On Sunday, Melissa Ghionis posted the need for an assistant during Jerry Ghionis’s seminar in Iowa for yesterday. I live about six hours away from Des Moines, but an opportunity to spend the day with Jerry & Melissa Ghionis?! Sign me up! Normally, I would not be the type of person to step out of my comfort zone and even volunteer for something like this, but Nikki’s drive (contacting Sue + Roberto) gave me the courage to put myself out there. I didn’t hear back that day, so I assumed I wasn’t chosen. On Monday morning, I saw Melissa post that she had emailed the person they picked and that they were good to go! Well I just checked my email for the heck of it, and sure enough, she had emailed me!
So after lunch, I reserved a hotel, I packed my bag, grabbed my camera bag, and I hopped in the car and drove to Des Moines. Yesterday morning at 8am, I arrived at the seminar location, met Melissa, and she gave me the biggest hug. Seriously, she’s the nicest person ever. We chatted for a while, set out hundreds of flyers, she taught me how to use the ice light, and then we sat in the back while Jerry talked from 9am-2pm (and then manned the ice light + ice society table during breaks). Sitting back there with her was awesome because I was able to ask her questions throughout the day, which she graciously answered. And it was fun to get to watch the two of them interact! They’re so sweet with one another.
I thought I would share a few of the tips I learned yesterday with you all!
- How Jerry Sets His Exposure
Had I heard this tip when I was first starting, I don’t think I would have struggled to get it right in camera every time. On manual mode, he first sets chooses the lowest ISO he thinks he can get away with. Then he chooses his White Balance (see #2). Then he chooses his aperture. Then on Matrix Metering (Nikon), he selects the shutter speed that sets his in-camera meter to the zero point (so essentially, he’s shooting in manual mode, but like he’s in aperture priority). And THEN he manually adjusts the shutter speed until he sees in camera what he sees with his own eyes. So think about it like this. The in camera meter is set to middle grey when it’s at the zero point. But your subject isn’t always middle grey! If your subject is bright, you need to move towards the plus side (camera will think you are over exposing using a slower shutter speed). If your subject is dark, you need to move towards the minus side (camera will think you are under exposing using a faster shutter speed). Easy, right?
- How Jerry Sets His White Balance
So for a while now, I’ve wondered how does Jerry get that warmth in his images or the colors outside at night. Well…it’s his white balance secret sauce! I have been shooting on Kelvin (just because it’s easier to batch process), but after hearing this tip, I might be moving to Jerry’s method. It’s simple. Are you ready?Want to make your image warmer – set your WB to CLOUDY (clouds)
Want to make your image even warmer – set your WB to SHADE (house)
Want to make your image cooler – set your WB to DAYLIGHT (sun)
Want to make your image even cooler – set your WB to TUNGSTEN (lightbulb)
- How Jerry Uses On Camera Flash:
Jerry’s flash is not his light source. The surface he bounces off of is his light source. He uses a wide aperture and high ISO, exposing for the ambient light and using TTL flash. He does NOT tilt the flash up at all. He just turns the flash 90 degrees right or left. Which way depends on which way the nose is pointing, as he wants to illuminate the side of the face that is furthest from the camera. So if the nose is pointing left, he points his flash 90 degrees to the left. If the nose is pointing right, he points his flash 90 degrees to the right. He doesn’t use off camera flash as he likes simplicity. But of course, he does use the ice light, which you can buy for $499.90.
There were SO many more things that I learned, but I will be sharing those things during my “first year in business” series!
Jerry is speaking at WPPI U in Vegas and a platform class at WPPI on Tuesday 3/12/13 at 8:30am, entitled “From Hi to Buy,” and Melissa told me that he’ll be talking through everything from the first inquiry to album design. Melissa is speaking at 3pm on Wednesday 3/13/13 on customer service. I highly recommend you attend both if you are going to WPPI in a few weeks! 🙂
Thanks, Jerry & Melissa Ghionis, for inviting me to come along yesterday! I loved it, and I can’t wait to see the two of you in Las Vegas!