Last weekend my friend Natalie and I attended a full day photography workshop at Studio Crescendoh in Santa Ana by the extremely talented photographer Cynthia Shaffer.

I have attended a few photography workshops in the past as I continually strive to improve my photography skills.  Most of these workshops have given fantastic tips as far as props, lighting, camera angles, every day items you can use to help with lighting and backgrounds, and the best places to take photographs.  Most have talked about ISO, aperture, and shutter speed.  Not a single class was hands on enough that I actually learned or understood what these things actually did.  I nodded my head a lot, left with paperwork to read through later, then immediately switched my camera back into auto mode and went along my merry (yet slightly unfulfilled) way.

There were only 4 students in the class this past weekend (although Cynthia has had as many as 10 previously).  It was hands on.  We immediately picked up our cameras, learned what each button did, worked our way through the menu, then put what we were learning into practice.  First in the studio, then outdoors.  We learned what ISO our camera should be set to depending on the situation, we learned how to read the shutter speed and change it, and we learned how to focus on one object, whether it be in the distance, or up close and blur the rest of the photograph.  I will never put my camera in auto mode again.  I left the class finally understanding how to work my camera.  I still have a lot more to learn, but I feel like I have the basics.  I hope to see my photography improve greatly now.   We took away with us great tips on photographing at night, in harsh sunlight, portraits, objects, outdoors, and craft projects.  We even played with bokeh which was a lot of fun. Cynthia was more than happy to share her tips for photographing books, and how to photograph trickier objects such as jewelry, and items that don't stand well on their own.  She also offered lots of suggestions on setting up space in our homes for photography.

I was recently sent a copy of Lightroom 4 to play around with from Adobe.  I had no idea what I was doing, but thankfully Cynthia uses Lightroom and she was more than happy to show me around Lightroom during our final session of the day which was tips on editing photographs.  All of the photographs below I edited using Lightroom.  I was thrilled. 

Here are some of my favorite shots of the day.

Fabric and crotchet flower

Sushi plates and utensils

Gerbera flower

Love filter

Learning bokeh

Learning lightroom

Handmade headband

Baby shoes

Plants potted

Water fountain


The above photographs are of Jenn and Beth, the other two ladies who attended the workshop.

Gerbera close up

Santa Ana photography workshop

Crescendoh photography 101

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Jenn @ Home is Where You Start From May 23, 2012 - 4:32 pm

the class was amazing, I learned so much! It was really nice meeting you! Love your photos, they’re great 🙂

Tonya Staab May 29, 2012 - 11:56 am

It was so lovely meeting you too Jenn.  Also so glad you mentioned bokeh, I had a great time learning about that.


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