You might think I am, but really I am not.
That’s because, today, I am here at Digital Rev. I am very pleased to announce that I will be collaborating with Digital Rev on a regular basis appearing as a guest blogger and providing photographic tips and tutorials as well as gear reviews. This month’s article is about making great photographs in your backyard. I hope you enjoy it.
You see, my buddy Jay Goodrich, a member of the legendary Art Wolfe’s team of instructors, is giving a sweet sweet photographic adventure of his own (OK, he’s doing it with Gavriel Jecan, an other awesome dude) to the Big Island of Hawaii. I mean, this is the good stuff. Anyhow, Jay recently gave an interview to LiveBooks to talk about this workshop that I thought you would really enjoy. It comes with some spectacular imagery, hold on to your pants (or is it hats? I dunno). Without further ado, the man himself. Jay.
1. I’d love to get a little background on why you host workshops and what you hope others will get out of them?
Teaching workshops just grew out of my love for photography. I wanted to share my experiences, my passion for this creative medium with others. In addition to that
I think what is most important about my workshops is the communal experience. Everyone who is there is completely into photography and learning about photography, so it becomes not only a learning experience for the participants, but for myself as well.
I truly hope that all the people who attend walk away with a better knowledge about how to create a stronger image. I am somewhat of a gear head, but I really want people to understand that you only need your iPhone to be a creative photographer. Idea, concept, and composition first, how you record it to show the rest of the world is secondary. I do teach a lot of equipment and software based techniques as well because the era of the digital capture has opened up the boundaries…actually removed them completely.
2. Is this workshop geared more towards being creative or improving one’s technical skills? Or both?
I would say more emphasis on creating, but there is a lot of technology that gets talked about. I even teach software specific workshops on programs like Lightroom.
3. What are some of the unexpected benefits one might get from attending one of your workshops?
Traveling to amazing destinations and at times getting access to special places and locations. In our up-coming Hawaii trip, I have a friend who owns property there and he suggested that we stop by to photograph the stars over the lake of lava in his back yard one evening. I also try to focus on including luxury accommodations when possible. One of our previous trips to the Altiplano of Chile had us staying at an all inclusive five star spa. I try to give my clients a little something extra whenever I can. Even if it’s just a ride to the airport or a private critique of what they created after the workshop. I want to build relationships with my clients and I get really excited to watch them progress as photographers during the course of a workshop.
4. What are the most important things for the attendees to realize when they participate in a workshop, to help them get the most of of the experience?
I think they really need to understand, that it isn’t amazing everyday. There are days when sunrises don’t materialize. Weather changes. Miscommunications happen. Cars break down. People have gear troubles. We do our best to help everyone and fix all of the issues, but sometimes, it will just rain for a week straight. We will make the best out of it though. This leads to: they should also come with an open mind. Be open to a new experience and new people because everyone has a different perspective to offer.
5. What differentiates this workshop from others?
With this Hawaii workshop we are taking a little bit of a different approach. We are showing participants how we look for everything and anything while traveling. How our eyes are focused on multiple disciplines, multiple subjects, and ever changing light. This allows us to create a large portfolio of images, which in turn gives us a stronger market base, better coverage for a location, and makes us better photographers overall. If I just focused on photographing birds, I think I would have given up on photography a long time ago. It is the experience of what resides around the bend that keeps me going day in and day out. Focus on a great composition and it doesn’t matter what your subject is, you will walk away with a great image.
6. Was attending workshops instrumental to help you become the photographer that you are now? If so, how did they do that?
I have only attended two workshops in my life. One was taught by John Shaw about selling your work and the other was taught by my really close friend Art Wolfe. One sent me off in the professional direction and the other sent me off in the creative direction. Although, as I have grown my business over the years, I have been lucky to work with some of the top level pros in the industry and this has helped me realize what works and what doesn’t along the lines of instructing. I also have a wife who is a teacher, so she beats the knowledge of two masters degrees in education into me on a regular basis.
This has made me focus on smaller group sizes and on more client one-on-one time in the field. Typically, I never teach more than six individuals by myself and never more than ten when there are two of us. I also want to spend less time lecturing to participants and more time in the field showing them what works and what doesn’t work.
Younes here again. I’ve had the pleasure to shoot alongside Jay and to see him teach with Art. All I can say is that the guy is an awesome guy all around. At the very least, you’ll have the time of your life. I am also sure your photography will be transformed too. If you want more information, I would encourage you to visit Jay’s site and get in touch with him directly.
Yet again, I am not here today because I have the honor to guest post on another blog. I am so excited I am having trouble containing myself. I have the immense privilege to post on the blog of an icon of landscape photography: Art Wolfe. You can find my post on “finding your own style” right here: http://blog.artwolfe.com/2010/02/finding-your-style-by-younes-bounhar/.