from day to night workshop

Education has always been a passion of mine. Every year I push myself to learn new skills and improve my techniques. In fact, I make a point of at least reading one article about photography, art or business every work day. Although it feels like I'm just picking up one or two new tips at a time, all this learning has a remarkable cumulative effect, and by the end of each year it's incredible to look back and see how the knowledge passed on by others has shaped and refined my approach as both an artist and business owner.

Workshops, when they're good, offer a super concentrated dose of education. Last summer, I was lucky to attend an excellent two-day intensive offered by Lisa Mark in Toronto. My connection to Lisa is that she photographed my own wedding. That's right, I studied with my own wedding photographer! I remember stumbling upon her work after endlessly searching for a photographer whose style resonated with me. I found her portfolio and instantly knew she had to be the person to document my and Brian's day. I admired her technical prowess, and I also thought her command of lighting and her use of colour were unparalleled in our market. At the time, washed-out vibes, yellow filtered post-processing and pastel tones dominated. I found Lisa's work and thought, "vibrant colour, at last!"

I was so happy to be in the city when she hosted her From Day to Night photography workshop in Toronto last summer. During the two days, Lisa taught us about her approach to business and marketing, and offered thoughtful and helpful critiques of our images. We talked about everything from gear to website design, and her five steps to creating a beautiful image. During the second day, we did two shoots — one in the afternoon sunshine, and the second during sunset and into night. She taught us a lot about using and modifying light, and also balancing ambient light with flash and continuous light. I learned so much, it was dizzying.

Here's the official review I wrote of Lisa's workshop:

From Day to Night teaches everything I never learned in any other workshop! Lisa has a rare skill set and a wild ability to create radiant portraits in every lighting condition, from full afternoon sun to deep twilight. In her workshop, she generously shares her knowledge and expertise and offers support and encouragement as she guides you through the technical and creative aspects of her practice. I would highly recommend this fabulous workshop. I would also like to add that I chose to hire Lisa as my own wedding photographer, so to learn from her four years after my wedding was a true honour and a pleasure.

A few months later, I am happy to report that I've put everything I learned from Lisa to use. I made a lot of changes to my technique during the second half of 2015, and am planning to roll out lots more exciting changes this year. I am so grateful to Lisa and her husband, Justin, for all their generosity during this workshop. I'm a better photographer for just knowing them.

Here are a few of my favourite images from the practical portion of the workshop. The models were real-life husband and wife, Jonathan and Melissa.