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IllOgical42 12:57pm, 5 November 2007
Last Saturday, November 3rd, we met at "Tour & Taxis" in Brussels. 10 photographers, 3 models and 1 organiser.

The original thread can be found here: flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/72157602112087113.

This thread will be used for images, reviews comments etc.
IllOgical42 Posted 14 years ago. Edited by IllOgical42 (member) 14 years ago
Here's my summary of the day itself, a short one for the uninterested and a more detailed one for the rest.

Management summary

I had an excellent time, enjoyed the ideas & company of fellow shooters & models, had quite a few laughs and wouldn't hesitate visiting another meet at all. Even better, I'm considering organising one in the Netherlands for a couple of friends. Grin, Strobisme is becoming a viral lifestyle :)

More detailed

Arriving an hour before the meeting time, we checked out the neighbourhood and found a great site for urban exploration. Did some limited recon and made a couple of pictures, before we went to the meeting.

Inside we found everybody, and did a very short introduction round. Meanwhile we were also in awe from this magnificent location. So many posibilities... Many thanks Didier for arranging this! After everybody had arrived, Rui started the introduction and goals of the day. Groups where made and the first assignments started. We started with the hard light with model Gracia in the basement (hehe, this is starting to sound like Clue). After everybody was finished with the first assignment, we worked on the headshot in the corner with model Tabrina, and finished with the bouncing light with model. During each of the assignments, Rui came by and gave us some pointers, or even shot some images himself - either from the setup, or from the model, using the setup.

Being already an hour behind schedule, we went to Brussels center for a very good meal, and some informal communication. After returning (and being even more behind schedule) we restarted with the crosslighting shooting Gracia again, and playfully changed everyhting to some free style experiments of things we wanted to do with the model and location.

At the end of the day, we did a couple of group shot and went our way - tired but fulfilled.

Points to improve upon

1. Why didn't I take any shots of the setup?
2. A minimal amount of time was used for evaluation or discussing DIY solutions.
3. Stricter time management would be preferable.
4. Lot's of room for improvement in the catering area - at noon I became a little thirsty & peckish
5. Groups should be formed before the meeting to save time
6. I would have prefered the groups to be of people of the same level. This would have resulted in "deeper" discussions, instead of keeping it to a level the less experienced shooter understood.
7. I found it hard to see what others where doing (yes it can be called spying, but I call it learning :) ), so 1 group less would simplify things.
o7photographs 14 years ago
that nr 1. also hit me sunday morning :S First to say I had a really good time, didn't figure I'd be marked as experienced strobist but okay...

I'm excluding the points Illogical already mentioned but basically agree on them though I didn't mind the 3 groups.

append to nr 3: Timeframe per shoot should also have been set. The effect if there's no time limit is that the first group will see that the other group's still busy so the dfirst group continues and the other group thinks the first group's still busy. No end to it ;)

append to 4: Food was good but we spent too much time getting there and back and overall. Think we should've gone strobist style: DIY your own barbecue and slaughter a cow.

append to nr 5: ask before the meet the members strobist experience and camera brand.

Since there were many people who wanted to do more of their own thing, as an idea the afternoon could be more of free-form:
- 3 shoots of 3 different models;
- per shoot one photographer in charge, others assist if they want;
- 15 minutes per shoot + 5 minutes for the other 2 to take some shots with same settings;
- One story per model: a sporter, a ... (so models can bring appropriate clothing or maybe even choose their own story?)

Again: not to criticise but to improve!

Rui and all who chipped in with organising this did a good job and I really enjoyed myself.

I also hope that other people who want to organise a strobist meet can use our points of improvement and suggestions.


Richard

--------------------------------------
urban-exploring.com
IllOgical42 14 years ago
Hehehe... I'll second the cow, Denis Leary style: "Bring me a live cow over to the table. I'll carve off what I want and ride the rest home!"
Peter Stacey 14 years ago
Sounds like a great meetup.

