Workshops in Florida | Photography Workshops – Kate Benson Photography

I enlisted the help of my intern Nadia to put together a list of different Workshops in South to Mid Florida which may be of interest to the photographers and enthusiasts in the audience. We broke them down to levels and included the details of each Workshop. To be honest, I don’t think anyone can go wrong signing up for workshops. It is a place where we can network with other photographers as well as find deep learning. I’m sure we just scratched the surface with this list so if anyone has recommendations of other Workshops in  Florida or has comments on any of these workshops, leave a comment. I would love to hear from you and I’m sure the rest of the audience could find it useful too!
In no particular order other than experience levels:

What: Break Out of Auto Mode Workshop |
Experience: Beginners
Where: 210 Almeria Ave. Coral Gables, FL (Photo Workshops)
When: Contact 305-740-5401 | 305-305-5823
Instructor: TBD
Requirements: DSLR camera, camera manual, lens.

Here beginners will learn how to break free and use other settings besides auto mode with their cameras. This is class where you will be able to learn how to be more comfortable and confidant using your DSLR. There are only twenty spaces per class, so it would be a good idea to call for scheduling and make sure you have a space. ISO, aperture, shutter speed and all the basics will be covered in this three hour course. You should be prepared to have your camera, your cameras manual and your lens when arriving to this class. Workshop materials, drinks and snacks are included. $150.00 per person.

What: Composition in the Field |
Where: Miami, FL | Greynolds Park
Level: Beginner
When: Sunday Sept 15, 2013 10 am – 1pm
Instructor: Bernardo
Requirements: $99

Test and push your cameras capabilities with the direction and assistance of your instructor. This course will be a three hour session of shooting strategically and using all of your cameras capabilities to the fullest. You will be able to improve the quality of your photographs and it will give you a stronger foundation for shooting more advance photographs in the future. Each workshop will begin with a lecture and a questions and answers segment.

What: Inside the Frame Photography Workshop |
Level: Beginner
Where: Selby Gardens Sarasota, FL [941] 366 – 5731
When: Call for details Instructor: TBD
Requirements: Bring whichever camera you wish to experiment with (Polaroid, camera phone, DSLR, point and shoot etc…)

In this class you will learn the importance of taking a good photograph regardless of your gear. Having high quality equipment is always a plus, however, great images can be made using all different calibers of equipment. Composition and having a creative open mind will determine how one can take a compelling image. You may bring your DSLR or a point and shoot to this workshop; whichever gear you want to experiment with. The subject focus of this course; people, places and things.

What: Lightroom and Digital Photography |
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Where: 415 Clematis St. WPB, FL Sponsored by the Palm Beach Photographic Center (561) 253-2600
When: Nov 14 -16, 2013 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Instructor: John Reuter
Requirements: $775

In this course photographers will become better acquainted with lightroom features and using it as a resource for retouching and organizing photographs. Creating catalogs, applying copyrights, and metadata are some of the topics the instructor will go over. They will also go over the vast improvement of lightroom and how it can improve an array of different images you may be working with.

What: Lighting Essentials |
 When: Saturday July 20, 2013 and also 8/10/13, 8/31/13, 9/21/13, 10/12/13
Where: 1001 N. Federal Hwy, Ft. Laud, FL 954-522-6500 | Calumet Photo Studio
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Instructor: TBD
Requirements: $65.00 Camera, paper and pencil

In this workshop students will be able to learn and understand the effects of studio lighting and how to effectively use them. The instructor will also go over a wide array of tools and equipment that photographers use in studio lighting. Students will receive a workbook in this course so they can follow along through demonstrations. Modifiers, fill light, portrait lighting, and location flash fundamentals will all be discussed.

