All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘Photography’

Barcelona Photography: Parc del Laberint

Photography Locations in Barcelona – The Labyrinth Park


The oldest garden park in Barcelona, designed in 1792 for an aristocrat, Joan Desvalls. It’s explorable in half a day and can be a great location for a full day’s photoshoot.

The Parc del Laberint is outside Barcelona’s centre, so is usually quiet and safe. It’s slightly busier on Wednesday and Sunday when it’s free. There’s actually a cap of 750 people per day anyway. The neighbourhood is called Horta/ Montbau.

Obviously the park gets its name from the labyrinth, but with its hedges as mangy as an old fox such that you can see straight into its interior, this isn’t a highlight; though it does make an interesting background for your photos. Maze aside, the amazing feature is the ornate but beautifully decaying stonework and water features – canals, ponds and waterfalls. These give a great feel to the photographs, especially as part of a series.

There’s a neo-classical theme, with statues of Eros, Dionysus, Ariadne and Theseus among others. The themes of love and death abound in the Horta Labyrinth park.


1st April – 31st October: Daily from 10am to 8pm
1st November – 31st March: Daily from 10am to 7pm

Christmas Day, December 25th: 10am to 2pm

Last admission is one hour before closing time.


Less than 3 euros, and free on Wednesday and Sunday.

Special Thoughts?

No pets, skateboards, bikes, balls or food. The latter is obviously important if you’re planning to spend the day there. ‘I’m a diabetic who promises not to leave any litter…’

There are lots of steps, but the Parc del Laberint has been (re)designed with ramps etc for disabled access.


Address: Passeig dels Castanyers 1, 08035, Barcelona – 41°26?25?N 2°8?44?E
Metro: L3, Mundet. Green line, about 15 minutes from Placa de Catalunya. The entrance is about a five minute walk from the metro, uphill.
Bus: 27, 60, 73, 76, B19

Matsuri Japanese Festival, Barcelona

Documentary photography is generally best done with a shorter focal length lens. This gives your viewers a greater sense of intimacy and connection with the people and events portrayed. Longer lenses may be more comfortable to use, but the effect can look voyeuristic. That said, all rules are made to be broken, and here we’ve used a Nikon 180mm f2.8 prime lens to isolate moments from the scene. The photographs were converted to black and white with the help of the VSCO Tri-X film presets as a base, and adjusted manually to taste. Keep trying to simplify your photographs down to their purest expression of composition and timing.

More photos on the Barcelona Photography Facebook page

Holi Colour Festival Barcelona 2015 Photos

Holi Color Festival Barcelona 2015

Holi Color Festival Barcelona 2015

The Holi colour festival in Barcelona – ‘The Crazy Holy Color Party’ in other parlance – is an annual event in Barcelona that we photographers love! The Holi Festival originates from India, and has spread around the world. Worshippers and revellers alike cover each other in brightly coloured powders, so the crowd transforms from glowing white to a myriad of hues in impressive rainbow explosions. There are countdowns for this, so the photographers are standing by for these beautifully photogenic moments.

Sitare from the Holi Festival has an excellent open approach for the photographers – anyone can get access to the steps for an elevated position above the festival for free if they apply; you needn’t be an accredited professional photographer. This is excellent; we know from teaching photography in Barcelona, London and around the world that often keen, talented amateurs are just as talented as full-time pro photographers, especially with continual training to keep up to date with the latest photography techniques. The Holi colour festival proves this time and again as photographers of all levels of experience come to take photos of the colours in Carmel.

One major question they have is how to protect the camera from the coloured powder. The best solution is to use a waterproof camera or a waterproof housing so you can wash the camera afterwards. Some models, and Pentax stands out for this, make their cameras tougher and with more weather sealing than others, so they are great for taking photos of Holi colour festivals. The most popular technique is to use plastic bags and duct tape, together with a UV protective filter, to shield the camera. This can work pretty well, though it does make it trickier to compose the pictures. Many photographers simply opt for the ‘dangerous wildlife’ approach to photography; using long voyeuristic telephoto lenses to take photos of the people at the Holi colour festival from a safe distance. Other more dedicated photographers get into the midst of the fray and are necessarily rewarded with more engaging pictures.

