Posted on

Five Reasons You Should Run a Photography Workshop

It sometimes seems that everyone is running a workshop these days. Everywhere you look, there are workshops for every type of photography you could imagine. There are plenty of great reasons to attend one or even run one of your own. They provide a great forum for getting to know other photographers, sharing knowledge, and making great work. If you haven’t considered running your own, whether it is something on a small scale at a local community center, a directed get-together in a local park, or something of a larger scale, I highly recommend giving it some thought. Here is why.

Sharing of Knowledge

_dsc5285

By running a workshop, you are able to share the knowledge you have gained in your time as a photographer. In my time as a teacher, the thrill of imparting knowledge and watching eyes light up as new understanding starts to take root never got old. That was the reason I went into work every day. Being able to give a simple seed of knowledge and watch it grow into something you couldn’t have even imagined is the reward of teaching. If you have never taught, give it a try. You won’t be giving away your secrets or making clones of yourself, but sharing the spark that will bring more photography and more art into the world. You may even learn a thing or two yourself!

Confirming Your Own Knowledge

Montreal-Photo-Camp-02(pp_w900_h600)

In order to share your knowledge, you will need to understand it clearly and form it into a lesson that makes sense to other people. This is a great opportunity for you to reflect on what you know and ensure you understand it fully. Einstein is quoted as saying that if you cannot explain something simply, you do not understand it well enough. He is, of course, right on the mark. In order to explain a concept clearly, you need to be able to simplify it to the point that someone who has never heard of it can grasp what you are sharing.

Imagine yourself teaching the concept of aperture to a new photographer. They may have heard the word before and understand that it means “hole.” However, they may be completely confused as to why it is used when talking about a lens or what all those numbers mean. Perhaps you don’t need to explain where the numbers come from, but knowledge of the implications of those numbers would be useful information for that student. If you clearly understand how aperture works, you will be able to convey that simply and give them a new tool with which to work. Practice this on a friend or significant other who knows nothing about photography first. You’ll be surprised at how difficult explaining concepts you take for granted can be.

laurie-campbell2

This is also a great way to find the gaps in your own knowledge and confirm the things you may not be fully clear on. If you spend some time anticipating what sort of questions your participants might have, you can even take this one step further and broaden your knowledge beyond how you normally apply it.

Network Building

_dsc4927

It’s not all about learning, though. You’ll also get to meet new photographers from your area or even all around the world depending on how big your workshop is. You’ll make new friends, learn new ways of seeing, and build a community with other artists. Some participants may become clients or recommend clients your way. They might also introduce other professionals you wish to work with. In return, you could share your network and benefit everyone with more work and knowledge. During the three years that I ran lighting workshops in Seoul and the two years of travel workshops in Thailand, I met over 100 new photographers from all over the world. Those people have become friends, collaborators, supporters, and sources of inspiration for me. They have opened doors I wouldn’t even have known were there, and those doors have taken me traveling internationally and pursuing directions in photography that I would not have otherwise. If that’s not enough of a reason to run or even attend a workshop, I don’t know what is.

Our Recommended Books

Building Portfolio

gallery01

Of course, there also has to be a photographic element to a photography workshop. If that involves live shooting, you have the opportunity to create some great portfolio work. You’ll have the freedom to experiment and demonstrate complex techniques and work with people you may have invited just for the workshop, like models or makeup artists. Working with experts in different fields is a great way to improve your images and make awesome portfolio work. The other benefit of this is that you will not be working for a client, which means you can take the work in exactly the direction you want to.

You could take the opportunity to build your dream team. If there’s a makeup artist, stylist, or model you’ve always wanted to work with, you could reach out. Perhaps there’s a location you’ve wanted to work in; this might just be the perfect opportunity to get access. By pulling these resources together, not only will your students benefit from working with a great team, but you’ll be able to make your own work the best possible.

Marketing

workshop1-800x533

This is a big one, and can be of huge benefit to your existing business. Of course, you’ll need to market your workshop, but your workshop might also end up marketing you. Previous clients or friends sharing the details will extend your marketing to all of their friends as well. This can lead to additional marketing, not only for your course, but for your photography business. It will also lend credibility to your business as you will also be establishing yourself as an expert.

