What a fantastic day we had yesterday in Oxfordshire at the wonderful Eynsham Hall. The sun was shining as we started the day with coffee & pastries talking about weddings, going through the process that I adopt on most weddings looking at images and the technique of flash.

We then got on to looking at daylight and some simple set ups in the training room to begin with. Using just the available light coming into the room. After a quick lunch we headed back to the room to use some simple gridded speedlights for a cool shot in the corner of the room with our models Jack & Danielle. We then headed off into a dark corridor for another set up using one light. After which the sunshine and the outdoors beckoned ! After playing outside with OCF , daylight & strong sunshine we headed off back in for a break and then straight into our first dance set up – using OCF & speedlights.

It was a fantastic day with a lot of information passed on to the photographers in the group.

Topics covered included – Using daylight – sun & shade | Cropping & composition | Off camera flash theory | Techniques for using different flashes & softboxes | creating flow in your images | First dance – lighting it | Business & selling yourself | Albums | & so much more….

Huge thank you Juliet Cunningham for excellent make up & to Sophie at Styled by Sophie for beautiful hair. Also thanks to models Danielle & Jack for being such great fun to work wth..

***We have just released another fabulous Oxford course at the beautiful Manor on the Green – this is the first time we have held a course here and are super excited to release this one! Join us on  July 24th at this amazing location to learn all about how to take the best wedding images you have ever taken! CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE** 

Also take a look at our Light Ship Lighting course if you want to take your portrait & fashion lighting to another level of awesomeness ! CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO

Here is some of the kit we used yesterday on the course:

Speed lights - YongNuo YN-568EX II Flashgun with Lastolite grids ( Strobo kit - )

Stands – I mainly use Manfrotto and the stands we had the flashes on in the training room were interlocking Manfrotto stands – ( 1004BAC stands )

Pole – Ross was holding the flash on a lastolite extending pole

We didn’t use the Elinchrom ELB  - but this is the pack I use the most now for weddings and if you are looking to upgrade look no further – find info here - -if you’re interested then call RUSS at the The Flash Centre in Leeds – tell him you have been on a course and he will help you out! Maybe a better price too!

We also used the large pack which is the Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS pack – these are awesome units but quite heavy – they are being replaced by these -

Reflector – we used a Lastolite Tri Grip reflector – Sunfire / Softsilver

Belt system is the Think Tank Belt system – look at Snapper Stuff!

Dont just take my word for it….

Alison Busby ” Brilliant day. Best wedding photography course ever. Thanks so much –  so much learning.”

Sharon Brockman “Thanks for an awesome day yesterday Brett and Ross, loads of fun and I learnt loads.”

Andy Dawson –  “I would just like to take this moment to thank you very much for the training course yesterday.

I am truly enlightened! I strongly believe that I have now found the shooting style that I have been searching for in my short career to date and I have definitely fallen in love with flash.

I edited about 50 or so pics when I got home and thought I would mix the styles up a bit. I have shown them to people at work and they have been amazed.”


Here are some images & a little snippet of some BTS footage from the Eynsham Hall course…



















Watch a little behind the scenes video:


If you aren’t following me on Social Media then it would be great to have you onboard :

Instagram -

Facebook -

Facebook Group -


Twitter -


We also have a fabulous collection of training DVD’s available from the store -:



1 comment
  • Oliver Kershaw (05.01.2017 | 07:43)

    Love her bouquet! Great pictures!

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Why not join us this year for some super training! From our bespoke 1-1 to 4-1 sessions around the country we also have numerous fantastic training 1 day courses. We have also just released a fabulous 3 day training exrtravaganza in France in oct this year.

We have had a wonderful start to the year here at Brett Harkness studios. Not only has our own shooting been going well but we are gearing up for a great year of weddings and training. Our training courses have started with a bang and already we have had three courses from the studio and 4  - 1-1 private sessions with different photography businesses teaching them everything from business structure to shooting, flash, daylight, album design, photoshop and so much more. Our courses are very relaxed and the way that I teach makes it easy for everyone to understand. You will have ample time to shoot, our maximum number of delegates on any course is 10. If you are looking for something a little more bespoke to your own business needs then why not bring me to you! You can of course come to the studio outside of Manchester or for a little extra I can come to you! We can cater the day to look at your own business needs as well as factor in shooting. A perfect bespoke day molded to your needs. To see prices PLEASE CLICK HERE.

