Actually running the workshop provided lots of insight as to where and how photographers can improve their images. I'll borrow basketball analogies and call these two things, "court vision" and "watching the tapes".
In some of our two-light setups, I watched photographers completely forget the second light (in this case a rim light) to the point where they'd position the model so far away from the rim light that the photographer should have found that they were now the subject of the rim light. And yet, they'd keep shooting... totally unaware that their rim light was not only not helping but probably also creating flaring in their lenses.
Better court-vision will help that.
This also goes for the main light but less so because the photographers were able to mind their main light enough because they would see their exposure change drastically when they moved or when the model moved.
But perhaps court-vision isn't really the problem? Perhaps the "intent" is the issue... or in basketball terms "what play are we running?" I think what happens is that photographers set some static lighting and then start shooting but get totally caught up in the moment... much like "streetball" is to college basketball, stylistically very "run-and-gun", shoot by the seat-of-your-pants type photography... almost event-photography-ish.
The intent/vision must be present before shooting. What kind of look are you trying to achieve? Where do you want the shadows? What kind of shadows are you looking to create? What is the ratio of power between the highlights and shadows? What is the range of motion that the model is allowed? What angle of her head/body is best for this lighting setup?
Intent provides court-vision.
Secondly, reviewing the tapes is important to all great basketball players. One of the things we did in the workshop was sit down and analyze what we literally just shot. I asked the following questions:
-How did you set your lighting and why? i.e. what was your thought process?
-What did you like about these pictures and why?
-What did you feel you did well in this set?
-Where could you have improved in this set?
Along with pointing out the issues that I would see (good and bad), I think the immediate review of the images captured provided a lot of insight on a photographer's style and also raised relevant questions that could immediately improve technique and style. The feedback loop didn't end there either! Within 20 minutes of reviewing the frames, I had photographers back out in the field shooting again. This is how you learn. Shoot, review, shoot, review but with a compressed life-cycle. Too often we shoot and say "I'm tired, I'll look at the pictures later". Then months later we review the tapes only to forget what we even did to begin with. This will probably spurn a full-fledged post about how you should review your images immediately after shooting and make notes about what you want to improve upon next time.
So I guess the question is, when are we having another workshop? :)