@IllOgical. If there is a plan to organise one for The Netherlands, then I'll be there. Actually, I'll head to the next Belgium one if another is planned. No way I could have made the Brussels one even if I'd wanted because I'm in the US at the moment, but sounds like a fantastic idea.

Regards,

Peter
Ken Crites 14 years ago
I added a few set-up shots to my area on Flickr ...

kencrites-4504
Gerard Maas 14 years ago
Sorry I had to miss the meeting. Many things (and not good things) came together at once.
I see it was a nice location. I want to see more pics of the day! Let them come!!! :-)

-greetz, Gerard.
o7photographs 14 years ago
well... first pictures from tour & taxis online...
I guess they're just not what you'd have expected :)

I've put them on my blog: www.urban-exploring.com
IllOgical42 14 years ago
Sorry to hear that Gerard. Maybe next time :)

And the location was more than nice. I'm already looking out for an equally good location in the Netherlands, so any pointers/hints might be handy.

Apart from Ken, Rui placed a groupsphoto here: www.flickr.com/photos/ruimleal/1855893841/
Rui M Leal 14 years ago
Only now I've seen this new discussion.

More pictures now on my Flickr stream and in a couple of days the blog will have a "full report" about it as well as some video footage of the meeting. Keep tuned.

Meanwhile I do not see many people uploading the photos to the share folder so I can send them to the models.

Only Me, Claude and Michele have done it so far.

Come on guys it's only 2 pictures of each model.
Even I that did not shoot almost anything got 2 good of them so can you :)
gewitterkind 14 years ago
i hope you people (and especially rui) are planning on doing that again someday when i'll be able to attend, too. looks like a great location.
o7photographs 14 years ago
curved lunch [deleted] 14 years ago
Hey,

A few of my shots (preliminary, I still have to do real postop on them) can be found at

www.flickr.com/photos/8103525@N05/

Have fun,
Walter.
rys5bru 14 years ago
Hi,

My shots can be found @ www.flickr.com/photos/15271625@N05/

enjoy and critics are welcom.
Rui M Leal 14 years ago
Ok guys,

after almost a week has passed I still miss a couple of pictures from some of you.

Here is the list:

Rui M Leal - OK
Claude Piscitelli - OK
Michele Jamrozik - OK
Walter Vaesen - OK
Richard Jungschlager - Got some pictures but quality and size are to small to send to the models pls upload them with more resolution.
Ken Crites - OK
Alain Reyes - Got some pictures but quality and size are to small to send to the models pls upload them with more resolution.
Didier Jouret - None
Jeroen Janssen - None
Peter Reinders - None

Come on guys I do not believe that after so many photos taken the missing guys haven't send any of them.
IllOgical42 14 years ago
My first three are uploaded to my flickr account: flickr.com/search/?w=81679717@N00&q=Brussels+Strobist...

More is coming this weekend.
IllOgical42 Posted 14 years ago. Edited by IllOgical42 (member) 14 years ago
I'm still waiting to see some feedback on our meetup, like it's been done here: www.flickr.com/groups/strobist/discuss/72157602101382708/. Please share, that's why I opened another thread. And the longer you wait, the less you rememeber ;)

Rui M Leal - none
Claude Piscitelli - none
Michele Jamrozik - none
Walter Vaesen - none
Richard Jungschlager - OK
Ken Crites - none
Alain Reyes - none
Didier Jouret - none
Jeroen Janssen - none
Peter Reinders - OK
LightningPaul 14 years ago
I also wanted to join you but unfortunately I was not able to make it that day. Rui, IllOgical42 or someone else, if you organize a new meetup then I'll be glad to join it, as long it's not to far to travel.
Rui M Leal 14 years ago
LightningPaul Ok, when the next one is available just let you know.
Rui M Leal Posted 14 years ago. Edited by Rui M Leal (member) 14 years ago
Videos available from the shootings at

Video 1

Video 2

Enjoy.
Rui M Leal 14 years ago
Ok guys,

after a week has passed almost everyone got their pic with good quality uploaded to the share file except Peter Reinders.

Anyway, I will be sending the CD's to the models during the next week as well as the complete video that I posted on Flickr and on the 4shared link for you guys to download.

