F8 & Eric Kim Street 'projects' workshop review - Aug 2014

Last weekend myself and Eric Kim ran a workshop here in Hong Kong.  We had a nice group of mixed abilities from all over Asia and Europe, clients from Macau, Hong Kong, India, Vietnam and even as far away as Budapest in Hungary came to Hong Kong to spend the weekend shooting with our group and sharing ideas and learning some new tips and tricks. Eric introducing himself at the start of the workshop.

Winnie Ho shot this vibrant coloured image as part of her 'Through The Window' project.

The focus of this workshop was 'working on projects', so it was slightly more advanced that some of the basic street shooting style workshops, requiring a different approach to shooting on the streets.  Some may find it easier being given a project to focus on, some find it harder to focus on 'telling a story' with a short sequence and tighter edit of images.  Whichever way you approach it, for sure it will help develop visualisation skills for all photographers looking for a slightly different approach to their work.

Mainlander shopping spree, Hong Kong

End of first night...much beer is needed to soften the blows of the critiques :-)

The first evening of the workshop was spent reviewing clients existing portfolios that they were asked to bring along for critique.  This is always a very valuable part of the workshop as it enables everyone to get to know each other, let down their barriers and showcase their current work.  It also helps us to figure out which direction we think they may like to try next and after the workshop finishes to see how they have moved their benchmark up a level or two.

Sam and Oscar comparing their toys out on the streets.

The 2nd day is spent with various presentations in the morning (after lots of coffee and snacks), sharing some examples of our own projects and talking thoroughly as a group about everything that has been showcased that morning.  After lunch we discuss potential ideas for projects with the group, share them all and let the clients pick 2 projects to work on over the rest of the weekend before their final presentations.  This method proved to work very well, and the discussions brought out some great ideas for people to try.


A nice 'selfie' taken by Annie Gallivan as part of her project 'Shadow Play'.

Then, the group departed off, either alone, in pairs or under guidance from us where requested, to explore deep into Kowloon and Hong Kong Island for the rest of Saturday and Sunday morning, exploring their ideas, sharing feedback over dinner and fine tuning their visions before meeting back at the workshop base for Sunday lunch and to start the process of selection, editing and presentation.

smokers óscar f.-3

Sam checks his negatives on the 2nd evening after a day shooting.

Geoff has his contact sheets proofed by a friend at dinner.

People always underestimate the importance of being a strong self-editor, something that some people struggle with, so we used some techniques that are really useful in Lightroom to help the visual process, helping the group break down their portfolios to a very tight edit by the end of the day.

Geoffrey Chen, shooting on film for his 'Lust' project.

Final presentations were made individually, allowing each client to showcase their work and get up in front of a group and practice their presentation skills.

We had group  discussions over the presentations, and gave our final thoughts to the clients.

Carolyn Kang - Up close and personal with her 'Portraits' project.

To finalise the workshop we have an excellent presentation from our good friend Jonathan Van Smit (flickr link), an acclaimed street shooter based in Hong Kong, well known amongst our community for his black and white close up street shooting in Kowloon.  Jonathan has been a guest speaker at many of our workshops and always inspires others with his dedication, drive and passion for what he is doing.  He has recently departed on a personal project in Israel, and we wish him the best of luck with that project and stay safe!!!  More of Jonathan's work can be seen here.

Alex Haslam's contrasty black and white images were part of his 'Hidden Faces' project.

All said and done, the workshop was a great success, all client feedback has been positive, and I for one have seen some large improvements in portfolios of many of the clients as I have spent a lot of time with most of them before and am quite familiar with their work.

Alex explores the issues related to exposure when shooting with lens cap on...sorry mate, couldn't resist hehe.

Laszlo Szigeti - for his 'Reflections' project.

Below I would like to share some more images from the workshop, bearing in mind the clients only had less than 24 hours to produce their sets of images, these are some of the individual images, tagged with the name of their project to give context.


Sam Lok, shooting on film for his 'Layers and Triangles' project.

Michelle Leung focussed her project around "Sham Shui Po'.

Harriet Pollard's project focussed on 'First Impressions', having just arrived from India a few weeks beforehand.

Jonathan Nguyen's project 'Old People' had a good look with his processing.


