Lightenupandshoot Workshop | Dallas Street Photography

Maybe it isn’t street photography in its purest form, but I’ve grown to enjoy this type of interaction with people and I’ve found that almost everyone loves a good picture of themselves, even from a stranger with a camera!

This was my second Lightenupandshoot workshop with Michael “Mikey” Thompson.  Seven of us hit the streets to find models (innocent bystanders) willing to help us practice various lighting techniques.

Mikey’s signature mode of operation is to approach interesting people, total strangers, in public places and ask them to pose, right on the street, for a few photographs.  I’ve shot with Mikey through two weekend workshops and even a couple of times on our own– and I cannot recall ever being turned down on the streets of Fort Worth and Dallas.

Over this particular Labor Day weekend our group spent some time walking the streets of the Bishop Arts District in Dallas and then visited the Invasion Car Show going on in Deep Ellum during some awesome 100+ temperatures!  On day two we relaxed indoors at a photography studio in Mesquite before making our way to the Harbor in Rockwall, grabbing dinner when we got there to allow for some great sunset shots (and cooler weather!).

Here are a few of the interesting people we met over that weekend…


We caught Hayley outside of a restaurant as we were leaving the Bishop Arts District.  She kindly spent her entire break with three of us, letting us snap away… until her boss came outside looking for her.  Hope we didn’t get you in trouble, Hayley!  


This easy-going dude with a skateboard was hanging around the Invasion Car Show in Deep Ellum.  He was totally up for a quick photo session and I enjoyed spending a few minutes with him and his buddy.  A short while later he even agreed to come back since we forgot to feature his board.  And yeah, afros like this are a gift—some of us have it and some of us just don’t.

Invasion Car Show.

I spotted this couple on the bumper of their classic truck. They were so completely cool with us setting up equipment and shooting as much as we wanted.  The setup shot below (by Fabian Andablo) shows half our crew surrounding them to the point that passersby might have thought they were celebrities.  Our workshop leader, Mikey, assisted with lighting and then hopped into this shot and blended in well enough, although I might need to photoshop a dragon sleeve on him.

Rockwall Harbor.

Sunday night we spent at the The Harbor in Rockwall, TX, which is becoming one of my favorite locations to shoot.  It’s unfortunate that I don’t live closer.

Teenage guys aren’t always thrilled to be in front of the camera but I think we made it fun enough.  This young man was a natural and we enjoyed spending a few minutes with him and his family. 

…and this young lady was also enthusiastic about her impromptu modeling session.

As we were walking by this group of high school students, laden with our cameras and light stands, they playfully asked what took us so long.  We played along, apologizing for being late and asked them where they wanted to stand for the picture.  After a minute of convincing, they got what they asked for!  The family boat is behind them, which makes the image even more special for them.  How is that for spontaneous senior portraits!

Sometimes we just shoot each other.  

At some point during the workshop we just start shooting each other.  Experimenting here with Mikey Thompson, who was giving me tips on shooting off-camera flash photography at night using a slow shutter speed and a quick pan technique.  I locked my focus on Mikey, pressed the shutter and panned quickly to the right at the same time.  The flash essentially froze Mikey in place (even with a very slow shutter) and the background lights turned to blurry, awesome goodness.

I also had to slip in a shot of Joe, another DFW area photographer, since he was a good sport helping me get this shot and hanging around till the very end!

Hope this inspires you to get out and experiment with your camera– just lighten up and shoot!

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