Having done done both approaches in previous years, and with my professional flash equipment lent to one of our alumni, I brought along a white background, a large silver reflector and most importantly, a Bluetooth speaker loaded up with Clandestino by Manu Chao, and set up a mini walk-in studio. I was fortunate enough to find an assistant, Daniel Lopez ( who did a great job photographing the groups – you can see his pictures on his Facebook page. The idea with the white background was to get a clean, high key feel a la Avedon. The event itself was messy and, in the middle of the action, a blur of colour, so I used a slower shutter speed to give a sense of Impressionistic movement. The hard sunlight was used for standard butterfly lighting, with the silver reflector used for fill to brighten up the images and add an interesting catchlight to the ubiquitous sunglasses. Amusingly, a toddler with a water pistol adopted the reflector at one point as a huge frisbee, and many colourful festival-goers thought it was a shiny circular mat.

The other photographs were taken more candidly around the Holi Colour festival in Barcelona. At the sight of the camera, most groups would ask for photos and double in size as nearby party-goers joined the picture. The crowd itself, and particularly the people, aloft like Catalan castellers, who stood out above it, were photogenic and became more symbols than individuals. Certainly a great many photographers were there, so it’s with pleasure that I look at the same scenes photographed from multiple different angles as the pictures of the Holi Colour Festival appear on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Here are some of the photos from the Holi festival; you can share them with friends legally as long as the watermark stays intact. High resolution ‘fotos’ without watermarks are available too on request.

Valencia – Las Fallas

Every year, the people of Valencia compete to make towering hand-painted statues as tall as the buildings they nestle between. When Valencia native Modes offered to host us and show us around, we packed up the cameras and off we went!

Barcelona photography courses take photos of las fallas in Valencia

Amazing work by the Valencians, pretty straightforward work by the photographer (Ben)!

Las Fallas Valencia Photos Spain photography courses

All the work done by the sculptors, but a monochrome cyan tint adds mood

There was a lot going on, and Valencia itself is a beautiful background for the photographs. For street photography, it seemed like a mix between Barcelona and Madrid. It’s smaller than both cities, and less touristic, which was a good change.


The quest was for photographs that went beyond the normal photos that just preserved what other people had created.

If you want to know a place, focus on the people


Focus on the details; always a useful technique

But really our favourite photos of Las Fallas didn’t just use them as subjects in themselves, but as material for artistic expression.

Symbolism has always been the basis of Art

Symbolism has always been the basis of Art

To see all of the photos from the trip, have a look here and here!

Photos of Gaudi’s Dragon – Güell Pavilions

Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi created many beautiful Modernist works, mainly for his patron Guell. The more obvious tourist attractions are high on the lists of every visitors Things To Do In Barcelona such as the Sagrada Familia, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila and Parc Guell. But there are other really striking pieces of work/art that can make your pictures of Barcelona stand out from everyone elses. For example, this is Gaudi’s Dragon Gate in the Guell Pavilions in the Sarria district.


Also well worth a visit, but further out of Barcelona, is the Colonia Guell, which paid for a lot of the other beautiful buildings around Catalunya. There’s a Crypt there too, which while worth a visit, isn’t as photogenic as the amusing named abandoned Castillo del Diablo, or the Castle of Hell, which is nearby. It’s apparently the most haunted place in Spain, if you believe in that sort of thing; either way it’s an interesting, different location for photos in Barcelona. Know more? Let us know!

26th April – Holistic Photography: From Shot to Hit



Really excited about this – Julia Hernandez, internationally renowned Barcelona photographer, has agreed to share her unique approach to editing with Photoshop and Lightroom… which has taken decades to perfect. You will learn every secret technique that allows her to consistently achieve ‘Popular’ ratings on 500px; and that makes her photography in demand worldwide.

But I didn’t want this to just be a show and tell. This won’t be a look through her impressive portfolio with a few comments from the artist. I wanted this to be a one-workshop solution to take your photography and editing to the next level. I asked Julia to create something particularly special for you, and she’s really over-delivered! You will get a brand-new ‘Golden Key’ action when you come that will make amazing effects quick and easy to achieve;

Step 1: Load the photograph
Step 2: Play the Golden Key action
Step 3: Tweak the various layers
Step 4: Done!

Now I’ve spent lots on Actions online in the past, and ended up confused by all the various settings and adjustments. Most of my photography is done in-camera because of that! Julia actually edited a couple of my photographs and they were instantly Popular when I posted them on



But I didn’t know how to replicate the effects until Julia taught me how to edit photographs personally. I didn’t want this to happen this time, so I’ve asked Julia to walk through each step and carefully explain why it’s there and what it does; so you can completely customize the look so your finished photographs show your own personal style, not hers.