Great work everyone, looking forward to the next workshops already.

F8 Photography runs workshops all over Asia, including travel photography in Cambodia, Japan and India all coming up in late 2014, please check out our website for more details on how to sign up for those, or check our blog for loads of reviews, slideshows and feedback from clients who have attended previous F8 Photography workshops around Asia.

F8 Photography also provides commercial photography and videography services, please see our main website for that or check out Gary's public page on Facebook to stay up to date with our latest images and what we are up to.

Thanks for all the support and keep shooting.

Rajasthan Photography Workshop November 2013 - Behind the Scenes

One month ago we led a small workshop (8 people) to Rajasthan in India and had an epic experience as a group of photographers. This blog post is just a short look at some behind the scenes images showing our little gang shooting around Pushkar, Jaipur and Delhi over the week, and most of all a reflection of how much FUN we all had together in such an amazing place.

We will be heading back to India in just a few months time in February 2014, this time deeper into Rajasthan to Jodhpur, details of that workshop can be seen here:


That aside, here is a look behind the scenes at our last Rajasthan workshop, which was held in November 2013.

DSC_0097 2Justine having a great time with the localsF8LM3593 Jon was thankful he had his rabies jabs after a dog attempted to lick him to death...lolF8LM3652-Edit Patrick (left) and myself doing some 'selfies' in Delhi

F8LM3754Myriam shares her image with a lovely lady in the streets of Delhi F8LM3865On route to Pushkar by train...the best way to travel in India F8LM3882 Katherine getting to grips with the awesome light inside the trainF8LM3915Our group waiting to board a train to Pushkar F8LM4170Katherine and Justine taking an elephant up the hill to the Amber Fort F8LM4275Chai Masala Tea Break....this picture was taken at tea break number 135 of 567 during the week...;-) GF2A5456Monica showing her subjects how great they look on camera GF2A6564Gary teaches a local guy how to shoot the Ricoh GR GF2A6612Gary getting some composition tips off the local dog (all dogs we met were super friendly!) img-5143Tasha taking a poignant moment during the train journey to Pushkar img-6254Tasha and Jon doing some strange 'pigeon-dash'! img-6450Tasha can even charm elephants into smiling img-6563Ruth and Katherine with their lovely smiles out enjoying the shooting img-6593Justine out doing some 'training' (excuse the pun). img-6858Gary failing to impress the locals with his cricket skills... L1003482Asking a local to shoot our group photo, he did very well for his first time on a rangefinder   Gary TysonJon posing in an alleyway of Old Delhi L1007576Tasha and Sakshi checking eachothers work L1007578A couple of our local guides in Delhi L1007643Gary checking the Rajasthan scenery on route to Pushkar L1007657Myriam scouting for subjects on the train L1007832Ruth and Patrick loving PushkarL1007864Jon and Patrick trying scarves as reflectors and diffusers...worked perfectly!  L1008169Ruth on the last day in Jaipur L1008209Justine at the mosque in Delhi early morning L1008355Becky at the riverside in Delhi on our last day in India L1008523-EditJon shooting portraits on his trusty Rolleiflex OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatrick gets up close and personal with his subjects OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJon and Monica taking a taxi

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page and share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below.  You can also subscribe to our blog here.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and photography and video training workshops, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.

Jodhpur Photography Workshop - February 2014

After our successful photography workshop in India last month we have decided to go back at the earliest opportunity. We were oversubscribed last time, so here's another chance for people to explore this amazing place with us.

This time we will have TWO professional photographers on location to assist and guide where necessary.

Gary from F8 and Ian Taylor, who's work resides at the following links:


and here:


Follow the link for details, sign up fast, places are very limited.



Rajasthan - India photography workshop, November 2013

In recent years we have been running many successful workshops in Cambodia and as much as we love the place, many of our clients and new enquiries are asking for us to lead a workshop in different parts of Asia so here is the first one, into the heart of Rajasthan in India from 5th - 10th November 2013. This workshop is limited to a maximum of 8 participants.

We will explore Delhi and 'the pink city' of Jaipur in Rajasthan, travelling between the two by train.

This promises to be an exciting workshop and good learning experience for all of us, so sign up quick, a few of the places have already been sold before it was advertised today.

