At the end of last month (Tuesday 27th September, the Lincoln – Silver Street branch of London Camera Exchange (LCE) organised (in conjunction with Canon, Nikon and Olympus) a Portrait Shoot at Doddington Hall here in Lincoln. The sold out event was well attended by a wide range of photographers with all skills and the variety of camera brands in use exceed the sponsors of the event including Fuji and Sony users too.
Learn how take to take great portraits in the stunning setting of Doddington Hall. We’ve teamed up pro photographers from Canon, Nikon and Olympus for a day long masterclass in portrait and fashion photography, using professional models and the stately rooms of the Hall as the backdrop. Your tutors are all experts in their field and will take you through the best use of cameras, lenses, speed lights and studio lights to get stunning results.
As already mentioned, LCE had support from Nikon, Canon and Olympus and each one had a Photographer or (in the case of Olympus) a representative from the company. The literature provided by LCE give the credentials of each photographer as well as an intended itinerary as follows:
John Clements (Nikon)
As a working pro photographer spanning over three decades, John has an impressive photographic pedigree. His clients include those from the corporate world, many household names, well known people, and the Great British Public. In addition, he was formerly Nikon Corporation’s UK “Advisor of Photography” for a number of years, a respected and privileged position. And has worked in an ambassadorial role and consulting capacity with other leading imaging companies.
John is particularly respected for his lighting skills. Author of over a dozen books, he also wrote about photography and road tested equipment for numerous photo magazines in years past. His workshop and seminar presentations excite people. Delivered with a clear, concise, motivational, and an approachable style, that delegates simply warm too.
A highly respected presenter, combining vast technical knowledge, an eye for the creative image, with clear explanations.
Been there and still doing it with an enthusiasm and a passion, you would be hard pushed to find someone within these shores, with as much Nikon expertise and shooting experience using it. Something willingly shared at our event.
John will present three workshops:
- Nikon Speedlight Photography, Inside Out.
- Nikon ‘Shoot It in the Studio’.
- Shoot People ’Nikon Style’ With Available Light.
Dave Newton (Canon)
David Newton is a professional photographer and videographer who avoids specialising in any one area. As the former technical editor of EOS Magazine and Canon Professional Network, his knowledge of the Canon system extensive. An active photo tutor, David often gives seminars for Canon at various camera shops and trade shows. He is also a SanDisk Extreme Team member, Manfrotto Ambassador and Koy Lab Ambassador
Dave will be running three workshops on Canon Speedlites
- Canon flash and ETTL
- Multiple flash indoors
- Flash and daylight
Lewis Speight and Dave Smith (Olympus)
Lewis Speight is one of Olympus’ newest recruits, bringing his ambition and excitement, and has over 2 years experience with other retailers being one of the best photography trainers in his team. This was after years of building his portfolio as a wedding photographer, and sports videographer. You’ll now find Lewis behind his EM5ii with a 7-14mm PRO, experimenting with light trails, off camera flash, and night time landscapes. David Smith has worked with Olympus UK for over 3 years, specialising in Product Technology, Training, Workshop and Event leading on all of the OM-D and PEN products. David has worked with various key photographers over the years including Damian McGillicuddy, Robert Pugh, Neil Buchan Grant and Jay McGlaughlin in areas such as Portraiture, Fashion, Wedding and Macro photography. His preferred area of photography is Macro, Street and Portraiture and specialises in teaching one to one Olympus tutorials as well as running various workshops all over Central England, the Midlands and East Anglia. David’s kit bag usually has 2 cameras in it, the OM-D EM-5 MKII and the PEN F, accompanied by the 12-40mm PRO lens, the 17mm f1.8 lens and the 25mm f1.8 lens, always ready to capture the moment, whenever it happens.
Content for the day will be:
- Using both ambient and strobe light for portraiture.
- Using tethering with the EM-5 MK2.
- Exploring the differences between the Olympus lens range.
Although the day was centred on these three brands everyone was made welcome to the event and could make use of the invaluable photographic advice that was on offer. Although the event was not free the very low price of admission to the event was only £30 – this was a very good price and great value for money.
If it’s not obvious, the 3 events were running simultaneously and so three models were also arranged to be present, they also moved around between each event from time to time so that the photographers could have the opportunity to take pictures of each one. All three (Brook, Katie and Chloe) were all very beautiful, friendly professional and very obliging of the photographers who attended the event; many of us are not very used to directing models and although I have improved from my first experience back with Damian McGillicuddy back when I sot with Olympus; I still have a long way to go.
