Andras Schram Wedding Photography Workshop (June 21 to 23, 2010)

Happy Canada Day!  I am catching up on my posts and thought I would provide a review of a recent workshop I attended.  There are so many workshops offered nowadays and this fact alone can make it difficult to choose.  If you’ve arrived at my site because you were looking for a workshop review, you have come to the right place.  Hopefully my review is helpful to you in your workshop selection.

On June 21 – 23, I had the privilege of attending a wedding photography workshop held by Andras Schram, an award winning wedding photographer based out of Calgary.  Andras’ services are in high demand and his work possesses an incredible level of quality and unique creativity.  As a photographer starting out in the business, I was looking for a local workshop where I could interact and shoot with an established professional, get an understanding of the business model of a successful wedding photographer, learn how to maximize my efficiency when shooting, streamline my post-processing workflow, and be both comfortable and creative with clients during the shoot.  Yes, this was a tall order.  But for a workshop price of $1250, I expected a lot.

Andras emphasized to the participants that photographers need to know their equipment inside and out so that when you go out on a shoot, your creativity and output isn’t inhibited because you don’t know how to use your equipment to its fullest extent to create the results that you have envisioned in your mind.  A thorough working knowledge of your gear and technical knowledge on how to achieve a certain exposure makes you an efficient photographer on location and minimizes the risk that you will miss a magic moment during a wedding.

Andras taught me how to be a more efficient shooter.  He has a direct but friendly approach and in watching him in action I was left with little doubt that Andras knows how to appropriately direct his clients/models and control a situation.  He also took the time to explain why or why not a certain pose worked.  I was amazed at his creativity.

Andras is a big believer in nailing a shot in-camera so that the required post-processing is minimal.  He does not rely on heavy post-processing to “rescue” his images.  His approach enables him to minimize time spent in post, leaving more time for other aspects of his business, and more importantly, his family!  As a father of two young boys, his approach really resonated with me.

Andras is an open book.  I was impressed with his willingness to share with the workshop participants his pricing model and the rationale for his pricing.  He also provided useful advice on pricing for those starting out in the business and how to evolve one’s pricing over time.

Andras also provided practical tips on how to market one’s name and branding through the use of social networking, as well as a fantastic strategy that can be employed during a wedding day.  Attend his workshop to find out how.

Andras provided the participants with three opportunities to shoot: an engagement session, a bride session, and a studio/lighting session.  This was my first time participating in a “shootout” so I was interested in how the sessions would progress.  Andras arranged for models to act as our subjects for the sessions.  The studio/lighting session was a nice bonus.  Wedding photographers shoot on location and typically are not dealt a controlled environment so the studio/lighting session was a nice change of pace.

Improvement points: Overall, Andras allotted a sufficient amount of time for each location with the intention that all participants could get their fair share of images.  That said, I provided Andras with some suggestions on how to improve the shootouts.  I told him that it would be beneficial if Andras made sure to emphasize throughout the course of the shootouts for everyone to take turns (eg. a minute or two for each participant to have sole access) and for the other photographers to step back a bit so that they do not get in the way when someone is trying to frame their shots.  It should be noted that Andras did mention this at the beginning of each shootout, but I don’t think the self-policing by participants worked as well as it could have.  At times it felt a bit like a paparazzi scrum!  In one sense, given the mayhem that occasionally ensured, I was forced to be creative and looking for different angles in how I could shoot the model and still capture an image that I was felt was aesthetically pleasing.  I was able to come away with some “keeper” images, even if the sessions were a bit chaotic at times.

I am out of town while I am composing this post, so I do not have access to all of my workshop images which are on my main computer.  Here are some of wedding and engagement session pictures I shot, as well as a couple of me “in action” courtesy of fellow participant and new photog buddy Kyle Hamilton of Fernie.

Engagement shoot in Inglewood – framing my shot.

@ Kyle Hamilton Photography

Caught wielding my 24-70 2.8!  Photography is so easy I can do it with my eyes closed.  Yeah right!!!!

@ Kyle Hamilton Photography

Here’s model (and photographer) and new friend Kyla Gibson and husband Curtis.  I captured this image of them causing mayhem on Inglewood’s main strip.

©2010 Joel Yana Photography

Model Kristie Rushton in a series of images shot at Fish Creek Provincial Park.  I shot these images with available light, no flash.

@2010 Joel Yana Photography@2010 Joel Yana Photography@2010 Joel Yana Photography

The experience level of participants ranged from hobbyist to full-time professional, with the remainder somewhere in between.  Even with this wide spectrum in the participants’ experience levels, Andras was able to share a wealth of practical and technical knowledge to all participants, and to a person we all agreed that we all gained some valuable takeaways from the workshop.  I would highly recommend Andras’ workshop to anyone from an amateur enthusiast with a good working knowledge of his/her camera to professional photographers seeking inspiration to help re-ignite the spark to their own creativity.

And so ends probably my longest post to-date.  For those looking to participate in a workshop, I hope this review was helpful.

Thanks again Andras for allowing me to be a part of this experience!

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