The Breakdown: Feb. 6 “How to Shoot Like MacGyver” Workshop


On February 5th and 6th, 35 avid and awesome photographers came to 2 Stops Brigher Studios to talk shop and learn about some of the crazy stuff I get up to as a photographer. I figured I couldn’t teach a workshop about how to be fabulous, since I’m just a pretty normal guy, or how to run a business, since the most important thing I know is to work with other people who know how to do that stuff, or selling actions and presets, since I don’t use them.

What I do know as a New York City photographer is how to make the best of situations that aren’t always in your favor, and I thought it might be useful for some people to get my perspective. Also, I’m always looking at photographic gear and saying “Is there anyway I can use this in a weird way that would make some pretty cool pictures?” and we spent most of the day talking about some of the things I’ve found that can give you some new tools for bad situations — things like the “Brenizer method” of bokeh panoramas, video lights and light-painting for low-light, using flash composites for dynamic shots on bright days, and more.

I had such a wonderful time, and so many people have been asking about it, that I am going to host another one soon! I’m thinking April. Watch this space.

There are going to be a lot of photos in the full write-up, so click below to read the rest!

The weekend started with me hosting a mini-convention for photographers of Flickr’s Starting a Wedding Photography Business group at my studio. It was cold, but a lot of fun, as we walked around NYC, and I showed them the NYC way of shooting gigs — work quickly before the security guards come and yell at you. In NYC, there are always security guards.

Here was a little fun we had when I was showing off video lights, and how I would work the ambient of a night-time scene:


Then I showed off a little light-painting before we all froze and headed back inside:


On Friday night, everyone was invited to a mixer at the studio. It was important to me that people see this as an important networking and social opportunity as well as a learning seminar, so I threw this in for free, and will be doing it at all future seminars. Then we all piled in for the workshop!

I knew I would spend most of the day talking about the “Hows” of photography, so I started off with perhaps a more important question: What are your “Whys?”

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Here is my brand-new intern Isla, also an attendee, already hard at work on one of the models’ dresses:


We went into with a full demonstration of the “Brenizer method” of bokeh panoramas, because, well, I know a little something about it. I showed everything from pre-visualization to capture to the Photoshop process:


I gave a short demonstration of good techniques for bouncing flash properly. I took a bunch of bad bounce shots I won’t show here, but I also showed how to set up your cameras so you can quickly bounce the light from exactly where you want it to hit your subject:


Then, just to show that you can bounce flash in situations you might not expect, I took this one with the flash bounced off a black fleece jacket! Not art, just a proof-of-concept:


Next was an instructional seminar on flash composites. This is a technique commercial shooters have been using for decades, but I wanted to show them how to do it in five minutes, not five days. So first we set up Lydia alone:

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15 seconds of photoshop. Next we set up a mock bridal party:


Four minutes to shoot, two minutes in Photoshop.

Then I challenged myself to get some shots in a horrible, boring situation, and walked the group through how I would handle it. You’ve seen one of these before:

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Then we headed out for a bit of street shooting, but it was really cold! April’s seminar will be a bit warmer, I promise:


Still, the participants had fun and did yeoman’s work as light stands:


Thanks so much for coming everyone! We didn’t think to take a group shot until 10 or so people had left, but it was so great to have everyone there, and to see how many photographers wear black:



Maria LandaveRde - if didn´t say to you about the group photo!!!…. maybe I should have go in April Ryan!!! … thanks about the warm wheather, jajajaja!!!

Brad O'Connor - Wish I could have made it. Hopefully the April one is after the tax deadline.

Ryan Brenizer - I’ll see what I can do about that!

James Woo - Great workshop! and had a good time.
Thanks Ryan for opening the door even before the workshop.

Julie - sounds like an amazing time! can’t wait to hear more about an April workshop!

Rafael Javier - thank you Ryan for putting such a wonderful workshop together in which you shared some of your techniques. I look forward to the next workshop – i will see on then : – )

Mike Sheehan - Great workshop Ryan, thanks again. To those who couldn’t make it, if you’re considering coming for the one in April, I highly recommend it. You’ll get some great tips and insights from Ryan, and if the turnout is anything like this one, come out of it with a couple dozen very cool, interesting new friends from all over the country and the world.

Ryan Brenizer - Thanks! Hope to see you again!

Ryan Brenizer - Thanks Mike!

Dennis Pike - good time. thanks again Ryan. - We are a good looking group…great workshop

Ryan Brenizer - Heh, of course we are.

Simone - Hi everybody! Thanks to Ryan and to you all for the priceless experience. I leared a lot and it was amazing meeting you all!

Zack DeLaune - For the hundredth time, because I can’t say it enough, thanks for the workshop, Ryan! And the meetup beforehand WAS a fantastic networking experience. To anyone who is considering taking this workshop, DO IT. It was an extremely fun, low-key learning experience.

Amberlee - Thanks Ryan!
I would def love to come back once it is a little warmer and do some more outside photos!
It was great meeting you! - Looks realy great. Love meetings like this. Extra photos.

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fotograf slubny - man i just love your work.. You’re the one who inspires mine.. thanks and keep this great work alive :)

haring photography - This must have been fun!!!

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