Sunday, May 30, 2010
I just returned from After Dark, a fabulous three-day photographic event in Minneapolis, run by master photographer Dave Junion, from Wausau, Wisconsin (the first photo). Junion assembles 30 photographic experts, the mentors, and attracted 200 participants, all professional photographers, for three days of intensive learning, shooting, and discussing, using tons of high-end equipment supplied by Larsen lighting and Canon—which lends its cameras and lenses. The whole thing takes place at the Hyatt, Minneapolis, which offers 38,000 square feet in two humongous halls, one for seminars and seated demonstrations, the other containing nine complete photo studios for hands-on work. The participants are encouraged to practice what they learn on their own, and can even borrow equipment to take outside "after dark," using the streets, parks and alleyways of Minneapolis as the setting. There was a lot of emphasis placed on outdoor portraits with various types of lighting, above all off-camera flash, which was especially useful in photographing high school seniors and engagement couples. Other topics included pet and maternity photography, high-end weddings, boudoir photography, creating realistic-looking environments (like a beach) in the studio, children, families, posing, sales, and social media marketing.
The outstanding quality of the event was the accessibility of the mentors. Everyone was extremely friendly and approachable and seemed as though they couldn't do enough to help. It was wonderful having access to such productive and successful minds in this field. I came away inspired, feeling I had learned things that would save me enormous amounts of time and effort, but also that I could repeat the whole thing and learn an entirely different body of knowledge. There's much more than any one person can take in. Many participants attend more than one of them.
I may end up helping Dave to bring the program to New York. He's already done it in Miami, Nashville and Austin and plans them for Portland, Oregon, September 12-15 and New Orleans, November 7-10. For further information go to afterdarkedu.com.