What: Miksang Photography Workshop |
Experience: All levels
Where: Hyatt Place 104 N.E. 2nd Ave. Delray Beach, FL
When: Aug 30, 2013 – Sept 2, 2013
Instuctor: Dennis Connor Email: [email protected]
Requirements: Must have your own camera and laptop to bring to this workshop

Different perspectives can create much different images of the same subject. It is always fascinating as an artist to see other photographers perspectives of the same thing; thus this is also true throughout different cultures – perspectives change. Miksang Photography is an Asian perspective of Photography; the Tibetan word that literally translates as ‘Good Eye”. Perception based photography with a simplified eye; sometimes so obvious we as a western society don’t necessarily hone in on it. All levels are invited to join.

What: Lightroom 5 Workflow |
When: July 23rd -July 26 9am – 5:30pm
Where: 1143 Vinter Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens FL 33410
Level: Intermediate or above
Instructor: Seth Resnick + Jamie Spritzer
Requirements: $1099.00 You must bring a digital camera that shoots raw, lap top (PC or MAC), flash card, card reader, external hard drive (2), Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6 is suggested.

This course is recommended for intermediate to pro level students who will get a broad understanding of Lightroom 5. Course fee does not include meals or any transportation.

What: Canon EOS Emmersion Workshop | Seminar
When: Oct 19, 2013 10 am – 6pm
Where: University of South Florida | Tampa | College of the Arts – Theatre 1 3839 SF Holly West Tampa, FL 336
 Level: Advanced
Instructor: Jeff Green + Shannon Levy
Requirements: $89

This workshop will be full of lectures and demonstrations. You will be able to take full advantage of your cameras features while shooting an array of subjects and learning what setting to use for each one. Lighting will also be discussed at length and how utilizing it correctly can enhance the creativity of your images. Most of the content in this course is related to Canon. There will be time set aside for questions an answers as well. Emmy award winning journalist Shannon Levy will go over the capabilities of video. She will discuss frame actions, structor, angles, composition and video technique.

Professional Photographer Miami | Kate Benson Photography | File workflow

This week I did my final interview with my new intern/assistant/protege (welcome Nadia!) and it keeps becoming clearer with each new helper that I really do love teaching. Photography, especially becomes a guarded secret that many hoard close to their hearts in fear of someone taking their clients. But really, clients will come and go whether or not you share what you’ve learned. At least by helping other people learn how to do this (because, as is often pointed out to me, not everyone can make it) I can help build a higher standard for photographers overall. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve never cared if other people know as much as I do (or more). This, I’m sure, is a result of being the middle dyslexic child stuck between to geniuses. Yes, real ones. Like, both went to Washington DC to either compete in national Mathcounts competitions or meet the president to receive a gold metal for her brain. I’m serious. That really happened. Meanwhile I’m over here like “look mom and dad! I painted you a picture!!!” Anyways, getting off track! What I want to share today is my typical post production workflow. I gave Nadia my notes describing this because I thought she would find it useful and since my last intern Matt is getting ready to go full time shooting I figure he’ll need this too. So I figure, why just send it to him in an email when I can share it here with everyone else who may want to know!
So keep in mind, there are different shoots that command different variations on this. If I can, I always shoot tethered, which combines quite a few steps in here into one. But Since most of the photo enthusiast out there are shooting to cards, I’ll go over these steps for shooting to cards. If any of this gets beyond what you know, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll try and answer any questions you have. Because I’m not going to write down how to use Lightroom or Photoshop. That is a HUGE project and other people have already taught it better (especially on If you haven’t subscribed and want to learn those programs, do it!!! It is one of the best professional investments you can make).

