Portrait Workshop with lou o’bedlam
I have just got back from a fantastic weekend away in Brighton. This was not just an excuse to get down to the coast but a weekend based around Portrait photography.
Last year i attended Garage Studios flash photography course taught by Mr Adam Bronkhorst, sitting in for the first part was a chap called lou o’bedlam who had taught a portrait course the previous night. Needless to say i have been waiting for his next visit to the studio again and have not been let down by what i took away from the weekend. Starting the Saturday with the intermediate course we touched on the basics of portrait photography and what makes us as photographers take better pictures, and what differentiates us from happy snappers who take pictures for memories rather than to show others and seek others approval.
We were given the chance to shoot with a couple of different models and then critique others work and have ours pulled apart with a view to seek out what works, what doesn’t and how to improve. The weekend was really interesting as it talked about deeper things than just taking pictures of pretty girls but also what it takes to get the “gold” from a model or the subject you are photographing. using devices and techniques to distract the model from their preset poses and physical structures. The importance of taking your time wherever possible to talk to the subject and to establish what it is that you find attactive about the subject that you can focus in on and capture in your one frame that tells a story and suggests a captured moment in front of the camera.
I found it interesting learning about the pose of a model and what makes a model more attractive and why. This was covered more on the second day that delved deeper in to the aspects of what makes a good image and why some body shapes, poses and crops should used. particularly in hands and limbs, which can look strange to the subconscious if cropped oddly… Something i would have never thought about before this weekend. the word Arbitrary was used a lot when talking about crops of an image. Things need to be done for a purpose.
I took some good shots and also some bad, but Lou said kept saying that even if its a bad shot its not the end of the world! Its just a bad photo. I learn’t that even if they are bad, I can still learn from the shots. I ended on a high with my favourite shot of the weekend! When I took this shot i had gotten the chance to develop some form of relationship with the model and got a bit of banter going. The models were really professional, really friendly and made it really relaxed. Lou kept saying that we didn’t need to worry because they were “just models” but i think that was just to make us not feel intimidated when photographing with them under such a false situation.
I had such a great time doing this course and would recommend it to anyone wanting to improve their photography technique. Lou was a funny guy and has given me a reason to get out there and shoot portraits more. It gives me a confidence for my more production based shoots in the future and has taught me that I need to break down the process of taking a picture in to micro details, concentrating on one thing at a time, until that one thing becomes second nature, then you move on to the next thing, then the next thing until the whole process is just a reflex. So i need to shoot more and shoot often! because It is fun, it is a rush and it is great getting good feedback from others regarding the work that I do. One thing i wish i had done is gotten the class members contact or flickr pages so i could have kept in the loop of what they do in the future.
I have put some others up on my Flickr and will post some more at some point.
Like Lou says on his website
“Photography is Love.
Love is God.
Photography is God.”