MOSHE ZUSMAN LIGHTING CLASS :: washington, DC
I took a class with Moshe Zusman last week. It was a one-on-one class and it was to learn to better light venues. Currently I use on-camera flash and use a technique I learned by reading Neil van Niekerk's excellent blog. It has served me well and allows me to be light and nimble and to still photograph dark venues. But I wanted more. I wanted to know how to use off camera flash to light a venue so that I didn't have to worry about consistency in my post production and because, after studying a few different photographers whose work I admire, I realized that off camera flash gives a depth and dimension that no on camera flash can replicate. Don't get me wrong - I love Neil's approach and will still be using it depending on the situation. But I wanted more. Moshe has started offering private classes and I signed up to take one. We've met before so it wasn't a new experience going to his studio. What was new was learning how to set up 4 12-foot stands with flashes and pocket wizards. Learning to check that everything is working, that you've set the lights up in the right spots and then to learn to adjust each of the flashes to account for the ambient light and the style of photograph you want to take.
It was excellent. What I realized is that it's not hard. I know how to use flashes. I know how to use my pocket wizards. I know how to measure for the ambient light. So why did I need Moshe? Because he showed me how to put it all together and never once made me feel like an idiot for not knowing how. He gave me tips that seem simple but will make the process 10x easier for me. He made suggestions and showed me some techniques. It was an amazing class because it was nothing like going to a class where the teacher / instructor is up front and is just talking at you while you take notes. It was like hanging out with a much (MUCH) more knowledgeable friend who was helping me take my photography to the next level. I also really appreciated the fact that Moshe is a working photographer and not just a photography teacher ~ he makes his living through photography and knows his stuff.
We took a bunch of photos in the studio of him ~ I took a photo with the settings I would normally use to shoot and then we shot with the off camera setup he taught me. When we were doing it with him as the model, I could see the difference but I wasn't amazed. It wasn't until I practiced on a shot of a tripod, of all things, that it clicked for me. Why a tripod? I don't know. Moshe is a good looking guy but the tripod clicked for me.
Here are 2 before and after shots. First shot is how I would normally shoot it by bouncing my on camera flash. The second shot is using the off camera set up Moshe taught me:
I hope you can see the difference ~ and not just the color of the photographs. Using the lighting setup Moshe taught me, there is depth and shadow and highlights on the tripod. Nope, they're not perfect photos but I wasn't aiming for a product shot, just a few snaps to see the difference. I am very excited to start using this new setup when I start back photographing bar and bat mitzvahs at the end of August. Email or call Moshe if you want to learn how to do it ~ it's worth every penny and more.