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Documentary Photography Workshop: Visual Storytelling

When you travel you embark on a new journey. The places you visit and the people you meet enrich your life in so many ways. One of the first things you want to do when you return home from an amazing holiday is to tell your family and friends about your adventure and share life-changing experiences through showing them beautiful images. 

In conjunction with Journey Boutique I have put together bespoke documentary-based workshops that will teach you how to make great photographs and how to tell your own story in pictures as well as providing you with a fun and personalised creative learning experience on a photographic adventure of a lifetime. As well as being a photographic tour-de-force exploring different camera techniques, visual styles and shooting approaches, this trip will also be a cultural experience of art, food and communities living in some of the most remote and amazing places on the planet - places with unique potential for visual storytelling through photography.

Each photo-adventure is designed to provide maximum opportunity to explore a unique place - its people, its culture, its landscape - through a combination of workshops designed to develop your photographic skills and boost your confidence as a photographer with an emphasis on unlocking your potential as a visual storyteller through a variety of activities such as location shoots, photo-walks and individual assignments tailored to your own needs and skills-level.

A picture-story is often based around a theme and in these workshops we will help you develop a particular point of view or angle on a story in a supportive and creative environment. During the course of the workshops we will be exploring different approaches to storytelling within documentary photography; from learning about the construction of a traditional picture-story within the context of photojournalism to examining contemporary documentary practice within fine-art.

Beyond making beautiful images to take home, this photo-adventure is about learning how to be a visual journalist: exposing yourself to new cultures, overcoming language barriers, and gaining access into the lives of those you meet to create powerful storytelling images.

Click any image below to view pictures from New Zealand about the indegenous people, the Maori © Martin Toft, 2013

Workshops 2014

Small group size: max 10 participants

Hill Tribes of Northern Thailand Easter 2014
Dates, price and further details to come soon...

Buddhist Pilgrimage in Ladakh Summer 2014
Dates, price and further details to come soon...

Until the full details are published please contact Martin directly on martin@martintoft.com for further information.

Who is it for?
Anyone from a keen photo-enthusiast to a semi-professional would learn a great deal from taking part in our adventure and photo-documentary workshop. The main focus in our workshop is to become more confident both as a photographer and a visual storyteller in photographing people and places. Expert advice will be given about how to improve your understanding of light and composition as well as practical hands-on guidance on technical matters and how to get the best out of your camera. However, the workshops are aimed at those travellers who have previous experience in taking pictures and some basic understanding of camera skills and how to operate a DSLR.

Photographers who wish to join us must have their own camera and lenses and we recommend that you bring a lightweight tripod, extra memory cards and a laptop for uploading, processing and editing pictures. A device, such as a pen-drive for file transfer would also be beneficial for sharing and presenting pictures in evening group reviews.

Workshop Overview
I will be working alongside you to give practical advice and hands-on tips on how to better your photography skills as well as developing your confidence as a photographer to take on new photographic challenges. Working alongside me you will also observe and learn how a professional work in the field and how I approaches my subjects and confronts difficult subject-matter.

There will be ample opportunities to discuss ideas and techniques on a one-on-one basis as well as developing your own personal focus for your learning. Camera skills and technical advice will be taught throughout the workshops relevant to specific photo-shoots, assignments and techniques.

Our destination will be our classroom and in addition to teacher-led demonstrations and individual tutorials you can also expect to learn and improve your photography from informal group discussions and peer review over lunch and dinner as well as evening presentations looking at inspiration from both historical and contemporary practitioners.

In addition, we will also look at ways to process and edit pictures and how to manage workflow using Lightroom and/or Photoshop. There may also be an opportunity to look at different ways to present your pictures either as a layout in a magazine page spread, podcast or online photo-book.

Click any image below to view pictures from Homeless communities in London © Martin Toft, 2013

What to Expect
The core-learning objective is developing a greater visual awareness of what makes a great documentary photograph. The emphasis is upon the art of seeing and training your eye to look for the perfect light, decide on what to include in your frame, capture a unique moment, a beautiful scene or an interesting face.