  1. Load your shot cards to computer (and it’s not a bad idea to back them up on an external HD right now too). I organize my files by date, so if I were doing this today I would put these new files in a folder titled 06_06 NameOfTheClient. I also keep my folders organized like this in the Pictures folder, put a year folder so 2013, put a month folder 2013_06 JUN, and then your new shoot). 
  2. I open the folder in Adobe Bridge and do a first edit. ANY shots I like or the client has said they like gets a rating of 1 star (on a Mac hold down the command key and hit 1) if I REALLY love a picture, it gets 3 stars (hold down command and hit 3). Go through all the images and rate them like this.
  3. Use the filters in Bridge to only show 1 star selections. Now I check the focus. This has to be done at 100% so I select the first image and hit space bar to fill the screen with it. Then click on the place that should be in focus. It will take a second to load and if it is in focus change the files rating to 2 stars (hold command and hit 2). Go through all the files this way.
  4. Select to only see the 3 start files in Bridge. Now that you’re starting to get to know your files, go over those ones you really loved and check the focus on those. This is a bit heartbreaking because every now and again an image you love isn’t in focus. If it isn’t in focus change it’s rating to a 1. If it is in focus and you still love it, change it’s rating to a 4. Check all the 3 star files for focus the same way you checked the others, spacebar, click on place that should be in focus, hold command and the appropriate number for the new rating.
  5. Now you have really narrowed down your images. Sometimes take a short break here to look again with fresh eyes, or if you good keep going. Now go through all the 2 stars and pick favorites. One of the reasons to use Adobe Bridge is because when you have a picture selected you can hold command down and click on another shot (or multiple shots, up to 9) to view them side by side. Your favorites should be marked with 3 stars.
  6. Depending on how many files you have, go over those AGAIN. Narrow it down further and mark the ones you really, really love with 4 stars.
  7. And if you still have a ton of files, do it all again and this time mark the ones you love as 5 stars. I know this seems super repetitive but viewing images are. And if you are tired of a photo after seeing it 5 times it’s probably not worth taking to the next step. Your client will be looking at these images way more than 5 times so take the extra effort to make sure you don’t bore them.
  8. Make a folder in Bridge (make sure you aren’t viewing only 5 star items, if you are you won’t see the folder). Rate that folder 5 stars and then select to view only 5 star items. Now the folder should be within your 5 star selections (or 4 stars, or 3 depending on how many levels of editing you had to do, always rate your folder the highest level of stars you went to). Move all the top rated files into that folder and open it in Lightroom (click and drag the folder into Lightroom or use Lightroom’s navigation to find the folder).
  9. In Lightroom, import all the images you’ve selected to the Library.
  10. Then select Develop and give the images a quick white balance, contrast fix, or apply filters you want. I’m going to be less descriptive here because it takes time to explain how all those items work in Lightroom and this blog would go forever if I did it.
  11. Once you’ve done all the image, Export them. Just for safety I export a high res tiff first and then export them all setting them to be small jpgs for an online gallery.
  12. Post these images somewhere online where your client can view them (, dropbox, picassa, private gallery on your website, wherever).
  13. Send the client and email letting them know where to find review the images at. Ask them to let you now their choices of what they want to use and therefore what will be retouched.
  14. Once they get back to you with the files they want retouched. Open the large files from Lightroom in Photoshop and retouch them.
  15. Once the images are retouched upload them to a place your client can download them from or email them to your client (high res or low res depending on what they ordered).
  16. IF, this doesn’t always happen, actually rarely it happens but it does happen, the client has further retouching they want you to make on the file go back over it make the requested changes. Then send the fixed file back to them.
  17. Backup again, now with the edited finished files. Backing up twice doesn’t hurt either. About 4 times a year I backup my external HD to another. Two copies is better than one. Once they are full, I send them to NH for storage. Totally paranoid I know but a lot of good a double backing up of your archive is going to do you if they are both in your house and it burns down.

Of course there is also invoicing and payment collecting that happens in there somewhere. It differs depending on the client so I left that out.

