One Light Workshop


J and I took Zack Arias' super popular One Light Workshop today. Hosted at Melissa Jill's house in a suburb of Phoenix, 12 students had a 12 hour crash course on everything you need to know about using one light in various situations. Half of the day was spent on technical nuts & bolts instruction (I was having college photo class flashbacks!) and the other half was outside implementing those tips. It was a great refresher, and also helpful, fun, and inspiring to spend the day with a handful of wedding and portrait photographers- some of whom I am lucky to already know from other photography workshops and forums.

Zack talking us through how he approaches light at a scene.

Zack is very good at big, expressive gestures.

Have I mentioned yet today how much I love my new 24mm 1.4? Look how sharp Zack is!

Melissa Jill capturing the pocket wizard set-up. All together now: Oooooooh. ;)

This is an example of one of the scenarios he set up. In the background behind the model are palm trees, a parking garage and a busy road. Zack gets down low to shoot up toward the model to eliminate a cluttered background.

First, we took a quick ambient exposure, and then introduced a softbox. Lovely. We repeated this against a wall, among some shrubs, and at night on a park bench changing different variables (light placement, the strength of the light source, the angle of the model, etc).


Who's that handsome guy multi-tasking? Making work calls and shooting at the workshop.

A few participants raved about their ShootSac's (Sergio had a sweet Boda Bag I liked, and Zack suggested a ThinkTank shoulder bag). I'm not sure I'll ever be ready to trade in my pj Domke bag for one of these trendy types.

To illustrate one of my favorites points to remember while on a photo assignment, I watched the other workshop participants. Rule 1: Get the shot...

Rule #2: Then make a better shot! Get down low...

Get in close...

And try a different angle...

Earlier at the house, Melissa's miniature schnauzer puppy Dixie settled right in with the workshop participants on the couch.

Foundation Forum friends Sergio (from Tucson) and Gulnara (from NYC).

The Foundation Forum attendees L to R: Sergio, Gulnara, me and Ray (we needed one light on us in this shot!).

Now I'm going to sleep! That was a long day!

Update: This is our group picture!


  1. Anonymous1:44 PM

    I love seeing photographic proof of what a dork I am! :) Thanks to you and J for coming out to Phoenix. Please call me the next time you are in the ATL and any time you want to bring a OneLight to your neighborhood just let us know! It was great meeting you!


  2. Anonymous5:21 PM


    finally moved your blog from my mondo beyondo bookmarks to my favorite bloghers file...i "met" you years ago thru barb, i think when you were working for usa today and then she sent me your link a few months's a new blog just started you might like...

    bet they'd totally love that shootsac -- between hulaseventy's and em falconbridge's camera straps, and now those bags, i want to go into photography just so i can dress up my camera! would love to catch you on the cape this summer -- bet barb would too!

  3. Awwwww...... I wish I could have been there! I miss the FW peeps! I still have yet to meet Zach.... my life is just not complete. ;-)

  4. Hey Emilie! So fun to meet you and have you out for the workshop! It was a fun group! Great work blogging the day :).

  5. darn i wish we had know about this workshop! we'd have gone in a heartbeat! looks like you got to spend the time with some cool peeps too! :)

    ~andrew mejia~

  6. Thanks for such a thorough wrapup of your time in Arizona. Looks like a very valuable workshop. Welcome home to freezing Maine!

  7. Emilie, it was so nice to meet J and you!!

    Great shots, thanks for sharing.

    Zack is the real deal!


  8. Anonymous5:57 PM

    That's such a great shot of J! It was so much fun to see you both last night. I hope you had a safe trip home today and that we'll see you again soon. We'd love to come back to Portland at some point, if you'll have us!

  9. Great shots even though some are stolen shots It really looked great.I think talents like these are unmatchable in terms of photography.


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