Photography Workshops

Chicago photography workshops

I didn’t get to where I am without help; that’s why I want to pass along my knowledge to others. This workshop series is for semi-professional and professional photographers who want to take their lighting to the next level. It’s priced so you can afford it! You don’t have to take out a second mortgage or run a pyramid scheme. You can just be a real life photographer who takes pictures—and is maybe even making a living doing just that. I love to explore lighting, and to experiment with new techniques and ideas to refine my craft and to create better images every time I pick up a camera. But I also love empowering photographers to build their self-confidence and their skills.

During our intensive two-day hands-on workshop, we’ll start with one light and work our way up to four or five, while recreating some of my best images and improving new set-ups. We’ll practice with a professional model(s), problem solve, talk about modifiers, ratios, and post production. But most importantly, I want everyone to leave understanding why they would use each light, what happens to your look when you adjust the power of each light, and what I do to achieve my look and style.

I have limited these workshops to only three attendees in Chicago, and 10 attendees elsewhere, because I want to make sure that everyone gets a chance to learn the concepts and put them to use.

John Gress Headshot Chicago Photographer Lighting Workshop ExpertPlease bring your camera and be ready to shoot, as we’ll be taking turns and creating new content for our portfolios and feeds.

In addition, we will have a little competition at the end and you might win something, hopefully, or get a consensual pat on the back from your colleagues.

When we’re all done, we can go to dinner, recap what you’ve learned, and talk about how to put these new skills to work!

IMAGE USAGE: All images taken can be used in your portfolio (online and social platforms), but please hashtag #johngressworkshops. The models have rights too, so you can’t use the images commercially, to advertise photo shoots, or promote anything that is a professional service or product. Basically, you would need a model release to do that and you won’t have one.

CANCELLATION: If you need to cancel after any payment has been made, we will need to resell your spot in order to receive a refund, so please give us advance notice.

REQUIRED: You are required to have fun, ask questions, learn, and make new friends!

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PPA Magazine called Gress “one of the nation’s foremost experts on lighting.”

Saturday

  • 9:00am – 9:30am Meet & Greet
  • 9:30am – 10:00am Introduction: About John, casting, styling, hair and makeup, props, backgrounds and planning.
  • 10:00am – 12:00am Exploring modifiers and flags
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm Lunch (provided)
  • 1:00pm – 6:00pm Hands-on Lighting Setups with model
  • 6:00pm – 8:00pm Dinner, an optional activity that isn’t included in the cost of tuition.

Sunday

  • 9:00am – 1:00pm Hands-on Lighting Setups with model
  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm Lunch (provided)
  • 2:00pm – 3:30pm Post Processing Demonstration: Culling and Retouching
  • 3:30pm – 4:30pm Hands on Retouching
  • 4:30pm – 5:00pm Reviewing every ones work, floor open to questions and discussion.
  • 6:00pm – 8:00pm Dinner, an optional activity that isn’t included in the cost of tuition.

Details subject to change.

Boston, Massachusetts

Saturday & Sunday, October 26-27, 2019

This fun and exciting hands-on workshop is geared towards semi-pros and working professionals who are looking for in-depth knowledge and information.

DoubleTree by Hilton Boston Logan Airport Chelsea

201 Everett Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150

Free parking

This workshop is limited to only 10 participants

$799.

 

Washington, D.C.

Saturday & Sunday, November 2-3, 2019

This fun and exciting hands-on workshop is geared towards semi-pros and working professionals who are looking for in-depth knowledge and information.

Waldorf, Maryland

Free parking

This workshop is limited to only 10 participants

$799.

 

Atlanta, Georgia

Saturday & Sunday, November 9-10, 2019

This fun and exciting hands-on workshop is geared towards semi-pros and working professionals who are looking for in-depth knowledge and information. But, it is open to anyone who knows how to use their camera and has some experience with lighting.

Atlanta, Georgia 30331

Free parking

This workshop is limited to only 10 participants

$799.

 

Chicago, Illinois

Saturday & Sunday, December 7-8, 2019

This fun and exciting hands-on workshop is geared towards semi-pros and working professionals who are looking for in-depth knowledge and information. But, it is open to anyone who knows how to use their camera and has some experience with lighting.

Evanston, Illinois 60202

Free parking

ONLY ONE SPOT LEFT!

$1199

Los Angeles, California

Saturday & Sunday, February 8-9, 2020

This fun and exciting hands-on workshop is geared towards semi-pros and working professionals who are looking for in-depth knowledge and information. But, it is open to anyone who knows how to use their camera and has some experience with lighting.

Glendale, California

Free parking

This workshop is limited to only 10 participants

$699 Early bird pricing ends January 8, 2020. Then the price goes up to $799.

Phoenix, Arizona

Saturday & Sunday, March 21-22, 2020

This fun and exciting hands-on workshop is geared towards semi-pros and working professionals who are looking for in-depth knowledge and information. But, it is open to anyone who knows how to use their camera and has some experience with lighting.

Phoenix, Arizona 85006

Free parking

This workshop is limited to only 10 participants

$699 Early bird pricing ends February 28, 2020. Then the price goes up to $799.

