Workshop with Don Giannatti

I actually found Don Giannatti’s workshop site by accident. I was trying to find a certain lighting technique and was pointed to his site by Google.  I read about his workshop and became interested.  I had been to few lighting workshops/seminars but Don’s was more in-depth, two-days, and priced reasonably. Not to mention that there was one workshop that was nearby, Baltimore. :)

I found out later that the one in Baltimore was the advanced workshop.  I could still do it, but I really wanted to learn about the different strobes and modifiers, and how they would affect the lighting quality. Fortunately, Don was kind enough to give me and few others a “catch-up” session the day before. So it was more like a three-day workshop for me.

Here’s one image I took on the last day. We used 5 speedlights on this setup.

Asian girl model with pink dress. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

Here is Don the man himself. :)

Don's portrait in the woods. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti Don's portrait in front of a hotel. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

These three images below were taken on the second day (or the first day of the official workshop session).  Don came up with the concept and the lighting setup for our team.

Girl model holding trailer storage containers. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti Girl model swinging hair looking at trailer storage containers. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti Girl model screaming by trailer storage containers. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

This was a setup from another team, but I asked the model to climb the dumpster. :)

Girl model climbing a dumpster. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

This was also Don’s concept and lighting setup.  We used four speedlites on this image.

Girl model running away from something by storage containers. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

We always started the day with photographing still life before photographing models.

On the last day, our challenge was to take picture of something that’s black overall. How can we create those highlights around the edges? How do we make the background really black?

No Photoshop was done here to get the highlights while making the background completely black. It’s all in the lighting setup. :)

Image of Mamiya medium format film camera with 120 Kodak film roll. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

The camera was Ed’s camera, BTW. One of the guy in my team.

The next challenge was pouring “wine” in a wine glass.  This was even more difficult. It took a lot of trial and error to do this. The first image below was actually an accident, but Ed thought that the spill actually made it an interesting shot and suggested that I posted the image on my blog. We showed the shot to Don, and Don agreed. :)

Pouring wine in wine glass with some spill. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

And here’s the successful shot. We’re looking for that splash inside the wine glass.

Pouring wine into a wine glass with some splash inside. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

After lunch, we worked with the models.

This time, Don separated the group into few teams of twos. I was with Rocky. Our challenge was to create a shot for a magazine spread with the model on one side of the spread. The theme was that our model supposed to be a hip-hop artist. Rocky asked me to come up with the concept. I originally wanted to use the woods as a background, but then I realize that I could use this cool looking car that would fit perfectly with the theme. We were lucky that this Dodge Challenger was there. :)

So with Rocky’s assistance, I setup the strobes to where I wanted to and did few test shots to make sure I got the correct exposure and angle on the lights. If I remember correctly, four speedlites was used for this setup. After I got the correct exposure and everything, then the owner of the car came and was ready to leave. I asked them if I could borrow the car for a couple of minutes. Luckily they were kind enough to let me use the car as a prop. Thank you! :)

So here’s the final shot. :)

Girl model posing with an orange Dodge Challenger sport car for a hip-hop theme for a magazine spread. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

This next shot was Rocky’s turn to come up with the idea. We were lucky to have two models because two other teams were done with their project.

Two beautiful model girls posing on a pickup truck. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

After done with our project, I roam around to see what the other teams were doing. It seemed that pretty much everyone was done with the projects given by Don, so they were just taking advantage of the models that were still available and experimented with different backgrounds and lighting setups.

Girl model posing outdoor under storm clouds. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

They also experimented with this interesting background indoor. When it was my turn, I asked for a different model that I had not worked with and asked her to play with her hair. :)

Girl model playing with hair, with blue glowing glass blocks behind her. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

After I was done with my turn to take picture with the complex flash setup, I noticed that a few models were just waiting for their turn. So I asked these three girls below to pose by the window. I wasn’t using any flash here, just the available window light.

Girl model posing by the window, with her reflection on the mirror. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti Beautiful Asian girl model posing by the window with her reflection on the table. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti Beautiful girl model with blue eyes and orange dress. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti Pretty girl model headshot with brown eyes and blue dress. Lighting Essentials Workshops - Baltimore with Don Giannatti

At the end of the day, we were all exhausted, but very happy and satisfied. We were all loaded with new knowledge and skills!

Thank you so much, Don. Now I like to experiment with flash whenever I can. :)

Leo Dj

9 Responses to “Workshop with Don Giannatti”

  1. Leo Dj

    Thank you so much, Don! :)

  2. Ed Z

    Hey Leo,

    Nice images! was great to meet you at the workshop!
    -Ed

  3. Leo Dj

    Thanks, Ed. Yeah, it was great to meet you too! :)

  4. liz

    foto2nya kok kayak ngak bersatu dengan background-nya?.. ditempelin ya?..

  5. Leo Dj

    Wah kalo tempel gitu susah dan lama bikinnya, perlu kesabaran banget di Photoshopnya. Ini karna teknik lightingnya aja jadi keliatannya seperti itu. Pake flash dari belakang mereka jadi ada separation antara obyek dan background. Kalo gak gitu, nanti gak jelas batasnya.

  6. Keith B.

    Hello Leo,
    I am interested in attending Don’s workshop. Did you already know how to setup the lights for all of these shots or were you shown the concept and then set it up on your own? I am very interested in lighting. Everything I read about photography and good pictures has me convinced that lighting is the key. Its all about the light.

    Thanks
    Keith

  7. Leo Dj

    Hi Keith,
    Sort of. I would suggest that you attend the basic class first. I attended the advanced class.
    Yes, that’s why is called photography. Photo means light.

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