Chicheley Hall - Brett Harkness Photography Training.
Chicheley Hall with Brett Harkness Photography Training.
Let’s start off with a disclaimer… The sample of images you are about to see are taken from a Wedding Workshop. These are highly trained models and there was plenty of time allowed throughout the day to create these images. If you look around hard enough you'll no doubt see very similar images. This is what happens when you're on a Workshop.... Pssst it's a sign that the Teacher's doing a good job!
If you want to see some of my own Wedding magic, head over to my Gallery.
Right, now that’s out the way, let’s begin….
Photography Education has always been a big thing for me. Those who have followed me throughout the past few years will no doubt see this reflected in my work. I eat, breathe and sleep photography. So when I had the opportunity to get some training, there really was only one place to look first.
There really are a lot of Photography Educators around, some are Ex-Photographers turned Educators, others are both. I can’t say I’ve yet come across a Photography Educator who’s never been in ‘the field’, but I dare say there’s a few around.
However, it can very quickly become a game of Chinese whispers. Photographers learning from those who are in the top of the field, to only go out and teach what they learnt at a lower price. (Pretty darn unethical really). So for me, it’s always made sense to go straight to the top. To hear it straight from the horses mouth. After all, things change and if you’re anything like me, you want to ask questions and get knowledge that only the originator can provide.
And so it began….
On Monday I was fortunate enough to spend time on a Workshop with another BIG inspiration of mine. Those of you who have followed me for long enough should be aware of the name Brett Harkness. ( OOOOOOOOOO and the crowd's go wild!!!!!!! )
Arguably one of the most sought after Wedding Photographers in the UK and when you look at his work, see him in action and speak to him, it’s not difficult to see why.
Brett’s style is very unique. Whilst there are other’s who try to mimic his style, nobody can quite match what he likes to call “The BHP Magic”.
And it’s true.
That being said, I didn’t attend this course because I wanted to mimic Brett’s style. Sure, I wanted to learn as much from him as possible, to understand how he thinks during a Wedding day and experience his approach to Natural Light and Flash (Something he’s very notable for). But for me, If I could gain even the slightest bit of understanding of how he works and what he sees I would come away happy.
I’m always interested in what happens behind the image as well as in front. I’m not talking light placements, gear or Behind the scenes (although that does interest me). I like to know the thought process that is going on. In a fast paced environment such as a Wedding, the need to think quickly is high. So, knowing how he personally approaches this, would be a good thing to learn for me.
This is one of the biggest things I noticed about Brett throughout the day. You could very easily see that when it came to the Photographing aspect of the day, (The day was split up. More about that later) it wasn’t something that had been rehearsed. Brett didn’t have “go to” places that he’d researched on the lead up to the day. Much as he described in the morning, Brett get’s his inspiration throughout the day. With one eye on the shot he’s taking and the other on his next shot, here’s a man who’s used to working fast and can turn even the most unthinkable, into a work of art… whilst keeping it true to form! (No smoke bombs here!)
Despite all of that however, his attention to the attendees (or students for want of another word) is on point. He’s very keen to make sure that everyone is in a complete understanding on what is going on, that everyone is given the opportunity to create some great images for themselves and he’s completely hands on when help is needed. Explaining things in a way that’s very easy to follow and understand.
The Breakdown of the day:
I’m not going to go into too much detail here. I don’t think it would be fair for a start to tell you exactly what is taught on the day. But I will say that it makes for a great day and the layout of his courses are fully explained on his website.
The morning consisted of an 'around the table' introduction, looking through a series of Brett’s images and Brett recalling a number of stories from his years worth of experience. Which I personally really enjoyed listening to and general discussion regarding Wedding Photography (again, i won't give away too much) Then after lunch it’s onto a full packed afternoon of creating some awesome imagery.
So where next from here and more importantly, would I recommend one of Brett’s Training Workshops?
If you’re wanting to up your game and to gain some incredible knowledge by one of the UK’s most sought after Wedding Photographers then Brett’s courses come highly recommended. One of the things I admire about Brett is that he has time for people, regardless of how silly you may feel your question is. He’ll also point out things that you might not have thought about.
But I feel it’s important that you familiarise yourself with Brett’s work first. Once you’ve done that, you’ll begin to understand what these courses involve and what to expect. You’ll also clearly see that you’re going to be learning from someone who knows exactly what they’re talking about and isn’t going to teach you something they don’t apply themselves!
If you’re new to Photography and don’t truly know your way around your camera, then you might well find a course like this a bit out of your depth. I’d imagine Brett would be more than happy to teach you the real basics, but I don’t feel it would be the appropriate time or place to do so.
What about me?
I dare say I’ll be attending another course at some point. With a few select and limited destinations to choose from this year, I’m very tempted. Also, offering 1-1 training, tailored specifically to the individual, that’s high on my personal list.
A Special Thanks goes to all the other photographers who attended the course, to Tanya and Steve the models and to Richard for assisting throughout the day.
Thanks for reading,