To see more info of our great courses out now on the training course page please click HERE, including FRANCE!

Here are a few images from recent courses & 1-1 sessions here at BHP.












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Yesterdays training day saw us back at the wonderful Arley Hall outside of Nantwich in Cheshire. We started off the day after coffee looking at the business side of things, pricing and branding. Then onto some images to get the juices flowing.

After a break we photographed the B&G upstairs in one of the bedrooms keeping things simple looking at the use of daylight & exposure. After a great lunch we took to outside , using some of the architectural features of the surroundings. Using a mixture of daylight and flash in different situations. Having fun with a tree that very kindly gave us it’s blossom after a little persuasion!

A huge thank you as always to Zan Atkinson for her amazing styling & hair/make up skills. To Nemesis model agency in Manchester for our wonderful models , Liam & Naz and to the staff at Arley for making our day a success.

Here are a couple of images from the course….






When my assistant can do this then it means that we can do this! No tree was harmed in the making of these images!

A clip from our Arley Hall course yesterday from Brett Harkness on Vimeo.







1 comment
  • Matt Selby (12.10.2015 | 03:28)

    Epic groom shots! Too good!

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The last day of March brought us to our Wedding/Speedlight course 30 mins outside of Manchester. Starting off in Bury in the morning discussing some imagery & the business side of our wedding process. We then headed off to a new venue for us, The Dunkenhalgh near Blackburn.

After lunch on arrival we started to shoot working our way around the venue inside and moving outside to shoot in some of the grounds. Using mainly 580 EX II speedlights and on occasion the Calumet Genesis GF400 flash unit. Looking at creating eye catching images of the B&G inside and out. Using different focal lengths for effect and looking at using very low power speedlights at close quarters to the subject.Looking at how to light a first dance, shooting against the daylight, using surfaces for reflection & so much more..

We have some great courses coming up soon so why not join us this yer for some amazing training & a day you wont forget!

A huge thank you to Zan Atkinson for her styling & make-up, Models Zac & Janine from Nemesis Agency in Manchester. Dresses from Novak Exclusive Bridal Lounge.

Here are a few images from the day:




A tiny alcove made a great background for the couple. Just a speedlight on 8th power with an Ezy box


Shot with the couple standing behind a fire escape door.


Shooting the Groom against a tree! Using a 24-70mm on the left, Genesis on 1/4 power.

Right shot- 50mm lens with 580 EX II speedlight on 128th power.


Dancing on 1/4 sec at f11


Main light is Genesis on 1/4 power & two star  ( 580 flashes) lights both on 8th power.



Single naked speedlight on full power to make the day go to night!





  • Konrad (04.01.2014 | 09:08)

    Awesome images!!!!

  • Tom Needham (04.06.2014 | 11:54)

    What a fantastic day of learning and explanation from Brett and his team. My entire attitude to flash and flash techniques has been overturned by this workshop. Unreservedly recommended, no matter how experienced you are.

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This March saw us shooting at the wonderful Arley Hall in Nantwich in Cheshire for our two – 1 day wedding courses. Starting off with coffee & pastries I spent the morning session going through our business in detail. Looking at workflow, brochures, wedding fairs, client contact, sales and so much more. Giving us enough time to work with the Bride & Groom in the main bridal bedroom looking at natural light and getting the most out of the quick session after the bride has got ready.

Keeping things simple early on in the wedding is best!

After a fantastic lunch we headed off outside to numerous different location over the two days. Working in the grounds of Arley and also the little church that sits on the grounds. Looking at using simple flash, balancing it with the ambiance , over riding the ambiance mastering the technique of using Off Camera Flash. Using flash at Fashion or advertising shoots is a lot different when you have more time. With our weddings time with the B&G is premium and we have to work fast so we concentrate on techniques that you can execute very quickly when under pressure.