I think it is important for everyone who wants to be a photographer to see these steps. I didn’t even include in this the steps to retouch in Photoshop or how to correct an image in Lightroom because each photo needs something different and it would take a book not a blog post to describe it. But when you quote a job, and someone feels like the quote is too high because they just wanted a quote for “an hour or two of shooting time”. It’s important to know that for ever shoot you have 16-17 steps to cover to just get the files to a client, without including steps in file retouching. So when you bill your time, you have to consider how much time this is going to take too. I did a shoot for a friend this weekend, we shot for 6 hours Sunday morning and then it took me 8 more hours to get the shots ready to send him. Not retouched.  Just getting to step 12. So be smart about your time and if someone wants to hire you for an hour because they don’t think it will take more time than an hour to capture the shot they want. Always consider how many files your taking and how much time it will take to get the files to them!

I hope this helps some of you who read this!


Miami Photography Studio | Intern/Assistant needed | Kate Benson Photography

So I was going to post this online but then decided to put a call out here first. I’m in a little over my head at the moment and I need some help here at my studio. It will be part internship, part assisting. Pay will depend on what your doing. If anyone is interested in working with me send an email to [email protected]. What I would like to know is:

  • Your full schedule. Classes and any other commitments you have, please include times as well as days.
  • What part of the city you live in.
  • Do you have a car? Do you require mileage compensation?
  • Your skills! But the more info you can give me the better, if you say photoshop is a skill, send a before & after example.
  • Your assisting experience (if you have any) listed
  • Any references you have please include (photographers you’ve worked with, teachers, etc)
  • If you want to send examples of your photo work feel free but that is less relevant to what I’m looking for.
  • How long are you interested in this position?
  • What equipment and software do you have (camera? Lights? computer? what’s installed on it? What versions? etc)
  • Skills (of course, list them all)

What I am needing help with:

  • Retouching, both creative images and high volume images
  • Assisting on shoots
  • Business help (let’s copyright some images together, this is a skill you’ll be glad you learned)
  • Research
  • Archived file management
  • New file editing
  • Blogging

There will of course be other things that come up. Right now I just don’t feel like I have enough time in the day and need help with everything. I’m happy to say that all of my past interns are now full time photographers (except one, but he’s a special case and I still have my fingers crossed that he’ll quit his insanely amazing job and go for it, but I don’t blame him for taking that job, it was an opportunity of a lifetime). Of course if you like, I’ll give you contact info of some of my past interns to talk with them about the experience. This is a serious learning position but also a working position. I need the help, which is great, but I also teach. So it is not the place for you if you are just interested in meeting a credit requirement. There are other places where you will be able to get that which will require less of you, and hey, no hard feelings, college is a lot of work so not everyone has this much energy. My last 2 interns already had graduated and that was great because they were able to get a really intense training.

What (I hope) you will learn:

  • How to shoot better and more creatively (of course)
  • How to edit and find your best images (we do portfolio reviews together)
  • How to identify an images needs (It may look great to us but will it look great to an art buyer? Straighten this, crop into that -if your a cropper, etc)
  • Waaaay more Photoshop that you know now. There is going to be a lot of Photoshopping in this.
  • Lightroom work flow
  • Business practices
  • Client relationships
  • Website management
  • Blogging with WordPress (let me know how much you know about WordPress too)
  • More things that I don’t have time to list, hence I need help!

So send me an email, with as much info as you can. Then I’ll get back to you letting you know if our schedules and skills are compatible. I’m posting here first to give anyone who already knows me a chance to respond first and then I’ll post online elsewhere.