In Conclusion

photography-workshop-attendees

Workshops are fantastic for all involved. They facilitate the sharing of knowledge, resources, networks, and skills. They also give the opportunity to better develop your own craft in the process and to make work you wouldn’t otherwise make.

Posted on

10 of the world’s best photography tours

A s noon approached and we jiggled across the grasslands back to camp, we crossed paths with a fleet of Jeeps lined-up in military fashion. Bursting from their rooftops were travellers all fixated on a hyena some way off.  And it struck me how special it was, just the four of us, having those early, quiet hours to ourselves watching the sky warm from cold purple to fiery orange.

Without a strict sightseeing schedule, there’s time to dawdle, dally and wait as long as need be for that rhino to reveal anything other than its immense leathery rump. Time to see small-yet-significant events: a dung beetle rolling his poo boulder homeward bound; the electric-blue flash of a lilac-breasted roller’s wingtip flitting through the thorny acacia trees; and the curve of snake tracks in the sand. You see a place more deeply.

This ability to notice the small details is one of the skills I honed on a photography tour. Tired of taking mediocre travel photographs and determined to master the basics, I booked a course based in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

9wegrumde6ruovjhy3yy7kowywfliodx

I couldn’t have asked for a more creative classroom. Of course, there were nerves at first. Revealing your first tentative attempts is akin to showing your primary school teacher your first finger painting; you’re eager for praise. But our tutor cut through our shyness by getting us to focus (pardon the pun) on jazzing up our composition, not just positioning the animal in the middle of the frame; playing with scanning the camera to create movement; and showing us how details, just a zebra’s stripes for instance, can have more impact than capturing the whole beast.

Granted, a handful of opportunities were missed on the first few days, as we adapted to selecting the correct aperture and shutter speed. But then, a few days in, we encountered a lioness basking in the long grass. We waited: cameras poised, breath baited. Suddenly, she turned and stared straight down the barrel of our lenses. And then she was gone: loping off to towards the rest of the pride. Thrilling sightings of giraffe and buffalo followed that might have eclipsed my memory of the encounter, but thanks to a little training I’d clicked my camera at exactly the right moment, with the right settings, so I’d forever be able to stare into those burning amber eyes.

As we celebrate World Photo Day this month (August 19) – a worldwide event that promotes photography and its ability to inspire communities – there’s never been a better time to acquire a few photography skills. Here’s a selection of the most exciting photographic tours to help upgrade your holiday photos from commonplace to conversation pieces.

1. Big Cats

jkwr_fy_bntnl_379006

Whisper Pantanal into the ear of any animal lover and they’ll quiver with joy. Ten times the size of Florida’s Everglades and located in southwest Brazil, the world’s largest tropical wetlands are home to more than 1,000 bird species, as well as giant otter, tapir, anaconda, caiman, including the weird and wonderful guinea pig-like capybara and southern tamandua. However, the highlight is undoubtedly the healthiest population of jaguars found anywhere on earth and tours offer consistently good chances of spotting – and photographing – them on the sandy banks of the Paraguay River.

Exodus has an eleven-day Land of the Jaguar tour that costs from £4,049 per person, including flights, accommodation, meals, transport and tuition with expert wildlife photographer Paul Goldstein. Regular departures.

2. Desert Dreams

Tuareg tea ceremony-large

Sahara. The very name conjures up creativity. Used as filming locations for movie classics such as Lawrence of Arabia and Gladiator , photographers can start by capturing the snake charmers and souks of Marrakech and then move deeper into the bosomy dunes where subject matter ranges from nomadic Bedouin camel herders and Tuareg tea ceremonies, to ancient gnawa music played out on goatskin drums and unforgettable sunsets and sunrises. Not forgetting the myriad forms of the dunes themselves.

Creative Escapes offers a ten-day Saharan Retreat with departures annually in November and March. It costs £2,095 per person and includes all accommodation, transport, tours, transfers and tuition.

3. Scottish Safari

cairngorms-large

You needn’t travel far to find interesting photography subjects. The mirror-like lochs, lightly snow-capped peaks and heather-laced hills and moorlands of the Cairngorms – a mountain range in the Highlands of Scotland – are ideal for landscape photography and conceal a wealth of wildlife too: from golden eagle and snowy owl to red deer, pine marten, otter, the elusive wild cat and the only herd of reindeer in the British Isles. Granted it’ll probably rain, but dramatic plays of light usually follow.