Thank you all for everything and Peter upload your files so they could be included on the CD since I would like to close this issue ASAP and move on to some other one's that I have in mind.
Rui M Leal Posted 14 years ago. Edited by Rui M Leal (member) 14 years ago
My 5 cents for some things to have in mind next time:

-Some food and water near the location
-Lunch break too long
-Setups should be fixed and not traveling around with people
-1 shooter and 2 helpers in each group (only 1 transmitter this will cause less interference with the model)
-Groups should have people from same Strobist level of experience
-Some kind of time measurement ;)
-Reduce the number of setups and create some free style one’s so people could experience more
-One group leader
-More time to discuss subjects and clarify things
-People attending should know at least what we will be talking about
Ken Crites 14 years ago
I agree with you guys. I think either having some example situations defined beforehand (i.e. David could call us up on the mobile and say he needs a shot of a rock star visiting Belgium done before lunch) or at least have a specific technique in mind so that we aren't hunting for ideas, but rather for locations.

I have to say though, for a first run we did a pretty good job!

joking - David doesn't want to be awake at 4 AM!
tarjei99 14 years ago
@ruimleal
What about having a support team to run things and document the meetup?

Have this been tried before?
o7photographs 14 years ago
still disagree on the setups... I saw (I believe it was) Ken scratching behind his ears to find out how to reduce the power of my Metz flash. If you'd have to find out how a specific flash works on every setup...
And I don't think we carried around that much stuff anyway, everyone pick up a stand and walk to the next area, it was no biggy for me...
IllOgical42 Posted 14 years ago. Edited by IllOgical42 (member) 14 years ago
Who said David doesn't want to? I think I've seen him blogging 4 am in his local timezone.. ;)

tarjei99 If more time is available for evaluation, the teams could do this themselves. To simplify live I can imagine a checklist like this
*previsualise
- how many flashes
- where
- what rations
* setup
- capture setup
* shoot
* evaluate
- did you get the required/previsualised shot?
- if not, why? And start over

Setup only works with flashes/stands everybody has access to. After 2-3 meetups & sharing equipment this could work.

// Add: don't underestimate the difference between a Nikon SB26 SB28 and SB800 if you are in hurry.

BTW - Pics are upped as promised. Im still waiting for some reviews. I've seen Rui's blog - why not add a link here Rui?
curved lunch [deleted] Posted 14 years ago. Edited by curved lunch (member) 14 years ago
I agree with O7.
I think everyone should carry around only so much equipment as they can while still remaining relatively mobile. One backpack, a camera-bag and one lightstand should not be an issue at all (hey, three photgraphers have 6 hands, so I think 2 lightstands are not the issue here, but all the other stuff instead ;-) ). I suggest that anything else stays at home (or in the car ;-) )

I would also prefer to stay with my own equipment. No discussion if anything breaks also! It was me breaking it, or I was there when it happened ;-)

I also totally agree on fixing time-slots.

In case of 3 groups with 3 photographers each:

- count 10 minutes for starting up a setup with new model (so also between model-switches!

- count 30 minutes to bootstrap the whole event (initial briefing)

This would yield the schedule of half a day. The other half day could look exactly the same.

So for half a day you would get

30' initial briefing
goto MODEL1 - 10' setup - PH1 - PH2 - PH3
goto MODEL2 - 10' setup - PH1 - PH2 - PH3
goto MODEL3 - 10' setup - PH1 - PH2 - PH3

So if you start at 9h30, and you want to stop at 12.30:

3h ==> 180' = 30' initial + 3x10' setup + 9 x TIMESLOTS

(180 - 60) / 9 = 13,5

Say 15 minutes per photographer per model.
This seems little, but you had 10 minutes to setup things, discuss with model etc. So this is pure shooting time!

We should stick to that to avoid that the first eats all the time and the last PH must be satisfied with the remaining 5 minutes ;-)


Meantime - as some of you asked for it - I put some setup shots taken during the Brussels meeting (avail. light) on my flickr-account. Enjoy!


