There are worse places to spend your weekend than Paris. Certainly if you are surrounded by fun people with a true passion for photography. I was asked to do a half day workshop by a French photography store called Lovinpix. It’s a young company that aims to offer not only equipment but also technical advice and workshops. Their website is only in French at the moment, but they are working hard on an English version.
I’m more of an outdoor person than a city guy but I’m always happy to make an exception when it comes to Paris. I just love the vibe of this city. On top of that Paris has been the place to be for photography, pretty much since the invention of the photographic progress. The guys form Lovinpix really want to mix this heritage with a modern approach and I’m happy I could be part of one of their first initiatives.
The workshop was about down and dirty guerrilla style photography in the streets of Paris. We started out with a little exercise on mixing flash with ambient light. My French is not too bad but I have very little experience teaching photography in French so that was a bit of a challenge in the beginning. Luckily I was assisted by Nicolas Vallet, who co-founded a French website dedicated to off-camera flash, called Strobi.fr. He helped me finding the right words and his knowledge of the area was very helpful too. Niko is an excellent photographer and has great teaching skills, which was a great advantage for the participants and for myself.
This dull grey day provided the ideal situation to understand the need to take lighting into your own hands when needed. If there’s no good light, make it yourself!
Hard light can be hard to get right, but with a talented model like Emélia, it’s easier to pull it off. Despite getting really cold by the end of the workshop, she kept working her poses and expressions.
We also played around with my famous shower curtain to create soft light.
And back to hard light for a strong look that might not be flattering to the model, but I like the power and intensity.
On our way to another location, I’ve spotted a petanque court made from light sand. We used the sand as a reflector to bounce a flash and produce a natural soft kind of beauty light.
By the way, the making-of pictures in this post were all shot by my 9yo son Kobe who was my second assistant on this workshop. I assigned him to make some behind-the-scenes images and I think he did great.
When we started losing the natural light, we played around with a CTO gel to shift the colors of the background to drama-blue.
We ended the workshop by the Seine and bounced a single speedlight off a concrete wall for natural looking soft light.
Big thanks to the whole group for a great workshop. I hope to head back to Paris soon for a full day or maybe even multi day workshop.