Enrol in Photography Summer School today

kss_nz14_summer_school_web1_square_1024x1024This summer, creative teenagers have the perfect oppertunity to come to grips with the practical side of professional photography, as one of Auckland's leading photo studios opens its doors for an inaugural Photography Summer School intake. Auckland's Kingsize Studios is now accepting applicants for its new educational programme targeted to current high school students studying visual arts or with an interest in breaking into photography, as well as school leavers looking to enhance their portfolios.

The course is an intensive one-week programme running January 12-16, which will see students immersed in the art and craft of photography. As well as learning theory, participants will be putting technical learning into practise, shooting every day both within the professional studio set-up and on location.

The programme will serve as an ideal introduction to using professional camera and lighting equipment as well as natural light. At the end of the course, in addition to much experience with industry-standard gear, attendees will leave with a portfolio of imagery to serve them in advancing career prospects.

The hands-on experience costs $475 and has been designed not only for those looking to become pro photographers, but to equip those looking to get into any creative industry – designing, writing, advertising, media, sales – in which multi-disciplinary talent is an asset.

For more information on the Photography Summer School visit the Kingsize Studios website.

Come meet Canon New Zealand

Canon Workshop The Canon New Zealand crew are touring the country this week, making stops in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, bringing with them the latest and greatest Canon gear to test out.

The team are making time for enthusiasts and professionals alike on the trip, offering Canon Professional Services (CPS) members free camera sensor cleaning (5D and 1D series) along with a chance to get hands-on with the latest Canon professional gear releases. Enthusiasts are invited to meet the Canon reps and take the Canon experience kit for a spin, comprising a large range of cameras and lenses.

The events will be held at fully-equipped photography studios and Canon is bringing a model along for the events, so you'll be able to test the gear (and bring your own along if you like) in real world studio conditions.

Everyone attending the events also goes in to the draw to win a new Canon PowerShot G1X Mark II, the company's top-shelf compact camera.

Photographers in Auckland are in for a special opportunity, with Canon not just brining the full kit for trial but also conducting a free photography night walk in partnership with photo educator Three Little Wishes. There are only 20 spaces for this event, so be sure to get in quick (RSVP details below).


Canon road trip dates:


CPS Health Check – Wellington

October 9, 11am-4pm

FlashDog Studios, 10 Oxford Terrace, Mount Cook

RSVP: roadshow@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


Meet the Canon Crew – Wellington

October 9, 5-7pm

FlashDog Studios, 10 Oxford Terrace, Mount Cook

RSVP: collective@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


Meet the Canon Crew – Christchurch

October 16, 5-7pm

Lightworkx Photography, Unit 14/75, Peterborough Street

RSVP: collective@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


CPS Health Check – Christchurch

October 17, 11am-4pm

Lightworkx Photography, Unit 14/75, Peterborough Street

RSVP: roadshow@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


CPS Health Check – Auckland

October 22, 11am-4pm

Kingsize Studios, 27 Sackville Street, Grey Lynn

RSVP: roadshow@canon.co.nz with your location in subject line


Canon Photography Night Walk – Auckland

October 22, 5-8pm

Beginning at Kingsize Studios, 27 Sackville Street, Grey Lynn

RSVP: roadshow@canon.co.nz with your name

Limited to 20 spots, get in quick

Light like a pro

svn-shotgun1bannerIf you've been giving serious thought to lifting your lighting game, next month brings Aucklanders the opportunity to learn the ropes direct from one of the country's best photographers. Richard Wood, Grand Master of Photography with the New Zealand Institute of Photography, is travelling north on July 12 to teach one of his popular lighting workshops at Grey Lynn's Kingsize Studios.

The one-day course will cover the principles of lighting, techniques to create ranges of softness and contrast, as well as Wood's own unique approach to achieving painterly Rembrandt light. The workshop will include studio lighting setups as well as solutions for beautiful lighting with minimal equipment wile on the go.

The hands-on event will also feature a live creative shoot for students to put into practice their new skills and techniques.

The photographer's recent workshop in Wellington sold out quickly, so head to his website to reserve your spot at the Auckland date now – it costs $350, with a $50 deposit required to save a spot.