Cheers, Walter.
Rui M Leal 14 years ago
Hey guys great help in here with some suggestions.

Next time for sure it will be much better.

CD's with pictures to the models were mailed today.

Thanks everyone for the quick reply and uploading.

Hope to see you soon again.

Rui
Rui M Leal 14 years ago
wava_1234 thanks man, next time will be much better.
curved lunch [deleted] 14 years ago
Hey, maybe also a rolling scheme would be a good idea, so every time another photographer starts the new model session:

30' initial briefing
goto MODEL1 - 10' setup - PH1 - PH2 - PH3
goto MODEL2 - 10' setup - PH3 - PH1 - PH2
goto MODEL3 - 10' setup - PH2 - PH3 - PH1

13 minutes per photographer per model

> total timeframe = 3 hours approx.

Hope to be there again next time ;-)
tarjei99 14 years ago
Have you considered rotating the models instead of the photograpers?

If you have more groups than models then there is time to reconfigure the setup.

Or would this be impractical since you need the model to set up your gear?


greetings,
Rui M Leal 14 years ago
tarjei99 Thanks man,

that was also on my mind. Maybe on the next meeting.
Rui M Leal 14 years ago
Hello,

I'm planning on making another one by the end of January 2008.

If someone got some ideas of places we could be in maybe we could go for a different approach on this one.

Just send me the ideas or post them here.

Thanks again to all of you who made this happen.

Rui
curved lunch [deleted] 14 years ago
Thanks for your suggestion tarjei99!

In essence there is not so much difference between rotating the models or the photographers. It is about the cooperation.

But it should indeed be mentioned during the intial briefing that with each rotation, the photographers MUST look for a new and unique background (instead of taking for granted the background where the previous group positioned the model).

Reposition the model. Try and be original. In my suggested plan there are 10 minutes for this activity. And hey, sometimes it is just a matter of turning your head 90 degrees and you have a new setup!

This is what I personally think we partially failed doing during the last meetup. I think we kept Gracia a bit too long in front of that basement white-wall, and Tabrina in front of that red brick wall ;-). But hey, it was our first meetup, and I think we did a great job still.

I am not really in favour of your suggestion to have less models than groups. We were now already in a position where we were waiting for a model while another group was not finished with their assignments. A clear time-schedule would also help on this part.

Rui, I'll try to make some suggestions for the next meetup. Does it have to be Brussels? Or can Antwerp or any place inbetween also be considered?
tarjei99 14 years ago
@wava

Don't forget that the team can use their own members to test the light.

I assume that it is much simpler to keep the time table if there is someone who tracks time and forces change : Enter the support team.

That should keep the "Wait, I will just try...." syndrome in check.

I assume that it is the setup of the gear that is the time thief. If this is kept to a minimum or at least structured, there should be time for everybody. And you know when you can re-configure the gear or find another place to set up the gear.

Greetings from Mr Brutal,
curved lunch [deleted] 14 years ago
Trajei99,

you are very righ about that! members can be used as standins. Maybe that would even render very nice footage for personal use also!

And indeed we need a "police" to force the change.

We are surely getting there ;-). Thanks for the feedback.
Jon_Senior 14 years ago
@tarjei99: The danger with minimising gear set up is that you run the risk of having a set of photogs and models circulate through some pre-fab setups taking photos. Good for learning composition and communication with the model, not so good for learning the lighting.

My take on the "ideal" arrangement. I'm aware that this is less feasible, but might provide some cues.

Photogs check out the location either in the morning before the models arrive, or the previous day. A quick sweep through, taking wide-angle shots and noting any obvious backdrops should do. Further discussion can then take place off-site looking at the photos and using Bert Stefani's patented Backdrop Fuzziness Enhancer.

Run restricted times but with one fewer model than there are groups. This means that one group is always setting up and ensures that the models don't have unwanted dead time. The organiser could ideally have some ideas already, but the aim should be that the photogs run through the whole procedure themselves. Given a maximum set up and photograph time of (say) 30 mins, the aim would be for each group to plan and organise their shoots. A staggered start would be necessary if running with fewer models.

