My Olympus Pen EPL-7 has lately overtaken my trusty Canon 600D SLR (now replaced by Canon with the 700D). Don’t get me wrong, my Canon still holds a special place in my heart. It sparked my love of photography and gave me that thirst to learn and master the manual settings and I still use it, but the Olympus Pen has been a game changer. It’s the perfect camera for taking with me everywhere and I love how verstaile it is, especially having invested in two amazing lenses, the 45mm perfect for outfit shots and the 30mm macro lens which is ideal for capturing products and flat lays.
Lately I have been tempted to upgrade to the Pen F, trust me there is some serious wishlist lusting going on there, but it occured to me that there is still a lot to learn with the Pen 7. Just as I was pondering this and how to go about it, I saw Jay McLaughlin’s post on Instagram talking about his upcoming Fashion Photowalk workshop. A free, four hour photography workshop with Olympus and my favourite fashion photographer? Yes please!!
I first met Jay two years ago at the Olympus x Topshop Summer School. Jay was running the class and showed us how to use the Pen 7. Later when I thanked Jay on Instagram for a great class, confessing how very tempted I was by the Pen 7, Jay’s response was ‘Yay! Get it, you won’t regret it!” Hmmmm did I mention how easily enabled I am? Well soon after that, I was the proud owner of my Pen 7.
The photowalk was run in conjunction with John Lewis as part of their #nationaltreasures campaign, celebrating all our summertime favorites. Bright and early on a Saturday morning, myself and 14 other photography enthusiasts gathered in the café at Peter Jones and immediately started chatting away about the latest lenses, cameras and photography tools and gadgets……bliss! It was then over to Jay to share his skills, knowledge and tips on how to get the most out of our cameras and get that great fashion shot! Jay shared the manual settings he uses on photo shoots as well as giving advice on how to think about the story you’re trying to portray for your audience, how the subject is the number one factor even ahead of lighting and location and to not be afraid of making more use of your trusty kit lens to add some variation to those favoured bokeh (blurry background) images. We then met Jay’s friend and our model for the day, the gorgeous Rebecca Pearson and it was time to wander out onto the Kings Road for the next phase of the workshop.
I have to say it was a really amazing morning; just to be surrounded by others who are so passionate about photography and to watch Jay in action was incredible. We also had Clare Harvey-May from Olympus on hand to share her pointers on how to improve the shot or to tell us about a handy feature on the cameras to help us get the image we were after. Rebecca was a great model, so lovely and patient with us and I learnt a lot for my own photo sessions for the blog, just by observing her approach to being the subject of the image. One of my favourite moments was watching Jay and Rebecca interact and literally dance in the street and then marvelling at just how beautifully the moment was captured on camera. I learnt so much during the photowalk, just from being immersed in conversations on photography, to talking to others who are getting into photography or other bloggers who are wanting to sharpen their skills like me and of course by just observing Jay do what he does best.
Photography is hungry work and I was happy to hear Clare announce it was time to head back to Peter Jones for tea and cake and boy was the cake good! The lesson didn’t end there though, as while we happily tucked into our cake, Jay and Clare shared further tips on how they select the best shots and edit their photos. Jay even gave us pointers on using Adobe Lightroom for which I will be forever grateful.
I definitely headed home after the class feeling inspired and even more in love with my Olympus Pen 7. I was really pleased with how my photos turned out and it’s encouraged me to experiment more with my photography. I would really recommend checking out Olympus Image Space for future workshops, many of which are free or very affordable. Jay is running a Fashion Photography Masterclass on 22 September and you can book a place here.