Visit London for a UK Leica Workshop
Have you always wanted to visit London but lacked a good excuse? How about master your Leica camera with a bespoke UK Leica workshop? (The photographing beautiful models bit is optional!) *Also, with the weak British pound currently, it’s never been cheaper to visit the UK!
Matt Osborne Leica Workshops
Hi! If you’re new here I’m Matt Osborne, aka. MrLeica.com as you may have seen on YouTube. When I’m not making videos or photographing models (and weddings) I teach. This blog post tells the story of Jorge, a Leica photographer from Mexico. He reached out to me to organise a 2 day Leica workshop in London and this is what we got up to.
Fly to the UK for a Leica workshop
If you plan to fly to the UK from as far as the United States or in this case Mexico, London is the easiest airport to travel to. Flights to London are often cheaper and it should be easier to find a direct flight or have less connections. The biggest 2 airports in London are Heathrow and Gatwick. Check the deals to find the best prices!
Attracting Leica photographers from around the world
As Jorge travelled all the way from Mexico he is currently the furthest travelled student to visit me. The record was held by Shaun who visited me from Boulder, Colorado (USA) but there are enquires in the pipeline that might challenge this record!
US photographers visit UK for Leica photography workshop
With the current US dollar to British pound exchange rate, 2022 is the cheapest time to visit the UK since the 1970s! A strong USD vs weak GBP means you get more for your dollar. US photographers seem to be cashing in on this opportunity and I have multiple Leica photography workshop bookings for next month! (Look out for those on YouTube!)
Where to stay in central London for nice photos
Depending on the duration of your stay and your own tastes and interests London offers every possible option. Booking.com is a great website to find a hotel and compare prices. Jorge booked a hotel in Soho so he could make the most of the trip and be in the heart of the city. The Soho area is also fantastic for photos after dark and offers lots of nice restaurants and bars.
Planning your trip to the UK
Jorge reached out to me while planning his trip and I gave him details of where we would be shooting and answered any questions he had. Ahead of every workshop we have a face to face Zoom call to say hello finalise the details.
What Leica cameras and lenses to bring?
If you are like me it takes 10x longer trying to decide what cameras and lenses to bring than the clothes to pack. Don’t worry. I can help! On the Zoom call ahead of the workshop we discuss cameras, lenses, film and any other specifics.
Jorge’s camera bag kit list
- Leica SL2
- Leica M10R (+ EVF)
- Leica Summilux-M 35mm f1.4
- Leica Summilux-M 50mm f1.4
- Sigma Art 85mm f1.4 (L Mount)
Our Leica cameras
Can you hire a Leica camera in London?
One question I sometimes get is can I hire a Leica camera in London? Pro Centre are one of the best services for hiring cameras and lenses (and lighting) but they have no real stock of Leica. If you shoot Hasselblad and other brand they have much better stock. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere in London to hire Leica cameras or lenses.
Test Leica lenses before you buy
Where possible I offer students the chance to test one of my lenses so they can see how it performs. Jorge asked to try the Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO-Lanthar M mount lens so I brought that to the workshop. As I’d never tested the 35mm Leica Summilux Jorge kindly let me try that and I made a review for YouTube.
Making the most of your trip
If you will travel from as far as Mexico it’s important to fit in as much as you can while you’re visiting the UK. Jorge had the same mindset and so requested 2 days of workshops. He went for the 10 hour Go BIG Workshop on day 1 and the standard 8 hour Full Day Workshop on day 2. See all the workshop options here.
Model photography with Leica cameras
Jorge wanted to gain experience at photographing models with Leica cameras so each day I organised 2 models for us to work with. I organise everything in advance so the models meet us fully prepared and ready to shoot (with hair, makeup, and clothes prepared).
Day 1: 8:30 Meet and greet (coffee time!)
As we had a 10 hour workshop ahead of us I travelled to London (I currently live 3 hours away) and met Jorge outside Oxford Circus underground station. We then grabbed coffee and a bite to eat and agreed a plan for the day. Each Leica workshop is tailored to the needs of the photographer so they can get the most from the day.