The workshop kicks off at 1.30pm on Saturday, July 12 and runs until 5.30pm at Kingsize's Studio One.

Image: Richard Wood

Kingsize Scholarship applications close soon

Ralph_01Emerging photographers take note, applications are closing soon for the second intake of the Kingsize Scholarship, designed to give attendees a leg up into a career as a professional photographer. You have until the end of March to apply for a spot on this twelve-week programme to develop all the technical competency, artistic understanding and commercial common sense you need to make your start in the business of photography.

To be in with a shot at this unique opportunity you must put together a portfolio and cover letter to be sent in to Kingsize by 10am, March 31 – see the website for more details.

Beginning April 8, the class will meet every Tuesday evening at Kingsize Studios in Grey Lynn for group critique sessions and talks from guest speakers and industry experts. Photographers will have free access to studios and equipment as well as full support from the expert team at Kingsize to shoot their weekly briefs or assignments.

For an idea of what to expect from the programme, see D-Photo's coverage of the inaugural scholarship class here and here.

As well as attending this specialised course, successful applicants will also get free entry to the studio's myriad professional workshops, including Assistant Bootcamp, Film-making for Photographers, Intro to Fashion Photography and a range of studio lighting workshops.

Photographers of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to apply, including recent graduates, but must be at a point where their career is developing. Also be sure travel and other commitments will not be a barrier to attending and completing the course before applying.

Image: © Ralph Brown, 2013 student of the Kingsize Scholarship class

Game-changing: HD DSLR film-making

Luke White looks at the origins of the rapidly growing HD DSLR film-making trend and explains why you should get on board in the first in his ongoing series of columns of film-making for The Photographer's Mail It all changed in September 2008. That was when photographer Vincent Laforet managed to get hold of a pre-production Canon 5D Mark II. The camera had been announced a week earlier, and Laforet was intrigued by the idea of a DSLR with video recording capabilities. It wasn’t easy to talk Canon into lending him an unreleased camera for a weekend but, fortunately for Canon, Laforet is a very persuasive man. Reverie was shot in less than 72 hours; the short film was watched more than two million times within a fortnight of its release, and the rest is history.

Reverie by Vincent Laforet, shot with Canon 5D Mark II

Suddenly here was a completely new tool in the hands of photographers across the world and it was free, built right into their camera.

Film-makers quickly found lots of uses for this small and affordable camera that, by Hollywood standards, was virtually disposable. Soon 5D Mark IIs found themselves wedged into crevices in 127 Hours, rigged onto cars in Drive, strapped to Iron Man’s chest and stuffed into cockpits in Red Tails. The 2012 action film Act of Valor was shot entirely on 5D Mark IIs and Canon 7Ds; it has car chases, explosions, sky diving, scuba and was shot for US$11 million. So that hardly puts it in the budget category but, when compared to Avatar’s $425 million production budget, it looks relatively affordable. Of course, it isn’t just action — this revolutionary camera really came into its own with dramas such as Like Crazy ($250,000) and documentaries like Bully ($1.1m), which would probably not have been possible before the 5D Mark II.

Trailer for Acts of Volor, shot on Canon 5D Mark IIs and 7Ds

But people didn’t start using this camera for video just because it was cheap and small. The picture quality was really something special, especially when used with pin-sharp Canon prime glass. HD footage can have a plasticky quality to it, but there is something about the DSLR video compression that gives footage a more filmic feel. The large sensor combined with fast lenses also gave the option of the shallow depth of field that is so popular for drama.

A lot has happened in a very short time and DSLR film-making is no longer in its infancy. The 5D Mark III has superseded the Mark II. The Canon C300 digital cinema camera quickly became a favourite for broadcast, having extra features such as C-Log mode, built-in vectorscope and wave-form monitor, great high-ISO sensitivity, and the ability to eliminate problems such as rolling shutter and moiré. The Black Magic cameras are on their second generation, and GoPros are outputting useable footage. We are just beginning to see what is possible with the first 4k resolution DSLR camera, the Canon 1D C and Magic Lantern announced new hacks for the 5D Mark III that bring 24p RAW CineDNG capabilities to the camera.

