Playing The Long Game: Outdoor Photography With Telezooms



Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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6 Aug 2020 12:33PM   Views : 431 Unique : 286


Some while back, David Kilpatrick, one of the most interesting of writers on photography, wrote an editorial about the use of images from workshops on participants’ portfolios. The gist was that a number of wedding and portrait photographers had attended professional-level seminars where then had taken pictures using the lighting, settings and models provided by the organisers and then posted them on their own websites as examples of the quality of work they could provide.

The point was that if they had done nothing more than point a camera at a scene, even using the settings prescribed by the tutor, it was arguable that they had not contributed much, creatively. Certainly, there was no guarantee that they could light and style for clients in the same way.

When I started running lighting workshops, I pondered about this, and concluded that there were at least three essential differences:

1 there is always scope within the context of a small workshop for each photographer to produce individual work: it’s not as fixed and final as a workshop teaching highly specific professional skills, and I make a point of allowing each participant to choose their own angles, lenses and so on;
2 a large part of what people are learning is about model interaction – how to talk to a stranger effectively, and communicate ideas about poses and so on. While everyone may start with similar images, how they develop them is not something I seek to control, though I’ll provide advice when asked;
3 the nature and format of my workshops is such that the results are a far less controlled and constrained ‘product’ than at a pro seminar – and they are always the result of the interaction between photographer and model, so that – even with identical lighting – the results will be rather different.

And, of course, my attendees are not going to be setting up in competition with me: that’s an important, if unspoken, part of the think DK wrote about. So I’m entirely happy for anything shot at my workshops to go up. Of course, I appreciate a credit – it’s great advertising!


But what if the seminar is a bit more free-form? If the pictures are shot at a landscape or wildlife course? I have heard of one professional wildlife photographer forbidding use of images shot on his courses. Would it make a difference if a picture was entered in a competition? Would it affect your judgment of a picture’s merits if it included ‘shot under Charlie Waite’s guidance’ in the write-up?

And where do things like TimeLine Events stand? TimeLine provide a setting, character actors, and often-dramatic light, and I wonder if I would judge an image more kindly if it was shot by a photographer working alone and setting up their own lighting. But the company provides access to locations and subjects that are generally inaccessible, and photographers usually tag them, as well. But how do such images stand in international competitions, for instance, or for Royal Photographic Society panel submissions? I don’t know – any knowledge out there?


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dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
6 Aug 2020 12:34PM
Models, from workshops at Bodyline Studios, are Black Beauty, Vampire Princess, and Eden Elizabeth, top to bottom.

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