A Portrait Safari in Downtown Manhattan with 'Lighten Up and Shoot' and the B&H Event Space


Shooting portraits can be a challenge—but the kind folks over at LightenUpandShoot and the B&H Event Space teamed up to try to help attendees of a recent Photo Safari. Starting in the West Village of New York City on a bright sunny day, the safari visited some hot locations such as Washington Square Park, Cooper Union, and Thompson Square Park. So just how did this event help to make people better portrait shooters?

The Safari attendees all met on West 4th St. and 6th Ave, where they began their journey. The Event Space set up a game for them, where they needed to photograph certain clues and figure out puzzles.

For example, one of the clues was "Dribbler." Since basketball players dribble a ball, it only made sense that they photographed basketball players. But these couldn't be any regular photographs. Only the best of the best would win the contest.

Mikey from LightenUpandShoot assisted the attendees with some portraiture tips and tricks. Every now and then, he would pull people off the streets. Each person had unique characteristics that made the stand out from the rest of the crowd. Then he would demonstrate different techniques, such as diffusing sunlight with a reflector, filling in shadows, fill flash and posing.

Along the way, the attendees photographed various clues on their list, as Mikey continued to pull people from around the area to be photographed.

The attendees appreciated the free portrait sessions with the models—each model that Mikey pulled added their own eccentric flare to the photoshoot. Also, all of them were really friendly, which aided some of the more timid portrait shooters.

The gear that the attendees used varied. Some had entry-level DSLRs, others had point-and-shoots, some even had very long telephoto lenses.

Mikey himself even modeled and used props to make the shoot more interesting. Here, he's seen playing with some street musicians in Washington Square Park.

To help with the portrait demonstration, Mikey used Impact Reflectors, like the 32" 5-in-1. 5-in-1 reflectors can be configured for many different uses. The user can make it transparent, to diffuse incoming light. However, they can also use different color slipcovers which come in black, silver-gold mix, silver, and white—which makes it versatile enough for almost any situation. Mikey demonstrated this to attendees and taught them all about using them to help create better portraits. As the attendees shot, Mikey changed the reflector configurations. The attendees saw differences in all the images.

As we traveled along St. Marks Place, more and more of these characters that Mikey loves to photograph popped up. Along the stretch of one block, he probably stopped around five different people for the group to photograph. As they shot, he directed and explained different concepts about how to work with them and pose them.

The event ended with two very long portrait sessions in Thompson Square Park, where the attendees photographed both a dog resting on a bike and a German tourist. Taking place at around 6PM, the sun gave off a radiant warm glow that naturally complimented the skin tones.

And at the very end, everyone posed for this photo. Overall, it goes down in my memory as one of the most fun photo safaris I've been to.