The  2 days were great fun and everyone had time with the B&G to shoot but most of all to ask questions all day on different aspects of their own business and method of shooting. The point of our courses for me is to teach people a method, to inspire people to push there own businesses & photography into different places. To create a style that is themselves and unique to them. This is what we all crave for and our desire to push our own photography into different places should be the driving force behind any successful photographic business. If you want to see what other photographers got up to on the day then check out the two links below!

We also due to demand ,have another wonderful day planned at the stunning Arley Hall. So why not join us for  a day that just may change the way you look at the wedding world forever! CLICK HERE for more information..

A huge thank you to :

Location: Arley Hall

Styling & Hair/Make up – Zan Atkinson

Dresses: Novakks Exclusive Bridal Wear

Models: Nemesis





















A few images from behind the scenes.. Thanks to James Davies for these.











1 comment
  • Martin Makowski Photography (11.30.2015 | 05:22)

    Great photos Brett. I love the shot of the groom on top of the ladder. Awesome work.

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Last week saw us at the wonderful venue of The Mansion in Leeds in the amazing setting of Roundhay Park. A huge thank you to all that made it there and for James Davies for writing up this brilliant blog post. So good I thought I would just link to it!!

Thanks to Lee for assisting on the day. Huge thank you to Zan Atkinson for her amazing styling and to Novakks Bridal Lounge for our gorgeous dresses. Of course to Emma & Nic for their modelling and for putting up with the cold so well! Also thank you to all the people at The Mansion for making us feel so welcome..


Here are some of the images that I shot on the training day but if you want to see what other people shot then take a look at James’s link above to read more about our great day of BHP training.












1 comment
  • Adrian Harvey (11.27.2013 | 12:26)

    She's a very beautiful subject and it looked like a good day light-wise to capture these images. Great looking shots!

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The day after filming for our Creative Flash for Weddings DVD last year the weather was so nice we decide to stop by the beach on the way home and film some extra footage!

Showing set ups including Off Camera High Speed flash, big Elinchrom Ranger flash being used to it’s max against the sun, running with flash and so much more… Watch this footage and share it with your friends. If you have any questions about it please join us on our FB page, twitter @brettharkness or contact us through the site. TAKE A LOOK AT THE VIDEO ON OUR VIDEO PAGE BY CLICKING HERE
Take a look at our Creative Flash for weddings & Real Wedding DVD’s. We also have a NEW DOWNLOAD option so you can watch whilst on the run or easily from a different country.

Take a look at for more information.

  • Joanne Gower (01.31.2013 | 10:36)

    Thanks Brett the dvd is great and highly recommended! I am about to shoot a seaside wedding so this couldnt be more timely!

  • Neil Proctor (01.31.2013 | 10:37)

    £79.99 for a DVD of this quality, IMO, is a bargain.....the tips, tricks and techniques you can learn from it, are truly amazing. After watching it, there is no way, that you will not want to pick your camera up and want to start shooting flash. Thanks Brett Harkness and co for creating a fantastic product. If you want quality, to help assist you in flash, I strongly urge you to purchase it! Remember, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got.....

  • Angela Adams (01.31.2013 | 10:38)

    I must complain... I didn't get any sleep last night after watching this at 11pm before I went to bed. My mind was far too busy I even dreamt of Brett Harkness , must be my age and hormones going awry! Here's hoping for a more peaceful night tonight!

  • Mark Revill (01.31.2013 | 10:40)

    Outstanding Film and photoshoot.

  • Jon Mold (01.31.2013 | 10:41)

    Think you can run faster backwards than I can forwards.

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Wow, what a day we had yesterday at the beautiful location of Danesfield House outside of Marlow. The sunshine greeted the photographers as we spent the morning session drinking coffee, eating shortbread and talking about our imagery, business method and wedding tactics!


