A few weeks ago I was invited to the Manfrotto Photography workshop in Manchester. Since upgrading my camera earlier this year I’ve been keen to up my photography skills to take full advantage of it. So, battery fully charged, I hopped on the train for the short journey to Picadilly.
The afternoon began with sandwiches and prosecco before splitting into two groups. First, my group were given a demonstration on how to shoot flatlays with a tripod, before looking at the range of camera bags and backpacks Manfrotto stock. Then we moved on to accessories for enhancing smartphone photography. There were little displays set up for us to practice with. I found myself constantly juggling between my DSLR and iPhone, snapping away while trying to concentrate on the talks.
We learned some really useful tips from two professional photographers. Getting the lighting right for photographing beauty products is something I often struggle with, especially at this time of year when there’s a shortage of natural light. The food and drink workshop was really helpful for understanding how to use artificial light and where to place it. Thanks to the tips I picked up (and the Needlite daylight lamps which I reviewed here) I managed to get some decent shots of the personalised diamond bracelet that I’m giving Isobel for Christmas.
The fashion photography session should have been outside but typically the Manchester weather had other ideas! Just as we were about to head outdoors it threw it down. Revert to plan B. In some ways it was more helpful to have it inside in fairly dim light because we all struggle with the weather and poor light at this time of year. The photographer, Nicole Gomes, and her professional model showed us how to use an off-camera flash and a light reflector.
The idea behind off-camera flash is that rather than shooting with the flash mounted on the camera, you remove your flashgun and position it anywhere you like in relation to your subject. While front-facing flash can be effective, it can also result in your subject looking flatter and more one-dimensional. Using off-camera flash isn’t an option for me because I don’t have one – I just use the inbuilt flash on my camera. However, it’s given me lots of ideas and I’m now looking to invest in more equipment.
Based in Northern Italy, Manfrotto designs, manufactures and sells a wide range of camera and lighting support equipment for professional photographers, as well as film, theatre, live entertainment and video markets. The product line includes an extensive range of camera tripods and heads, lighting stands and accessories.
The company was founded in the late 1960s by Lino Manfrotto, a photo reporter, who was frustrated by the cumbersome and heavy equipment on the market. They say that necessity is the mother of invention, so with the help of a collaborator, he made his first products, including a light and sturdy lamp stand. Gradually the business expanded from supplying equipment to photographer friends into a global business. Manfrotto’s “Imagine More” mission is to offer everyone – whatever their level of technical competence – solutions like LED lights devices, tripods and accessories for smartphone photography.
It was quite a cold day so I wore jeans and boots with a leopard print top layered over a vest. My newish camel coat kept me warm on the train journey and walk through Manchester. With so many budding photographers in the room getting an outfit shot should have been a no brainer, but truth is I almost forgot! Before I left, a lovely lady (whose name I forgot to ask) took my photo for me.
Before leaving we all received a goody bag containing a mini tripod and a Practical Photography magazine. There was also a bag of sweets but they were claimed by a certain small person soon after I walked through the door! With a universal ¼” screw thread and perfect stability, you can use the red PIXI mini-tripod with a range of digital devices weighing up to 1kg including: compact system cameras, DSLRs with standard kit lenses, compact cameras and smartphones. The PIXI mini tripod push-button allows you to position and securely lock the ball head in a single movement when the button is released. It’s great for taking on trips as it only weighs 190g.