 

Non-Chicago Workshop Deposit and Balance Due

To leave a $399.50 deposit for any workshop, please click below. The total is due 30 days before the workshop.

 

 

 

 

Chicago Workshop Deposit and Balance Due

To leave a $599.50 deposit for a Chicago workshop, please click below. The total is due 30 days before the workshop.

 

 

 

See me at ImagingUSA in Nashville, TN January 21, 2020 8am!

 

I’ll be speaking at WPPI February 2, 2020 at 6pm!
Use the promo code is GRESS and recieve  a FREE Expo Pass or 15% off a Conference Platform Pass.

Participants also receive my five favorite Lightroom presets!

*All sales are final and non-refundable. Dinner is an optional activity and is not included in the price of tuition.

Feedback

As a photographer, I’ve paid attention to light for years and learned, little by little, how to use it to take better pictures. But being able to recognize good light is a far cry from being able to create it, which is something I struggle with. Last weekend I got to spend a couple days learning from a photographer who has a true talent for making light do what he wants. The experience was—sorry, I can’t help it—illuminating. Instead of the sun, we worked with beauty dishes and octaboxes, hair lights and strip lights, v-flats and flags. It was a two-day workshop and we ran through at least a dozen lighting setups, working with different models on each day. On the second day the photographer, John Gress, asked each of us three students to envision and then execute a portrait of our own. This was mine. My goal was to make a headshot of our model, using the light to accentuate his strong, angular jawline. With a little guidance, I created a four-light setup that produced—to my surprise—almost exactly the image I had in mind. For any lighting enthusiasts, we used three-foot strip lights behind the model on either side to create the edge light along his jaw and a third strip light directly above the camera as the main portrait light, which created a thin vertical band of light down the center of his face. We used a white card to lighten the shadows beneath his chin and a hairlight to create some separation from the dark background. For anyone looking to improve their portrait lighting skills, I give a thumbs up to John Gress’ workshop. Thanks!

Attending John’s workshop in Chicago was simply perfect.  Not only did John discuss different lighting and modifiers, he tested them on us to show us the difference in the light produced by each one, and discussed why they produced the different types of light.  John made sure we had the opportunity to watch him set up the different lighting diagrams with a live model, then had us help him, and afterward were asked to create several for ourselves we’d like to try.  The ‘watch, help, you do it hands on approach’ was not only effective and extremely beneficial in the learning process, but helpful in understanding why to set things up in a certain way.  While lighting can be intimidating for some photographers, John helped us feel comfortable if we made mistakes, correct them while showing why and how, and done in a positive fun environment.  This was all done while allowing room for creativity with the model and individual expression as a photographer.  The two day workshop was full of information but not so overwhelming as to not be able to decipher through it.  To top it all off at the end of day two, John showed us some valuable editing techniques that are easy and save lots of time.  Whether choosing the one day workshop or the two day event you will walk away with information and experience to raise your level of knowledge and creativity in portrait lighting.  Thank you John for investing time and energy in all of us to help us grow as photographers.

I have taken several of John Gress’s workshops, each time with a new group of photographers and personality of its own.  I love John’s rich use of lighting, simple, yet effective studio set ups, and watching his brainstorming with how to create something new.
Working with professional models, John asked us if we had anything in particular we wanted to learn and then we helped in the set up, choosing wardrobe for the model and figuring out which lights to use and the settings.   I was curious about using colored gels, and we played around with them until we came up with incredible new pictures. Rather than listening and watching, the interaction with John and the other photographers brings a deeper learning experience.
Finishing up with honing in on Lightroom skills and tricks, we edited and voted on the best pictures.  The entire experience was enriching, and at the same time fun.
John’s friendly and easy-going personality is such a plus, there was never a moment when any of us felt awkward or out of place. Overall, the workshops have been a wonderful and exciting adventure!

Images created during workshops

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Lighting Tutorial: The Circle of Light

You never know where you’re going to find the inspiration for your next photoshoot, so it’s always best to keep your eyes peeled and your mind open.

Chicago headshot photographer

Lighting Tutorial: It’s a Hardbox Light

Over time, I have seen many images where a pattern is projected onto someone’s face, and I’ve always struggled to simulate this type of lighting. My attempts usually resulted in poorly defined shapes and not the sort of razor-sharp edges I was expecting.

Hardware that you would use in studio by matthews and Kupo

Hardware Studio: equipment that will make your photo studio hum!

Everyone has a light stand, even make up artists. Some photographers have boom arms but when you really want to refine your work, or make your life easier in the studio easier you’ll need an arsenal of hardware. And for the most part I am not talking about the durable goods you can pick up at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

Chicago fashion photographer tuxedo

Fashion Photography: DIY Light Saver

Adapting the look of LED or Fluorescent tube backgrounds for still photography with a DIY approach using softboxes, a v-flat, a knife and three Profoto lights.

Using passive and active fill to madimize shadow detail and dynamic range

Fill is not a person, but he is your friend

As photographers we might obsess about this modifier or that one, believe me I have, but often times we fall short when it comes to shadow detail. This is something I struggle with from time to time when shooting in a new room and every shoot poses its own set of problems, so the purpose of this post is to share some basic concepts that I hope will help you maximize dynamic range and develop more details in your depictions.