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Sep 21 2009

Quote a Day – Philipe Halsman

Daniel Linnet

Salvador Dali A - Philippe Halsman

Salvador Dali A - Philippe Halsman

“The head of the photographer is more important than his camera” – Phillipe Halsman

Halsman on Wilkipedia

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Sep 21 2009

SPW Workshop Review – Photographing People

Jose Fernandez

Review by Chris Belyea

Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not entirely comfortable with taking the prospect of taking images of people, and my skill set in this area extended to the typical ‘ … stand there, look at the camera and smile .. ‘

Hardly inspiring stuff, so what do you usually do when you want to improve at something … you seek out talented, knowledgeable and experienced people to show you how !

Cruising the internet you’ll come across a variety of professional photographers offering a bewildering array of Workshops and courses, but one that really stood out was Sydney Photographic Workshops People Photography Workshop … a full day workshop … just what I was looking for !

I’d met Daniel Linnet before at the Shots @ The Arthouse workshops so I knew I was in good hands.

Right from the outset, I knew this was a professionally run course, from the booking confirmation form through to the reminder a few days prior to the Workshop. Everything was planned for and taken care of, I knew what I needed to bring, what we‘d be doing and how the day was planned.

Upon arrival we’re greeted by Wendy (Daniel’s wife) and the mood is relaxed and friendly and Wendy has this knack for remembering everyone’s name … all the time !

After we’re all seated comfortably, Daniel briefs us on how the day is planned … a morning shoot at a boxing gym and an afternoon shoot at an outdoor location. Bring it on !

The Morning Shoot

Within 5 minutes of arriving at our location, you quickly realise that Daniel and Wendy make a great team, and its so totally seamless in the way in which they operate … Daniel leads from the front, knows his stuff and explains things in a manner in which you can understand. Nothing is ever too much trouble, no question ever too stupid. Wendy is always in the background making sure that everything’s under control … she’s just ‘there’ … handing out drinks and snacks through to making sure everyone keeps their elbows in check.

During the morning session, Daniel carefully explains what we need to look for, what to consider and how to go about it.
Daniel 1
All the basics are covered, but the finer details, all drawn from Daniel’s experience, are generously shared and I’m starting to feel a lot more comfortable in directing our model to get the shot I’m seeing in my mind. It still feels uncomfortable, but its getting there.

Just a small point worth noting is that SPW (Sydney Photographic Workshops) use professional models and believe me, this sort of attention to detail makes a huge difference, as well as the fact that they also have another professional photographer there, and Ben was simply fantastic in this regard

Everybody is well looked after and we all get ample time and opportunity to shoot

After around 3 solid hours of shooting we head back to the SPW studio for what was described as a ‘sumptuous lunch’.

Trust me, they’re underplaying what was a relaxed and beautifully prepared lunch for all 9 of us … again, it’s the attention to detail that make a huge difference

The Afternoon Shoot

Its back on the bus to our outdoor location and admittedly, the morning shoot had been one for the girls, but this was now the boys turn

Again, another superb professional model, beautifully made up and so totally professional and at ease … nothing was ever too much trouble (just like the morning)

With an entirely different set of conditions to contend with, Daniel is quickly into his stride and once again, the combination of Daniel, Wendy and Ben were all working to make the shoot so effortless.

Just a word to the wise … never underestimate the power of a simple ‘point & shoot’ camera in Wendy’s capable hands.
Towards the end of the day, Daniel shows us all how to create ‘day for night’ technique … but you’ll have to attend yourself to find out !

During the course of the day I found myself becoming more and more comfortable with directing our models until in the end, it felt ‘almost’ natural. I don’t think I’m quite ready to give up my day job, but at least I now know, more importantly, what NOT to do !

Mission accomplished !

As with some things, quite often the difference between what is advertised or promised and what is actually delivered can be disappointing.

Not so here !

If I’m honest, I’ll admit to slightly baulking at paying $395, but given my research on other workshops it seemed quite reasonable, that is until you experience it first hand and then you totally appreciate what stupendous value it really is.

From first hand experience, what SPW advertised they delivered, and much much more

• Multi award winning Master Photographer
• Photographer’s Assistant
• A professional and friendly fashion / beauty model
• A professional actor / character model
• A Host & Stylist
• Tutorial & objective brief for the days shoots
• Light refreshments throughout the day (includes water, tea, coffee, juice & snacks)
• Sumptuous lunch
• Final review
• Lighting & reflectors where required
• Location fees
• Studio equipment
• Transport van
• Wardrobe & costumes
• SPW Student Discount Card offering discounts from a variety of retailers and preferred suppliers
• Registration and on-going support via our Student Forum

Daniel made what I thought was a brave statement at the beginning of the workshop that we’d definitely come away with maybe 5 or 6 shots that we’d be really proud of.

He was right !

For more information and booking details please visit Sydney Photo Workshops.


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6 Responses to “SPW Workshop Review – Photographing People”

  • Vote -1 Vote +1Yolanda Romeo

    Totally agree with your review Chris. I have done the 8 week basic course and the people photography course. Best money ever spent. Daniel and Wendy are great and I learnt so much and really enjoyed the workshops. Hoping to do the landscape one as soon as I have some spare cash.

  • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1CB 357

    Yolanda, hope to see you there then … its on my list as well ;-)

  • Vote -1 Vote +1Daniel Linnet

    Thanks Chris for such an awesome review. I’m blushing. :-)

  • Vote -1 Vote +1Jose Fernandez

    Chris, is the landscape workshop the final piece in the SPW workshop puzzle?

  • Vote -1 Vote +1MarcinGwizd

    I attended this course where these particular photos were taken,
    I have done workshops with other photogaphers but have never met anyone as passionate and good at what they do till i met Daniel.

    This is the most rewarding workshop i have done i learned more in one day than all the previous courses i have done put together, I will definately be back to do more.

    Location and model choice Perfect! :)

  • Vote -1 Vote +1CB 357

    Jose, I wouldn’t say ‘final’ but it will be a step in the right direction ;-)

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