On-the-ground reports from the Ultimate Travel Photography Workshop in Paris.
Since you couldn’t be with us in Paris for our workshop, I asked David Morgan — a freelance writer and photographer — to fill you in on what we’ve learned. You’ll find his second report below.
Director, Great Escape Publishing
The second day of the Ultimate Travel Photography Workshop has come to an end.
And let me tell you, I am really tired. We all are. We’ve been up since before dawn, when we went up to the hill on Montmartre to take photos from the steps of the Sacre Coeur monastery.
It was rainy. Cold. Windy. And totally worth it.
We were the only photographers around at that hour. And an hour later, when other photographers trickled in? They were too late.
We also visited Notre Dame, captured images from a famous bookstore, snapped cafe shots along St. Germain des Pres, and a few of us even ventured to the Luxembourg Gardens…
Before I tell you more, let me introduce myself in case you didn’t tune into my dispatch on day 1.
My name is David Morgan, and I am writing to you over the next few days with free on-the-ground reports from our Ultimate Travel Photography Workshop here in Paris. Consider me your official eavesdropper, filling you in on a few of the things you’ve missed by not being here this time around.
I’m here to debunk the myth that you have to be exceptionally talented, “well-heeled,” or rolling in money in order to enjoy an international lifestyle.
Far from it. You just need to know a few basics. Then put your knowledge into action. So I’m making it my mission here to pass that knowledge along to you.
That’s the beauty of these workshops. Not only do we get to find out what techniques we need to succeed, but we get to practice them immediately.
Yesterday I told you a bit about how your camera’s sensor is more important than the number of megapixels it’s packing.
Today I’m going to tell you a little bit about composition.
After walking around all day, we put our images on the big screen for a peer review.
There were some excellent images – the group as a whole had advanced greatly in the course of 24 hours.
Rich Wagner, our master photographer, had set the tone last night, sharing more about photo composition than I had learned in a full semester of photojournalism school.
And, in the wee hours of the morning during our Sacre Coeur sunrise shoot, our participants started using what they had learned. Their first efforts were, well, what you’d expect: Fledgling.
I didn’t have time to keep tabs on the progress our participants were making throughout the day — I was so busy taking my own photos — so I was stunned by what I saw on the screen that night.
I saw the work of professional photographers. Our program participants had not only learned the “how to” of taking a sellable photograph, they had practiced it. And there before me was the proof – images just as good as the ones sold by stock agencies and printed by glossy travel magazines.
One image in particular sticks in my mind. A program participant had taken a picture of a woman reading a book through a bookstore window. And, in the window, a different book was opened to a page that read “In France,” in big, bold letters.
It was perfect – those two words gave the photo a whole new layer of context.
“I didn’t even notice that when I took the picture,” said the photographer during the review.
Rich responded, “You do get lucky shots sometimes. The best way to get more lucky shots is just to take more pictures.”
I was surprised to hear him say that. Usually pro photographers will tell you that luck doesn’t exist – they’ll tell you that good photography is the product of talent and training.
But that’s not what I’m seeing here in Paris. I’m seeing people with little or no photography or “art” experience at all churn out one saleable photo after another.
Of course, it helps tremendously if you’re following the rules of composition, using diagonal lines, s-curves, proper exposure, etc. Do that, and sometimes the added “lucky” bonus will jump into your picture, too. Like that book in the window.
So that’s your PARIS PHOTO TIP #3: The more pictures you take using the techniques imparted by Rich over the last couple of days, the greater chances you’ll have of getting a lucky shot.
Of course, your shot has to have solid composition to start with. But we’re finding that advanced, professional composition techniques really can be absorbed in a handful of hours during one of our photo workshops,(under the generous guidance of our pros) and on your own with AWAI’s home-study photo program.
Then, once you have your saleable shot, lucky or not, you can use it to help get your first travel article published. To that end, here’s today’s “Paris Push”…
New This Year: the Paris Push
I understand all too well that sometimes the hardest thing is just getting started, so I’ll be here the rest of the week to help give you a little push in the right direction.
Here’s your Paris Push for today:
Yesterday you wrote a couple of paragraphs about one of your favorite places in your hometown. And hopefully, by now, you’ve had time to go take some pictures of it
Today we’re going to look for someone to publish your article for you. We’re just going to brainstorm.
Does your local paper print articles like the one you just wrote? If not, how can you change your article so it would fit your town’s newspaper?
Are there any regional magazines in your area – like the ones you often find in hotel rooms? These kinds of publications are often looking for small pieces about the area — and photos, too.
Also, you might do a search for publications that print articles on the subject you wrote about. If, for instance, you wrote about a local swimming hole, you can look for publications that have printed articles about swimming holes in the past. There might even be a whole publication somewhere dedicated to swimming holes. You never know until you look.
The same goes for local “watering holes,” picnic spots, historical trees, whatever you can think of to write about.
Have you found a publication or two you can target for publishing this article? Once you do, we’ll jump into action. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s dispatch, when I’ll show you exactly what to do.
That’s it for today. Except for one thing.
Yesterday I told you we’d like to see you soon. We were serious about that. So serious, in fact, that Lori wants to help cover the cost of your flight to come see us.
Here’s what that’s all about:
We’re holding but one travel writing workshop this year, and it’s in Denver, Colorado, July 20 – 23. And we’d like you to join us.
Writer and Photographer
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]