I’ve had a lot of fun shooting some video footage of my street photography course with a GoPro and editing the whole lot in iMovie, neither of which I’ve done before. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it and feel free to contact me if you have any questions. For bookings and information see my blog or check out all the information here: http://robjohns.eventbrite.co.uk
The course starting on 28 April is sold out but don’t worry it’s scheduled to run again starting on 02 June. So, if you fancy having a go at street photography exploring the exciting East End of London then grab your camera and join me for the next course. Remember this is a 5 week course (yep, that’s right, not an afternoon or 1 day but a 5 week course). Who knows what talents you may discover, I mean, look at the wonderful archive of Vivian Maier whose day job was working as a nanny. You will be challenged and taken out of your comfort zone but I will help you to get to grips with the craft of photography and show you some great street photography techniques. Beyond that your confidence will soar and you will grow as a person and discover some great people and knowledge about the area. I can guarantee you a lot of fun and a great course that will push your photography and personal skills to a higher level. Click on the image below for more details or jump straight to the booking form on this site.
About two years ago a guy called John Maloof visited an auction house across the street from his home in Chicago and bought a trunk full of old negatives and unprocessed film for a few hundred dollars. The discovery he made was a rare case of a genuine undiscovered artist, Vivian Maier who left behind a huge archive of pictures that rank her with the great American mid-century street photographers. Her life and the story that unfolded is incredible. Vivian’s work is part of a renaissance in interest in the art of Street Photography. A documentary about her is currently in production, due to be released later this year. I’m very excited about this film and looking forward to it’s release.
Here’s the official trailer for the documentary film.
Ok, so here’s some more information about the Photojournalism Intermediate level course I run in Tower Hamlets, London.
The course runs 1 day a week (Saturdays) for 5 weeks from 10am to 4pm at the Idea Store, Chrisp Street. The nearest public transport is All Saints DLR.
This is a follow-on course to the highly popular and very successful Introduction to Photojournalism course that I have been teaching at the University of the Arts – LCC and now also at Idea Store Learning. If you haven’t done the Introduction to Photojournalism course you are strongly advised to do that before undertaking the Intermediate level.
Course content on the intermediate level includes defining your own photographic style, using flash, approaching the markets and selling your work, editing skills and producing a photo essay. Anyone who has studied with me knows the intensity of my courses. All I ask for is commitment and effort, if you can offer that I will support your learning every step of the way. One of the great bonuses from my teaching is the real difference students feel in terms of gaining confidence. Sure, the course is challenging, it’s designed to reflect real life and industry which is tough. The course is based on lectures, practical workshops, independent study and live assignments. Crits are at the core of the course equipping students with the skills necessary for visual literacy.
Feel free to contact me if you would like any more information.
I am also available to offer training and workshops elsewhere, drop me a line and I’l be happy to discuss this with you.
French organisation launches controversial ad campaign for photographers’ rights – British Journal of Photography
Some photographers hate flash but I am not one of them – I absolutely love it and truly believe it opens up so many more options for a photographer including creativity and control of light. I’m not bothered whether it’s Elinchrom, Bowens, Profoto or any other make, they all do the job and have their own features that appeal to different photographers and of course budgets. I often work with hotshoe flash, in fact my ThinkTank Airport International rolling camera bag is permanently equipped with 3 Canon 580 EXII Speedlites which I use with Pocket Wizards. I recently introduced my students at Idea Store Learning to flash and sent one student to the far reaches of the building with a Speedlite mounted on a lighting stand happily flashing away without missing a beat as I stood in the doorway of the learning lab triggering the flash with a Pocket Wizard in my hand. The student ended up downstairs and returned absolutely amazed at not only the range but also the reliability of the Pocket Wizards. They’re not to cheap but you do get a quality product and I genuinely believe they are worth every penny.