Naturetrek offers a new five-day Birds and Mammals of the Cairngorms tour departing March 30, 2017. It costs £1,195 per person, including accommodation, tuition and meals, but not flights.

4. Wild Svalbard

svalbard-large

The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard (previously known as Spitsbergen) is most famous for its polar bears, which outnumber humans on the island. However, its moss-laced tundra, wind- and water-hewn glaciers and paint-box houses in the main town of Longyearbyen make for intriguing opportunities to play with form and black-and-white landscape photography. As a bonus, during summer the Midnight Sun provides photographers with 24 hours of continuous daylight.

Photo Iconic have teamed up with Norwegian-specialist Hurtigruten to launch a new nine-day Spitsbergen expedition departing June 10, 2017. It costs from £2,885 per person, including flights, boat sailings, accommodation and tuition with founder of Travel Photographer of the Year Chris Coe.

5. Easter Island

easter island-large

If you’re travelling this far you’ll want to make sure you get a good set of photos. One of the world’s most isolated islands – some 2,337 miles west of Chile – Easter Island is famed for its monumental stone Moai statues staring solemnly out to sea. A photography tour will get you there before the crowds to ensure the most atmospheric photos and will allow you to spend longer snapping the statues, ceremonial sites, caves and rock carvings – of which excavations and studies to discover their purpose and meaning are ongoing.

Responsible Travel arrange tailor-made photography tours of the island costing from £4,116 per person, including accommodation, transport, tuition but not flights.

6. Exotic India

Travel_in_India_cover

Rajasthan – India’s largest and most colourful state – is brimming with palaces, forts, carved temples and a plethora of interesting faces. Visit the Blue City of Jodhpur, whose predominantly blue walls provide an eye-catching backdrop for portrait photography, or the Pink City of Jaipur that comes to life at sunrise and sunset when the light hits the russet sandstone buildings. Meanwhile the annual five-day Pushkar Camel Fair attracts a chaotic gathering that will provide plenty of action shots, as vendors vie to sell and buy their dromedaries and compete to see who has the matka phod (longest moustache).

Our Recommended Books

High Places has a new 15-day Indian Photographic Odyssey – Rajasthan departing November 5, 2016. It costs from £2,995 per person including flights, transfers, accommodation, meals and tuition but not visas.

7. Gozo

gozo-large

The rural lesser-visited little sister to the island of Malta and the same size as Manhattan, Gozo gets a mention in Homer’s Odyssey – as the rumoured home of the nymph Calpyso who fell in love with Odysseus – and offers a riot of photographic material thanks to the island’s fiestas, horse races, carnivals, concerts, market squares of the capital Rabat, nook-and-cranny azure bays, and the Unesco-listed Ggantija temples which are among the world’s oldest free-standing structures.

Artisan Travel offers a new four-night Delights of Gozo break from £895 per person, including flights transfers, accommodation, meals and activities. Regular departures.

8. Big Apple

Empire State Building-large

Learning to find new ways of portraying something familiar is a key skill for photographers. Nowhere will test your ability to find fresh perspectives more than New York – one of the most photographed places in the world. From the iconic architecture such as the Statue of Liberty and sleek needle-like skyscrapers clustered around the Empire State Building, to the canary-yellow taxicabs and neon lights of Times Square. The challenge is to pick out new or unusual details: perhaps the street art, a fresh vista from a rooftop bar, or a gaggle of Chinese men gambling in Colombus Park.

Light and Land offers a five-night New York City trip departing October 14 tutored by Reuters news photographer Paul Sanders. It costs from £999, including accommodation and tuition. Flights, meals and transfers not included.

9. Bear necessities

kjlkj

Squeezed between Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland and Czech Republic, Slovakia is often overlooked. Yet, incredibly, this mostly mountainous republic is home to one per cent of the world’s organisms. Wolves, boar, lynx and Ural owl prowl its karst and primeval forests and chief among these predators are around 450 wild brown bear. Concealed inside secure and discreet hides, you can photograph the bears in their natural habitat without disturbing them.

