learningLOVE: Dirty Little Secrets, the Workshops 2011

I am very pleased to release the official dates for the 2011 Dirty Little Secrets Workshops!  Pre-registration is currently full and there is a waiting list started, but spaces are limited - please send an email to h dot walls @ shaw dot ca if you would like to be added.

Before you sign up, you need to understand that these workshops are progressive and intended to build up your skill and style over the duration of the series along with supplementary online exercises, field trips, and more.  (Don't worry - we have so much fun you won't care that what you're learning is supposed to be boring and dry...)  While there is occasionally limited space to sign up for just one or two classes that you are interested in, it may not be possible to answer all of your questions if your skills are not at the level of those who have participated in the entire series.  In that same token, missing workshops will be detrimental to your progress and will interfere with your ability to keep up with the course content.

To toot my own horn (because I can, and because you want to know if I'm actually worth paying money listening to) in the past three years I have seen over 20 DLS alumni start working in the community whose photography careers are blossoming, established, and still growing. The DLS workshops are also intended to gear you up for starting a viable photography business photographing people - while there are components of the classes that cover the basics of all styles of photography, I cannot advise persons interested in landscape, architectural, macro, stock, etc. photography to sign up as I only teach what I know - how to shoot people.  :)

The cost of the main workshop series is $500, tax included, with the option of adding on the Controlled Lighting and Wedding Workshop in June for $175.  A $250 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration, with the balance due before December 31, 2010 or your space WILL be given to someone else.  Snacks, water, & coffee/tea are provided throughout the day, however you will need to bring your own lunch.

January 9, 2011 - it's NOT about the camera
Start time: 10am
Finish time: 4pm
Location: TBD
We'll learn a bit of photography history and by the end of the day you'll know what all the beeps, bells, and whistles on your camera are for, and have a basic understanding of photography lingo.  You will understand how every camera on the planet is built on precisely the same technology, then learn what separates SLR cameras from P&S cameras.  You will learn to love(hate) the phrase "Reciprocity Failure,"  We'll also go over a comprehensive list of the basic types of lenses on the market, what their benefits and drawbacks are, and what their common applications are.  You'll probably go home with the urge to shoot everything that moves, and a rather pricey shopping list.  Which is why it's good that you just learned that it's NOT about the camera... and will survive and thrive just fine without the $2800 IS f2.8 70mm-200mm lens...

February 6, 2011 - composition, understanding light
Start time: 10am
Finish time: 4pm
Location: TBD
This is the one that makes your brain ache, folks.  While the composition portion is a relative breeze and one of the building blocks of taking great pictures, understanding how light works and how you can manipulate it to your advantage when creating different moods and effects is the key to unlocking all the greatest secrets of photography.  Whether you plan to use studio, natural or available light, or a combination of all three, you also need to know how your camera's internal meter works, and what to do when it fails you.  You'll walk away with a headache, and a burning desire to move all the furniture away from your windows.

March 6, 2011 - technical critiquing, photoshop
Start time: 10am
Finish time: 4pm
Location: TBD
I know - it sounds SO dry and boring... BUT - technical critiquing is a huge part of photography.  We'll spend the first part of the day going through the process of deconstructing images using proper terminology so that you can develop the diagnostic tools that will be instrumental not only in looking at other photographer's work and being able to draw technical instead of just aesthetic inspiration, but in how YOU will master your OWN style and technique.  Following this, we'll begin exploring some of the basics of Photoshop.  I will do a brief demonstration of: skin smoothing, using unsharp mask, creating and using layers, tinting (vintage, antique), and more.  This portion of the workshop is meant to give you enough basics that you have the confidence to explore and discover more on your own.

April 3, 2011 - portraiture and making the connection
Start time: 10am
Finish time: 4pm
Location: TBD
Get ready for LIVE MODELS!  Once we've gone through the fundamentals of how and why portraits are done (the easy part) we're going to hone our skills on making the connections that are so important to separating cold and heartless snapshots from gorgeous, engaging portraits that have as much meaning to you as they do to your client.  We will then have a group of models at our disposal for you to work individually and in teams with doing a variety of individual and group portraits.  Always a fun workshop, be prepared to be surprised!  If you have a flash for your camera, this is a great workshop to bring it to as we'll have a bit of time to play around with them!

May 1, 2011 - breaking the rules, the business end of things
Start time: 10am
Finish time: 4pm
Location: TBD
While we spent the first 4 sessions learning shooting skills, there comes a time when we get to break all the rules and just HAVE FUN! If we decide as a group we'd like to do a final project together, this will also be our opportunity to plan and discuss those details.  The last portion of the day will be spent going over the Business End of Things - taxes, copyright, business licenses, professional printing, model releases, contracts, blogs, websites, advertising and promotion, and all other manner of things you need to consider if you intend to charge money for your services, whether as a portrait photographer, stock photographer, or art photographer.  Even if you do not intend to shoot for full-time or supplemental income, there is a lot of valuable information to be taken away from this workshop that can help protect your interests even as a straight-up hobby photographer.  Lastly, we'll look at something I like to call the "photography pyramid" which breaks down into simple terms the different types of clients and photographers, and how to get (or not get) yourself to where you want to be on that pyramid.

