I'm a photographer. I love photography and have loved it for some time now. I got burned out. I attended one of Lara Jade's workshops. I'm about to tell you all about it. I actually signed up for this workshop earlier this year and was supposed to attend while I was living in Boston. We found out we were moving to Puerto Rico around the same time so I couldn't go when I'd originally planned. I was bummed and had a little bit of a freak out moment. Thankfully, I was able to come to the October 2014 workshop. Lara Jade set up her workshop to run for 2 days at an amazing studio in Brooklyn, NY. I arrived in the city the day before the workshop since it started at 9 in the morning.
When I arrived at the studio I was so excited. The studio is actually in this industrial area. It looked a little bit sketchy but boy oh boy...lol. When I walked through the door I saw what I dreamed of in my own studio space. Colony Studios is absolutely gorgeous. Old wood, open space. What more could I ask for? Lara did an awesome job selecting this location. There were models getting prepped, hair and makeup going, stylist prepping, backdrops being steamed, assistants setting things up, food and coffee, chairs with awesome little notebooks, Ashlee Gray, and Lara Jade. Lara and Ashlee were extremely friendly and approachable. I really appreciate that both of them would talk to any of us that approached. My suggestion to anyone attending would be to introduce yourself to Lara and whoever else she has presenting. They're people too and are most likely a bit nervous about how the workshop will go.
We all introduced ourselves and then Lara went through a lot of her portfolio. It was nice to see some of her work and to hear about the shoots. We followed this with portfolio reviews. We were initially split into two groups to do the reviews but it turned into a big group review. I actually like the group portfolio reviews. It's nice to hear critique from others to get the feedback from a variety of different styles. I know that some are not comfortable with group portfolio reviews so Lara offered individual ones as well. After this, we had lunch. Lunch was catered in and we had more than enough food. It was nice to have food and drinks available throughout the day. We had sandwiches and wraps and cakes and cookies. We took about 45 minutes to eat and regroup and then it was time for part 2.
We started with a lighting demonstration. Lara went through several different lighting scenarios and showed us an image of hers that corresponded with the setup. She also introduced Donald, the stylist, and he answered our questions about that part of the shoot. I asked him about finding a stylist and he gave us some great ideas. Then we got to shoot. (I'll post my images in another post.) We were able to photograph 6 different lighting setups. We had 6 different looks and 2 models, Lidiia and Klaire. All of this was done in about a 3 hour period. We were each able to shoot about 20 frames for each setup. Lara was right there giving assistance to anyone that needed it. She also had a few assistants who helped with lighting, reflectors, and things like that. Our time did run over a little but it was awesome that we were able to keep shooting.
The second day was all about business, marketing, and even retouching with Ashlee Gray Retouch. We started with a review of the day before. We touched on the lighting scenarios we'd covered and then got into the business of fashion. Lara shared with us about having a strong portfolio, how to create your shoot, and pricing. I was impressed that she shared the numbers of a basic shoot. It was nice to get an idea of pricing. Ashlee's part came after this. She showed us a lot of her work and even some before and afters. We broke for lunch and then got ready to start a retouching session.
We were all given the same photo to work on so that Ashlee could guide us closely. She covered retouching skin and removing blemishes, color correcting, toning, fixing details, and even swapping body parts. I have had experience with most of this but it's nice to see her take it down to the basics. We did spend quite a bit of time on this but it was all worth it. Ashlee really helped me see how valuable a retoucher is. Right now, I'm working on improving my retouching skills but one day I'm sure I'll be hiring out.
After we concluded the workshop, we met up for dinner. Not everyone attended but a nice group did. We met at an Italian restaurant about a mile away and had a great time. The seating was a little strange so both Lara and Ashlee moved around to talk to everyone. This dinner was awesome because we were able to talk to the other attendees and really get to know them more. It's also nice to see your instructors in a more relaxed environment.
At the end of the workshop I can absolutely say that I was impressed with how professional Lara is. She did an excellent job putting this workshop together. Her willingness to share really impressed me. I absolutely respect her place in this industry and appreciate her candid approach to this workshop. I definitely recommend to any photographer that is either interested in the fashion industry or who wants something different to reinvigorate them. I cannot wait to see what I do with all that I have learned.
Be sure to check out my video and my interview with Lara and Ashlee.
I've added one of the images.