Sword by Félix Alcalá and Larry Carroll, shot for Canon's C300 launch

We really need to pause for a moment to look at why the magazine is choosing to run a regular article on film-making. ‘Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should’ is an old maxim but a valid one. For all the similarities between creating still and moving images, there are many more differences. The joy of looking at a photograph is that one can appreciate it for what it is — subject matter, composition, lighting. A moment frozen in time. With film, the experience is quite different; the viewer is constantly thinking about what will happen next. Even the most beautifully photographed films such as A Serious Man (director of photography, Roger Deakins) or There Will Be Blood (director of photography, Robert Elswit) would be hardly watchable were it not for a gripping story. The career transition from photographer to feature film-maker has been made by such esteemed visionaries as Stanley Kubrick, Larry Clarke, and Anton Corbijn, and is something that we will certainly see more of with the help of modern technology.

The invention of the printing press did not create poets, historians and novelists, it simply enabled those who were to more effectively share their stories. HD DSLR video is the same. It has never been easier to make a great-looking film and equally, it has never been easier to make an awful film. The medium is changing and developing constantly, but these technological advances are useless without people who have a knowledge of the craft of storytelling, who can create mood and atmosphere from nowhere with lighting and composition. For documentary photographers, these are very exciting times and we are seeing more fantastic multimedia presentations which utilize video, stills, sound, and more on websites such as Media Storm and Magnum in Motion.

Burma – Land of Shadows by Chien-Chi Chang for Magnum in Motion

Kingsize Studios launched as a photographic rental studio and equipment hire facility but quickly evolved to also service film-makers and, most significantly, the hybrid photography-motion work that has developed as a result of the new technology. It is now common for stills and video to be shot on the same job; this is driven mainly by clients who recognise the power of the combined mediums, and those photographers who are willing to take the risk and learn the new techniques.

These articles will mainly discuss Canon cameras. I have heard great things about the Nikon D800 for video and I’m sure Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and other manufacturers produce DSLRs that shoot quality video. Canon simply stole the march on the other companies (being the first one to offer high-definition video on a full-frame chip camera) and hence became the ubiquitous, industry-standard choice for HD DSLR film-making. Of course, all the principles we will cover are relevant whichever brand of camera you use — it is just a tool, after all.

I look forward to bringing you a variety of articles on film-making: there will be tutorials and tips as well as interviews with photographers who are incorporating video into their commercial practice.

Kingsize Studio's instructional video on DSLR settings for video

In the meantime, take a look at the Kingsize YouTube channel on which you can see the first in a series of DSLR filmmaking tutorial videos we are making for photographers shooting video for the first time. The short videos on settings (above) and DSLR rigs will be enough to get you shooting video in no time.

Upskill for the New Year

Kingsize workshopsIf you've ever thought about getting into fashion photography or taking the online world by storm as the country's next top blogger 2014 might be the year to cease upon those dreams, with a pair of intensive workshops running this month on those very subjects. Auckland's Kingsize Studios will be holding two one-day practical workshops, one on how to produce a world-class blog and the other an introduction to the world of professional fashion photography, in late January.

The blogging workshop sees the authors behind four of New Zealand's most successful blogs – Foureyes, Rag Pony, Aych Blog and Katherine is Awesome – discussing their experiences and dishing out advice on writing, photography, design, branding and more.

Hosted by convivial fashion photographer Oliver Rose, the blog workshop will be held at the Grey Lynn studios on Saturday, January 18 running from 10am to 4pm, with admission at $135.

The following Saturday, January 25, sees Rose teaming up with Kingsize's Luke White to teach an intensive introduction to a career in fashion photography.

The event will cover all aspects of the creative and technical side – posing, lighting, camera technique, styling, video – as well as the practical business elements, and is ideally suited to school leavers, tertiary graduates, bloggers and anyone looking to kick start a fashion photography career.

The workshop runs from 10am to 4pm and costs $155 – or you can book both the blogging and fashion photography workshops for a combined price of $269, and really blow through that New Year's resolution list.

Visit the studio's education website for more details.