July 31, 2014
I was reminded this week how much I enjoy going to my local Meetup events. I attended a Portrait and Lighting shoot at a downtown park a few nights ago. The event was well attended by about 40 photographers. If you haven’t been to a Meetup event in your area, you should sign up at Meetup.com and take the plunge. Here are three reasons why…
1. You can try something new If you usually shoot wildlife, then you can go to a portrait meetup and vice versa. There are lots of photographers at most shoots that are willing to help you with techniques, settings, etc.
2. You can work with models I don’t normally work with models, so these events have been great for me. The models are generally amateurs that just like to do it for fun (like most of the photographers). Sometimes they show up in crazy costumes, which lends itself to great opportunities. The photographers learn from the models and the models learn from the photographers. Below is a shot of Hannah from this week’s event.
3. You can experiment I know from experience at previous Meetups that the preferred light modifier at a Meetup is a softbox (or an on-camera flash). I wanted to do something different for this event, so brought a SpinLight 360 snoot for one of my flashes. I decided I would see if I could get a 30s glamour look. This was the perfect venue to experiment. I could fool around with my settings and the model didn’t have to wait for me. While I was messing around with my equipment, there were always others taking shots. When I was ready, I just said ‘look this way.’ Eventually, I was able to get some shots that had the effect I wanted, and now I’m better prepared for next time. Moreover, my shots were different from most others (a plus for the model). Here is one of my shots with the SpinLight 360 snoot.
4. You can compare your work to others One of the most interesting parts of a Meetup occurs after the event when everyone posts their shots to the event page. Here you can see how other photographers at the same event tackled the challenges presented by the environment. I’m always amazed at the different results — sometimes from people standing right next to me. It’s one of the most valuable learning experiences you can get.
If you haven’t tried a Meetup yet, I encourage you to go to the site and search for photography groups near you. You’ll be glad you did.
All shots on this post were taken with my trusty E-M1 and the Olympus 45/1.8 lens (keeping it simple).