Jan 10 2015
looking back, steaming ahead
The New Year is a time of reflection – really? Isn’t it more about moving forward? Well, yes. Actually, it’s both. My experience as a trainer over the last four years has laid the foundation for a programme of both well-established and brand new courses for 2015.
My very first studio workshop back in September 2010 was close to home, in Lincoln at Double Red Studio. Since then, the strong partnership forged with Saracen House Studio in Milton Keynes has resulted in many successful workshops and portfolio days; this will continue. To satisfy the needs of folk further north, in 2014 I forged a new alliance with Millwood Studios in Manchester, another fresh and well-appointed facility on the Appleton Photo Training circuit. Others in the pipeline include Orange Studios in North London and York Photo Studio.
if it ain’t broke…
2014 took me all over the UK, across the channel to France and Italy and over to South Africa for a second year, training, presenting and meeting too many new and interesting people to mention. Many of you have become familiar faces on my courses, some travelling significant distances, which I take as a huge compliment. It means that the format works and I won’t be changing my approach. Unlike many others, my training courses are designed and structured specifically to educate. I am not a sprinkler of fairy dust! The idea is to provide you with the nuts and bolts: the information you need and a clear explanation of how to use it. When you’ve got all that, you can then try out your new skills in a professional environment with the kit, the models and the technical support that make it work for you. My Portfolio Builder Days provide the ideal opportunity to do just this.
new year, new tours
I am pretty excited about the things I have planned for 2015. Building on The Northern Tour last November with Zara Watson – Night Shooters and One2One tuition in locations from Newcastle to Edinburgh – this year, I will be touring the UK with model, Jen Brook. The first tour will deliver two 3 hour seminars; the first is ‘Concept-to-Completion’. As the title suggests, it takes you through the entire process of a planned shoot, arming you with what you need to know to give your creative ideas the wings to fly. The second seminar on the tour, ‘Seeing Like a Camera’, will help you to explore the fundamental differences between how the human eye perceives the world and how the camera sees it. Two eyes and a brain v one lens and a sensor; there’s quite a difference. The irony is that you need to know how to operate this highly sophisticated digital device but at the same time you must learn how to compensate for its limitations. Exposure, dynamic range and composition are some of the aspects covered. The ultimate goal? To train you to make the image in your mind a reality on the back of your camera, online and in print.
I am pleased to announce that I am teaming up this Spring with Australian professional dancer and choreographer, Angela Hamilton. Shooting dance well is one of the trickiest gigs and does not rely solely on learning how to light the subject, choice of lens, exposure, camera angles etc. although these are all things that you need to know and will learn on the workshop. That extra magic ingredient comes from gaining an insight into the nature of dance itself and how it should look to create the beautiful, fluid shapes you swoon over. Dance photographers are looking for the shot that just catches the moment and we are lucky enough to have a skilled practitioner in the shape of Angela to help you. I am taking the dance photography workshop to studios across the UK, kicking off with Orange Studios in London on 15th March.
In July, I am working with Engage, Donal Doherty’s online training company, to bring you a really comprehensive Concept-to-Completion online workshop. It will take place over three days in front of a live studio audience. You can catch the initial, live broadcast free but the beauty of recording it for the web is that it’s available afterwards if you miss it. The advantage of delivering the training over three days is that you don’t only get to find out how to plan, organise and execute a shoot, you also get the added value of ‘being there’ as it happens with live demonstrations, warts and all. The timescale gives me the opportunity to drill down into every aspect of every stage, identifying and working through the challenges and opportunities as they crop up. I plan to make it a very immersive experience, with the help of the invited audience, so be prepared!
I’ll end with beginners
Recognising that some people haven’t yet discovered the joy of photography, I have designed a 6 week course for beginners to be rolled out across the country. The schedule begins in February and delivery is set to take place in three studios initially, expanding to other locations later in the year.