Monday, July 29, 2013

Shooting Copenhagen Photo Workshops

While we were in Copenhagen back in June, Melody generously gave me the chance to participate in a photography workshop, Shooting Copenhagen.  Shooting Copenhagen is run by British Expat Matthew James Harrison, who has several different workshops and photo-walks for differing levels of ability.  I originally signed up for one of his Express photowalks, but he had to shoot the Cliff Diving Championships that afternoon, so I went to a Beginner's workshop.  While the material covered was pretty basic, focusing on composition, aperture, shutter-speed, and ISO, it was a good review, and an opportunity to do some practical and fun experimentation.

After about 45 minutes of discussion, we took to the streets and went to put the lessons to actual photos. We started at the Rosenborg Palace where we experimented with composition and seeing the effects of adjusting settings.  It was a great place to work with leading lines.

After a good 45 minutes there, we moved off, stopping in a parking lot to get some photos of relfections of a brightly colored building.  Since we were taking photos of the reflections in the windows or side view mirrors of cars, we must have looked a bit suspicious. One lady stopped us to find out what we were doing, and it took Matt a couple of minutes and repeated showing of his professional ID and his jacket with on the back before she believed him.

Then, we moved on to the Marble Church where we did some low-light photography, again, working with depth of field, ISO, and white balance settings.

Finally, we moved to the Royal Residences and got there just as the changing of the guard was finishing up.  We kept mobile, as the guards get a little snippy if you stand in one place for too long with a camera taking photos of the Queen's House.  Here, he got us to think about watching the people taking pictures of the event or monuments, as often they're more interesting than the actual subjects of their pictures. As the workshop drew to a close, he asked if there was anything else we wanted to try, so I mentioned panning....lots of people riding bikes all over made for excellent subjects.  So, we went to shutter speed priority, 1/40th of a second, and waited at a likely point where people would ride by.  Lots of fun, and great practice.

Overall, the workshop was excellent.  Matt was personable and funny, and it was good to get some feedback from a true professional.  He pointed out some rookie mistakes, and reinforced the need to thoughtfully compose rather than just stand and snap.  Move around, look for different angles, look up, look for patterns...all things I'm familiar with, but that having a pro next to you pointing them out, really caused them to take root.  I've noticed an improvement in my subsequent pictures that I can say directly comes from that short four hour workshop.

Main Takeaway...look for something that makes your photo "Light, Tight, and not Sh!te."  Exposure, composition, and then that extra creative element that makes it more than just another snapshot of a popular tourist venue.  If you have people stopping to watch you take a photo because you're laying on the ground to get a creative shot, you're doing it right.


Photos of photographers

A few of the other keepers from that day's shooting.

For more information:
Shooting Copenhagen
Contact Photography by Matthew James in Denmark +45 27 35 56 83

1 comment:

Shawn Passons said...

WOW!! Fantastic photos in my opinion!!! Will be contacting you for prof photos of Navy celebrations when you return stateside!!! Miss ya'll!!!