I had the pleasure of teaching a photo compositing class at After Dark: Vegas, and I wanted to share a quick breakdown of what we did. Compositing is a technique we use for commercial projects that require a complex idealized reality beyond what can be captured in a single image. To do it effectively it requires a lot of patience, planning, and attention to detail. For the After Dark composite I shot the crashed plane background in the morning and photographed the model on a white backdrop in-studio during the late-night class, blending the two together in Photoshop. The resulting image is striking and powerful (see below). I'll be teaching the composite class again at After Dark: Cincinnati in May, and I'll go into full detail about the entire process. If you come to the event, use our code "MAC" during registration to receive $50 off your registration. Here's the breakdown:
*If you're planning on attending After Dark: Vegas, use promo code "MAC" to get a $50 discount!!! The scene is organized chaos. 10 fully-stocked studio bays engulfing an entire hotel ballroom, each bay being used by one of the best photographers in the industry to demonstrate their area of expertise. All the photographic information you could possibly comprehend wanting to absorb is in one room.
Imagine Lori Nordstrom working with a newborn and explaining step-by-step how she captures stunning images. To her left is Chuck Arlund showing the intricate details of posing a fashion model. To her right is Cody Clinton and Mike Fulton from TriCoast teaching people how to master off camera flash techniques. Now imagine 7 additional (and completely different) photoshoots taking place all around you.
Oh, and don't forget the 10 small group work pods where master businessmen explain pricing and marketing in a comprehensible language and photoshop gurus show off their entire workflow on live projection screens. And there's also the locations sessions – watching internationally acclaimed wedding photographers conduct live Trash The Dress sessions on the street. Remember, this is all going on at THE SAME TIME! From morning until... well, the next morning! Doesn't it make your brain hurt just thinking about it?!
In our photographic career, never have we experienced an educational event as effective or enjoyable as After Dark Education.
We've been blessed with the privilege of teaching at After Dark: Portland and After Dark: New Orleans, and next month we'll be doing it again at After Dark: Vegas. In light of the seemingly overwhelming amount of awesomeness that takes place at After Dark, we want to give you a preview of what we're going to be teaching in Vegas to help you determine whether or not you should come listen to us or one of the many top-shelf instructors (and FYI – we don't take offense if you choose them – you really can't make a bad decision). Here's a rundown of our scheduled classes. We welcome any questions or comments you have regarding them (leave a comment!):
Millennial Marketing: We are BIG advocates of social media. We've built our entire business from the ground up without paying a dime for traditional advertising and we take a personal approach to connecting with people via free internet tools. Both of us teach this class and will discuss things like branding (your brand > your photography, and we'll tell you why) effective facebooking (how to turn every session into a viral way to attain new fans and new business), and creative marketing (the kind that's REALLY fun and gets everybody talking – take our annual Christmas Card for example). We will welcome questions and like to dedicate a portion of this pod to Q/A and discussion. This has been probably our most well received class and is applicable whether you're a total noob or an old pro in your 34th year of business!
Photo-realistic Compositing: Dan will explain how to light and photograph a subject in-studio to be superimposed onto an idealized background. He'll also be demonstrating how to blend composited images in photoshop to add realism. This technique is becoming more common in commercial photography when it isn't possible to actually photograph on location or when you want to create idealized reality. Here's an example of some recent covers we produced using this technique:
Also, here's a composite we photographed on location at After Dark: Portland:
Product Design and Design Principles: Well designed products are an aesthetically powerful way to showcase your images. Our design is no doubt one of the reasons we stand out from the other photographers in our saturated market (we design all of our products in-house). Design is oftentimes avoided by photographers because it seems more intimidating than it actually is. Alex will be teaching basic design principles that you can use to create one-of-a-kind products for your studio. She'll be demonstrating photoshop techniques and fielding your questions.
Marketing and Design Critique: During critique night (the first night of After Dark) Alex will be available to critique the design of your products and marketing pieces. Please bring anything you'd like input on! Physical pieces preferred, but digital pieces will work too (bring them on a flash drive).
Rockstar Photography: We photograph a lot of musicians for publications. It's fun because it's acceptable to literally break every rule you've ever been taught, resulting in highly creative images. Dan will be photographing a group of musicians on location and discussing experimental lighting and posing (He'll probably use a lot of off-camera lighting). The purpose of this session is to shake things up and get you thinking outside the box (which all photographers know is a very difficult thing to do). The techniques from this session can be applied to wedding parties, family portraits, etc. Here's an image from the Rockstar Photography class we taught in New Orleans (for more examples, check out the commercial gallery on our web site):
Sales Tips For The Beginner: For photographers, creating is natural - but we quickly become uncomfortable when it comes to selling our work. In this class, Alex will teach you how to take confidence in your work and teach you how to help your clients decorate their homes using projection sales. This method will give you happier clients (with awesome artwork on their walls) and better sales, so you can spend more time capturing stunning images and less time figuring out how you're going to pay rent.
Locations Senior: Dan will hit the streets of Vegas with a high school senior and photograph McClanahan style! He'll show how to find flattering natural light and how to use artificial light when necessary. Our goal with seniors is to capture creative images that are mom friendly and senior approved. Here are a few sample images from previous AD's (check out the senior gallery on our web site for a wider sampling):
Lastly, here's all the information you need to know about After Dark:
Jeff Dunn explains what After Dark is all about:
registration (Use discount code "MAC" to receive $50 off):
Hotel booking (Those registered and staying at the Hilton will be welcome Tuesday night from 8pm - midnight for bonus sessions presented by 5 different mentors.):
We can't wait to see you in Vegas!!!