We then got on with with some great shooting, using the venue inside & out. A lot of information was passed on during the days session. As it is on all of our courses. I like to teach in as simple a fashion as possible. Straight talking!! We looked at flash, off camera, first dance, posing, communication! Using daylight! Don’t forget that!! Working with a couple and getting the best out of them in as quick a time as possible. All packed into a great day of learning with yummy sandwiches & shortbread thrown in!!

A big thank you to models, Dan Dewhirst , Gemma & Rosie MacPherson for being great to work with and were appreciated by all concerned. As every a huge thank you to make up , Hair & styling guru Zan Atkinson who makes my images smile!! Also to Danesfield House for making us feel very welcome the entire day!

Dresses by Novakks & headpieces by Victoria Mary Vintage. We will be putting on another course at Danesfield House later on in the year, August time. If you are interested please get in touch now. We also have some amazing courses coming up around the UK & Europe with some places still left on our Fabulous French course in October. For more info on all of our courses PLEASE CLICK HERE.




Here is a little footage from behind the scenes at our wedding training day.

  • Alison Grainger (03.21.2012 | 05:11)

    Morning, Brett!

    Many, many, many thanks to you and the team for an astoundingly good day at Danesfield yesterday.

    A fantastic, full-on, amazing day. I'm shattered but exhilarated, my head's buzzing and I'm raring to get started on my next wedding. Also mildly depressed because I want to do it over and over again.

    Bless you x

  • Julian Stumm (03.21.2012 | 06:45)

    Great to see you again yesterday. Once again you delivered the goods, in a straightforward way that will enable me to take my wedding photography to the next level in terms of it's creativity.

    I am itching to get out there and practice what we did yesterday. I have roped in my wife as a model and kids as lighting assistants for me to have a play around.

    The images I personally got, and from looking at other delegates work, we all got, certainly had the wow factor. That's just what's needed to create separation in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace.

    Thank you once again for a very fun day\'s training packed from start to finish with practical information that will really make a difference.


  • Michelle Winstanley (03.21.2012 | 07:05)

    Just wanted to say thank you to you and your team for a superb training day at Danesfield, Marlow on Monday. It was an outstanding learning experience from start to finish, hugely challenging for me but very rewarding in the knowledge and images I now have. i loved every minute of it and watching the video wish I was doing it all again!! thanks again and see you and your team soon.

    Michelle :)

  • Exeter Wedding Photography (10.14.2012 | 11:36)

    Good strong images, like the use of strobes and the back light couple on the chairs.

  • Natallia (07.31.2013 | 01:00)

    Just loving the dancing shot!

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Well we ended 2011 with two fantastic courses at the studio and then onto two locations in Manchester. A huge thank you to everyone involved in the two separate courses. Monday saw us start off at the studio and then onto The Lowry Theatre as our location. After a morning session talking about the technique involved in flash at weddings we shot a little inside the studio before lunch & then into Manchester. This course was more geared to the use of speed lights as our light source. Looking at the technique that I use for all of my flash usage.

No matter what flash situation I am in I still use the same techniques, it means I have full control of my situation and not being controlled by the lights or TTL!  ETTL is great and to be used when the time is short but I love the process of manual flash, I don’t know;  it makes me feel totally in control and on top of what I am doing. It is this process that you will learn if you come on one of our flash courses. After a brief session outside we headed into the Lowry Theatre  and after coffee continued to shoot around the building looking at light, form, posing and getting the most from the simple things! A huge thank you to Zan Atkinson our Stylist who rocks it every time. To Steph & Aaron & also to Alana for being great and for standing in the cold whilst everyone figured out their settings!

Here are some of the images shot on the course:




Wednesday this week saw us put on our last flash course, in fact our last course of 2011! What a year it has been! The course content was the same as Monday so we started off at the studio ironing out the technique that has pushed our own wedding flash to another place. After heading out to Manchester for lunch we started shooting in a very cool location. The shoot started off in the back alleys of Manchester, because of the cold we didn’t last too long and then headed off into the very dark & spooky cellars under Manchester streets. We wanted dark and we go it!

