Pre-wedding shoot training workshop Hammersmith Novotel

January is traditionally a quiet time for photographers so it is when we all head off to trade shows and conventions.  There is plenty to feast your eyes on with the latest gadgets and gizmos alongside the newest offerings in presentation.  I usually browse through this quite swiftly taking the chance to catch up with people I know, but the main aim for me is to meet other photographers and to learn.  If I ever feel that I have nothing left to learn then I hope that someone will be kind enough to tell me to retire, but I am fairly sure I will never find myself in that position.  The fantastic thing about the Societies convention, held mid January every year at the Novotel in Hammersmith, is that there are some truly amazing people there who are ready, nay eager, to share their tricks and tips with anyone who is prepared to listen!  Masterclasses and Superclasses run on every topic imaginable from social media to mastering Lightroom taking in a whole range of photographic skills into the bargain.  The Superclasses are of a more practical nature with some amazing photographers showing just how you can get stunning results in really any circumstances.  In all honesty the location is not pretty (practically under the Hammersmith flyover), but this lends itself so well to classes demonstrating just how you can get fantastic results even in the most challenging of locations.

So I headed off to Hammersmith early one cold Sunday morning all geared up ready for two 4-hour sessions with some fantastic photographers.  The morning session with Michael Turner was all about how to get the most out of pre-wedding shoots.  Although the morning was still below freezing we just had to get outside and see what we could find in this most urban of landscapes.

Our models for the morning were Raphael and the gorgeous Vivienne and they did an amazing job of not looking freezing for most of the shoot!  This type of workshop is also a great opportunity to bounce ideas around and try new concepts out on professional models who will patiently pose and follow instructions, managing to look stunning even when they must have been going numb!

These first shots were taken against the side wall of the hotel car park.  I love the repeating uprights and the spots of sunlight dappling in the background.

We then headed up the spiral fire escape on the side of the car park.  I love the pattern of the sun through the fence behind Raphael, which hides the fact that the steps really were quite grubby!


I think this image has a feel of Grease about it, but the concrete pillars really show that we are in a city.

This old, rusty service access made a great backdrop for close in portraits


We did venture inside to get warm a couple of times and eventually we gave in and started to explore inside the building for more shooting opportunities.  The walls inside the hotel are amazing and this one was particularly popular with photographers, for obvious reasons.


At one point we found ourselves in a lobby area that was little more than a huge glass box – there was nothing for it but to get in close and shoot into the light.  This is one of my favourite shots of the day, maybe because it was entirely my creation but also because it is totally my style – bright, light and romantic.

Huge thanks to Michael and Janet of Turner photo training for this session and to Vivienne and Raphael for their endless patience and good humour.

Things I learned on this session:

There is beauty to be found everywhere;

If you can’t avoid the grunge then celebrate it;

All photographers love that amazing wall inside the Novotel;

Vivienne is truly crazy, providing us with great entertainment throughout the morning.


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