Long-time readers will remember that last October I went on a StreetSnappers photography workshop in London and what a jolly time I had. In fact, it was so jolly, I decided to book myself on another one. Last Saturday saw me head off back to London for their Urban Landscape Photography workshop, lead by the ever-lovely Brian Llyod Duckett*.
Six of us met at The Barbican for refreshments and an introduction to street and urban photography by Brian. After a nice natter where we shared our photographic experience and what we wanted to get from the day, we headed off. Brian had a route mapped out for us where he could show us how to compose strong shots and use light and shadow to give our photographs extra power.
One of our crowd, Victoria, was wearing an extremely stylish hat, which looked brilliant in silhouette, and so was called upon to walk nonchalantly around the place so we could photograph her and her marvellous millinery.
After the Barbican we headed out to the Square Mile where we lurked in a colourful underpass awaiting interesting looking passers-by to photograph. Brian, always supportive was helping us all improve our observation skills as well as technical skills.
After a spot of lunch, we headed across the River Thames to the South Bank, ending up down by City Hall and Tower Bridge, where reflections and crowds were order of the day.
I had set out on this course to try and improve my anticipation of good shots. One of the problems I have, which stems from having shot film for so long, is not being quick enough to take a shot. I tend to think, compose, check, think again, double check and then press the shutter release. This is a wise course of action when you only have a roll of 36 frames, and I would argue, if you are not shooting fast moving or changing subjects is still very good practise for digital photography. For street, it works less well and really isn’t necessary. So, throughout the day I urged myself to take far more shots, taking about 500 rather than the 60 or so I would normally take over a day’s shooting. My percentage hit rate dropped of course, but my number of keepers rose massively.
Once again, I had a thoroughly fantastic day. I have been on a good number of courses and workshops now, with many different providers, and I have experienced the good, the bad and the downright terrible**, but the StreetSnappers workshops are in a league of their own and that comes down to two things. Firstly, Brian’s fantastic experience, knowledge and attitude. He’s a great teacher, helping people understand the technical aspects of photography, as well as the creative process. He is generous with his knowledge and always seems absolutely delighted when someone nails a shot. Secondly the whole process from booking on the website, to the information prior to the day and follow-up after is hugely professional.
The workshops are relaxed and all levels of photography are welcomed. Since the groups are small, a maximum of six, there is lots of opportunity to talk to Brian and to swap ideas and knowledge with the other participants. It all makes for a really relaxed, fun and rewarding day of photography.
After the workshop Brian sends out a follow up email with lots of references to look at for inspiration and an invitation to the StreetSnappers Alumina Facebook Group. The group is wonderful, full of people enjoying street photography at lots of locations and with their own spin which allows the StreetSnapper's experience to extend and develop your creativity even further.
StreetSnappers run courses in several cities in the UK, and also overseas, if you can get yourself along, then do. You will learn lots, and maybe capture that decisive moment.
* Buy his book, you won’t regret it.
** That’s for another blog post…