I attended a fantastic day of talks with photographers David Hobby (aka the Strobist) and Sara Lando. I signed up ages ago (I love when international photographers visit Dublin!) and quite honestly didn’t know what to expect as it wasn’t a practical workshop. Hearing both describe their photographic journeys (the good and bad) was fascinating and inspiring. Both were very generous with the information they shared – I tend to find that photographers at the top of the game are the most generous with their knowledge (it’s really refreshing!). I really loved the impromptu cling film and flour shoot with Sara – I’m going to try this out myself! David passed on lots of advice, his yearly ‘ecosystem’ life map is something we all should do and next on my agenda. A few lucky people are attending practical photography workshops with David and Sara this week………

The Language of Light with Joe McNally

Joe McNally, The Language of Light Seminar – DLR Lexicon, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

I am always interested in expanding my boundaries and getting out of my comfort zone (usually a garden!). With this in mind, I attended the IPAA organized Joe McNally seminar in the DLR Lexicon. A super venue for a seminar like this.

It was a really interesting day. Joe is (as expected) an engaging speaker with many years of interesting stories to entertain. However, this was not simply a lecture, it was a chance to watch Joe at work inside the studio and outside too (though the rain and light got in the way). The most interesting part for me was to really see the thought process behind the lighting setups for each shot.  Joe readily admits that he doesn’t hold any secrets back and it is so refreshing to see that Joe is not afraid to make mistakes – as Joe shoots tethered we see each shot on the big screen as the lighting setup evolves

One shoot involved Liam Lambert with some puppets from the Lambert Theatre ( During this shoot you could really see his attention to detail and his desire to achieve the best result possible (I suspect other photographers would have already packed their bags at that stage!). He also picked some unsuspecting audience members for other shoots, who now have awesome Joe McNally portraits.

In essence it was a hugely informative day – and great to see the amazing results achievable from a one speedlite setup. With this new found confidence,  I am sure the next time I have a speedlite portrait shoot, I will end up with shots of Joe McNally quality!