Miami Photographer | Kate Benson Photography | Reflecting

You have to admit, it’s a bit amazing. Beautiful images are everywhere. Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr, websites dedicated to collecting beautiful images. Recently I heard it mentioned that this has really changed the industry of wedding photography. Brides-to-be collect and fall in love with images of how they want their day to be and be remembered. This becomes an expectation that is passed onto the photographer, pushing them to be better and better. The same is for commercial, business to business photographers. But often, we aren’t being pushed by a client but by ourselves. One of my most loved friends (you know who you are) works for Adidas as an art buyer put it well, “we want to see how creative and exciting the work you do on your own is so our art directors can tell you exactly what to do” (okay, that may not have been the exact quote but it went something like that). This is what my portfolio lacks. I’ve been going through my blog to do some much needed key wording and in full honestly, cringed more than once at what images I posted. In my blog, I post quickly, I think “I liked that shot from today” and write up a little post and publish it. In my portfolio I sit and stare at my images for weeks/months/years and if I still love them after all that time, let is become part of my work that represents me. So naturally, the quality of images on my website blow away those on my blog. As they should. That is what the website is for. It is our portfolio. But the blog still has my name on it and thus, it still important.
So my goal has been (for a couple of years  now) and continues to be, what do I want to shoot for me? Staring for hours and hours at an outstanding image doesn’t mean it is what I want to create. But it does mean that I recognize greatness in a shot (thank you RISD for that). Oh the amazing photo editor I could be (but for the right publication, I couldn’t go through editing pictures of horrific events to find the one that was just the right amount of shock without too much goriness to represent the publication). Once again, those editing skills I can thank RISD for. As I wrote about earlier this week, Mike Brodie really inspired me. But a huge part of starting a project is letting yourself off the hook. It is complete illusion to believe every image you create will sell and will represent you. I have to work really hard to let go of the voice in my head asking “how is this going to market? how is this going to represent me?” and start listening to that other voice, the one that is quieter and yet always there that identifies what I find beautiful. Then, just have a camera with me and shoot. I think by shooting more, constantly, perhaps, I’ll fall into what I love. Around me are amazing people who create beauty everywhere. They create beautiful food, invite me to beautiful places, are just plain beautiful inside and out, and perhaps by not shooting these moments I’m doing them and myself a disservice.

So that is the goal, let’s see if I can stumble upon that thing that I must shoot. Stand bye for hopefully some new images to come!

2012: Miami Photographer | Recap.

2012: A year of tremendous growth as a photographer and for my business. One of the highlights of the year was being elected to the position of Vice President to our American Society of Media Photographers South Florida Chapter (ASMP-SoFL). I felt missing connections to other photographers in my Miami life. Part of the reason I left the Boston area was because I couldn’t connect with any of the other photographers there. But through ASMP-SoFL this year, I met some truly amazing photographers and people who I consider friends now. Helping run the chapter was enough to keep anyone busy, there was a huge learning curve and coming to the board for the first time, then being voted in as Vice President, it was a trial by fire for sure. But worth it and I’m excited to keep working with ASMP-SoFL in 2013. I also have to thank 2012 for a barrage of new clients. Working as a photographer means spending a lot of alone time in the studio/in front of the computer/etc. Getting to meet new people, new clients, and interact with them is a huge highlight of being a photographer. This year I had the pleasure of starting relationships with so many wonderful people. People I would be thrilled to spend time with off the clock as well as on. I know I had a blessed year when not one of the clients who hired me did I have a difficult time with. So thank you to all who found their way to my studio this year! Not to be discredited, my existing clients. Year after year I’ve had the pleasure of watching some small businesses become big companies, some big companies transition gracefully, and I love all of it. These clients come year after year, month after month, and some week after week and are the lifeblood of Kate Benson Photography. If their companies suffer, so does mine. Happily 2012 was a great year for them as well and I congratulate all of those amazing teams of people for doing so well and being so awesome to work with. Naturally, no one knows what is in store for the future. I’m optimistic that 2013 will be another great year. Life can change a lot in a year, businesses can change even faster. I hope for everyone to have a Happy New Year and pray that 2013 will bring happiness and fulfillment to you all!

PDN’s 30 is out

Since college I watched PDN’s 30 (previously 30 under 30) as the landmark of who to watch emerging in photography. Over the years they dropped the under 30 requirement (which was always loose anyway). I turned 30 this year, guess I still have time….
Kill some time browsing the winners and the amazing work they are producing!

PDN’s 30

One of my favorites, this Mark Fisher of Fisher Creative image:


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