Dave Piazza’s Class at B&H

by Emon Hassan on August 23, 2008

Guess I made a good choice.

Since I took my camera, I made sure I parked my brown ass right up front where Dave had already set up lights and a stool for the model. So even when reflectors and lights were crowded close to the model, me and the lady sitting next to me always, always got a clean shot at her.

I’m glad I went. It wasn’t a photography class; Dave doesn’t teach photography. He works for Westcott, and does these to promote their products. Dave had been a pro photog for years before so he knows his shit down cold. Coming from someone who works for a manufacturer, the lessons he gave us were invaluable. I didn’t know what a CRI was. Didn’t know how to set up camera for daylight fluorescent portrait shoot. Although he didn’t go in-depth, the brief overviews helped me a great deal. I have to also thank the two photographers who sat next to me, don’t have their names (sorry) who helped me with camera settings. I didn’t know how to change the f-stop on my XTi (shame shame).

Niet problem, both those guys gave me tips that helped a lot for the hundreds of snaps I took of Nicole, our model. I was snapping away when the older photog whispered…”Set your color balance to daylight, take ISO to 800, f to 4.5, dial up to 1/125….and fire away” I did, and wow, what a difference! I experimented with a few other settings until the lady next to me – we were all comparing photos – said, “Hold on, the background’s supposed to be gray…your looks green…your white balance is off.” So I went and set it to Auto and voila!

Don’t fear the ‘Auto.’

I have a much better understanding of lighting after this class. Dave is an awesome guy and I talked with him afterwards for some more tips. He gave me some good ones and chatted for a bit. Nicole knows how to pose for the camera. By that I mean she would fix her eyes on each lens in turn so everyone had a photo of her looking at his/her lens. Of course every class has its share of douchebags and I have yet to find one single class where there wasn’t one who was there to simply point out what a great fucking artist (s)he is. [Incidentally, Scott Kelby wrote a post about this couple of days ago that I’d missed]. And assholes like that in classes across the board…writing, photography, film, history, etc. I’m sure if there were a douchebag 101 class, there’d be one douchebag who’d annoy all the other douchebags in training.

I’m kinda proud of myself for how some of the shots turned out after diving into it on Manual setting. I’m graduating middle school of photography, finally. To shoot something and have it come out just right has an awesome feeling. This is my first attempt at portrait photography in a studio-type setting. I’m happy it didn’t turn out to be a disappointment. Still, lots to learn.

Dave Piazza with the white, 18% gray, and black card. We used this to adjust our white balance. You can click on any of the pics to go to my Flickr page to see what camera settings I’ve used to take the shots.

Dave Piazza Class at B&H

Dave talking about poses flattering for man vs. woman.

Dave Piazza Class at B&H
Portrait of Nicole #1

Portrait of Nicole 1

Portrait #2

Portrait of Nicole 2

Portrait #3
Portrait of Nicole 3

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