After a while down there we headed off upstairs to the club and continued the shoot. Even using the ladies toilets for one of our backgrounds! It can be done! A huge thank you to the photographers for being such great sports even if we had to squeeze into the worlds oldest & smallest elevator! It was worth it! Also to model Emma for being amazing as ever, to Jnane & Stefan for also being great to work with. To our stylist extra-ordinare! Zan Atkinson.

Here are some images from the day:








  • Guy Levine (12.16.2011 | 01:12)

    The course was fantastic Brett. I got some really great photos and learnt loads about the flow of the wedding, how to mix it up to get a nice variety of shots, and how to get the 'wow' pics. Looking forward to more next year!

  • Helen Rushton (12.16.2011 | 01:14)

    Images are great, I can't wait until I join you in march 2012!! Have a great Christmas and New Year Brett and THANK YOU for your inspiration this year! Helen

  • Kim Shaw (12.16.2011 | 01:46)

    Great images (as usual) Brett. I joined you on two courses this year (Wedding Flash and Winter Weddings) I loved every minute and learnt loads. Thanks for your patience and encouragement. I hope to see you and Kristie again next year!

  • red chilli photography (12.16.2011 | 08:09)

    fantastic stuff again Brett :)

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So what seems like a lifetime ago now since our wonderful France course. I have finally got some time to post about the second day of shooting on our amazing time spent at the wonderful Chateau Rigaud.

Back at the beginning of October we spent a fantastic few days at this wonderful chateau outside of Bergerac/Bordeaux in France. We started the 2nd day having breakfast in the dining room of the chateau whilst our first model of the day , local model Laure Cizeron spent her time in make up and styling whilst we went through equipment with the photographers.

A big thank you to make up, Laura Cawte who did  a great job throughout the 2 days shooting with Kristie making sure all the models looked exactly as we wanted them to. A huge thank you also to The Flash Centre for the loaning of some wonderful equipment, very much appreciated and used! If you missed PART 1 & PART 2 please click on the day to view the story so far.

We started off with Laure outside just getting her used to use and more importantly us used to her!! She was great and gelled in with the group straight away. Using only a wall we looked at exposure, framing and interaction when language is a barrier.We then moved onto a few different backgrounds , a tree and also some of the vineyards that surround the chateau before heading back to the chateau. We got a couple of lights out , one as a back light and did a few shots before we ventured back.



A few shots from behind the scenes at the set ups up to this point. Thanks to Guy Levine & Ross Holkham for sending in some great BTS shots..


Paul wearing the models hat! Very fetching!!




We then moved inside for a quick coffee & cake! Before starting the second model for the day, Idoiaa. We had two very different but equally great looks going on this second day but because we had gone through a lot of information on day 1 we could concentrate on ironing out any problems people had with their shooting & flash and letting people shoot more.

Here is a little video from the first AM session:

Brett Harkness Training in France Day 2 am session from brett harkness on Vimeo.

Starting off inside we took Idoiia, into one of the darkest corners of the chateau! Looking at creating a more specific shot to match the surroundings. Teaching people how to match the exposure to the ambient surroundings without “killing it”.



A few shots from behind the scenes at this shot showing the equipment used:

We then went back inside using the window in the main dining room, starting off without any flash and again looking at exposure. We then set up one head on the right hand side of the Laure and looked at balancing and over riding the ambiance with it whilst Idoiia got changed for her next session.

Starting off in the Dining room we were looking to shoot against the light using a situation that could easily be replicated anywhere else! As long as you are not on the top floor!


A few pictures taken at this session…


We then headed into the dining room for a great rustic French lunch, chilling out with a few glasses of wine for good measure. A few us got the equipment ready for our next set up in the long room at the chateau.Using a mixture of daylight and our Elinchrom kit everyone got a mini session with Idoiia, un, deaux, trois!



A quick shot from BTS:


Here is a little video from this part of the session:

Brett Harkness Photography Training PM session from brett harkness on Vimeo.