I started the day at the Olympus event as I thought that they were the closes to the Fuji camera (X-T2) that I was using. Although I got some nice shots of Brook I felt that the event was better suited to the Olympus users as this was where Lewis and Dave’s experience was better suited to. They were also were relegated to a small room at the hall when the Canon and the Nikon groups has larger rooms, this made getting he shot with a nice perspective difficult, I was grateful that a friends lent me his Fujinon 56mm f1.2 XF lend for the day (I now own my own 56mm f1.2 XF lens – it’s that good). As we were constantly worried about the weather we also did some shooting outside too.
In fact the itineraries of each group went out of the window to the most part so that we could all shoot outside on the day – fortunately the weather held and it didn’t rain all day although it looked like it could.
Here are my favourite pictures of Brook:
After the first session a nice lunch was provided by Doddington Hall in the coach-house where we were based and I had a chat with a few of the other photographers. One of them who I spoke to at the beginning of the day (who owns a Nikon camera) went to shoot with John Clements (Nikon) and was very impressed with John’s knowledge. I also spoke to a number of other photographers at the event and found the two other Fuji users, both of them also went John and he was giving out lots of good advice. So I decided for my next session to join my fellow Fuji users and go to John’s classes.
John was based upstairs and after a short talk we went outside with Katie and John had us all thinking about location, backgrounds, posing the model and trying to get us all thinking like photographers. We also tried various film simulations, playing with the white balance, setting the brightness of the rear LCD and fine-tuning the white balance (something I have never done before). He would also throw out tricks of the trade any other photographic gems. As we stepped through each setting John would check the rear LCD screens from time to time to ensure that you were on track and he was a great tutor offering lots of encouragement. I have to say I really enjoyed the second event more; it was also helped by having the other Fuji users around (also nice people too). As I still learning how to use the new X-T2 (at that point it was only a week old) having another X-T2 user and an X-Pro2 user helped when I wasn’t sure how or where to access some of the menu based features. We tried a number of areas in the rear gardens of Doddington Hall and I got a number of great shots too.
I have to add that although John is a Nikon shooter he was offering advice that was not necessarily Nikon specific; he was well aware of what other cameras are out there and many of their capabilities too.
My favourite pictures of Katie:
After a brief coffee break we went to or final session (again with John) and we did some shooting with Profoto studio lights (instead of speed lights). We mixed them with some ambient light (while it lasted) and the model for this session was Chloe. Whilst informative this session ran at a much slower pace as the studio lights were designed to work with Nikon cameras and we had to jury-rig a solution to make them work with the non-Nikon cameras. However John came up with a solution that worked (using a non-Nikon speed light to trigger them). Once this was working we all tried a few shots. As the day was winding down, John had Chloe move to one of the ornate staircases in the hall and we tried obtaining some nice shots from here – this was without any flash. Chloe was back-lit and again my shots didn’t come out – sorry Chloe 😦
My favourite pictures of Chloe:
I have to say a really enjoyed the day at Doddington Hall and I must thank everyone involved in setting this up as follows:
- Dave and Vincent from LCE
- John Clements representing Nikon
- Dave Newton representing Canon
- Lewis Speight and Dave Smith from Olympus
- Doddington Hall owners for allowing us to shoot there
Hopefully I’ve not missed anyone.
You can find details of the day at LCE Lincoln Silver Street’s Facebook page here, there was also a competition for the best picture taken on the day and details of this are here too (hint – I didn’t win).
Notes about using the Fujifilm X-T2:
As I already mentioned, I was using the Fujifilm X-T2 camera on the day. It performed admirably and although there were a few moments where is paused here and there (coming out of sleep mode I think) I did not miss any shots. I learned a few things about the camera thanks to John and the Fuji users and I am still wading my way through the manual and watching YouTube videos to get me up to speed. I only used two lenses on the day, first was the borrowed Fujinon XF 56mm f1.2 R lens for the inside shots and the Fujinon XF 50-140mm f2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens for the outside shots (these are equivalent to the 85mm and 70-200 lenses used in portraiture). These lenses focus fast and lock on instantly with the X-T2.
When I got home and looked at my photos I was amazed that apart from the shots where I mistimed or mis-focused they were all wickedly sharp. I wasn’t sure at first as there seems to be a 2-stage refresh happening in Lightroom. You would select the image and it would load the selected photo as a 1:1 and then a few seconds later the true sharpness of the image would load – WOW! The eyes of all three models were all in focus and you could see individual eye-lashes too. In some ways the image was too sharp as every pore in the skin could be see – I had to use a liberal amount of negative clarity to overcome this.