March 3rd, 2010
The purpose of the Bangkok Photo Workshop is to offer more than just a guided tour to some of Bangkok’s most photogenic locations. During the workshop, you will have the opportunity to define your photographic objectives, discussing different approaches that will allow you to achieve your goals. The Photo Workshop is very much a practical exercise and we will spend time in some of Bangkok’s liveliest street markets. We will look at how a structured approach will give you better results and will devote time to constructing a photo essay.
Bangkok is known as the Land of Smiles with good reason. Thai people are friendly and hospitable and photographers keen on improving their street photography will enjoy varied opportunities to produce memorable portraits of market traders, stall holders and smiling tuk-tuk drivers. The colourful markets offer an unlimited number of opportunities to practice compositional skills and to get to grips with creative exposure techniques. Time on the workshop can be devoted to perfecting a variety of skills involving slow-shutter speeds, controlling depth-of-field and to being able to anticipate the “decisive moment”.
It’s all about “seeing”!
One of the other things that makes this Photo Tour different is that we look at things participants can do to enhance and improve their visual awareness. Photography is about more than just pointing a camera in the right direction and pressing the right buttons. It is, of course, about seeing and photographers are often pleasantly surprised to be asked to put their cameras away for the first part of the workshop. The aim is for you to leave the workshop not only a better photographer but also with a keener eye and a greater appreciation of your surroundings.
Our aim will be to reduce the time spent playing with camera settings and to maximise the time available to experience the locations we visit, interacting with local people and discovering ways of constructing simple but effective compositions. Here are just a few of the comments received from previous Photo Workshop participants:
What are people saying?
“Thank you for a great day of photography. You obviously know your craft and your rapport with the folks in the market and Chinatown is to be admired. You have a real way with people. I learned a lot.” Larry Abbott
“What a gift… offering others an insight into your wonderful world of photography. I enjoyed every second. You offered professionalism, approachability and good humour. I could have started all over again today!” Lesley Fisher
“I just wanted to thank you for a very special day. I enjoyed it immensely. I really felt I gained a different insight in photographing people and felt I connected with the people I photographed, which felt very good for me.” Julie Claydon
“Just a quick note to say thank you so much for the photo tour the other morning, I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, and learned a lot from you. Going out shooting with you has given me a lot more confidence.” Suzanne Barker
“A very generous person who shared with me a lot of things including a few of his trade secrets. Many thanks Gavin for the great learning experience ” Florian Fernando
“Thank you for an excellent day and the wonderful advice. I am thrilled with the results and feel inspired to take my photography beyond the standard portrait work I have been doing.” Raine Sinclair
What is the format?
The Bangkok Photo Workshop can be designed to suit your specific requirements. If there are particular techniques you would like to try or specific locations that you would like to visit then these can be incorporated into the workshop. A typical workshop format would look like this:
- Half-day: We meet beside the river for an early-morning trip on the Chao Phraya river taxi to Pak Klong Talaat, the largest wholesale flower and vegetable market in Asia. Topics covered include camera control; preparation and anticipation; creative exposure settings; compositional guidelines; street portraiture. We spend time constructing a photo story, pausing to review lessons learned over a mid-morning cup of tea. The morning concludes with a tuk-tuk ride to a local cafe for lunch, where we review the photographs made during the workshop with a discussion about future projects.
- Full-day (weekday): The morning session follows the format for the half-day tour (above) but after a mid-afternoon break to escape the hottest and brightest part of the day we meet again at about 4pm, in time to photograph the enchanting Chinatown area in the best light of the day. The afternoon session is designed to consolidate the lessons learned during the morning within a more structured approach. We set out with specific photographic goals in mind and concentrate on building a portfolio of images suitable for use in a photo essay. The workshop concludes with an opportunity to create some long-exposure photographs, either of the traffic and neon lights of Chinatown or from a vantage point from where we can see the sun set behind the magnificent Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). We review the day’s activities and discuss ideas for future projects.
- Full-day (weekend): Weekend workshops offer an opportunity to travel a little further afield. We cover the same topics of camera control; preparation and anticipation; creative exposure settings; compositional guidelines and street portraiture but do so whilst visiting some of the most photogenic locations within a short car journey from central Bangkok. You will be collected from your hotel and driven to the busy fishing village of Mahachai, where we can see fishing boats unloading, the fish market in full-swing and the street market traders selling their produce. From there we travel to Mae Klong, the only market in the world with a working train line running through its centre. After seeing the narrow market stalls magically divide to allow the passenger train to pass through we pause for lunch at a local street cafe. After lunch we drive the short distance to Amphawa where we take a long-tail boat ride along the klong (canal) and visit some of the local temples (wats) before heading back to Bangkok.
How much does it cost?
1-2 people: $350 total
3-6 people: $150 per person
1-2 people: $650 total
3-6 people: $250 per person
Pretty much everything. All transport costs for ferries, taxis, tuk-tuks and long-tail boats are included, as well as any entry fees to temples or palaces. You need only bring enough local currency (Thai Baht) for refreshments.
What else do I need?
Your workshop check-list might include the following
- Lenses: wide-angle lenses, medium zooms and fixed focal length lenses are ideal.
- Charged batteries
- Formatted memory cards
- Flash/Strobe – if you especially want to but we discuss various ways to make the most of the available light
- Tripod – useful on the full-day workshops
- Sun-screen. Bangkok can be very hot
- Hat/Scarf – to protect you from the sun, we spend a lot of time outside
- Spare shirt/blouse.
Whether you’re a keen beginner or a serious professional, simply complete the booking form to reserve a half-day or full-day workshop. I will reply with confirmation of your booking if the date is available or a list of alternative dates if it is not. You will also receive a full itinerary including a list of what to bring on the day together with a PayPal invoice for 50% of the total cost. The remaining amount is payable at the conclusion of the tour, either in Thai Baht or US Dollars.
I look forward to welcoming you to Bangkok. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please use the contact details at the foot of this page.