By this time we had had an amazing three days at the chateau, shooting hundreds of images and passing on a lot of information. We had decided to go out on a bang and finish off shooting in a dead sunflower field using the huge Elinchrom Octabank, measuring 190cm across. This amazing light modifier is not for the faint hearted but we knew that the light quality that it would give out would be something very special and different so we couldn’t resist using it. After we managed to erect it we set up our last shot in the field…

The huge Octabank we used for our final image. Invented in 1982, their unique patented construction and design have won these large lightweight softboxes worldwide popularity. A lightweight die cast rigid central mounting for the flash head inside the unit which places the flash tube at the point of focus. The optical result is a light source, which is so even at the diffuser surface, that many famous photographers use the Octa as a single light source for portrait photography.

Me posing with my new best friend!!


Paul with a UFO landing on his head…!


The image produced with the single light source…


A little video clip showing our last set up..

Untitled from brett harkness on Vimeo.

Our last Group shot…


Wow, so what a few days we had this year in the amazing surrounding of Chateau Rigaud outside of Bordeaux. A huge thank you to everyone that made it down to the course. It is one to be remembered that’s for sure. A lot of information was passed on, a lot of questions asked, a lot of wine drunk! A lot of images taken, equipment used and a WHOLE lot of fun had! It was great for people to be able to spend some time together after the training, spending quality time with like minded people is something that not everyone gets the chance to do, it is a big part of our training courses that they are great social events also. We encourage all levels on our courses as we think that everyone can learn, whether full time pro’s or part time amateurs. So make 2012 a special year and book your training with BHP studios.

Here are some video testimonials from the photographers on the course…

The Last supper… Brett Harkness Training from brett harkness on Vimeo.

We are about to release some very exciting new dates for our courses for next year. So if these last few posts have inspired you and you want to take part in some great training next year then watch this space!


Read what people said about this course:


“un, dos, tres!! Fromage!!  Just got back from a wedding (nice sunset but not like France) to find this great email, can’t wait till the next adventure, the only problem you will have is that in the words of Joyce “nobody else can book unless one of us dies” lol.   Think we could make a book of quotes from the trip and the banter was nearly as good as the photography.”

Ross Holkham

“I just wanted to drop you both a quick note to say a huge thank you for the most fantastic few days in France…
I had the time of my life – so much fun with great friends, the most beautiful cool location, fantastic food, wine & great training as always…
Some very special memories & the image of man’s attempts to fly in a sunflower field with an octobox is one I’ll remember for quite some time!
Thanks again so much & I’ll get some photos over to you asap – see you very soon!”

Sharon (11.07.2011 | 11:50)

Hello! I’ve really enjoyed watching all the clips !
I must do something with my hair next time! Ha. Thanks again for the best course EVER ! I learnt SO much and am enjoying putting it all into practise. Put me down for next year and i hope to see the same people again… It was great spending three days with everyone. Sharon x

  • Paul mannion (11.25.2011 | 01:43)

    Well i'm going to booking on the next course learn't so much on this wonderful course great location models and inspiration from the Harknesses Thank you so much!!

  • Ross (11.25.2011 | 10:40)

    lol....I had forgot about the "hear no evil, speak no evil,see no evil" shot...classic. Great round up of a fantastic time mate, heres to the next adventure!!

  • Katherine Ashdown (12.01.2011 | 03:16)

    Yay! LOVE the last post such an awesome course brought it all back... cannot wait to do it again! Ross's. My video is SO embarassing!!

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We have had a very busy few weeks of training from the studio, as well as our great French course that hopefully you have been following on the blog. Part three to come next week!

Our last two courses have been a speed light only course ran from the studio and on location in Manchester and a Winter Wedding day at Knowsley Hall using a mixture of flashes, Elinchrom & Speed lights. Our speed light course at the end of October was using only speed lights, also all the goodies that Lastolite could throw at us! We used the new Ezy box system, the new quad flash bracket amongst other things. The aim of these courses is to show photographers how to use their flashes when A: it gets too dark or B: for creative effect. The two uses are for quite different outputs and effects. I am a great believer in planning when using flash , this might mean knowing where you are going to use them of having them set up ready to go. We usually have around 20 mins with our clients, usually less in the winter so I have learned how to grab the shots when I can. This means making the most of every moment we have with them.

