One-Light-Portraits with Michael O’Sullivan

MOSullivan Workshop JB-3

Why is it that of all the genres of photography, photographing a fellow human being in a formal setting can be one of the biggest challenges? It is a curious thing because while most of us feel a bit daunted at the prospect, those who do it well do it very well and with seemingly little effort. But there's the rub: we're around long enough to know that the easier someone can make a task look, the more accomplished they are at it. Therefore, with March themed for portraiture in the club, we needed some questions answered and hopefully some secrets shared on the topic.

So the hunt was on for a speaker/tutor who would demystify the techniques, share some knowledge and yet still keep it simple enough that we could go forth with basic equipment and achieve some decent results. A big ask. Yet, when we considered the question, agreement came quickly and we were delighted when Michael O'Sullivan FIPF FRPS, current IPF President and member of our neighbouring Cork Camera Group, agreed to do a mini workshop on the subject at one of our regular meetings.

Having had Michael speak and show his images several times previously, we were really looking forward to this workshop and we weren't disappointed. Starting with a single on-camera flash and a simple omnibounce, we were quickly acquainted with terms such as hard and soft light, shadows and highlights, broad lighting, short lighting, split lighting and rembrandt lighting while projected images of our wonderful model, Cassie, appeared courtesy of the magic of tethered capture into Lightroom, demonstrating each point, good and bad, in turn.

Modifiers, from reflectors and brollies, beauty dishes and softboxes, big and small were all covered and then it was on to a single off-camera flash controlled by a radio trigger enabling directional light to be placed practically anywhere on a set. While he demonstrated this with a studio light, Michael did remind us that the same effects were equally possible with hotshoe flashes mounted off-camera.

Technical issues, such as colour balance and exposure settings as well as the problems caused by poor ambient electrical lighting and light bouncing from some coloured walls or where a ceiling is too high to bounce light to/from were all discussed and strategies suggested for surmounting these problems. On set safety for everyone on such a shoot, especially where lights and modifiers are mounted on stands, was an equally important part of the workshop.

Michael OSullivan-029

All of this in so little time and all delivered in Michael's own inimitable style. Unreal!

While there are many photography 'experts' out there around the globe just a mouseclick away, we are fortunate indeed to have the calibre of Michael on our doorstep who can, in person and in a matter of a couple of hours or longer, deliver and demystify the nuances of the subject. Thanks a million Michael and, of course, Cassie, for a fantastic mini workshop.

All of Michael's images in this post  are straight RAW captures taken in our meeting room with only one light.

See more about Michael here:
Twitter: @MOSPhotoIreland , @OSMPhotography
Irish Photographic Federation:

If you have an interest in photography and would like to find out more about East Cork Camera Group, click the 'Contact Us' link and leave us a message.



Sunset/Lightpainting at Saleen – 16/5/15

Sunset-Lightpainting - James Brady-1

On Saturday evening 16/5/15, seven East Cork Camera Group members gathered for our weekly shoot, to explore the shorelines of Saleen and Lower Aghada for what turned out to be a very pleasant evening.

We began by setting off through Saleen woods, and set up for a sunset shoot on the northern shore. One particular item of interest in the picturesque scenery is a prehistoric tomb - Cromleach, or Dolmen called "Carriga Mhaistin", claimed by some to be the origin of the name Rostellan. Ros (headland), and dallan, or Dolmen. The Dolmen itself is approximately one thousand years old. With the sun low in the sky, some cloud cover and a low tide, some very striking images were captured.

Once the sun had set behind the headland, we made our way to Aghada GAA Club's grounds for our next venture, a light painting and off-camera flash workshop. Our subject for this shoot was a Folly Tower on the coastline facing Whitegate. This round tower, known as Siddon's Tower, was erected in 1727, and proved to be a very interesting feature for light painting.

With tripods and torches at the ready, we set about taking long exposures of the structure whilst adding creative touches of artificial light via torches, flashguns with coloured gels, and even green lasers. The creative juices were flowing and some brilliant images were captured, which can be seen in the gallery. Well done to all involved.

- James Brady

Click here to check out the Gallery.


Natural Light Portraiture Workshop – Rowan Thornhill

Yohan Duchenay  Portrait-10

When we first came across travel and lifestyle photographer, Rowan Thornhill, at our Culture Night Exhibition on 19/9/14 last, we were immediately impressed with his natural light portraiture. We resolved there and then that we would have to get Rowan to conduct a workshop on the subject for us and that came to pass recently at The Midleton Park Hotel.

With the wonderful model Nadege on hand, Rowan conducted a comprehensive workshop beginning with a short classroom theory module followed by hands on shooting, inside and out and finishing with some post processing of some of the images taken.

Some of the topics covered during the workshop were communication with the model, posing, looking for the light, determining the direction of the light and observing what slight adjustments in the position of the model and/or photographer does to the light and shadow on the features. The use of diffusers, reflectors and flags to manipulate light was also covered.

This was a really first class and worthwhile workshop with tips to be picked up at every turn. Thanks to Rowan and Nadege for all their help and patience.

Mouse over the image below to activate the slideshow. More images from the workshop can be seen here. Enjoy!




Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Workshop

lightroom-workshopWith the recent run of poor weather, which has led to the cancellation of a number of shoots, it was decided a safer bet to remain indoors this weekend for our second workshop of the year.

And so we headed to the comfort of the Midleton Park Hotel where our chairman Denis Barry presented a 3 hour workshop covering the basics of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, the industry standard software for organising, enhancing and sharing images.

Eight ECCG members were treated to a walk through of the basics from file import including tethered shooting through to image enhancement, geotagging, creating a photo book, printing and producing a slideshow and web gallery.

Thanks to Denis for a very educational morning.


Sensor Cleaning with Finbarr O’Shea


Finbarr O'Shea demonstrates Camera Sensor Cleaning

The very thought of personally cleaning the sensor of a digital camera is enough to send some camera owners into a state of shock and physical sickness such is the fear of causing lasting damage to this delicate and vital part of the photographic process. Not so for ECCG member, Finbarr O'Shea, who always cleans his own cameras' sensors using both wet and dry methods.

Finbarr tried to dispel the fear by giving a demonstration of how he goes about the process at the first Group meeting of 2014 at the Midleton Park Hotel on Tuesday 7/1/14.

Using surprisingly little kit, Finbarr went through the various steps of the process from using a blower brush to dislodge dust and free debris from the mirror box and sensor to using swabs, perfectly matched to the size of the camera's sensor, along with a few drops of cleaning fluid to perform a wet clean for more stubborn dirt.

It was indeed a revelation as to how simple an operation it can be. However, a word of warning: this is not for the faint-hearted and should not be attempted by those unsure or not proficient in the process as lasting damage could be caused to the camera which could require a costly repair.

Members click here for more details.