Work It, Make It, Do It, Workshop

Jamie Sia demonstrating some off-camera flash biz.

Jamie Sia demonstrating some off-camera flash biz.

Harder, better, faster, stronger. Clunky Daft Punk reference working for anyone? No? On with the blog post...

Last Friday I travelled to Tooting, London to take part in a workshop called Day, Dusk, Dark. Not really knowing what to expect I arrived at Tooting Tram and Social (after having to heft my suitcase from Brighton because the handle broke) excited, trepidatious and with very sore arms. 

Tooting Tram and Social is an amazing brick building with high ceilings, balconies galore, a couple of chandeliers and tons of interesting corners throwing light and shadow all over the shop. In other words, a photographer's dream.

Working by yourself for yourself all day, every day can get monotonous and and can be limiting. There's only so much you can self-teach, so it's good to get out there and expand your knowledge. Workshops are a great way to develop skills, challenge yourself and meet new inspiring people, and boy if I didn't do all three.

Lovely Alice, one of our models for the day and a fellow wedding photographer!

Lovely Alice, one of our models for the day and a fellow wedding photographer!

With a day workshop there's a lot to get through and a limited amount of time. Apart from all the amazing technical knowledge and sage advice imparted, here are some things I discovered that can help to get the most out of a workshop.

  • Don't worry about what level you're at - workshops are for learning and anyone that thinks they know it all isn't going to get very far and probably wouldn't be at a workshop anyway. Even the best have more to learn.
  • Ask all the questions. Again, you're there to learn and admitting you don't know something isn't the worst thing in the world (still having to tell myself this daily).
  • Be a bit bolshy, yes there are 30 photographers trying to take the same shot in a very small space, but if you hang back, the moment might be gone and you've missed your chance.
  • Or... Go round the back. If there isn't room for you to take a shot from the front, go round the back, find a different angle and see what's going on there. It might just be a great shot.
  • Be considerate of your model - things move quickly on a workshop but take the time to learn your model's name and talk to them. It's not only polite but believe me, it's easier to direct a model when you've put the effort in.
  • If you see an opportunity to set up a cool shot, be cheeky and nab your model between locations to take a quick snap. You have a golden opportunity - use it! But...
  • Don't take the piss. Having said all that, it's not just about you. Yes you want to get that shot and get it perfectly, but sometimes there just isn't time. Everyone else is there to learn and benefit so help each other out and don't be stingy.
  • Stay on to have a drink afterwards. It's much easier to get to know people once you're out of the photography zone, and in the tipsy, chatty zone.* Industry friends are invaluable.
  • Finally - follow up. Participate in the Facebook group if there is one, share your photos and like and comment on each other's. It's great to see the results afterwards and the different ways people have captured the same moment.

Here are some of my favourite shots from the day. I will probably (definitely) be sharing more on social media. Day, Dusk, Dark spam forever. I ain't sorry.

Credits below.

The Day, Dusk, Dark workshops are run by the uber talented Jamie Sia, Shelley Richmond, and Jennifer McCord who each gave a talk on their tips for shooting low light, winter and evening weddings and portraiture. 

Models - Alice Boagey and Louise Vineeta

Styling - Occasion Queens

Hair and Make up - Just Jennifer TV

Flowers - Boom Blooms

Stationary (not pictured) - Dimitria Jordan

Dresses - Wilden London

Catering (Oh my GOD it was good) - Sainlo Events

Band (not pictured) - Defences

*my personal favourite zone