Tatra Photography has a four-day Wild Brown Bears tour with departures in May and April 2017. It costs from £849 per person, including flights to Krakow, transfers, half-board accommodation and tuition with Ben Hall – winner of the British Wildlife Photography Awards.

10. Italian Wild West

abruzzo-large

Abruzzo is perhaps Italy’s least visited region. It’s also Europe’s greenest thanks to three national parks that cover a third of its area and are home to wolves, wild boar and Marsican brown bear. Ancient villages coil themselves around the hillsides, medieval hermitages cling to cliff edges like swallows’ nests, castles perch on mountaintops and rising above it all is the Campo Imperatore – a swathe of undulating grassland nicknamed “Little Tibet”, which, come spring, is a riot of wildflowers and horned Maremmana cows tingling their neck bells. It’s so similar to the American prairies production companies on a budget filmed Spaghetti Westerns here.

Frui has a seven-day Abruzzo trip departing July 21, 2017. It costs £1,599 per person, including accommodation, half-board meals, transfers, tuition and activities such as truffle hunting. Flights excluded.

Posted on

Why your school should be teaching photography

With the arts increasingly squeezed out of the curriculum, one photography tutor argues why his subject deserves a place in school timetables

Teenagers rarely give much attention to bluebells. And yet in the middle of their outdoor-pursuits residential trip, Year 8 students from King Edward VI Aston all-boys’ school in Birmingham are taking a break from zip wires to take close-ups of rain-soaked flowers.

king-edward-700x350

This is testimony to photography’s allure. At King Edward’s Aston we run a twice-weekly photography club and offer photography as an optional enrichment course in Year 10. We teach the subject using both analogue (film) and digital and find that many art students integrate film photography into their coursework. We have even had to extend our darkroom to accommodate demand, appealing in Amateur Photographer for donations of equipment.

But why do our students like photography so much? And, perhaps more importantly, what is photography’s academic value?

Photography is universal

IPad_2_1

Photography transcends social class and many use it daily. Kodak once told consumers to “always carry a camera”. Now teenagers carry their smart phone “Box Brownie” at all times. Those who are inclined towards science and maths often enjoy the technical dimensions; while for those who struggle to draw, photography provides a chance to be visually creative.

It teaches practical skills

ijyjfghfgh

We find that boys tend to like learning practical skills. Digital cameras have “de-skilled” photography, but our students focus manually, use lighting and tripods, load film and mount prints. Subjects like photography – along with art, music, drama and DT – have immense value for teenagers as a balance for other parts of the curriculum where words and numbers count so highly.

Our Recommended Books

It broadens horizons

overseas-broadening-horizons630x354

Our culture of constant selfies and YouTube uploads has its dangers: safeguarding risks, egocentrism, over-sharing and the over-documentation of events inhibiting our ability to remember them. Teaching photography can counteract these risks, as students learn about being behind the camera instead of always in front of it.

It enriches other subjects

2000px-Pinhole-camera.svg

Photography is an art form that is also full of maths, chemistry, physics and IT. Our physics students can use real pinhole cameras to apply pinhole theory and then process the images. History students can explore the impact of an image of Churchill by photographer Yousuf Karsh in 1941, while geography students can add an extra dimension to field trips by taking photographs. Photography is where art and science meet, so it can help students to think outside subject confines. Maybe a new GCSE and A-level syllabus covering photographic art and photographic technology equally would broaden its appeal and better equip students to study photography in higher education.

It doesn’t require expensive kit

GalvestonPier-717x472

True photographers can take great pictures with simple equipment; the eye is more important than the camera. Schools don’t need to invest in expensive cameras: they can introduce students to photography using only their phones.

Photography helps students to express themselves and develop visual perception. What’s more, it means that young people might think twice before pressing the button and posting an image online. So let’s get more Year 8s photographing flowers – creating, rather than merely consuming, the output of an entertainment-obsessed age.

Posted on

Leica, an icon in photography, ties up with Huawei P9

Another accomplishment in Huawei’s cap is its collaboration with Leica. The brand first created a bang when it partnered with Google to create the Huawei Google Nexus 6P, and now it has done the same yet again. India will soon witness the world’s third largest smartphone brand’s  collaboration with the Leica, as the Huawei P9 is touted to launch in India on the 17th of August. So what makes Leica an icon in photography?

