About our street photography workshops
Our unique combination of a highly experienced course leader (a full-time professional street photographer and photojournalist) and small groups leads to a powerful and immersive learning experience. Whilst a small element of the workshop is theory-based, most of our time together is spent shooting on the streets, learning by experience with plenty of individual, hands-on tuition.
Our street photography workshops and courses are fun, informative and relaxed. They are sometimes provocative, usually challenging and always highly enjoyable; they will stretch your imagination, develop your skills and boost your confidence.
Our courses concentrate on ‘getting the picture’. We don’t get bogged down with technicalities (though we do give you a comprehensive grounding in the essentials such as camera settings, focusing, lighting and composition); we prefer to make the most of our time together by focusing on how to make you a great street photographer, conquering your fear of shooting on the streets, understanding what makes a good picture and ensuring that you capture ‘the moment’.
We believe that good street photography extends beyond random pictures of strangers walking down a street or of people sitting in a cafe. We pay as much attention to the aesthetic as we do the technique and it is this combination which makes our workshops different.
Most of our 1-day workshops follow the format below. There could be slight variations according to the weather, the time of year or certain events taking place – but the programme uses a structured, tried and tested formula to help you get the best out of our time together.
A typical itinerary
Much of the day is focused on developing your skills and building your confidence as a street photographer. We will coach you in the techniques used by a professional street photographer and will introduce you to exciting new ways of working.
- The day usually starts at 10am with coffee, introductions and a discussion about our objectives for the day.
- We will discuss the ethics and law of street photography, including how to deal with challenges or questions from the public or officials.
- You will be introduced to the techniques used by professional street photographers with tuition and guidance on ‘best practice’ for the craft of street photography
- You will be coached in developing your observational skills and what to look for when out on the streets.
- Next, we will discuss technical issues such as equipment, settings and formats, including how to optimise your camera settings for street photography.
- We will then head out onto the streets for up to two intensive hours of street photography.
- Because your group is small (maximum of six), there’s plenty of time for individual tuition and coaching.
- We will usually find a quiet spot to have a snack and discuss the morning’s adventures and share our experiences and discuss the techniques we found most useful.
- The afternoon will be spent building on the morning’s tuition, coaching and experiences, putting into practice some new techniques and ways of working.
- There will be two further assignments during the afternoon session, each set to build on the theoretical and practical foundations developed during the morning session..
- This session will be focused on ensuring we have met the brief and have a set of images we are proud to put our names to.
At the end of the day
- At the end of a challenging day, we have a thorough debrief over a drink, bringing all our experiences together in the form of a group discussion and a Q&A session.
After the workshop
- You will be invited to join an alumni group on Facebook, allowing you to keep in touch with your colleagues on this and other courses – as well as having access to news, views and trends in street photography generally.
- Your course leader will provide constructive feedback on your four best images from the course.
What you will learn
- Develop a ‘street photographer’s eye’ and learn how to spot a photo opportunity in an every day street scene.
- Think in terms of ‘themes’ and ‘projects’ to help stimulate your creativity and produce a strong body of work.
- Understand the different approaches, sub-genres and styles of street photography
- Conquer your fear of photographing strangers.
- Learn to anticipate and recognise Cartier Bresson’s ‘Decisive moment’ and capitalise on the opportunity.
- Become invisible and shoot your environment quietly and unobtrusively.
- Learn how to set up your camera to enable you to shoot quickly and accurately in most environments.
- Develop your confidence in shooting on the streets.
- Photograph safely in difficult situations or areas and learn how to interact effectively with the public, the police and other officials.
- Know your rights and understand some of the key legal aspects of street photography.
- React positively if people are challenging or offended; develop your ‘back story’.
- Develop a distinctive personal style for your photography.
- Refine your post-production techniques and workflow techniques.
Is the workshop for you?
This workshop will suit photographers at most levels of skill and experience, from relative beginners to professionals in other fields of photography. You will, however, find it helpful to have a good working knowledge of your equipment, exposure, focus and some of the fundamental photographic principles.
This is not a highly technical workshop where we endlessly discuss gear, settings and obscure techniques – it is a pragmatic, hands-on and intensive course in the art and science of street photography. However, there will be plenty of advice on hand to discuss technical issues where necessary.
We are used to working with groups of mixed levels of experience, so don’t worry about ‘fitting in’ with the course – the groups are small enough to give everyone the attention they deserve.
What gear do you need?
The type of camera you use for the workshop is not all that important. The majority of students bring a digital camera (mirrorless, compact or DSLR) whilst others use film; some bring both. The choice of lends is more critical: a zoom or prime lens is fine and the ideal focal length for the course is 35mm (full-frame equivalent) – but anything in the range of 24mm to 50mm will be fine. You won’t need a flash or tripod. Some other useful points to note:
- Make sure you bring spare batteries and plenty of memory card capacity
- Weather conditions can vary so keep an eye on the forecast and bring appropriate protection
- Bring comfortable shoes – we often walk 5-8km
- Bring money for refreshments during the day
Frequently asked questions
Do I need lots of camera equipment? No – it really doesn’t matter! Anything from a good basic digital compact camera to a professional DSLR is fine, as is a traditional film camera. We aim to work quickly and unobtrusively, and recommend that gear is kept to an absolute minimum. A lens with a focal length of around 25mm is ideal, though anything in the range of 24mm to 50mm will be fine.
What shall I bring with me on the day? We recommend you travel light! Just bring your camera kit (as little of it as possible), spare batteries, spare memory cards, clothing appropriate for the weather conditions, comfortable shoes, bottle of water and money for refreshments.
Is there lots of walking involved? Yes! Because of the very nature of what we do, ‘pounding the pavements’ is very necessary and unfortunately the course is not suitable for those who are unable to walk far. We usually walk around 5-8k, depending on the location. So as well as being great fun, street photography is good for you!
What happens if it rains? The show goes on. The same goes for snow, ice and other forms of ‘extreme’ weather, all of which make for great street photography. Make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecast and bring appropriate clothing or weather protection.
Are there any additional costs involved? Other than your own coffees, lunch and refreshments during and after the workshop, no. Very occasionally we will need to use public transport, so you may need to pay for a ‘short hop’ fare on a tube, bus, train or tram.
Your current locations are not convenient. Can you run a course near to where I live? Very probably. Just let us know what you have in mind and we may be able to develop a course there. Please bear in mind that our course locations must be suitable for our needs and will be thoroughly researched before a properly structured course can take place.
Do you offer one-to-one tuition? Yes, we will put together a coaching and mentoring programme to help you achieve your artistic or career objectives.
There is something magical about the way Brian leads this course that has taken my photography to a whole new level. The day started with clear instructions to set up my camera in a specific way that is good for street photography but completely different from what I would normally do. The freedom to ‘get the shot’ that this created was game changing for me!
As the small group went with Brian round some really ‘target rich’ areas of London, he perfectly blended leaving each of us to do our own thing, observing from afar, whilst being on hand to casually drop in some very friendly advice on street photography, camera technique (also post processing) and truly great tips on seeing/anticipating great shots.
Brian is a talented teacher with photographers of all abilities, go on this course if you want a really fun day out AND to learn great techniques from a highly experienced professional photographer whose style of imparting his immense knowledge is effective, friendly and non judgemental. You will see the world completely differently in just a few hours!Matthew S (via Tripadvisor)
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