I'm in two minds over balancing experience levels. I think it would depend on numbers. If there were a relatively small number of "true beginners" then they should be spread amongst the groups. The problem is finding a balance between helping and hand-holding.

Perhaps use the above format for shooting in the morning, and then use pre-planned shots for the afternoon (People's creativity may be flagging by then). I do agree that there needs to be at least one person who is "in charge" and will impose the limits. Having a staggered system so that the change-overs weren't all taking place simultaneously would make it easier for one person to occupy this role.

If I find myself with some free time in the new year, I might try and put some of this into practice in Paris. No promises though.
tarjei99 Posted 14 years ago. Edited by tarjei99 (member) 14 years ago
@jon senior
You are right about scouting in advance and being ready when the models show up.

The key to learning is to keep things simple. Once you start messing around then things are not simple any more and you are not learning.

if you are not prepared when the model is there or start messing around with the setup of the lights, you are most likely wasting everybody's time. This is not a shoot where you have booked a model alone for a day and you can have a series of fifteen and thirty minute timeouts. Somebody else is going to expect that model somewhere else in a short while.

You will have time to reconfigure the light or probably even have more than one lighting setup for the group, but there is a time and place for reconfiguring the lighting. Small changes; yes. You will have to wait for the pause to do major changes.

Creativity is not a quarter of an hour reconfiguring the lights while the model watches and then ten seconds shooting just to get a picture. You must plan ahead. You know when you can change the lighting and you know when you can only tweak it.

In my opinion, these meetups should primarily concentrate on basic technique and not on being creative. If you already have the technique, your only reason for being at the meeting should be to help others and build a network of fellow strobists. Otherwise you are basically keeping someone away from learning. I don't see any point in that.

When you master the basic techniques, then start thinking about creativity. Then you can have the creative strobist workshops.

Get the basics right first and make sure that as many people as possible get the chance to learn.

greetings,

Edit: fixed spelling
Jon_Senior 14 years ago
"Creativity is not a quarter of an hour reconfiguring the lights while the model watches and then ten seconds shooting just to get a picture. You must plan ahead. You know when you can change the lighting and you know when you can only tweak it."

You misunderstood me. I'm not interested in teaching creativity at that point, but there is a world of difference between walking into a pre-built set-up and taking photos, and building the set-up yourself. You learn the technique by using it. Doing it yourself, or at the least watching someone do it is a far better way to learn.

e.g. At the seminar David showed a three light setup using snoots. Knowing what lights are used and where is a good start, but what really helped was seeing how he set them up. What order he added them in. What effect he was looking for with each one. If I hadn't seen that, it'd have been harder to recreate.

My idea was that the creativity could take place in the pub the preceeding evening. What matters on the day is hands on experience. Knowing that this adds to the time per shoot I suggested reducing the number of models so as to remove the dead time.

The problem that a few of us have is not having the means to easily set-up model shoots (Or indeed, find models). Workshops like this could be useful in that regard.

I did also suggest that the organiser could offer suggestions where necessary to get things moving.

TBH my previous post was written without the belief that it might be achievable. I do still believe however that the best way to learn technique is to do things yourself. Even if you take the creativity out of the workshop (or limit it to the actual framing of photos), you should give people the chance to do as much as possible themselves.
tarjei99 14 years ago
I am confused.

If the models move from group to group as I have suggested instead of the groups moving between setups: What keeps the group from creating their own lighting setup? What keeps them from learning by doing?

BTW Is the models really necessary at this point? Perhaps just an added distraction?

Is it finding the model that is a problem or finding a usable location?


greetings,
Jon_Senior 14 years ago
I have few problems finding locations. I have more problems finding people who are prepared to pose for me. I will be annoying the hell out of family and friends over Christmas! ;-)

The added bonus of models (especially those with at least some experience) is that they add the finishing touch and allow some nice photos as an end result. I can speak only for myself, but I'm confident that most people are more photogenic than I am.