Casanova Foto, the #1 photography shop in Barcelona, have also agreed to host the class in their teaching studio. This means we’ll be able to watch every single step Julia does on a huge screen while she explains how she edits. Huge thanks to Casanova for this!

Specifically, you will learn;

How to achieve incredible effects quickly and efficiently. Julia used to edit one photograph for weeks like painting a masterpiece – but has now managed to get this down to less than 30 minutes! She will share exactly how she does this so you can do it too.

How to professionally retouch skin to achieve the precise balance between perfect and natural.

• Which tools are essential, and which you can save money by avoiding

• When to use Lightroom and when to choose Photoshop, and why

• The complete Lightroom approach to editing multiple photographs


• The ultimate way to edit a single image using Photoshop including…

• Non-destructive editing

• Adjustment layers

• Custom brushes

• Digital dodging and burning

• Applying focus effects

• The best plugins, including getting the best from Google’s Nik Color Efex Pro

• The Holistic philosophy to editing; achieving that perfect relationship between applying the techniques you will learn and creating amazing, unique images that come from you.

Sounds amazing right! Now, we wanted to make this a complete course; something like a magic pill that would give you the complete framework to make competition-winning images. And editing is obviously a major part of that, and one that the vast majority of photographers are missing, but equally important is the photography itself.


Therefore, I’m going to personally teach a class in the morning so that we can go through the exact, practical techniques to create amazing images in-camera. Moreover, we’ll be using some incredible off-camera lighting and modifiers, and I’ll explain exactly what to get, why, and how to use it; whatever your budget!

I spent 400 Euros on Nikon’s top camera flash; only to find that you can get exactly the same results with a flash that’s a fraction of the price – you’ll learn what to get, and what to avoid so you get the best possible return on your investment; this alone has saved several of my private clients hundreds of Euros! In particular, I’ll share the specific things you can get to create amazing lighting with even compact cameras. No need to hire photographers when you can make amazing pictures yourself!


The idea is to give you the complete structure that a professional photographer uses to make amazing photographs, so you can always make fantastic pictures for family or friends; or indeed start making money with your camera by freelancing!

Specifically, you will learn;

• How to ‘see’ light – and understand how to use it creatively in your pictures

• The difference between hard and soft light, and when to use each one

• The master-guide to using natural light in your photographs

• Using reflectors and finding natural reflectors for award-winning lighting

Barcelona wedding photographer - English Photographer London


• Choosing a flash, getting it off-camera and creating beautiful lighting effects

• How to adjust your camera to use it with flashes – and the best way to balance your flashes with the ambient light for beautifully subtle lighting effects

• Learning from the master painters; Rembrandt lighting, broad and short lighting for portraits

• Which lenses are the best choices for specific images, and why

• How to get amazing bokeh blurry background effects

• Achieving a dreamy, ethereal look in-camera with a few simple techniques

• How to pose and interact with your subjects for engaging portraits

And after all that I imagine we’ll be hungry! So we’re going to have a big lunch at the Braseria Cátedra – included in the price!

Starters to choose from; grilled spicy sausage, roasted vegetables with tuna and anchovies, salad (lettuce, tomato, egg, tuna, asparagus, cucumber and carrot) or foie mousse with goat cheese and tomato.

Main course to choose from; oak-grilled beef steak (300 g) with baked potato, grilled lamb (200 g) with potatoes and peppers, Iberian sirloin (250 g) with baked potato or roast cod llauna with Sant Pau beans.

Drink to choose from; water, soda, beer or glass of Rioja.

Dessert to choose from; Crema Catalana, mel I mato, lemon sorbet or Sacher cake

And after lunch, it’s a short walk up to Casanova Foto – and I’m going to share a few of my favourite locations to shoot in on the way.

Barcelona engagement, proposal and wedding photography in English photographer

Then, we’ll meet Julia, and go through everything about editing with Photoshop and Lightroom to complete what we learned in the morning. But crucially, we will be editing the best images that we made in the morning. This really allows you to see exactly how a winning photograph is made from start to finish… from shot, to hit!

Start at 9:30am on Saturday 26th April 2014
Lunch! Included in the price
Meeting Julia at Casanova Foto around 4pm – she will teach until 7-8pm!
Finished – and social drinks!

Price: 250 euros including lunch, the special Holistic Photography ‘Golden Key’ Photoshop action created for and explained in the course, half a year’s access to unbiased equipment recommendations and photography advice via Skype/email and a secret bonus!