May 28, 29, 2011 - all-night field trip with Team Clickin' Cancer's Butt at the Relay for Life
Start time: 3pm May 28
Finish time: 7am May 29
Location: University of Alberta's Foote Field
This has become a highlight of the workshops, where participants are given the opportunity to contribute their skills to an amazing event in support of the Canadian Cancer Society.  Their largest single fundraising effort, which spans across Canada in countless cities, the Relay for Life is a powerful experience.  If you are able to come and if you are interested in learning what photographilanthropy is from the ground up, slap on some comfy shoes and your camera, and let's go!

June 12, 2011 - BONUS WORKSHOP: controlled lighting, wedding photography
Start time: 10am
Finish time: 4pm
Location: TBD
This workshop is great for anyone wishing to set up a collapsible small home and/or portable studio.  The lovely and talented Reanna from Blackbird Photography will be the hostess with the mostest, sharing with us her knowledge of lighting styles, her own completely mobile set-up, and an opportunity to try it out on live models... who will be dressed up in full bridal gear for the mock-wedding!  Immediately following the lighting workshop, we'll be going over the finer points of  shooting a wedding.  From your initial consultation and contract to the 'money shots' to the classic pitfalls of working with weddingpartyzillas and obnoxious guests, you'll have the insider's look at the grit and the glory of shooting weddings.  Once we've had an in-class presentation, we'll waste no time in having you shoot mock wedding ceremony & formals.  (2010's theme was Tim Burton-esque and 2011's theme is inspired by the theatre... full details will be announced in January...) And of course while we're hoping for good weather, if it decides to rain... you'll be getting your feet wet for real...  Registration and payment deadline for this workshop is April , 2010.

There's something about September that always makes me want to gather nuts. It's a good time of year for me to take a step back, take stock, refresh, and take some time to renew my perspective on life. It's also a good time to do some fall cleaning.

The last few weeks I've been taking time to settle back into the school routine, for both me and my family, as well as making sure that all the weddings and families from my summer have their images delivered. We've also made some decisions about some outstanding repairs and renovations on the house - necessary evils to having a nice home.

I'm looking forward to announcing the dates and line-up for the 2011 Dirty Little Secrets, and very excited to finish blogging all my summer sessions including a few engagements, some weddings, and a tonne of adorable kids! Sorry for being such a slacker over the summer, but it was a much-needed break.

Regarding Facebook, yes, it's true, I have once again disabled my account. Lots of people ask me why I disable instead of just log out, and the reason is simple: when you log out, people keep sending messages and requests, and I simply don't get them and therefore can't respond. When I disable my account it means that people who really want to get a hold of me will find me through email or on the phone, and that way I'm not missing important messages. Don't worry - I'll be back to play Scrabble and post ridiculous youTube videos in October. For now, I'm really enjoying talking to people on the phone and sharing lengthy personal exchanges via email. I think everyone needs to take the occasional FB vacation. :)


Lastly, I am REALLY loving my class this semester.  I am taking the "Sociology of Religion" and it rocks.  Seriously - not only is the subject matter compelling, the prof ROCKS.  Big time :)  I'll share some insights later, and how it's tied into my own spiritual journey.  I've decided, above all else, that I am a firm believer in serendipity. 

In the meantime, here's some iPhoneography for you to enjoy...

Below:  My new Barbie Girl Video Camera. I'm taking suggestions for which songs would be good to make a video - feel free to post your favourite song! The kids are pretty excited to help out with this. It all started with me seeing this video, and I knew I had to have one. P.S. the song by Tiga is WICKED!!!  I loved the message on the "Pay it Forward" bike.  X3.  I've also really enjoyed the religious experience this man has had with double complete rainbows.  Love it.  Whether he was chemically assisted with this holy communion or not doesn't change the fact it's wonderfully wonderful - I wish I could get that excited about anything, really.  There have been several songs inspired by this video, but this one is by far totally WHOA!  The double complete rainbow you're seeing was painted on a guitar by yours truly, and posted specifically for Amy's benefit - no, you oughtn't be surprised by anything, sunshine, and you get to spend a WHOLE WEEK WITH ME in Mexico, you lucky dawg lol.  And lastly, there's a giant mushroom.  I've had a fantastic summer of mushroom sightings - from little villages of button mushrooms to tall narrow mystical looking towns, to this ridiculously HUGE mushroom that was not only huge, but turquoise in colour - simply amazing, for a fungus.


More to come,


~H.