Phoebe – Day 1, model 1
For our first model we focused on available daylight only. I demonstrated how I look for light and using simple backgrounds for pictures. Here are a few sample images. (I was shooting film too, see below).
Need Leica Presets?
Hannah – Day 1, model 2
For our second shoot Jorge had requested practice in a photography studio. This is not part of my usual London photography workshops as I try to keep prices affordable but I can facilitate it.
London photography studio hire
Jorge was happy to cover the photography studio hire cost and we booked it for 2 hours. A studio gives you the option to practice with continuous lighting such as LED lights and flash/ studio lights. I was shooting black and white but the studio helped Jorge experiment with mixed coloured lighting and we used various light modifiers.
Debrief in Soho
At the end of the day we grabbed some food in Soho and had a debrief to recap how the day went. It was late when we departed but a great first day! (*For 1 day workshops I often have rush off at the end of the day to catch my train home. For 2 day events I get more time to enjoy a social after the workshop finishes on day 1).
Day 2: Check out time and more coffee
Back into the centre of London. I met Jorge in a nice coffee shop close to Oxford circus once he’d checked out his hotel. It was then time to meet our first model.
Eliza – Day 2, model 1
If you are travelling to the UK there is a good chance you want to see a few famous landmarks. That was the request for the first shoot of the day. Incorporating both models and landmarks. You can’t really see from the photos shared here but we worked close to the river Thames at St. Pauls Cathedral.
Astrid – Day 2, model 2
For the second shoot it was back to focusing on lighting and in particular how to use a reflector. I brought my double size reflector with me and the silver-gold side worked really well with the models skin. Every portrait photographer should make use of a reflector when shooting with overhead available light. Reflectors can transform the photos!
Time for a bite to eat before departing
We managed to grab some food at the end of the day before going our separate ways. A huge thanks to all 4 amazing models and to Jorge for being such a nice guy!
Monthly Updates: Videos+Reviews
A few film photos from the UK Leica Workshop
These photos were shot with a Leica M3 (single stroke) + Voigtlander 50mm f2 APO-Lanthar VM lens
More from London
You can see more images from these models in the following videos –
For me I also had a day 3 in London. Jorge had left but I had a shoot for a client in the morning followed by shoots for model agencies. Here are some photos from day 3.
UK Leica workshop testimonial – Thanks Jorge!
“Awesome experience with Matt’s two day workshop. 4 photoshootings with 2 amazing professional models each day. Very interesting conversations and useful tips about photography, cameras, lenses, directing models and much more. Matt was always helping me capture the best shot and making sure I was having a great time. Thanks Matt for sharing your knowledge and experience. Highly recommended workshop!” – London Aug,22
Repeat workshop bookings
What I love about teaching Leica photography workshops is I often get to see the same students coming back for follow up sessions. I had a nice surprise last night when Jorge contacted me to say he’d be back in London soon and wanted to book another full day 8 hour workshop with me. With pleasure Jorge, see you very soon! (Look out for that on YouTube!)
Fast track learning – I admire Jorge!
There are 3 ways to learn photography as I see it. Each have their merits –
- Option 1 – Teach yourself photography from books, YouTube and online content (As I did) – The cheapest but slowest method
- Option 2 – Combined home learning and the occasional Leica workshop or photography course / eBook – A faster way to learn and suits all budgets
- Option 3 – Fast track intense learning via many photography workshops (from different professional photographers) – A time effective very fast way to learn
If you have limited time then option 3 is the best solution. Why learn from your own mistakes over a 5-10 year period like I did when you can fast track in 3-6 months via learning from people that have already made the mistakes. If you have limited budget as I had, and in no urgency, there is near endless information available online. If you are interested in model photography and portraiture check out my free eBook and to fast track take a look at the accelerator pack.
A brief insight into my London Leica photography workshops
If that inspires you to visit London for a Leica workshop then feel free to get in touch. Thanks again to Jorge for being crazy enough to visit me from Mexico!
Did you know I teach workshops in Poland too?
When I get a chance I will do a write up from one of the Poland model photography workshops. The last one was with Alex who travelled from Germany to meet me in Gdansk. The follow up workshop got pushed back a few months but we’ll be doing it all again soon!
Future travel plans and overseas workshops
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