Olympus 'OM-D Events' Workshop

I've always been sceptical about my teaching abilities in the past, so when Olympus asked if I would be up for doing a couple of workshops as part of their OM-D Events series, I was a little apprehensive. My main concern was how was I going to fill the 4 hour time slot with decent and worthwhile content that people would find both informative and inspiring?

I've never given any talks before, so I had no clue how long things take to talk about, but after a couple of days with a notepad and pen (old skool is still the way to brainstorm!), I managed to put together a decent framework. The main point of my talk was always going to be more theoretical and philosophical, rather than showing people lighting setups and the like. There are plenty of people out there teaching that kind of stuff.

With a couple of weeks I had a rough presentation put together, complete with slideshow and notes! It was all coming together nicely. I also did a couple of run throughs with friends in order to make sure I was on the right track. Feedback was good, so it was full steam ahead!

Each session was limited in numbers to keep things casual and informative. I had a rough timescale in mind in order to fill the time, but was more interested in getting participation and interaction going, so if we ran behind schedule, that wasn't a bad thing. I figured I could probably make the presentation part of things take about an hour if I talked slowly and put in a couple of breaks... wrong! So turns out, not only can I talk for Britain, the stuff I was talking about was really engaging. One of the sessions ended up with the presentation lasting almost 2.5 hours!!! Totally unexpected, but awesome that everyone got involved!

After talking through my various philosophies on photography, cameras, and how I approach what I do, we then moved onto the demonstration part of the workshop. I'd spent the monday before casting for 2 models. My main requirement was that they be fun to work with. Fun people are always better to have on set, and I didn't know how much experience any of the participants would have, so didn't want to give them uncooperative models to deal with. So from the casting, we had Hermione and Lily from First, who were great fun and absolutely awesome! Styling came from Rachel Gold, who had to put up with my rather awkward demands over the week preceding the workshop, but came up trumps with some stunning looks! Hair and make-up was provided by Salina Thind, who gave me exactly what I was after. It's always nice to have a great team, who all get on well and are on the same page. Always makes the day more fun!

Here are a few shots from the demonstration part of the workshop. These were all by myself. I spent about 5-10 minutes shooting and talking about what I was doing, before letting everyone else have a go, whilst staying on hand to answer questions and give advice.

Photographer: Jay McLaughlin Styling: Rachel Gold Make up & Hair: Salina Thind Models: Hermione & Lily @ First

After shooting, we spent the last 5-10 minutes of the session looking through a few images and giving some critique and opinions, before winding up for the next group.

I quite enjoyed my first workshop adventure, and I'd definitely be up for repeating the experience if there was the demand. So far the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, so watch this space!

If you're interested in more dates for this workshop, email Olympus UK.

Here's a few more images from the day...