I have been planning to run a 1 day photographic lighting workshop for some time now but it’s been very hard to find the time to fit it in with a busy and growing workload. I’m hoping to be able to offer something in summer 2012. The workshop will be hosted in Milton Keynes which is only about half an hour away from London on Virgin trains. Numbers will be strictly limited to 10 to allow students enough time to shoot. I’m hoping to have 2 models available and a make-up artist so you should come away with some great images that could take pride of place in a portfolio.
If the idea of a 1 day lighting workshop based on hotshoe flash interests you or you simply want to face your demons then feel free to register and as soon as details are confirmed I will email you. If numbers justify an extra day I will offer the same workshop over 2 days to give as many people an opportunity to take part. You’ll be staggered what you can do with small, portable hotshoe flash!
Help people living with cancer by supporting the Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. New this year, Neff are hosting a series of Coffee Mornings in conjunction with designated Neff kitchen specialist dealers nationwide to raise significant amounts of money for Macmillan Cancer Support. Free cups of coffee will be available for a donation and a Neff Home Economist will be cooking and baking a range of delicious cakes. For those in the market for appliances this is the ideal way to find out about cooking with Neff appliances whilst also supporting the work of Macmillan.
As a lecturer in photography I’m often asked by my students for advice about buying a camera. The question of whether to choose Canon or Nikon is well frequented. They both produce high spec gear that is popular among professionals and that’s the rub, how do you choose between them. What difference is there between the two camera giants?
For me, there is a very clear and significant difference between the two. A difference that any independent professional photographer simply cannot choose to ignore.
I started my career as a newspaper photographer in Bedford. I was an ardent Nikon fan, I loved my Nikon f4E, it was solid, it felt confident in the hand and performed brilliantly. I owned a couple of Nikon Speedlights and a selection of lenses. After some years of professional use the zoom on my 28-85mm AF Nikkor began to seize up so I decided to replace it with a new 24-70mm lens, but it wasn’t long before I started to realise a problem with the new lens – the left hand side of the frame was soft. I blamed myself and deliberately paid more attention to the focussing but the problem persisted. I sent the lens to Nikon for repair as a member of the Nikon Professional Service (NPS) which aims to offer a speedy service to professional photographers. Two weeks later and after many phone calls I finally got the lens back. Curious to know that the problem had been I telephoned Nikon and was told that the lens they had sent me was a new lens, I queried that as the serial number was the same, I was told that everything inside the lens was new. I accepted what Nikon had told me and carried on using the lens but the same thing happened – the left hand side was still soft. I lost confidence in Nikon and turned to the retailer for help who agreed to take it back.
I felt let down by Nikon and when I decided to change over to digital, the more I looked at the Canon gear the more impressed I was and increasingly disappointed with the Nikon offerings especially the cropped sensors. In the end I decided to switch brands and bought the superb Canon EOS 1Ds which had a full-frame CMOS sensor and delivered stunning pictures. It was an expensive thing to do but it was one of the best business and photographic decisions I have ever made.
Now, we all know that equipment from any manufacturer can go wrong and I’ve had problems with my Canon gear. Most recently I had a Canon Speedlite 580EX II fail. I decided to send the unit back to Canon using the Canon Professional Service (CPS) of which I am a member and monitor the repair process. Below is a log of what happened.
- Wednesday 07 September 2011 – Speedlite packaged and sent to Canon repair centre at Elstree via first class mail, guaranteed for next day delivery.
- Thursday 08 September – I received a phone call from a technician at Canon advising me that the repair would cost me £104 including VAT and return by UPS. I also received a pdf document by email confirming the cost. I asked the technician when I could expect to receive the Speedlite back. He advised me it would be about a 3-4 days and proceeded to ask me if I needed it back any sooner. I said the 3-4 day turnaround would be fine.
- On Saturday 10 September – I received a text message and email informing me that the unit will be delivered shortly or is available for collection by arrangement.
- On Monday 12 September – I received an email and text message informing me that the completed repair had been dispatched. The item was delieverd to my home address at 13:45hrs on Monday 12 September via UPS.
