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.
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!
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..
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.
Last month saw us visit the zoo for a days documentary photography. This tough day was a test for everyone with only 50mm lenses being allowed as our weapon of choice! Normally you would visit a zoo with a big zoom to get great shots of the animals but not today!
The point of today’s courses was to teach the photographers how to shoot documentary of the animals with only a short focal length lens.Looking at how to see, how to frame, how to use leading lines to take the viewer into the shot. About using extreme framing to draw the eye in and using techniques that allow you to document every day events with a style and look that can become your own. Using amongst other things exposure as a weapon when photographing scenes of very different & extreme exposures. I use all of these techniques in my every day shooting allowing me to use primes in all kind of situations.
Here are a few images from the days course. Our new Autumn courses are coming out on the website this week!
Looking how to fill a frame with important elements in order to take the viewers eye to the subject.
Using color and timing as an important element to the composition.
Yesterday was an early start with a 7am train journey to London for our first ever documentary course in London. A huge thank you to Dot, Debbie, Helen, Guy & Chris for joining us on this day. Documentary photography is without a doubt one of the hardest genres of photography to master & to teach.
A lot of the moments are over so quickly that it is hard to share that moment but you can teach techniques to make an image once you see that moment. For me documentary photography by its definition is to document the happening of something. To stop someone in the street and take their picture is not documentary , it is environmental portraiture. A different thing altogether. I did make each photographer approach someone and try and get a portrait so there was a little of that also but most of the day was about looking at the ordinary , looking at a situation and making an image from it. Everyone was armed with a 50mm lens so we were all looking at the same thing. It was not the aim of the day to photograph all that is London particularly but to use the streets to make imagery from it. A lot of the imagery have people in them, some don’t and it is all about looking at something in a different way and I hope that’s what we did throughout the day.
Making pictures not taking pictures, a huge difference.
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.
A quick post from my shoot last night. Influenced by Joey L and his street portraits this is the first time I have taken my lights onto the streets. We set up a piece of a grey paper backdrop in front of a friends garage and waited to see who turned up! It was great fun just looking to capture some real life portraits on Halloween night!
I used my Elinchrom Ranger RX speed pack with a 70cm softbox with a soft honeycombe grid. The grid cut down most of if not all of the modelling light so I had to put in a naked light on the B channel so as to help me focus. The shots were taken on 200 ISO , 160th sec @f16.
I have a few more things that I am working on at the moment apart from our “work” photography so watch this space for some more cool imagery over the next few months. A big thanks to Craig & Anna for letting me use their drive way for the shoot and for everyone that turned up for being such great sports.
IMAGE SHOWING THE SET UP. YOU DON’T NEED MUCH TO MAKE THINGS WORK!
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
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….
We have just finished a great day roaming the streets of Blackpool on our second documentary course. We handled all the elements that Blackpool had to throw at us!
Our documentary courses are for 4 photographers only which mean we get plenty of time to chat on a 1-1 basis. Working with only our 50mm lenses we walked down the promenade looking for whatever we could find.
Using a 50mm lens is not for the faint hearted as with things and people so far away it forces you to think more about what you are photographing. Making you look around each corner of the frame and deciding whether to include or not.
It isn’t easy, especially if you are used to using a zoom lens all the time but it does make you stop and think and look to make an image , not just take a photograph. Documentary shooting is a large part of what I do on all of my shoots; weddings, commercial , lifestyle and having the ability to create an image out of something very simple or to see something in a crowd or a busy street is another string to your bow.
A big thanks to Guy, Tony, Mike & Karl for joining me on a great day.
We have been so busy that I have not had much time to post a few our recent training 1-1 sessions that we usually run from the studio. We ran this full day 1-1 with Karl at the studio looking at flash, lighting techniques and using the areas around you to best effect. A big thanks to Cat & Steph for modelling for us. Thank you also to Kirsty Eaton for some great make-up.
Our 1-1 sessions are very much tailored to you , the photographer. We can cover whatever you wish, from business and your studio image to flash usage, equipment or a mixture. We also keep details on file if you don’t want to do a 1-1 as we run bespoke 1-1, 2-1, 3-1 & 4-1′s. For more information please CLICK HERE. Here are some images from the session:
This was a fantastic 1 day course we held at an amazing location in North London. Looking at how to use different types of flash in mostly an interior environment using props that were available. We have another great flash course in London coming up on June 28th. Please click on courses for more information on our great courses coming up.
Here are some images from the previous course.
A huge thank you to all that were involved in our fantastic two – 1 day flash course held last week in London. Thank you to the LONDON FLASH CENTER for the loan of some of our equipment.
We had been thinking about such a course for a long time and had searched high & low for a suitable venue in which to shoot in the London area. We knew when we found the building that this was the one. We ran two one day courses as the demand was so great for the flash course. Initially looking at how to use basic flash guns and then taking it further to the use of larger lighting location systems. Using techniques that we adopt for all areas of our photography when at the studio and on location.
We always look to cover everything on our courses and our make-up & styling is done by the best. With my input & Kristies keen eye we worked with our stylist Zan Atkinson to come up with many different looks that we could light around the venue over the two days.
A big thank you to The Flash Centre for the loan of some of our equipment on the day. We use mainly my Elinchrom Ranger RX speed AS kit & Ranger Quadra. Our main light modifier was a 100cm Deep Octa with some shots using a 70 softbox. We also used a Quadra for a back light with a Snoot & Grid.
Thanks to models, Natasha, Rosie & Margit for being so wonderful over the two days. You were all great. We look forward to our other courses in the year, including another flash course in London at a different location, a great small documentary course in Chester amongst other exciting days.
We have another amazing London flash course coming up on June 28th, please click HEREfor more info or go to the Courses link above.
Hello,I"m looking for some good advice on a canon lens that I can use to shoot at concerts and also for travel for fast shooting and low light also. I have a canon 60 D that i purchased last fall. Thanks for your help!Laura
— Laura Cornish
Hi there. It is worth saving up for a either a fast zoom, 70-200mm 2.8L or a fast prime, 85mm 1.2L. Both are great lenses but you might get more use out of the zoom. Hope this helps? Remember that there is focal length magnification with the 60 d as its not full frame so your lenses will shoot longer than they are.
Welcome to our Training blog, full of information just for you! I have been a professional photographer in the uk now for over 15 years, previously working in the USA in Miami as a cruise ship photographer. In my eyes I am a photographer. I don't see it as a job, but who I am. I could be seen as the "go to" guy for all things people! I love to take photographs; whether it is a wedding, family shoot, commercial or travel assignment, fashion campaign or whilst teaching on one of our many courses. See more