Angels, Mermaids, & Ballerinas: What do these 3 things have in common?
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Angels, Mermaids, & Ballerinas: What do these 3 things have in common?

This past weekend, on August 5th and 6th, I held my first compositing workshop. I can't even explain the excitement and nervousness I felt leading up to the big day. I could hardly sleep! 

Thankfully, my background as a teacher helped prepare me to conduct the in-person workshop, and I'm happy to report: that it was phenomenal! I want to share a few of the highlights with you here so those who couldn't make it can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it was like to attend. 

We kicked off the Workshop with a meet and greet dinner in charming downtown Manassas. This gave everyone an excellent opportunity to network and know each other before the busy workshop began. Afterward, we took a pleasant stroll and snapped our first group photo. 


Compositing Workshop Day 1: Photography & Photoshop Concepts and 2 Model Shoots

I started day one of the workshops with a review of photography and photoshop concepts. Though everyone who attended the workshop was a photographer, there were varying experience levels. Some people have been running a successful photography business for years, while others were starting.

I made sure to send out a couple of pre-workshop assignments via our private Facebook group to properly assess everyone's skill level and know what areas to focus on the most. This way, I wouldn't waste time covering unnecessary topics and could maximize productivity by sticking to the subjects that would be most beneficial to everyone. 

She was followed by a very informative presentation about business and photography.  Detailed information about pricing marketing and even coached the attendees through different client scenarios to learn how to close more contracts at a higher price point. 

After lunch, we all prepped our gear for our first stylized photoshoot. Our two beautiful models were dressed in tutus for a ballerina-themed shoot. I purposefully set up the first shoot to be more complicated so we could get the kinks out early.

It was set up in the middle of the day when the sun was high. This can be the most challenging time to capture a photo with proper lighting, as you have to be sure to avoid shadows and overexposure. Both girls were on the younger side too, which can be more challenging, but thankfully they were very professional! 

We regrouped after a long break and met up at Silver Lake Regional Park for a golden hour shoot with three new models. I had the models styled with the most adorable faux hawks and got them stunning couture gowns and feather angel wings from Love Baby J

We split the group in half so everyone could practice shooting from different angles and in various lighting. Humberto led one of the groups and walked around to each person to view their photos and help them adjust camera settings and positioning to get the perfect shot. He even had the brilliant idea of bringing atmosphere aerosol to the outdoor shoot to create a gorgeous mood mist in the background, producing an ethereal effect.

Later on, we met on a hill overlooking a lake with the moon just appearing in the twilight and had all three girls pose together. Everyone took a turn to bring their best shot and pose the girls as they wished, and I have to say, I'm pretty impressed by how the images came out.  

 We wrapped up our super productive day just around dusk, and all went back to rest and prepare for day two. 


 Compositing Workshop Day 2: Editing, Compositing, and Mermaid Photoshoot 

The main focus of day 2 was compositing and editing. We started the morning by culling images and making ACR adjustments in Adobe Camera RAW. Then we went through and began our beauty edits and practiced with some traditional hand editing techniques, like adding texture.

I demonstrated some of the methods I use to edit children's photography since it requires a much more natural look than when you work with adult subjects. We also practiced editing using the Ultimate Compositing Workflow Action so the group could get practice editing both by hand and with an action sequence. 

After a quick lunch, it was time for our last workshop photoshoot: the mermaid session. A special thank you goes out to my mom for hand making the mermaid crown for me! Also, to my daughter Kloee for being such a trooper and modeling for us two days in a row. 


After the shoot, we were ready to do our full composite based on the mermaid shoot we had just finished. We began by combining different stock elements to construct our scene. Then we extracted our mermaid and added her to the scene. Finally, we added details and did some precision editing to get our final product. 

I'm so happy to report that the workshop was a huge hit and a big success! But don't take it from me; check out what some of the attendees thought of the workshop here. 

The GOOD NEWS is that since this first workshop went so incredibly well, I've already got a second one!  

The last Workshop of 2017 is set to take place on November 11th and 12th. If you're ready to revamp your portfolio, improve your business knowledge so you can make more money, learn how to create a composite from start to finish, and pick up expert editing and photography tips from yours truly, then sign up now! 

It doesn't matter if you've never made a composite or if you're new to Photoshop. Alternatively, if you're a seasoned photographer and regular Photoshop user, you can still pick up new tips and tricks for editing, compositing, and even lighting and posing. We had both extremes of photographers, from beginners to advanced, attend this last workshop, and happily, everyone walked away with new skills they could immediately use. 

The August workshop is SOLD OUT, and I expect this next one will too, so if you're sure you want to come, reserve your spot ASAP– now even! 

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