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:


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

    Love her bouquet! Great pictures!

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So the story continues… Kristie and I woke early at around 6am knowing that we had to go the the nearby town of Libourne to pick up the first model of the day. At 6.15 we received a text from the model, telling us that there was an unexpected train strike and she was in Bordeaux still!! Mmmm, ok… So she got herself in a taxi for the hour long trip so we could pick her up.

This is one thing you are up against when organizing a course in another country, unless you have someone on the ground you are in the hands of the models, make up etc… to turn up! Luckily we chose well. All of the models were fantastic and made it all to the chateau on time. So our first model Anna Shteyn had only been in France a few days, all the way from Russia. She was fantastic and worked all day and into the night to give all of our photographers as much as she could. So after breakfast the photographers got themselves ready for what was going to be a very long and action packed day in and around Chateau Rigaud!

Meanwhile model  Anna, went through to make-up to get ready for her day. A big thank you to make up, Laura Cawte who did  a great job throughout the 2 days shooting.

AM session- We spent the morning session keeping it simple, using just daylight and looking at getting the best exposure for the subject. Wearing casual clothes. We then moved onto just introducing a small rear flash as the ambiance was quite dull we looked at bringing the sunshine to us. It was good that the weather was like this as every day of shooting started off dull and the sun burnt through in the afternoon giving us the best of both ambient worlds to play with!

We managed to grab  a bit of video here and there when we could. As we didn’t have anyone there to specifically shoot video we had to make do with whoever was closest to the camera at the time! Using a Lexar 32GB card we managed to cover most of what we shot over the two days.





We travel light! Guy & myself walking back to the Chateau! Carrying an Elinchrom Deep Octa & Ranger kit.

Ross leads the march back to the Chateau with all the kit!



At lunch we headed off in the minibus to a nearby town overlooking the vineyards. We all had wine, chicken & chips ( french stylie! ) After a few glasses of vino we headed off back to the Chateau to start our afternoon session. Anna had changed into a beautiful vintage wedding dress by Kate Edmondson and was met by her husband to be for the afternoon, Adam Pollard, only 18 but has it all going for him, you’ll see what I mean when the pictures come out!!

PM session: Again we started off in a doorway just to give the couple time to get used to each other and using the lovely soft French afternoon light. We now brought in one big flash off right to the doorway we were shooting at .



We then headed inside for 20 mins to use the main stairway at the Chateau. Using just one light, way off to the right we positioned the model at the top of the stairs. Using a very long boom arm we positioned the Elinchrom head into position. There was very little light coming into the stairwell but with our settings we made the scene darker to ad drama and mood.


( Thanks to Ross Holkham & Guy Levine for their behind the scenes shots )



May I also take this opportunity to make a big thank you Kate Edmondson for the loan of her beautiful wedding dresses,  & 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!!

After a moment or two of touching up make up and grabbing a freshly made muffin we headed off to our next location.I grabbed a quick bit of video and a couple of stills of Anna because the light was stunning..








A nearby Winery was our next location for some fashion/wedding imagery using the architecture, light , posing etc.. starting off using just the sun as our main light source!! By exposing from the highlights and a careful bit of exposure tweaking the sun if used properly is a great light source to use head on!


We moved onto the steps of the Winery using the beautiful french architecture in our shoot. Using a mixture of natural light and Elinchrom lights we shot here for 40 mins or so. Here are just a couple of the images taken at this time. We were aware that the light was fading fast and we didn’t want to miss the last location for our shoot. So we quickly returned to the Chateau for a quick dress change and then off to the hill top church.


Image showing an Elinchrom RX speed head in a Deep Octa box on a 10ft boom stand.



EVENING SESSION: To finish the days shooting we headed off down the road to a church that I had shot my sister at a few years previous but little did we know what we were in for! This evening session was for us to make some beautiful images of the B&G and we didn’t disappoint. Working quickly we used the low sunlight first shooting into the light and then moved on to mix it with the flash. Sometimes when you are out shooting something amazing happens with the light, this was one of those times. Just when we thought it couldn’t get any better we turned around and saw the moon rise over the church. We quickly moved the light over and made the most of the moment.




Kristie giving the very hard working Anna some make up touch ups..

One of the lighting set ups showing the fantastic boom arm we borrowed from The Flash Centre

Adam doing his thing!





What a day everyone had. We certainly covered a lot of information, set ups and shooting over the day. W could have stayed upon that hilltop all night I am sure, but I think we had worn out the models! That night we all had a beautiful meal made by our our chef, Tom. It was a very special meal with lots of wine being drunk, laughter and talking about the day etc..It was great to be able to spend some informal time together also on the course, most courses people leave and wish they could have asked this or talk about that, we were able to carry it on over a drink and some great company.



So what would day 3 bring? Well, if you weren’t there you’ll have to watch this space!

  • Jon Mold (11.04.2011 | 09:41)

    Wow - what an amazing workshop in France. Trademark Brett Harkness, attention to detail, relaxed teaching, awesome models and stunning location.
    Wish I could have been there, next time, India ?? ;-)

  • Paul Mannion (11.04.2011 | 10:29)

    Fantastic BHP training course, hand on heart the best holiday/workshop I have ever been on, very professional, fun and most of all the best learning experience, if you haven't been on a training course yet, I can thoroughly recommend the Harknesses!
    Thanks again Brett and Kris.

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A true photographic phenonemon.Brett Harkness is a man in demand— Dan Lezano. Digital SLR Photography