5754f8bb2df1a

Leica is a legendary name in the world of photographs. The German optics and camera manufacturer has been in the business for more than a 100 years and are known for their high-quality cameras that are prized for their compactness and portability. This dedication to compactness can be traced all the way back to 1914 with the Ur-Leica. The camera featured a metal body and a collapsible lens. It was also the first camera to feature coupled film winding and shutter cocking, which helped prevent double exposures. Due to such groundbreaking work, Leica is considered to be one of the pioneers of point-and-shoot cameras.

5d625c2ee93d6c878405f8cf863dc3f5b1fb04a8

Another reason why Leica cameras are so desirable amongst photographers is the fact that each device is crafted by hand and goes through 60 quality control checks. On top of this, it also undergoes a meticulous lens polishing process that has been perfected by Leica. The company has also reached a cult status amongst photographers who prefer the unpretentious and unobtrusive design of the cameras as it allows them to get closer and more personal with the subject.

Our Recommended Books

741bf91476a36ea6d1278356e0efbed8798ea42d

In 1994, Leica unveiled the S1, its first digital camera. It was a scanner camera and was mostly used for making high-quality reproductions in archives or museums or still-life photography in studio’s. In 2006, the company launched the M8, its first digital camera to sport the legendary M brand. The Leica M8 also came with the same design language as the iconic M3. This retro-chic aesthetic offered by Leica cameras is something its devoted fans have come to adore.

256ff8e3dde5b1f572efe4c5defd282e8d63e6a1

In the past, Leica has worked with other notable companies such as Panasonic and Valbray to manufacture a series of devices such as digital cameras, video recorders as well as timepieces. Leica has also partnered with Huawei on an upcoming phone that has been “co-engineered” by the two companies. Huawei has worked with the company to improve the quality of cameras in its phones and bring better optics, stricter quality control, and new lens technology. This new model will take the camera quality offered by Leica and couple it with Huawei’s proprietary software.

Posted on

How Specializing in Photography Will Pave the Way to Becoming a Professional Photographer

Full-time photography is a dream many of us have considered fulfilling. What could be better than to get paid for what you want do? A pursuit of passion is often a difficult start, but there’s one critical aspect that I think you should consider immediately: specializing.

Whether you want to shoot glamour, cars, or insects, every market has its (paying) customers. By specializing, you become good at your specialty and increase your chances of getting noticed in today’s saturated market. A rise in skills and customers is on the horizon, but only if you stay true to yourself.

Skills

download (22)

When you specialize yourself in a specific genre, you are likely to increase your skills in that area. So instead of being decent at many types of photography, you can now focus your attention on one thing that’s truly important to you. Ultimately, it’s much easier to stand out from the crowd in that area, especially amongst a mass of people who take pictures of basically anything. In today’s market, that’s critically important as well. About everyone in the western world has a camera of one form or another, and the competition today is murdering. When you become a skillful photographer in your genre, the competition isn’t that hard anymore. You may even start to see your competitors as your colleagues.

Gear

10013971_646721368697251_636400574_n

By putting in the hours, you also become proficient in handling the gear that’s frequently used within that particular field. For professional macro work, there are rails, focus-stacking software, LED ring flashes, and of course the handling of the tiny world itself, which leads me to another reason why specializing is important.

Knowledge

brandt12_1478852i

You learn more about your subject. I bet you wildlife photographers know their subjects’ names not only by heart, but in more than one language. You learn the behavior of many different species of wildlife and know where to find them without binge-watching Animal Planet. The same holds true for astrophotography. I would never have learned the names of stars, constellations, and deep-sky objects if I hadn’t expressed interest in taking pictures of them. Really, “just” the enormous costs of a good astro rig have held me back from shooting the stars more often.

Comfort Zone

DSC_9888-2

Another great aspect of specialized photography is that you spend more time in the genre that you feel most comfortable with. Personally, I am advocating the comfort zone, and not just because I am an introvert. Doing stuff you like to do is good for many things. It helps you to unwind and prevents seeing photography as work.

