Archive for September, 2010

I thought I’d share a follow up from my first post of ‘How I got into Photography’ (link). My journey is so exciting… I love it! I love it so much that I want to tell you about it.

This update is more about the training I’ve been doing through Damien Lovegrove workshops.

The Lovegrove moment continues…

I mentioned in my first post that the Urban Portraits workshop I attended (link) changed everything for me. The camera techniques were awesome! I learnt more about lighting and exposure on that day, that books and online materials simply cannot compete. I could use the camera techniques the very next day, however, what did take time was learning to ‘see’. If you’re not used to ‘seeing’ with the photographer’s eye, then this is a skill that needs to be developed. During this time your head is buzzing everyday looking out for potential locations. You start to imagine how the location would look in natural light, the framing and composition, if using flashes, where would they go and how would you want the light to fall. Getting to this stage is very exciting and when you setup your flashes on stands (whilst on a shoot), you feel confident and excited to be taking some nice pictures.

6 months later… I was about to embark on a 3 month holiday (towards the end of 2009) and I decided to do a post-production workshop with Marko Nurminen (Damien’s picture editor). My pictures were nice, but not great. I realized the importance of post-production and being able to do it well was also key. The workshop I attended had a total of 4 delegates and Marko edited about 10 photos from each delegate and explained in detail the what’s and the why’s with the adjustments he was making. After a few images, you begin to see a pattern and over the course of the day, you learn what makes a good image. There’s plenty of free material online about how to do specific things with Photoshop, but none of them tell you what makes a good image. This workshop with Marko has been the basis for all my picture editing since.

Shortly afterwards I was on my 3 month tour of Australia and the Philippines. I was so excited to just have fun photographing my trip and spending time with family and friends abroad. I took just 7Kgs of clothes and 26Kgs of camera gear! 🙂 There’s a few images from my holiday at the end of this post…

The Training

Upon my return to the UK, it was time to find a job and resume my photographic training. Once you get past the basics in photography, books become less relevant (in my opinion) and there really is no substitute for spending time with a professional photographer. When I first came across Damien’s blog (back in November 2008), I found the images instantly desirable and wished I could make such photographs myself. Needless to say, all my training has been with Damien. Every workshop I’ve been on and still plan to go on is all part of a big plan. I’ve worked out precisely which workshops I need to do next and make sure I cover the right things when the time is right.

My third Lovegrove workshop was Passion on the Streets in Amsterdam (B&W – link, colour – link). My main motivation for attending this workshop was learning the dark art of capturing images of loved up couples. What I learnt about taking images with couples cannot easily be expressed through books. Damien pointed out significant aspects to this kind of picture taking that rocked my world. My comprehension of images with couples has been taken to a new level.

One aspect of photography that I had largely ignored was lighting in-doors. I find it easier to focus all my attention on one thing and move on to the next thing. About the only aspect to in-door lighting I had done (a while back) was this pub shooting guide (link). Virtually all of my lighting was on-location outdoors. To help me focus on in-door lighting, I attended the Cherish the Dress workshop with both Damien and Chris Hanley (link). Wow! This workshop changed everything and has made me totally re-think lighting in general. If you can’t tell already, this workshop has had a significant impact. This workshop was the first time I met Chris Hanley and his shooting advice is first class stuff. Like Damien, Chris is very generous with information and covers everything in detail which is so important on a shoot like this. Working with both Damien and Chris really adds a new dimension. It’s so much fun to watch them spar with each other throughout the day and who’s going to get the best images… This workshop was also the first time I had met Chloe-Jasmine Whichello (one of the models for the workshop). She is such a joy to photograph and is simply amazing!

I own a few flash accessories such as gels, light modifiers, etc… However, I needed to grasp clearly the best way to use the equipment. So the next workshop I attended was the legendary Speedlight Mastery workshop (link). I had originally booked the October workshop, however, I quickly changed this to August in Manchester when I discovered that Chloe-Jasmine was going to be there. This was an amazing workshop and the day was filled with fun. I learned more advanced lighting techniques with speedlites, ring flashes and softboxes all triggered with Pocket Wizards.

Tacit Knowledge

You may have noticed that all of my training involves Damien. Why? There’s a few reasons… Damien’s workshops are always fun and he’s very generous with information. However, there’s a more important reason. It’s about tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is something that cannot be learnt from books. It can only be learnt by being with the person or finding your own way of doing it. For instance, it’s unlikely you’ll find a book about ‘how to ride a bicycle’. This is something that cannot be learnt from a book but rather requires someone to show you how to ride a bicycle. If you like the images that Damien makes, and you want to learn how to make similar photographs yourself, then you have to be with Damien to learn how to make them. Simples…. it’s tacit knowledge…

My journey in photography continues….

Below are some of my photos from my travels abroad nearly a year ago…

My cousin Barry Johnston in Melbourne.

My first frame at Apollo Bay.

A back street in Melbourne.

Melbourne at night...

Portrait of Ryan (a member of the family).

The small lighthouse in the Gold Coast.

Broad Beach looking north. You can see the storm coming in from the right.

This is a structure that represents the split between Queensland and New South Wales. In this shot, I'm looking straight up!

I love the way this photo looks in Black & White!

I used a polarising filter to remove the reflections of the sea... Taken at around 9:30am.

Danger Falls.

Part of the river running through Brisbane.

I think I got carried away taking photographs!

A kararoki bar on Boracay Island, Philippines.

West Cove Resort in Boracay. You can just imagine sitting having a beer here can't you!

Boats mooring up at the end of the day...

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