For more information please follow the link to the workshop signup page below:



Smile! you're on camera in Cambodia!

Now our Phnom Penh photography workshop is complete and we have returned to Hong Kong I will start to prepare some blog posts from each of the clients so we can share their point of view on the workshop and on Cambodia. Whilst I am doing that I would just like to share a few 'behind the scenes' headshots of our participants and some of our subjects and the underlying memory I have of Phnom Penh which is….happiness….even though the country may be poor, there are few other places I have visited that I have seen so many genuine smiles.

I walk around Hong Kong and the general vibe is very very different to Cambodia, of course these two places cannot be compared, but the reality for me is that whenever I am in countries that have more money and affluent lifestyle…..there always seems to be a lot less smiling going on…..

I hope by viewing a few of these images it can make you smile and give you a very small insight into the vibrant and colourful faces of Cambodia.

We will have lots of blog posts from the clients and behind the scenes footage coming shortly, stay tuned...and keep smiling :-)

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page and share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below.  You can also subscribe to our blog via the RSS link below.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and photography and video training workshops, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.

OMD goes to Cosplay

(Olympus 75mm 1.8, 1/200 @ f3.2, ISO 200) (This image above is the only one from the set that I have linked a full size version too, so any pixel counters who want to look at it full size click this link...this for me shows how good a 4/3 sensor can resolve detail).

So, after a few weeks of extensive travel photography around Cambodia and Manila in the Phillipines, we are back to Hong Kong and found out about the Cosplay exhibition held in Wanchai Exhibition Centre, so thought we'd put the Olympus OMD to more tests using slightly longer lenses than normal, focussing more on portraits, rather than street or environmental shots.

The lenses of choice for this shoot were the Panasonic 25mm 1.4, Olympus 45mm 1.8 and Olympus 75mm 1.8.  Remember all focal lengths are doubled for their 35mm equivalent value.

All I can say about using this camera for portraiture is 'wow', it keeps on surprising me, no matter what I use it for....I wasn't sure what to expect with tight portraits, how much detail would the 4/3 sensor resolve...all I can say is that the sensor is simply amazing, especially when combined with these high quality (but reasonably priced) prime lenses.

(Olympus 75mm 1.8, 1/500 @f1.8, ISO 320)

Another thing that the Olympus OMD seems to do well is 'colour', and I thought the Cosplay event would be a great place to showcase this with all the variety of coloured outfits and wigs, and for sure, I hope these sample images I have posted here show that.  They have all had minor contrast and levels adjustments only in Lightroom 4, no other editing was required and in 99.9% of the images, white balance was not changed at all, so this shows the RAW files coming out of the OMD have already great white balance.  Of course with RAW files this wouldn't be an issue as all white balances are embedded so its a 1-click change to fix any issues, but not having the issue in the first place is always reassuring.

(Olympus 75mm 1.8, 1/200 @f2, ISO 320)

(Olympus 45mm 1.8, 1/320 @f2.8, ISO 320)

Details captured in the eyes and hair when shots are tight portraits like these is truly great for a camera of such small size.  I know I keep blowing its trumpet talking about how good the camera is, but at this stage (1st August 2012) I can honestly say from all the cameras I have used and whats available on the market currently, there is no better choice if you are looking for a small system to replace or enhance a DSLR rig.  Its affordable, robust, has some of the best glass I've ever used on any system (including Leica), and is just above and beyond anything else available.  This is of course just my opinion formed by lots of usage of various rigs, I am in no way related or sponsored by Olympus or any other camera manufacturer, this is just a working photographers honest opinion at this current time.  I hope another camera is released that kicks its ass, good gear means the competition level has to rise and other manufacturers need to produce the goods to stay in the running.....and for sure this time all the others in this category (and many categories above 4/3 better be opening their eyes and looking very hard at what Olympus has got so right).