That’s what you call brilliant customer service!
I’m an independent professional photographer who uses Canon gear. For me the difference between Canon and Nikon is huge. Nikon treated me like I didn’t matter whereas my experience with Canon has been the complete opposite. I have never had to chase Canon for any updates on repairs and they have always carried out repairs fast. Importantly, Canon have always made me feel like a valued customer.
Back in 2007 when Nikon launched the D3 camera they offered a generous promotion to Canon users which allowed them to switch to Nikon and some did just that. Sure the D3 received critical acclaim in the photographic press but it’s not like it was offering anything that Canon cameras seriously lacked. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon 1D Mark III, both cameras continue to produce excellent results. Photographers need to think more carefully about the aftercare service from manufacturers, sadly it is all too often overlooked. Great customer service and aftercare are even more important for the independent professional photographer who does not have an armoury of gear to call on. The bottom line is, if you don’t work you don’t get paid.
I will certainly be sticking with Canon for all my photographic gear. As far as I’m concerned the cameras are the best out there and supported by a network of professional, well trained staff who value the independent photographer. That to me is a winning combination. As far as my students are concerned I always talk to them about my experience and let them make up their own minds. It’s worth bearing in mind some words of wisdom from Edward Weston.
The fact is that relatively few photographers ever master their medium. Instead they allow the medium to master them and go on an endless squirrel cage chase from new lens to new paper to new developer to new gadget, never staying with one piece of equipment long enough to learn its full capacities, becoming lost in a maze of technical information that is of little or no use since they don’t know what to do with it. - Edward Weston
Great news! I’ve been appointed to teach 3 new photojournalism courses in London starting this September. It gets even better – prices start from as little as £39 (concessionary) and the college will even offer a camera to students (on accredited courses) who don’t have one.
Idea Store Learning in Tower Hamlets are introducing the new courses based at the Shadwell Centre and the Idea Store Store in Chrisp Street. The new photography department at the Shadwell Centre will include 2 new photographic studios, a Mac suite, digital printing suite, analogue darkroom and a wide range of photographic equipment including Hasselblad medium format digital cameras. A selection of cameras will also be available for loan to students who can’t afford to buy their own.
The courses on offer include:
- Introduction to Photojournalism
- Photojournalism-Intermediate Level
- Photojournalism-City & Guilds Level 3
Those who have studied photojournalism with me at the London College of Communication (LCC) will know about my style of teaching. Classes are fun and engaging, I like to actively encourage all my students to take part in the teaching and learning process.
Key to all the courses will be feedback. This is essential for anyone learning the craft of photography. I remember the frustration of polite and mild praise when I was starting out which isn’t very helpful as you want to be told what you’re doing well and areas where you need to improve. I will point out your strengths and weaknesses but in a supportive framework which is fun, challenging and exciting.
All the photojournalism courses will be assignment based. Past students may wish to consider the Photojournalism-Improvers Level where I’ll be teaching how to use flash (strobe) lighting both on-camera and off-camera. We’ll explore the local area and create some stunning environmental portraits. Students on all the courses should be able to create a portfolio to be proud of and leave with new skills to take their photography to the next level.
Lead photography lecturer at Idea Store Learning, Michael Wayne Plant has a vision of building a centre of excellence for photography in Tower Hamlets. He has worked hard to develop the photographic provision at the college with courses that are affordable, accessible and relevant to anyone interested in developing their photography. As University education gets more expensive, Michael is convinced that the need for a quality education in photography still needs to able to be accessed from somewhere. I share Michael’s vision and feel privileged to be a part of it.
Other photography courses on offer include:
- City & Guilds Certificate in Photography Level 2
- City & Guilds Diploma in Photography Level 2
- City & Guilds Certificate in Photography Level 3
- City & Guilds Diploma in Photography Level 2
- City & Guilds Certificate in Photojournalism Level 3
For more information see: