We had two models, an excellent hair and make-up artist, and a photogenic, characterful location. By the end, without doubt, the course had left an indelible mark on my stylistic development and competency as a photographer, for which I’m very grateful.
Bruce is obviously an accomplished photographer and renowned authority, but he is also an excellent instructor and personable coach—an invaluable combination. Much of what I learned from him was through his selflessly attentive coaching: unique feedback about how I performed in the situations he’d set up with the models, location and brief.
Irreplaceable and empowering, he broke down technical issues in straightforward language, and could immediately see and explain what I was doing and how it could be improved.
I grew a lot as a photographer over just a few days. By the end, he shadowed me on shots that I set up. I decided to take the course with Bruce to explore a part of photography I was interested in, but found very inaccessible looking at the sector from the outside.
Previously, I had started to professionalize my passion for photography, and eventually produced documentary photo essays that were later published.
As a journalistic style, this focused on observation and visual documentation of a social issue but wanting to develop in a different area of photography, to have beautiful images and to eventually become commercially viable, I looked to begin developing in fashion and figure photography.
However, my previous documentary photography skills were mismatched for fashion and figure. Any photographer can take a pleasing photo of a model, but it requires difficult development to much higher levels if you want to break through in the industry.
To generate and capture the life and story of a shot in fashion, lingerie or figure photography, which makes all the difference between strong but mediocre shots and first rate shots which the industry expects, demands different skills from which most photographers have or think about, which are neither innate nor obvious.
So, I wanted to learn directly from an expert.
After some time with Bruce, I understand these different skills, these powerful nuances, and now have a strong foundation to continue my professional and artistic development in this area.
I learned a lot about line, shape, form and tone—as one does in all photo workshops, but more importantly—and rarely—how to control the situation, the set, natural light and human energy, to produce stunning photographs.
We never once used a studio light throughout the course, focusing on natural light skills to build a better understanding of available light and how to use it to its best rather than too much emphasis on equipment.
I still have much photographic ‘testing’ ahead of me, but Bruce has guided me on the right path, and immensely grateful. The course setting was beautiful, and offered aspects for both studio and location shooting.
In a restored chateau outside Bordeaux, we shot mornings and afternoons inside and out, and had learning sessions in-between shots, over good coffee. The hospitality was excellent, and made the experience not only highly instructive, but also relaxing and pleasurable.
I have a busy and stressful job elsewhere in the world, so it was heartening to not only learn from a master of photography, but also to enjoy good food and wine, sunshine, woods for running, and a pool to relax by.
The chateau is owned by a young European family, who also live there with a range of pets and animals; the place brimmed with life, and they made me feel part of the family whilst I was there—from scrambled eggs on toast in the morning in the kitchen, right down to wine by the fireplace in the evening.
If you’re serious about starting to break into upper-industry standards of fashion, lingerie and figure photography, are open-minded, and time is precious.
I can highly recommend you learn fashion and fine art nude photography with Bruce in Clerac near Bordeaux, France.
It was really good hearing from you, I appreciate the time you put into the feedback. I believe you have helped get me to focus in on a few important details! I'm quite exited about all of this, since your e-mail which coincided with my reading of a few fashion photography articles, I think you have opened my eyes to a fresh perspective, well it's more of the ritual of thinking through, planning, and the development of consistency in story / message, which is funnily enough the backbone structure for what I do as an brand director in Leo Burnett, even though it's not creative that I'm involved in, it's the same concept.
Once again, thanks a million for your support, it means quite allot.
F (Location Class Dubai)
I attended Bruce's training in how to be a fashion photographer last year, it was an absolute eye opener, I suddenly saw the difference between an amateur and a professional. I saw the type of set ups that Bruce had created, and then even more important than that, the interaction with the models he used. His style was fast, furious, yet somehow comforting and cajoling... it was superb to see!
I learned a LOT from that course and continue to implement his style with my flavour on every outing. I have had some published work as a result of the training and value everything he taught me. Thanks Bruce.
It's now 8 months since I have taken the Fashion photography course with Bruce Smith, a lot has happened since then, 7 editorials published, photo exhibited in the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition, 3 look-books, all whilst keeping my full time IT job.
Before the course I knew how to use the camera but if you would ask me what is a look-book, I would not have a clue. “Editorial” would have been something very abstract to me. You can walk or you can fly, with Bruce you will always fly… Did I mentioned that I have just started testing with a top London model agency.
I had taken your Fashion Photography course in NYC roughly a year ago and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart how much of an impact your presence for just four days has had in my photography career. I am proud to say I was just accepted to my dream school because of the lessons you taught which helped improve my portfolio.
Because of your encouragement and recommendation to work as a fashion photography intern I gained first hand experience and have used your invaluable lessons from your book (now my photography bible!) and from the course you offered on numerous occasions. You helped me get the momentum I needed to continue pursuing my love for fashion photography and wanted to say thank you for all your experienced insights and lessons. I look forward to taking another course with you in the future and wish you the best! Again, thank you so much!
Kara (New York 2009)
When we met through Liam I had in fact already purchased your book, it had laid there unopened with about 40 other books I bought at the time from Amazon until about a week before the course and I realized the name so went looking for the book. Since that course you have changed my view on the fashion photography genre... The highest compliment I can pay you happens also to be true lol I have trained with many top guys from around the world, in fact the guys I have met are like a who's who of the industry spamming from California to Africa, and when asked who I would suggest fellow professionals should check out I reply, there is only one in my books.. He is dead, but if you want a living guy then it has to be Bruce Smith..
Over the weekend I had a large shoot with Michael Scorr, he had asked me months ago about training and I said the same to him, check out Bruce.. I told him you were not on my account lmao.. the "Christopher" threw me off... I showed him like others the book and told them to get it.. My point is simple, you not only owe me 2 ciggies and petrol money, you own me some royalties for plugging you If I had the time I would be in Ibiza with you that last bit sounds gay, but you know what I mean.
Brian (Cork 2009)
Initially I was reluctant to join the workshop, as I did not have much confidence in-group workshops. Little did I know? Bruce's enthusiasm, humour and professional know-how miraculously turn my early Saturday morning into a highly interactive day filled with tips, hints and just the right amount of supervision! Bruce knows his stuff and certainly has his way in letting you know what he thinks you should focus on. I highly recommend his workshops. They are also great value for money!
Firas Abouzeid (Location Class Dubai)
The workshop was an eye-opener for me. Bruce's style and direction gave me a complete freedom over developing my own style yet enhancing my photographic techniques and skills. After his workshop, my rapport building skills and directing the model developed very rapidly.
Toufic (Dubai Location Class Student)
It was a pleasure to meet with you, even if it was for a short time. I have heard only great things about your course. I had one of my trainees with you and she learnt a lot.
Souheil E. Semaan
Bruce teaches the importance of connecting with the models and demonstrates his technique with great flourish. The image of Bruce in my mind's eye is of him twisting, bending and posing together with the models -- a mirror image of their movements with a camera in one hand. Bruce shows the models what he wants by doing it himself and urging them on. He's obviously done fashion shoots a million times, but he makes it seem fresh each day. To sum it up, I highly recommend Bruce's workshops for anyone interested in really becoming a fashion shooter. And even if you're not, it's sure to help your photography in a hundred different ways.
Farrell Kramer (New York Studio Class Student)
How are you doing? Hopefully fine! I'm now back in Estonia and anxious to accomplish all of my ideas that I got while I was in London (thanks to you I've got quite many!) Taking part of your workshop was fantastic and it absolutely exceeded all my expectations. I had the time of my life and it's hard to put in words how thankful I am. Your team was so friendly and I feel very lucky that I had the chance to meet all of them. Thank you so much.
Take care of yourself Bruce.
Hanna (London Studio Class Student)
I would like to thank you (and your excellent team) for a thoroughly enjoyable and invaluable learning experience over the last couple of days. It has exceeded all expectations.
Personally I feel the workshop has improved my confidence and the shots I was producing at the end were noticeably better than when I started. I will definitely be looking to attend some more of your workshops in the future.
Steve Rostrum (London Studio Class Student)
So far the contents of the course are exceeding my expectations and your feedback has been timely and excellent.
Federico (Online Class Student)
Being allowed to take a sneak peak into the world of fashion through someone's eyes has given me access to his knowledge which he has gained over 30 years. I LOVED the course, and look forward to any future courses by Bruce. He's extremely helpful and gives honest guidance.
Leigh Ferreira (Online Class Student)
Re Bruce Smith's fashion photography courses
This course is full of useful information. Bruce is one of the best instructors I have had and am looking forward to his next BetterPhoto course.
Keith Berry (Tuscany Location Class, Online Course and New York Studio Class Students)
Image featured was shot by Bruce for a major advertising campaign for Häagen-Dazs ice cream
Connect with Bruce Smith, the published professional with 40 years experience also the author of "Fashion Photography A Complete Guide"