We have 1 last flash course coming up on Dec 12th so join us at the studio and then onto a location to learn how to use your flash in all aspects of your social shooting.

Here are some images from our 1 day speedlight course held in Manchester on Oct 25th using only Canon & Nikon speed lights and Lastolite Ezy boxes:



Shot above using the new Lastolite Quad bracket & 4 flashguns.



In bewteen the two courses I also did 3 1-1 sessions at the studio, here is a shot taken on Mike’s 1-1 session using just 1 flashgun in a 21″ Ezy box of Liz doing a great jump.




All of the shots below were taken at Knowsley Hall on Monday just gone. Our Winter Weddings course was great. Using our Elinchrom system mostly with the odd Speed light thrown in for good measure. A huge thank you to Zan Atkinson for her wonderful make up and hair styling, you did an amazing job. Also to Knowsley Hall for their continued support. To Felicity, Josh & laura for there great modelling skills. An also a thank you to Novak Exclusive Bridal wear for the gorgeous dresses.


Image shot in total darkness at the front of the Hall.



I few behind the scenes shots from our Knowsley Hall course, thanks to Jonathan Yearsley who was on the course:

1 comment
  • Joyce Howard (11.12.2011 | 06:46)

    Hey Brett - just got home & wanted to say a huge thanks to you & Kristie for an awesome day at Knowsley Hall - really cool venue, gorgeous models & dresses - best day yet (in the UK lol). Stunning photos & so straight forward to set up - these are exactly what I've wanted to learn to shoot & looking forward to putting it all into practice! I always learn so much new technique on every course - very inspired & thanks so much!

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It has been a few weeks since I had time to write any posts but that doesn’t mean we have been twiddling out thumbs with nothing to post. Quite opposite. In the last three weeks, we have driven to France & back, Barcelona & Glasgow, oh and three trips to London!! It is back to the first place that this post is written about. So as there is a lot of content I will probably split this post up into two or three parts!!


So,on October 9th after shooting a wedding in Devon we headed off for the Channel tunnel and our trip down to Bordeaux in France. The Channel experience was great and we arrived in Calais only 28 mins later! A rainy and foggy Calais it has to be said but the weather vastly improved the further South we travelled. Our destination was the beautiful Chateau Rigeaud in the St.Emillion area. We had hired the chateau for 3 days for our course. We had been planning this course for many months and it was very important that we looked at all the finer details of the 3 night course. We are known for putting on a good show and have put on courses in Newcastle & 3 in London over the last year. When you are dealing with models abroad and organizing from a far it’s always hard.

I had photographed my sisters wedding a few years ago at the Chateau and we knew that this was the place to use when the right time arose. A big thank you to Anna from the chateau for helping us source flowers & make up amongst other things. Moment to thank them, flowers by Hayley Sutherland & make up by Laura.

It was the first time we had driven to France using the Channel Tunnel and it was a great experience and we will definitely do it again. Like a typical man I did get rather excited!!

So, after a 10 hour drive, a few stops, many coffees and a load of chatting and planning for future projects Kris & I made it to St.Emillion. Here are a couple of shots of our very very full car and all the kit before hand in the studio..


Most of the kit was mine but may I take this opportunity to thank The Flash Centre for loaning me some kit for the course also. They are are a great bunch and I choose them for all of my lighting kit needs. Here is a brief list of the kit that we took:

  • Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS pack ( 2 heads )
  • Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed pack ( 2 heads )
  • Elinchrom Quadra pack x 2 & 4 heads
  • Elinchrom Deep Octa / 2- 70cm softboxes
  • Elinchrom High performance reflector 48˚
  • Elinchrom Beauty Dish 44cm
  • Elinchrom Indirect Lightbank Octa 190cm
  • Elinchrom Snoot reflector & grid
  • Various batteries
  • Canon EOS 1ds Mark III & 5D mark II for video
  • Avenger 10ft stand with 40″ boom / An amazing Boom arm that goes to over 11 ft
  • Canon 70-200/ 50mm 1.2 / 16-35mm 28 /
  • Think tank belt system & travel bags
  • Lexar 16GB 600 speed CF cards



