English Speaking Wedding, Engagement & Family Photographer, Paris, France
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Ian Holmes Photography Workshops

The summer workshops came to an end on Friday. A great bunch of students, amazing model and lots of fun.

We actually kicked things off on Thursday evening with a few drinks in my local Parisian neighborhood - La Butte Aux Cailles. The next morning everyone arrived for 9:30am at my place. Lots of coffee and some hand out sheets to take us through the stop system, when and why off camera flash can be useful, the equipment I use, along with tips on how to begin using off camera flash without it breaking the bank.

After coffee and theory we descended into the courtyard for an example of how off camera flash can be useful and why I sometimes use it. One of the students asked a very valid question - 'with todays modern cameras able to shoot clean images at such high ISO levels, meaning they can practically take photos in the dark, why even bother with flash anymore?'.

I explained one of the reasons was that it opened up options and took the following images to help illustrate:

Firstly I snapped this simple natural light portrait of Laurent in front of one of my favorite backgrounds. A beautiful, oil stained, old red curtain.


Photo © Ian Holmes

I then set up a simple flash, camera upper left at a 45 degree'ish' angle on Laurent:


Photo © Eric Kendrick

Once I've dialed in both the camera settings and flash power I simply ask Laurent to slowly turn his head into the light following my finger. This way I can get him quickly but perfectly positioned for the Rembrandt light I have in mind.


Photo © Eric Kendrick

As soon as I see Laurent positioned exactly where I want him I grab the shot. Not a wonderfully creative portrait by any means but it does illustrate the point I wanted to make. It also shows everyone how with a little practice you can knock out nicely lit portraits using just a single flash within minutes:


Photo © Ian Holmes

Shadows a little too dark for your taste? Ok, lets bring in a white reflector to add a little fill light to the right side of the image.


Photo © Ian Holmes

After a few more sample shots and a Q&A session we broke off for lunch. Our beautiful model Julie also arrived for the afternoons shooting. After lunch I complicated things. We left the controlled environment of the courtyard and headed off into the city for a location shoot.

I shot Julie as if she was a client albeit taking my time to explain what I was doing and answer any questions. Everyone observed and took pictures as I worked. We went through location scouting and what I look for. Working with natural light. Working with a person as a subject. Using the flash to get as many looks as possible out of a single location.

Me quickly setting up the softbox for one of the shots:


Photo © Richard Olphin

Explaining something or other :-) Actually I think I was telling Diane & Laurent that I wanted them to make the interior of the arch pitch black with light just on Julie. As you can see from Diane's shot below they pulled it off with a single flash!


Photo © Richard Olphin

After a long but very productive afternoon of shooting we sat down back at the apartment. A few bottles of fine French wine accompanied a slideshow showing a brief selection of everyones work. We finally finished around midnight. I can honestly say that everyone attending the course came away with a wonderful and varied set of images. 

Here are some samples. I just want to add that none of the students images have been through any photoshop trickery. These are simply processed RAW files with some cropping, exported direct from Adobe Lightroom:


Photo © Richard Olphin


Photo © Laurent Guichardon


Photo © Eric Kendrick


Photo © Laurent Boschet


Photo © Diane Robertson


Photo © Ian Holmes

And the talented group that produced the above images:


Photo © Ian Holmes

The workshops will certainly return next year. If you're interested in getting your name on the list just drop me an email. The workshop website is over here www.photographyworkshopsparis.com and will probably answer most of the questions you may have. If not feel free to drop me an email.

A huge thanks to everyone who took part this year!