(Panasonic summilux 25mm 1.4, 1/2000@f1.4, ISO 320)

(Panasonic summilux 25mm 1.4, 1/400@f2, ISO 640)

Here are some more images, all captioned with the relevant lens from the event....I still have no idea what Cosplay is...I'm guessing its some tribute to Japanese cartoons, excuse my ignorance.  Regardless of that, its a great subject full of interesting characters who were all more than willing to be photographed.  Apparently this Cosplay stuff can be found in abundance in Japan.....next stop Tokyo :-)

(Panasonic summilux 25mm 1.4, 1/320@f2.8, ISO 320)

(Olympus 75mm 1.8, 1/640 @f2, ISO 400)

Unusually for me, I hardly used the wide lenses when shooting around this event, there were a lot of messy backgrounds as the place was packed full of people, which made it difficult to isolate subjects with any wide lenses, I think these were the only 2 shots that I liked with the wide lenses, one indoor and one outdoor.

(Olympus 12mm 2.0, 1/200 @f2, ISO 800)

(Panasonic summilux 25mm 1.4, 1/40@f2, ISO 640)

(Olympus 75mm 1.8, 1/1000 @f2.8, ISO 320)

(Olympus 75mm 1.8, 1/800 @f2, ISO 320)

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page and share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below.  You can also subscribe to our blog via the RSS link below.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and training across Asia, with workshops on Street Photography and other photography and video training courses, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.



Guest post: Down under in Phnom Penh (Dave)

Note:  This post is written and all photos by Dave Grady who came from Australia for one of our Hong Kong workshops then travelled to Cambodia with us.  Dave shoots with a combination of Leica M9P, Sony NEX 7, Nikon V1 and Canon 5D Mk III rigs.  This is his story.

(Boat boy crossing the Mekong)

In July 2012 I was fortunate enough to attend F8 Photography's documentary photography workshop in Hong Kong.  Just prior to attending the workshop I was also invited to go along with Gary, Giles & Steve to Cambodia directly after the workshop to practice some new found skills, an offer I couldn't refuse.

After attending the documentary workshop which broadened my mind and the way one can approach photography (picking a theme and shooting a series of shots rather than just looking for  one shot), and then spending my last day in Hong Kong with Gary while he shot editorial work on a 1 million dollar yacht, I barely had time to pack and we made our way to Phnom Penh on the early morning flight direct from Hong Kong equipped with an Leica M9, Sony Nex 7 and  Nikon V1.

Having just been to remote areas of mainland China, some of the scenes I'm seeing are familiar but in general it's very different to what I'm used to seeing in Sydney.  The traffic is chaotic yet flowing at the same time, People walking all over the place carrying who knows what, families cramping up on one scooter (up to 6 people on 1 small scooter) and the little shops on the side of the road and the mobile street vendors all made for a very interesting drive to our hotel. It was evident very early in Phnom Penh that Cambodia is not a wealthy country but was amazed at how friendly and happy people were.

We arrived at our hotel that Gary had organised for us which was really nice, we dropped off our gear and jumped on a tuk tuk (my first tuk tuk experience) and made our way to the riverside bistro which became our regular watering hole for the rest of the trip, after a brief nap and swim at the hotel pool (which was great for mid/late afternoons after shooting all day) we made our way out for a walk along the riverside were we came across what i'm guessing is a daily ritual where people go to a small temple to pray with people around selling flowers, candles and birds which I believe are offerings to the Gods. This event made for good photography with lots of people around to shoot and lot's of stuff happening everywhere.   This was my first real chance to shoot in Cambodia and was really surprised and taken back by peoples willingness to have there photo's taken especially with kids which is a big no no in many western countries.

(Nikon V1, 10mm)

The next morning we met up with Gary's translator and our tour guide/tuk tuk driver Sammy (Samedy) and off we went to Mekong Island, after a short ferry ride across the Mekong river we arrived and stopped at a small shop to get supplies for the day and pick up a few Krama's (traditional Cambodian scarves).

(Dave modelling his new Camodian scarf on route to Mekong Island)

Mekong Island is a small remote area across the river from Phnom Penh, it's not an area tourists would normally visit and the same goes for Phnom Penh locals many hadn't even heard of the place let alone been there.  What I saw of Mekong Island consisted of 1 small dirt road with houses on 1 side and the Mekong river on the other, It was however full of photo opportunities.