Participants will be set assignments specifically designed to teach different strategies and approaches to visual storytelling in documentary practice. I will convey in words and images his own unique way of working and encourage students to find their own visual vocabulary.You will explore photographic styles, technqiues and approaches through portraiture (incl street photography), landscape and still-life.

Those who attend will be able to use the experience, confidence and skills gained to improve their photography in many ways. The goal of our workshop is to help each participant take the next step by bringing clarity to their own personal vision, finding a unique style, and understanding where they are now and where their work can take them. Some use this opportunity as a way to build their portfolio within travel, editorial and documentary photography. Others get a chance to work as a photojournalist on real assignments, photographing real people in their environments and investigating real social, political and economical issues through photography. Many simply sign up for our workshops to travel to a new destination, explore an interest in a different culture and feel a sense of achievement that they have come away with a set of photographs that they feel proud about.

How do I sign up:
If you want to go beyond the tourist trail and photograph ordinary people and how they live in real environments then join us on our amazing educational photo-adventures of a life time where we will help you develop your own unique photographic style of telling a story in pictures.

For any further information about aspects of the photo-documentary workshop or any other learning opportunities and online mentoring programmes please contact Martin at martin@martintoft.com

Welcome Package:
A month before your trip you will receive our Welcome Package, which includes detailed information about your workshop program, daily itineraries, equipment checklists incl appropriate clothing and answers to most of your questions. Every workshop is different so we make sure that every detail is covered in advance.

Click any image below to view pictures about my walk to Kosovo during the war in the Balkans © Martin Toft, 2013

 

 

More Learning opportunities:
Those who attend will be able to use the experience, confidence and skills gained to improve their photography in many ways. The goal of our workshop is to help each participant take the next step by bringing clarity to their own personal vision, finding a unique style, and understanding where they are now and where their work can take them. However, for those who want to extend their learning opportunities and take full advantage of the above workshop Martin offer private tuition and personal mentoring both online and in person prior to travel and as a follow-up after the workshop. These extra sessions for individuals who are interested in improving their photographic skills will be customized to meet your individual needs, schedule, budget and interest. Some of the learning activities that Martin offers in general, and in relation to the above street workshop are:

  • Photography Assignment prior to travel
  • Portfolio review and critique of photographs
  • One-on-One tuition
  • Private workshop
  • Visual storytelling and documentary practice
  • Find your Vision: personalized mentoring and how to develop self-initiated project
  • Art of Seeing: understanding composition & lighting.
  • Technical know-how: camera techniques and skills
  • Editing skills: how to put together a cohesive series of images
  • Post-processing techniques (Photoshop/ Lightroom)
  • How to build a portfolio
  • Marketing your work and how to get noticed
  • Formal assessment of work for professional qualifications

Contact Martin directly on martin@martintoft.com for more information on his other learning opportunities and online mentoring program or any further questions you may have in regards to the documentary photography workshop. 

Your tutor
The photo-documentary workshops are led by professional photographer and tutor, Martin Toft who has over 20 years of experience working freelance in documentary and editorial photography as well as teaching photography across all ages from A-level students (High school) to higher education (university), providing private tuition for individuals and running photography workshops for community-based organisations. Martin has vast experience in combining documentary photography and storytelling with travel and adventure. In the winter of 1996 he spend six months living among Maori tribes along the Whanganui River in New Zealand photographing a community caught in between living in a modern society and its spiritual connection to its indigenous culture and ancestral way of life. In London he continued to use photography as a tool to investigate social issues and spend 4 years photographing homelessness in one of the great cities of the world and became homeless himself in the process. During the military conflict in the Balkans Martin decided to walk from his studio in the South of England to Kosovo, making films and photographs about Europe at war at the beginning of a new millennium. In Martin’s experience, to be a good documentary photographer and visual storyteller you have got to like people, take a real interest in their lives and listen to their stories. His work has been published in numerous magazines, newspapers and books and his photographs have featured in both solo and group exhibitions in a number of different galleries and museums.

Martin also organise and run 3-day Street Photography Workshops in some of the most iconic cities in the world such as London, New York and Paris.