In an effort to be always improving my photography, Tini and me have just been on the Martin Leckie workshop run at SIM2000, in Hatfield and I must admit it was a very enlightening. Martin Leckie is an award winning photographer based in Inverurie, Aberdeen, Scotland and the workshop was aimed looking at wedding album design with the morning looking at how he goes about the process of creating the album, using Photoshop, Album Builder by Fundy SOS and SIM ware – the free album design software provided by SIM2000 for their products. The afternoon a practical of how he poses the brides, chooses locations and uses the light to get the images he wants for the album. SIM2000’s showroom was rather packed out for the event which was only the second time Martin had done it.
The morning session was interesting and useful in that allowed us a chance to see some of the examples of his albums and individual images, including a recent one he had just created for a couple and how he promotes himself and what products he offers clients. Not much time was actually spent looking at the software’s and in fact SIM Ware was not even looked at although it was discussed. I’ve been using SIM Ware recently myself so I’ll report on this in a later post. Although we only saw a little of the Album builder software, it became a no-brainer to purchase if you are a wedding photographer and create your own album designs like we do rather than ship out to an external company to design (I have now purchased Album Builder). Album Builder works within photoshop (although you do need to have Photoshop CS4 of CS5 to work with the current version) and allows you to use pre-defined templates or produce and save your own page designs. It also allows you to edit your images within Photoshop, so you can if wanted work from the RAW versions, but the main advantage being commented by everybody there was being able to get a consistent colour and brightness across images on the same page/spread. Martin also likes using some of the Topaz adjustment tools which also work as Photoshop plugins (they can also be used in Aperture, Lightroom and iPhoto via a free extension).
The afternoon was for me definitely useful and could almost be called “How to make the most of your location” or “How to shoot wedding portraits in an industrial estate” (All the images in the blog are from the photoshoot and taken from inside the SIM2000 showroom and around the IO Centre industrial estate in Hatfield). Martin only used the natural or current ambient light, but often (always in this case) used a gold deflector to feather the light further around the face or to act as a gobo and create shade. He also showed the use of a LED light pad to help backlight a subject. His background is in classical artists so its not surprising to see him using many of these poses, but it was the way he handled the model and commented on what poses worked best and how to angle the body according to the light that became most useful.
So the images here take advantage of the locations and poses that Martin posed the model, Vivian, in. However, when you are with 25 odd other photographers its difficult to always be in the optimal position that Martin saw and was going to use and if possible we picked different positions to try out possible alternate angles, or just made the most of what position we could get!
I could go into more detail about the tips that Martin gave, but it was his workshop and saying it here means its less likely you’ll attend one of his workshops, which I can recommend.