Photography is also a good motivational tool to just do the thing you love more often. For example: If you like being around pets, pet photography is first and foremost a reason for you to be around cats and dogs more. As a professional landscape photographer, I make excuses to go on “holiday” to spectacular landscapes instead of investigating the beach side of life. My wife and I planned for our honeymoon to take place in Iceland, for starters. Landscape photography grew out of a passion for the outdoors. It’s a tool to get me motivated to watch the sunset, the stars revolve around the night sky, and to be aware that our planet is changing. I can only imagine what the reasons for working with gorgeous models can be.

Work and Play

maassen-fstoppers-surf-photographer-jason-hudson29

Contrarily, you may not want to do a specific genre of photography. I don’t care much for doing portraiture, so I refrain from ever pursuing that genre. Specializing makes sure you don’t get asked for gigs you don’t actually want to do. For many of us, photography is the pursuit of a passion, not a job you just rolled into. If there are chores that aren’t your game, don’t do them.

Our Recommended Books

A Diverse Portfolio

Specializing does not mean narrowing your view. Within any given genre, there’s a ton of experimentation, diversifying portfolios, and lots of opportunity. Just in my field alone, there’s intimate landscape photography, seascapes, nightscape photography, the budding area of aerial imagery, and of course, taking pictures of the grand landscape in all sorts of environments.

screenshot-laanscapes_squarespace_com_2016-08-10_12-21-49

When you really do have a hard time picking or simply want to take pictures of more than one subject, it’s a good idea to consider putting them under different brands, but only if you pursue those genres professionally. There’s always room to just start shooting a different subject, but don’t put your insects among your glamour shots.

Targeting Your Audience

fstoppers_jeff_rojas_how_to_make_money_with_exposure

A specialty genre makes it easier to orient and concentrate your marketing efforts. As time spent within the genre progresses, you learn who your target audience is and you become better at knowing where they can be reached. Whether that be Facebook groups or the barbershop across the street, marketing becomes more apparent and natural when you pursue a specialized path of photography.

Style

~ Lauterbrunnen valley, Switzerland. What a place to live...! It's mesmerizing to see the Lauterbrunnen valley do this disappearing act over and over. With low-hanging clouds coming and going, it’s both fun and challenging to capture the valley when you see it fit. Certainly while you’re getting soaked to the bone by mist and drizzle. This was truly a great opportunity to photograph. This is from a higher viewpoint and with a more true-to-nature processing than this one: https://500px.com/photo/154698981 Tech and disclosure: This is two exposure from exactly the same viewpoint and with the same settings. It’s a timestack, meaning those exposures are taken some time apart. The first is taken 3 minutes later than the last in order to capture the valley in both misty conditions and rather clear conditions. I used the misty one as a base and the clear one to reveal the background mountains. Nothing too complicated here. The look and feel were borrowed from a screen cap of the Lord of the Rings cinematography, specifically the Return of the King. Again, I wanted to freely interpret what J.R.R. Tolkien would have seen when he visited this place back in 1911. Everything points to him coming up with "Rivendell" in this valley of 72 waterfalls.  Hope you like it. Thanks for watching.

The most important artistic reason for specializing, though, is developing a personal style. A style in which anyone can recognize your signature photography and/or processing is much more likely to attract customers. Creating standout shots is not something that develops overnight, though. You can either decide that a particular image is your style or let it develop freely over time. Years, even decades can pass before you actually find your signature, though. but it helps tremendously when you spend more time in one genre.

Paying the Bills

tumblr_obeumgHpKB1sadhevo1_1280

Mind you that not all photography pays the bills equally. Landscape photography is something many people do, and it’s a difficult genre to become particularly well paid in. Commissions aren’t easy to come by at all. And the individual market is saturated with other photographers offering a piece on anyone’s empty wall. On the other hand, niche markets such as astro, fetish, or underwater photography can be hard to get into, either because of the requirement of advanced gear or contacts within that world.

My advice to you is: Consider which field you want to specialize in. Of course there is room to diversify once you are established, but getting established is going to be both the biggest challenge and the most fun if you stay close to your passion. But don’t take too long. Go out and take more pictures and be open to what feels good to you. The choice of what photography you want to pursue is a tough decision, and it’s likely one that will shape you as photographer and as a person. No pressure there.