Archives for posts with tag: fashion photography courses

One of the shrewdest investments I’ve made in my photography training was a residential workshop with fashion photographer Bruce Smith, author of Pro Digital Fashion Photographyand Black and White.

Inspired by ground-breaking greats like Cecil BeatonNorman ParkinsonDavid BaileyHorst P. HorstIrving Penn and Richard Avedon, Bruce is a master of location, light and story-telling – and is especially known for his great directing rapport with models.

I booked his workshop as the ultimate ‘sink or swim’ experience – to stretch my skills to the limit and find out what I could really achieve under pressure, and in the company of other students who I suspected would have far more experience (and kit!) than me. (And they certainly did!)

Working with Bruce in a live shooting scenario at privately-owned stately home Prestwold Hall, with top designers, couture fashion pieces and a pro team of models, styling, make-up and hairwas a real eye-opener for me into the planning and mechanics of a successful commercial shoot.

Bruce is an expert in how to put together and manage a productive, creative team.  His 35 years of experience in the industry have taught him how to bring all the elements together and plan ahead, but then to think on the fly and solve problems quickly and efficiently when things (inevitably) do not go quite as expected.

I learned so much on this workshop – identifying all the gaps in my knowledge.  Finding my own weak spots helped me to gain hugely in confidence, as I knew what areas to work on in the future to help me improve.  The most important thing was to trust in myself and have faith in my ideas.

I proved to myself that it is definitely not all about the kit, when my shots were picked up and published by designers SparklewrenJacq Brill, and Chantal Mallet and selected by Belinda Chorley of Beyond Burlesque to feature in an ad in Brides Magazine.

It was so exhilarating yet nerve-wracking to be stretched, working alongside other photographers with so much more experience than me.  I have continued to be inspired by the meteoric career progress of fellow students including Brazilian-born glamour photographer Eveline Bueno, Brighton & Hove wedding photographer Vicky Lamburn and Kuwait-based beauty photographer and retoucher Adnan Kamal.

Bruce’s tips on idea generation, location scouting, shot-planning, set lighting, vibe creation, flow-posing and rapport-building come with me on every shoot I’ve done since.

Find out more about his unique workshops at the Bruce Smith Academy.

How it is done two:

Deconstructing Paris fashion photographer, Bruce Smith’s fashion photography lighting techniques.

How I created the fashion photography lighting technique for shooting natural looking  artificial light mixed with daylight that you can not tell were lit with flash.

With the exception of Image 3, for which the flash failed to go off for this shot, so there is just the available light exposure showing,

I rather like it but the image was quite underexposed so a little grainy but still charming effect.

Flash power on all 5 heads was set on lowish output to give me a flash meter reading of F4 from the models face, the meter pointing towards the camera position and on low power so the flash recycle time is short.

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Re creating late afternoon or early morning sunlight lighting with flash: Read more:

In the words of a student of one of these wonderful fashion photography courses and fine art nude photography courses run by Bruce Smith.

“Some things you just can’t learn from fashion or fine art nude photography How To Shoot Books, Youtube Videos or DVD’s”

I could have bought all the fashion and figure photography books on Amazon, and not learned what I did in a few days with Bruce, which he himself learned from decades of successful work in the industry. In September 2015 I joined Bruce in a chateau near Bordeaux, France for a four-day, one-to-one workshop in ‘sensual fashion.’ We had two models, an excellent hair and make-up artist, and a photogenic, characterful location. By the end, without doubt, the course had left an indelible mark on my stylistic development and competency as a photographer, for which I’m very grateful.

Bruce is obviously an accomplished photographer and renowned authority.

He is also an excellent instructor and personable coach—an invaluable combination. Much of what I learned from him was through his selflessly attentive coaching: unique feedback about how I performed in the situations he’d set up with the models, location and brief.

 

Irreplaceable and empowering.

Bruce broke down technical issues in straightforward language, and could immediately see and explain what I was doing and how it could be improved.

I grew a lot as a photographer over just a few days. By the end, he shadowed me on shots that I set up. I decided to take the course with Bruce to explore a part of photography I was interested in, but found very inaccessible looking at the sector from the outside.

Previously, I had started to professionalize my passion for photography, and eventually produced documentary photo essays that were later published.

As a journalistic style, this focused on observation and visual documentation of a social issue but wanting to develop in a different area of photography, to have beautiful images and to eventually become commercially viable, I looked to begin developing in fashion and figure photography.
However, my previous documentary photography skills were mismatched for fashion and figure.

Any photographer can take a pleasing photo of a model, but it requires difficult development to much higher levels if you want to break through in the industry.

To generate and capture the life and story of a shot in fashion, lingerie or figure photography, which makes all the difference between strong but mediocre shots and first rate shots which the industry expects, demands different skills from which most photographers have or think about, which are neither innate nor obvious.

So, I wanted to learn directly from an expert.

After some time with Bruce, I understand these different skills, these powerful nuances, and now have a strong foundation to continue my professional and artistic development in this area.

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I learned a lot about line, shape, form and tone—as one does in all photo workshops, but more importantly—and rarely—how to control the situation, the set, natural light and human energy, to produce stunning photographs.

We never once used a studio light throughout the course, focusing on natural light skills to build a better understanding of available light and how to use it to its best rather than too much emphasis on equipment.

I still have much photographic ‘testing’ ahead of me, but Bruce has guided me on the right path, and immensely grateful. The course setting was beautiful, and offered aspects for both studio and location shooting.

In a restored chateau outside Bordeaux, we shot mornings and afternoons inside and out, and had learning sessions in-between shots, over good coffee.

The hospitality was excellent, and made the experience not only highly instructive, but also relaxing and pleasurable.

I have a busy and stressful job elsewhere in the world, so it was heartening to not only learn from a master of photography, but also to enjoy good food and wine, sunshine, woods for running, and a pool to relax by.

The chateau is owned by a young European family, who also live there with a range of pets and animals; the place brimmed with life, and they made me feel part of the family whilst I was there—from scrambled eggs on toast in the morning in the kitchen, right down to wine by the fireplace in the evening.

If you’re serious about starting to break into upper-industry standards of fashion, lingerie and figure photography, are open-minded, and time is precious.

I can highly recommend you learn on a fashion and fine art nude photography workshop with Bruce in Clerac near Bordeaux, France.

Will

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