When Kristie & I arrived at the chateau we were greeted with champagne and cake!! Music to my ears!! After freshening up we went for a walk and a drive around the chateau looking for places to plan out for our shoot. Finding some very cool places. We then set up most of the kit and got all the clothes ready that we had bought or borrowed, matching up the outfits with the backgrounds that we had already scouted out.. Kristie modelling some of the clothes to give me a visual idea of how to piece things together…



May I also take this opportunity to make a big thank you Kate Edmondson for the loan of her beautiful wedding dresses, you will be seeing them in the next post & to Victoria Mary Vintage for her wonderful hair accessories. Also to Denis Hope for the loan of a great suit that fitted our male model perfectly!!

The aim of the course was not only to teach people how to use lights but also how to style, look at exposure and to create gorgeous images. We also wanted the course to be about more than learning. Whenever a group of photographers get together like this in this kind of environment it is a recipe for success. And the ingredients were all there! Everything we do at our studio whether training or our own shoots we do to the best of our ability. From our customer service to pushing the boundaries on our shoots; we live for what we do and this shows in not only the images that we produce but also how we feel when we are doing it!

Monday morning Kris & I set off in the mini bus to Bordeaux airport to pick up all of the photographers which were mostly flying in on the same early morning flight. We knew that it would have been too much to expect the delegates to start shooting as soon as they arrived so we laid on champagne and cake upon arrival and the photographers had the rest of the day to play with our equipment, take a book and a drink under the large tree at the front of the chateau, take a dip in the pool or rest in one of the beautiful rooms in the chateau, ot go for a walk around the vineyard…which many did, whilst a few made a splash in the pool!!

This is the first time I have ever used the 5d for video,we had no equipment with us for video or indeed any hands spare to do it with! It is an art by itself but we had fun trying when we could, the camera was usually left on a tripod and when people got the chance we all had a go! We also used mobile phones on occasion just to document our day, so the quality isn’t great so all you video buffs out there don’t judge us on our video skills! Next time I will certainly take a stabilizer rig with me but the course was about photography and for the time being we will stick to that!!

First group shot taken on a crappy phone, it’ll only get better!!


So the first day ended with us all having a great meal cooked by our own personal Chef Tom who also has his own great business The Flavoursmith! Who we all thank so much for feeding us over the 3 days, it was amazing.Waking up to a great breakfast every day, cake & cookies in the afternoon followed by 5 star food & service  every night. The talk was not only photography based but also many other topics floated around the room. The atmosphere was very easy going from the moment everyone arrived at the airport. With a great mixture of photographers and characters.

May I also thank Fiona and her team for looking after us at the chateau and for making our stay even more special. The night was spent drinking, chatting , laughing and planning the first days shooting to come….. Some chatting into the night with numerous bottles of wine being drunk! Here are some of the video highlights from the first day. I will be posting soon on day 2, our first shooting day!! Watch this space….

  • Ross Holkham (10.29.2011 | 11:00)

    Good times with great people. look forward to day 2 and 3.

  • Paul Mannion (10.29.2011 | 11:48)

    Well put together Brett loved watching it, I really miss all the people and the great time we had over there!!!

  • Jade (11.02.2011 | 11:14)

    All looks amazing, hope you guys do another one next year!

  • Sharon (11.07.2011 | 11:50)

    Hello! I've really enjoyed watching all the clips !
    I must do something with my hair next time! Ha. Thanks again for the best course EVER ! I learnt SO much and am enjoying putting it all into practise. Put me down for next year and i hope to see the same people again... It was great spending three days with everyone. Sharon x

  • Red Chilli Photography (11.22.2011 | 10:39)

    Just packed up the car for a shoot this afternoon, 3 miles down the road and I'm glad you take too much stuff !! it's not just me then. Having said that the images from the shoot are worth it looking at your blog. James

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A class mixture high fashion, romanticism and fresh energy— Brit - Model