Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Amy Wenzel Workshop

Goodness...where do I even start? It was such an amazing experience. But first, I must give you an airline tip. I flew Midwest Airlines for the first time. I had never heard of them before this trip. Imagine my delight when they served...

wait for it...

not pretzels

not peanuts

not Chex mix.

They served chocolate chip cookies.

Warm ones. Yes, warm, straight out of the oven.

As in gooey chocolate, cookies that fall apart because they are so warm. Ahhhhhh....

I would fly them again just to get those yummy cookies. And guess what? They just merged with Frontier and Frontier is going to be adding the chocolate chip cookies to their flights. I know it's kind of pathetic that I get so excited about chocolate cookies. I have a serious weakness for them. It's sad really.

So...the workshop. The first night, I had dinner with Angie Arther (I Heart Faces), Amy Wenzel and her husband David. All of them were so warm and delightful. We had a great time swapping stories. I kept thinking while I was sitting there, "What in the world am I doing here and how did I get this amazing opportunity?" It was truly wonderful to get to know such neat people who love God and want to live out His purpose in their lives.

The following day, the workshop started. Amy only takes 20 students at a time, and there were 19 of us there. She spent the morning giving us ideas on how to pose subjects and help them decide what to wear. In the afternoon was the photo shoot. We were originally supposed to be outside, but the weather was horrible--an all day rain. Instead, we did the shoot in a hotel sitting area that had windows all around. I was amazed at how we did not need a beautiful background to get great shots. Amy demonstrated how we could use the available chairs, backgrounds and light to come up with some great photos.

I will share some of the photos, but there is a caveat. There were 19 of us shooting and although we were taking turns, we still weren't always able to shoot from the angle that was best. Also, I do not have Photoshop yet, so I wasn't able to edit these with the cool things I learned.

This little guy was so cute--and completely terrified for the first 30 minutes of the shoot. I guess I would be too, if I saw 20 women with camera's aimed in my direction. This is not the angle I would have liked to have shot this--but it's what I had. hee...

This beautiful young lady was a high school senior. She was there to help us develop our ability to take senior pictures. I was amazed at how the background turned out. The silver in this background was a pair of elevators. The red chair was available in the room, so we used it.

These two little girls were adorable. Oh my goodness they were so fun to photograph. And they were soooo patient. This was a couch in the room with a less-than-stellar background, but it worked. Notice that the little girl in the red is very sharp but the little girl in the purple isn't. That is because I had to focus on one of them, so I chose the one farthest away. Normally, when taking a photo like this, you would stand directly in front of them so that they would both be in focus.

Another unusual background...she is sitting in front of the hotel restaurant. The orange is from the lights, and if you look closely, you can see the TV. Thankfully, it wasn't on. You can also see a patron sitting at his table. (But you're not really SUPPOSED to look for those things. I'm just sharing it because it IS possible to take a nice photo with a not-so-nice background.) I have a lens that does the nifty blurring of the background, but if you have a portrait setting on your camera, you should be able to get some blurring. The portrait setting is the one with a person's head. If you put it on that setting, though, you may only be able to get one person clearly. The camera will focus on the nearest object. If you have more than one person in the photo, you need to put them on the same plane...not one farther away from you than the other.)
Another angle of her in front of the restaurant. It's actually a pretty cool background since the blurring allows you to get some cool looking lights and shapes. It's called 'bokah.' Photographers will swoon over a great looking bokah.


  1. Great photos!! I'm attending her workshop next week. I can't wait! Looks like it's going to be well worth the expense. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Glad you had that experience! Can't wait to hear more....

  3. great post...thanks for sharing! I would have LOVED to go to the workshop...maybe someday :0)

  4. your pictures won't load for me right now but i'm so interested in what you learned. i'll try back later to see the photos. what a fabulous opportunity!