(Leica M9P)

We met lot's of nice people alongside the road who were more than willing to have there picture taken, A little girl who waved at us even motioned for us to go into her families yard where we spoke to her mother and took photo's of them both. The one person who will stay with me for a long time was a blind man in a small shack who allowed us to take pictures of him, after which Steve got out a $20 note (usually we would give a $1 or $2) and gave it to him, after finding out the value through Sammy who translated for us just seeing his reaction was truly priceless he was so gracious and had many nice things to say.

(Blind villager)

(At the female monastery)

(Dave (right) and others from the team offering rice to the Nuns on our arrival)

Moving on we then arrived at a Women's monastery which was in the middle of nowhere and you would never know it was there unless you were with someone who knew about it. This place was very peaceful and had some amazing statues all throughout the monastery. We spent around an hour just wondering around just taking everything in and taking photos of the many statues and Monks who were more than happy to have there photo's taken. After we had all finished walking around it was mid afternoon and we were all hot and hungry so back we went to the hotel for a swim and lunch.

The next day we had a few different options but we decided on going to a temple complex about 45 minutes from Phnom Penh, It was quite a long ride on the tuk tuk and when we finally arrived.  As we walked around and looked at the temple you could easily be mistaken and think you were in Angkor Wat.

(Temple complex outside Phnom Penh)

This place made for some great landscape, texture and portrait shots, 1 old lady we found between the 4 of us we must have shot 3-4 rolls of film and a couple hundred digital shots, she just had this amazing face to shoot close up portraits, it had so much detail from all the wrinkles & damage from the sun over many years.

(102 year old Temple Minder)

This place was also very peaceful and was very nice just walking around taking a photo here and there.  While it was a long way out and back it was well worth it, everybody who I mentioned that I'm going to Cambodia all asked if I was going to Angkor Wat and everyone was shocked when I replied 'no', but at Angkor we would have been competing with thousands of other tourists to walk around and take photos whereas here it was just us and a few locals. It may not have been as grand as the temples at Angkor but it gave us a taste of what they are like and we were able to get shots we'd never get at Angkor.

On our final day we decided to visit a slum on the railway a place Gary has been before and suggested as a place to check out to get a real view of some of the poverty that exists here. When laying eyes on this place it hits you pretty quick how poor this place is, It's an old abandoned train yard with many old carriages just sitting there rotting and being used to dump trash and all sorts in.  Making matters worse this huge state of the art Cambodian government building can be seen right behind within 1km from this train yard. I was a little worried how people will react to us showing up there and taking photos, but everyone seemed really nice and friendly and it turned out to be a very interesting and humbling experience.

(The entrance to the railroad slum)

(The modern government buildings just a few hundred meters behind the slum...)

(Railroad families)

Hearing stories from the locals like the lady who was sewing making shirts and how she gets 2 cents for every shirt she makes and seeing the conditions that they lived in were really eye opening especially for myself who hasn't seen this sort of thing before, yet they all seemed happy and the kids were over the moon when Steve bought them all Ice blocks.

(Our team at Mekong Island (L to R: Steve, Gary (F8), Giles and myself) 

In conclusion I had an amazing time and it was a great experience. I was able to get some great photos which I'm very happy with. Phnom Penh was very much a culture shock for me, a lot of it I have touched on but the things that will really stick with me is how chaotic yet organised it is,  I was blown away by how friendly everyone is and there willingness to have there photo taken especially kids. Also just seeing people living in dire conditions yet seemed to be happy and got on with life. This especially hit me hard and really made me think about the way I live and work on certain ways to improve certain aspects of it.


(Me relaxing at our watering hole on the riverside)

 Lastly I'd like to thank Gary for organising the trip he got us a great hotel and took us to some great places, Steve & Giles it was a pleasure hanging out and shooting with you guys & Sammy and Kanja for taking us around and translating for us.

Final note from F8:

Gary, the Director of F8 has also written a blog post about his experience, that can be seen by clicking here.

Guest blog posts written by Steve who also came along can be seen here:

Thanks for taking the time to visit our blog, if you like our blog and website, please ‘like’ us on our public Facebook page and share this story with your friends with the Facebook and twitter links below.  You can also subscribe to our blog via the RSS link below.

F8 Photography provides commercial photography and training across Asia, with workshops on Street Photography and other photography and video training courses, more details can be found via the ‘courses and workshops’ link and upcoming events via the front page of our website.