That said, for learning the techniques, having any old bod stood there will work just fine. It also removes the distraction of having to interact in a good way with a stranger. Just knowing one other photog in the same situation and in the same area would solve this problem, so I guess that would up the stakes for the workshops.

I personally would want to start afresh with a new model and location (even if it's just turning 90°s). This would mean building / rebuilding the lighting setup.
tarjei99 14 years ago
Ideally, people should not be a problem. Being too timid, I find it impossible to just ask people I meet to model.

That does not keep me from having some suggestions on how to get hold of models.

Find the local model school(s) and either contact them or contact the models. Also try students at any local university or polytechnic. Local shops or post offices might have noticeboards where you can hang up a notice The local photographic society might also have contacts and even arrange photo sessions with models. At least they did in Manchester.

Then we have the evening schools. The ones who pay the janitor to pose naked while the class draws him. That model might be interested in posing with clothes on.

I'm sure that there are lots of people who would love to be paid to watch us fiddle with the lighting. Some of them might even do it for free if the get some pictures for their portfolio.

You could offer to do portraits of a family if you want that sort of experience. Then you get to photograph them as a group and as individuals. Might be good practice.

If there is public spaces around where people walk their dogs, offer to photograph them and their pet. That should be hard to resist if you have your camera and flashes with you.

greetings,
IllOgical42 14 years ago
Wow, I seem to have missed the remainder of this conversation completely. Thanks for continuing guys(& gals?)

I agree with you on the the photog rotation if the experience level of all photogs is equal and they are all starting out. If one shooter is considerably more experienced, i think (s)he should start all the time.

And as soon as less attention is required for the technical things (e.g. more experience), photog rotation can done more flexible.


That's what friends & familiy are for... right :)
I agree with you on the seeing/doing the light setup. It's the fastest way to get a grasp of the basic workflow and issues.

I also agree with you on the added bonus model. As a plus, you don't have to walk over to the table to readjusting something - models are voice activated ;) You can also learn from his/her prior experience ;)

Locations can be hard, especially if you want to keeps costs low. Networks can help here. And I didn't expect you'd have any problems finding a model in a fashion town like Paris ;) Again - networking helps.

tarjei99 you want to rotate all things between sessions:
- assignment type (hard/soft light, direct/indirect)
- model
- location
- shooters within a session

The main advantage is that you can prevent the final images from all shooters look too similar. As an added bonus, you can easily see which photo's belong to which assignment.
tarjei99 14 years ago
@IllOgical42
If the changes are controlled, yes. If you do too much at a time, all ends up in confusion.

BTW I don' count changing photographer in a group as a change.

It is better to photograph a location to death than to change location all the time. If you change location for each assignment type, you won't notice how the location reacts to the change in lighting. And you have lost an important lesson.

Lunch time is an excellent time to move the gear if you must.

Frankly it is not a problem that the pictures look the same when you are on location at the same time using the same lighting. This is not art, it's learning. And you learn best when you make only one change at a time.

It is also better to have spare time after the program is finished than to be unable to finish because one has moved from location to location.

Make a list of extra assignments to do if you end up with spare time or change location and redo the assignments.

If there is time for more than one shot for each group member in each session, then the inexperienced might learn more if they had a go first and then watched the experienced photographer before they tried again. Trial and failure is important.

greetings,
Jon_Senior 14 years ago
"Trial and failure is important." - I couldn't agree more. I hit it lucky with my first attempt at high-key, and only really understood why when I got it wrong on the second attempt.

If you're not wanting to produce "art" then, it'd be better to do away with the models altogether, or perhaps only have them in the afternoon when you've worked out a lighting set-up and location. That way you can concentrate on the setting up and technical side without the distraction of a pretty face. :-)
tarjei99 14 years ago
> If you're not wanting to produce "art" then, it'd be better to
> do away with the models altogether, or perhaps only have
> them in the afternoon when you've worked out a lighting
> set-up and location.

That makes a lot of sense to me.

Or do the initial technical training the evening before the shoot. But then it becomes expensive if travel is involved, but perhaps worth it?

greetings,
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