We got weird with balloons in China!

Karl Taylor Karl's Viewpoint, Photography Exhibitions, Photography Workshop, Still Life Photography 16 Comments

After a crazy week in the studio holding our Advertising workshop I headed straight off (only an hour after the workshop ended!) and began my travels to China to hold workshops at Shoot SHA (Shanghai) and Shoot PEK (Beijing).

It was nice to be able to sit down and relax on my 13 hour flight from gatwick to Beijing, something that had been hard to do amongst all the hustle and bustle back at my studio. Laying back on my flight with a drink in one hand and watching Star Trek was bliss.

The trip wasn’t going to be a holiday though… Throughout the 7 days in china I was holding two workshops, one at each Shoot event.

Along with Urs Recher (a photographer for broncolor) we pulled off, what we hope were, two really fun and successful two day workshops.

It’s always challenging doing workshops away from your own studio, these were not being organized by us which made it easier on one side of things, however there is always a level of challenge when it comes to having to do demonstrations in front of a live audience of workshop students, that paired with an unfamiliar studio all adds up to a slightly nerve-wracking experience and makes nailing the shots that little bit harder.

Before I get into the shoots themselves, for those of you who don’t know, the ‘Shoot’ brand was established as a joint venture between Hasselblad and Broncolor. The Shoot events have made a name for themselves for being great learning opportunities for Photographers all around the world, with more and more locations being added to their repertoire every year.

Raymond Choy from Shriro and I

In Sails Chongs studio checking out his awesome camera collection

Despite a bit of jet lag the trip was great fun from start to finish. For me, these events are a great way to mix with other Hasselblad ambassadors and photography enthusiasts, sharing our knowledge and thoughts on the equipment that we use.

The uber modern Shanghai skyline

I’d never been to Beijing or Shanghai so it was quite an experience just being able to involve myself a little in the way of life there, admiring the space age buildings and sampling (sometimes a bit too much) of the food and drink they have to offer.

Chopsticks at the ready for some local cuisine.

We did some fairly new concept shots on the workshops – the Chanel bottle back-lit on a bed of flowers was something that we had only tested out once before, and the model holding the balloon was something that had only had a few test shots done without even any paint! Thankfully it all went to plan.

Here are some behind the scenes photos from the shoots that took place on these workshops as well as the final images shot.

A Shriro employee being used as a guineapig for one of the shots .

The messy result of some test shots.

The set up and planning of the Chanel bottle shoot .

Below you can check out some of the final images that we shot on the workshops. I was really pleased with them and hope that all the workshop participants had a great time and enjoyed watching the demonstrations as much as we enjoyed presenting them.

Comments 16

  1. Alexandra Prescott

    Re the balloon shot- If you are asking final shot with the model I would say you did it in one.

    If you are asking about the pre set up shots – guess at 5 on the basis that you are 50 times better than me and it takes me on average 250 shots for a studio movement shot before I get it right – good job I am only doing it for fun!!! Going to have to ask the bank of beloved husband to fund a course.

    PS of all the shots you showed us, the trainer was the best and most aspirational.

    1. Post
      Karl Taylor

      Thanks Alexandra, you are correct on the paint with the model. I’m working on a much more extreme version soon with the model on location. My favourite was probably the perfume from this workshop.

  2. Alan Scott

    Purely from the “mess factor”, I reckon the coloured balloon shot was only one take!
    I really like the perfume and flowers shot. Clarity and colour are fantastic.

  3. Christy

    I was thinking one for the final picture of the painted balloon. I thought the set up took 4 or 5. How many did it take for the flowers and perfume? You are an amazing photographer!

    1. Post
      Karl Taylor

      Hi Yes you are correct on the paint shot, The flowers and perfume was visualised and accomplished in a couple of attempts but I want to refine it further so am planning to make some further modifications to improve the shot.

  4. Ilídio Alves

    Hello, Karl!

    What an interesting journey. Everything differs, but always an excellent job.
    I loved the photo of “Chennel 5”. When I grow up, I will be like you.
    Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience in China.

  5. Steve

    I think all shots are great but being a novice I was literally overwhelmed by the flowers and the perform image and can’t believe there is a way to improve, but considering the source…I believe.

  6. Marco Marquecho

    Hey Karl, thanks for sharing the “video diary”. Although I have mixed feelings, I’m not sure if I feel grateful and admire you for your talent, dedication and professionalism or I just simply and plainly envy you. 😉

    1. Post
      Karl Taylor

      Thanks for your honesty Marco! Either way whether if it is envy or if you like the dedication then you can channel this to your advantage, try new ideas, think of concepts and work on them until you get the results you are satisfied with. If you envy the travel part, well it’s not all it’s cracked up to be: Lots of sleepless nights, fatigue and stress rushing around trying to make sure that everything goes to plan, so it’s not all as great as it looks! Cheers Karl.

  7. Peter

    Hey Karl,
    As usual great ideas, preparation & execution of the shots. It looks like you had a tiring, but fun time doing this. One question though how come you are out of focus in so much of the selfie videos? lol
    Cheers Peter

    1. Post
      1. Peter

        Everyone else seemed to be in focus, I guess it just didn’t like you on this trip lol. Or maybe too close for that cam? Need a longer stick.

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