Guestblog Alexander Schwarz

After the workshops I taught in Vienna I got such nice mails that I decided to ask one of the students to write a small overview of the days. Alexander in fact wanted to come to the Netherlands for the workshops and when I announced I was coming to Vienna he decided to join me there. So here is his review of the workshops.

My name is Alexander Schwarz I am an amateur photographer from Vienna, Austria. First of all I want to thank Frank for giving me the opportunity to write some lines on his blog which always is an inspiration to me. Since English isn’t my native language I hope you will overlook some spelling or grammatical mistakes.

The first time I became aware of Frank was through Kelbytrainig, I think his was the first class I have watched there and immediately liked his style and straight forward approach to teaching. After that I began following his blog, G+ and Facebook posts. I always wanted to visit one of his workshops but couldn’t find the time for it. At the end of last month Frank posted that he will be teaching for three days at the Photoconvention in Eisenstadt, I was immediately hooked but since there was only a few weeks till the convention I was afraid that there would be no places left.

 

To my surprise the registration and booking of the classes was still possible and I took the opportunity to attend. The convention took place from Tuesday 17th of July to Saturday 21st of July at Schloss Esterhazy in Eisenstadt. Since Franks classes started on Wednesday the first day I took a Sunbounce and Elinchrom Quadra class with the German duo Martin Krolop & Mark Gerst where I learned a lot of new tricks.

But now for the really fun part.

 

On Wednesday morning the participants met Frank, in fact the whole Doorhof family, his wife Annewiek and even their son Brian, for the first time and the first impression was great. You new from the start that he is really as nice as he seems in the videos, a perfectionist who likes to have everything under control but nevertheless easy going.

 

The whole three days were under the motto “Why fake it when you can create it”.

Everyday started with theory about light, lightmeters, storytelling, creativity, business tips, marketing and of course Frank told us how his career started. He explained how he shot his stunning pictures and which story was behind them. All the time giving tips and telling little stories in between which where a wealth of information.

Afternoon was always the time for practical shootings and these where really stunning. On day one we shot in the castle and in the gardens where Frank taught us how to mix ambient with flash light.

Inside even with just one flash equipped with reflector and grid, of course using a lightmeter, the first image that Frank took was amazing but he said: “boring, everyone can take this” and just slight movements of the flash adjusting his angle to the model the images became more and more stunning, I really could’t believe my eyes.

 

But when I looked at the faces of the attendees everyone was extremely impressed.

 

We also went to the chapel but all of were so exhausted and ad sensory overload that this shoot was nearly too much information for us

It is one thing to read it and look at the pictures in a post or a book and even a video can’t give you these personal impression of awe when you see this “magic” performed live. In the middle ages Frank would surely be accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake.

 

The second day started with an assignment for the group. We had 15 minutes to present to Frank one great image. We tried our best and we were working well together. After the time was up we choose one image and our gut feeling for the first one, a simple portrait in soft light of the model standing by a curtain at the window was ultimately rejected because we thought that was too simple and we chose another one. Of course Frank and to be honest we too liked the first image much better. The rest of our practice we shot a lot of portraits on the balcony and in the stairway using bare strobes, the ambient light or mixing light sources, always according to the story we tried to tell.

 

Day three brought us to another location, Burg Forchtenstein, where after some theory we also began locationsocuting and shooting some stunning environmental portraits again mixing flash with ambient light. When it began to rain we went inside again first to a hallway where Frank demonstrated again how the light changes when you move around the model. Afterwards we where in the chapel to make more images and concentrating on the correct use of the light meter depending on what we wanted to the image to look like.

On Saturday to put the icing on the cake Frank showed the whole crowd some tricks in Photoshop and the plug-ins he uses.

 

Now we have the best cake I had ever eaten with icing but i am still missing the fireworks, hmm let me see…
YES there are fireworks: we went to dinner and on Saturday ate lunch with the Doorhofs and we had so much fun and all made a lot of new friends!!!

 

I have attended many workshops but THESE where the BEST I have ever attended period!
If you are thinking about going to workshop, don’t think about do it. And when you have the opportunity to get such a great teacher as Frank run for your life to get a seat you won’t regret it. The images I made during these days are normally miles away from my reach but once you see what you could do you won’t let up to pursue your hobby  and keep pushing. Even if you are a professional photographer it shows you how to go beyond your normal routine and create stunning images your client will love you for.

 

Annewiek, Brian and Frank thank you again for the opportunity to meet and learn from you,
hope to see you soon!

 

best whishes
Alexander