Taster & Course review and feedback.
Iíve recently retired so having time on my hands (and getting under my wifeís feet) I was looking for a new hobby or interest.
Iíve taken photographs for many years and in the dim and distant past assisted a well-known local wedding photographer, so expanding my photography seemed a logical path to tread.
A colleague at my last job had used Paulís studio frequently and I was always in awe of the wonderful images he showed me that he had taken at the studio, in particular I loved the black & white art nude images. I often longed to be able to create images like those but didnít have a clue where to start.
With the encouragement of my wife I plucked up the courage to ring ĎPaulís Studioí not really knowing much about it if Iím honest. Whilst I wasnít expecting it to be part of a nationwide chain I was surprised and delighted to find myself speaking to Paul.
I explained my situation and asked about courses to introduce me to the subject. Paul explained he offered a wide range of courses on a one-to one basis, however before I had time to take it all in he suggested I attend one of his one-hour Ďtaster sessionsí to try studio and model work before committing to a course. I have to say I found his honesty rather refreshing, and he probably wonít appreciate this, a bit old-fashioned.
He told me what it would cost, which was a lot less than I expected, explained that in order to make them cost-effective he fits them around other commitments and offered to call me when he next had a free slot. He also told me during his many years of teaching studio/model photography he has occasionally given in to pressure and hosted group training and taster sessions. In his experience these are far inferior to one-to-one coaching so that is all that he provides now. It seems to him, quality comes above the opportunity to make a few extra pounds from filling the studio and I liked that.
A few days later Paul rang me and offered me a slot the following Thursday. He spent time telling me what to bring (if I had it) how to find his studio, who the model would be and what to expect. Iíll admit I came off the phone excited Ė but with fear starting to set in too. Iíd never done anything like this before, how would I react? How would the model react to me being a total novice? What would Paul expect of me? What if I embarrass myself?
In the days leading up to the taster session I went over and over it in my head and if the truth be told, came very close to cancelling. I glad to say I didnít and before long it was Thursday.
To say I walked up Paulís drive with butterflies in my stomach would be an understatement but I was also thrilled to be being given this opportunity.
Paul came to greet me and was even friendlier and laid back than he had been on the telephone, he took me into the studio and introduced me to the model, who was even prettier than in her portfolio. He gave me a brief tour of the studio and I was impressed, no overwhelmed by the vast amount of lighting equipment, backgrounds, props large and small, it was like an Aladdinís cave, every photographerís dream studio.
Shortly afterwards our model came out of her dressing area and took up position. Paul began setting up the lighting for our Ďsetí (I was getting the lingo already!) talking me through every step, stopping to check I was understanding what he was doing and why. Whilst it all seemed like a lot to remember, it was exciting and challenging Ė just what I was looking for.
Paul helped me set-up my camera, even lending me a trigger for the lights, explaining every stage of what we were doing and more importantly why.
Soon we were taking pictures, our model couldnít have been more friendly, relaxed, patient and welcoming and this really helped put me at ease. I really couldnít believe the images that were appearing on the back of MY camera.
Before long Paul said unfortunately we would have to call it a day as he had another booking shortly. I looked at my watch and it was an hour and ten minutes since I stepped into the studio. The time had really flown and I wanted more.
I was hooked, this was better than I had ever hoped it would be. I felt confident I could do this, confident with the help of Paul and the superb model. No longer was I nervous and anxious, well a touch maybe, but most importantly I was enjoying myself.
It would have been so easy to have cancelled the taster session and given in to my inner thoughts that told me I wasnít good enough for this, Iím so glad I didnít.
Iíve since booked to do a one-to-one training course with Paul and provisionally booked a few hours on future model daysÖ oh and that weekend in Wales looks ever so goodÖ
I did mention I think Iím getting hooked didnít I?