at this special time of day. Shoot horses running down the beach to produce both silhouetted figures as well as full colorful detail.
Festival Artists Reception
Tues. Oct. 9 – 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Join us for an evening with a few of our guest artists hanging their work at Light Photographic Workshops! Meet and greet with the instructors before the big week and get a preview of one of the best workshop facilities in the world! Doors will open at 6:30PM
The Digital Fine Arts – Panel & Audience Q&A
Sat. Oct. 13th – 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Jane Conner-Ziser will lead a panel discussion on the Digital Fine Arts in 2012 and beyond. Audience questions and participation are highly encouraged.
by Ben Willmore | Sep 10, 2012
This past week was spent in the scorching hot city of Las Vegas for another awesome Photoshop World Conference and Expo. Karen and I flew in on Monday and checked in to the conference hotel, the Mandalay Bay. One of the great things about Photoshop World is that all of the instructors stay in the same hotel, so it’s always a reunion of friends… starting the second we walk into the hotel. For us, the party started before we even got to Mandalay Bay, because my great friend Steve picked us up from the airport and was already arranging a dinner for that first night!
Here I am at the entrance to the Photoshop World Conference & Expo
The day before the conference starts is always pre-con day. While I didn’t have an actual pre-con event, I taught a 4-hour class that night alongside my great friend Judy Host. She was just wrapping up her Creative Design Tour and I was invited to co-teach with her that night. We could tell that the event was a success by the sheer number of people that showed up. Vegas is a night-life kind of town, yet hundreds of people chose to spend their night in our classroom.
During the course of Photoshop World, I taught three one-hour classes, on Photoshop’s hidden and hard-to-find tweaks, actions and Adobe Camera Raw. Outside of the classes, I always spend a lot of time networking, exploring the trade show and hanging out with friends.
The Epson booth had one of my images on display at the Photoshop World Trade Show.
Karen and I got really lucky this year, as we were able to squeeze in TWO Cirque du Soleil shows during this Photoshop World! The first was “O,” which is completely put on in water, and the second was “Love,” featuring the Beatles. “Love” was especially fun, as we were accompanied by our great friends Jay & Lesa, Eddie & Judy and Bert and Zosia. I guess it was appropriate that our group was made up of couples, being it was the “Love” show and all.
Aside from having a great time at this Photoshop World, I also got a lot of positive feedback from my sessions. I even managed to attend a few classes as well! On Saturday, Karen and I flew back to Seattle, as the bus was parked about an hour south of the city. This week, we’ll try to spend some time checking out the Seattle area. More to come…
by Ben Willmore | Aug 27, 2012
*All the images in this post were provided by the creativeLIVE team. Thanks guys! *
Hey gang! I’ve just wrapped up a great week teaching classes with creativeLIVE in Seattle. It’s been an intense couple of days, jam-packed with Photoshop, photography and light painting sessions. If you’re not familiar with creativeLIVE, they are an online classroom for all topics relating to photography and creativity. They have the best description of themselves on their website, which reads as follows:
creativeLIVE is about providing the best free, live creative education on the web. From our studio in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, we offer free online workshops in photography, video, web and graphic design, app development and a wide array of other creative topics.
All of our live creative workshops are available to watch for free in realtime. Once a live workshop is over, we edit the best of this content into easily downloadable files available for purchase through our online store. It’s that simple.
At our core, we’re a dedicated group of creative-minded individuals. Our aim is to work with the very best instructors who want to share their knowledge and creative expertise with the world.
I’ve got to say, my experience working with the creativeLIVE gang was awesome. Their whole operation is run so well, from the perspective of both the students and myself, the instructor. While the classes are live, tens of thousands of folks tune in from all over the world. Even though this audience may not be physically in front of me, the event is still extremely interactive, as virtual attendees communicate to me and to each other via the creativeLIVE chat rooms and Twitter feed. Periodically, the class “moderators” will relay the chat room questions for me to answer. In addition to the viewers who tune in online, we also have a very small in-studio audience for some one-on-one interaction and Q&A.
Here I am, on the creativeLIVE set during my Photoshop for Photographers class
My first creativeLIVE event this week was a 3-day class called Photoshop for Photographers. During this class, I covered all the Photoshop features that are essential to a photographic workflow – all of the features I use every single day. I included everything from Camera Raw, to Adjustment Layers, to color correction, to HDR and panos. The list goes on and on. Here’s the class description for this event:
Photoshop for Photographers
Photoshop can be overwhelming. Master the art of Adobe Photoshop by focusing just on the tools photographers need to know. Optimizing images, sharpening, retouching, black and white conversion, directing the viewer’s eye, HDR, panorama-stitching, and more, all the things photographers do with Photoshop. But Ben’s not going to dig into every option in every menu–this three day course will have no fluff and no frills. You won’t be wasting any time and energy learning effects that you’ll never use, leaving you struggling to find the meat you need. Everything Ben teaches in this course is something that photographers use everyday!
To purchase the course (download or stream), CLICK HERE.
My second event was a 1-day class on light painting. Light painting is probably my favorite form of photography, as it allows for endless amounts of creativity and creates such a stunning and unique look. In addition to the 1-day, in-studio class, we shot a bonus session the night before! The bonus session was a live night shoot where I demonstrated my lightpainting techniques on a VW Beetle. Here’s the class description for this event:
You can create amazing images with light painting, and Ben Willmore is going to show you how! Making light trails, highlighting parts of your image, crazy spiral effects–all the fun secrets of light painting will be yours in this special 1-day workshop! Ben will show you how to use everyday light sources to make striking images, as this is a technique that doesn’t require a lot of equipment. If you have a tripod and a flashlight, you can light paint, and Ben is going to show you how!
To purchase the course (download or stream), CLICK HERE.
Here we are, preparing to lightpaint this Beetle during the bonus night shoot session.
Me with Kenna and Susan, of creativeLIVE
As I said before, I had a great week here in Seattle and I look forward to teaching more creativeLIVE events in the future! In the next week, I’ll be preparing for my classes at the upcoming Photoshop World Conference & Expo and then flying over to NJ to spend time with Karen’s family. More to come!