There will be plenty of time for questions and answers during the day, and we’ll also be happy to answer any questions you have after the workshop when you’re putting everything into practice!

One more thing – The first EIGHT people to sign up will each receive a special Bonus! It’s something that every professional photographer has, and that will make a immediate, stunning improvement to your photographs.

Email us at info *at* right now to save your place and receive full details!
barcelona photography course april 2014

We Now Have >1000 Photographers!

Great news! Our Barcelona Photography Meetup group has just passed 1000 photographers, making us the largest English-speaking community of photographers in Southern Europe. Love the fun, creative vibe whenever we meet up 🙂

Thanks to Hiromi for these videos of our latest Barcelona Photowalks!

Join now at

And share your photos of Barcelona on our Facebook group, which has also recently passed 500 photographers in Barcelona!

Our alumni enjoy free entry to all of our events with their friends and family too – book your Holistic Photography coaching below!

Pentax 645D Camera Review


What’s It Like To Photograph With a Medium Format Digital Camera?

I’ve photographed with a vast range of cameras. Some are my own, some belong to students and some are to review. There’s certainly no ‘best’ camera in the same way there’s no best car. However, few cameras can compete with the Pentax 645D for the pleasure of creating photographs.


Barcelona’s Casa Batllo

Forget about the 40 megapixels, if you can; the viewfinder alone sets the camera apart. It’s incredibly bright, and the dioptre adjustment is so good I can actually see the world better through the camera. The viewfinder is also huge. This makes a tremendous difference to the feel of the photography.

I expected a medium format camera to be slow and clunky, but while the 645D takes a few seconds to write the massive DNG files to card and manages ~1fps, it handles just like a pro dSLR. At 0.16s, shutter lag is essentially unnoticeable.

Except in many ways, it handles better than a Nikon or Canon dSLR. It’s expected that the photographer is a professional, so all of the marketing gimmicks are replaced by precise, logical controls. The mirror-lock-up isn’t buried in a menu; it’s a switch on the body (and is automatic with the 2s self-timer!). Everything you need is quickly and easily adjusted.


Gaudi’s Casa Mila, Barcelona

The Pentax 645D is also very usable one-handed. The grip is deep and fits very well in the hand. I was able to hand-hold shutter speeds of 1/13s with critically sharp results. You can also mount it on a tripod either horizontally or vertically.

It’s also a tough beast. It doesn’t weigh more than the dSLRs I’m used to, but looks like it could take more abuse. It rained on it; and I could trust that the weather-sealing would shrug it off. It’s a real professional tool, built for years of hard use.

As well as being able to use lenses for the 645 film camera and Pentax 67 lenses with an adaptor (which are bargains!), Pentax also makes a trio of weather-sealed lenses. One of which is the 55mm I used. When they say weather-sealed, they literally mean you can put the camera under a shower and it will be fine. When there are no excuses to getting the shot, this is just incredible.

The 55mm lens also has silent ultrasonic auto-focus. It’s very quick to lock on and there are a range of options to control the focussing right on the body. I did some street photography and never missed a shot.

The white balance was also very precise. There are a lot of presets and customisation, but the auto white balance was accurate in a wide range of lighting situations. The colours are pleasingly neutral and there are even some usable presets.

There are two SD card slots (each with dedicated buttons to choose what they’ll store). Raw images can be in the open .DNG format which works with all converters. They can also be converted in-camera with lots of options including output as .jpegs of various sizes. This was very useful.

Battery life was brilliant. I’d thought that this might be a weak point because the batteries seem quite small, I used the screen a lot and the files are huge, but obviously some magic is going on as they last for ages. They’re also very cheap!

The 3″ LCD screen is bright and colour-balanced and makes reviewing photos a pleasure. It’s easy to use the RGB histograms to check exposure and the menus are well designed. One button displays a 3d level which is fantastic for getting everything lined up.


Street Photography

While the Pentax 645d is expensive; almost £7,000 with the great 55mm f2.8 prime lens, it’s a real bargain compared to other medium format cameras and even some dSLRs.

One of the main reasons to step up to medium format is the quality of the shallow depth of field and that amazing viewfinder. The bigger sensor allows this even with a f2.8 lens; and betters a smaller format camera with a f1.2 lens. This is amazing in practice.

This is all enough; but oh the image quality! It’s incredible to take a photograph and have 40 megapixels or resolution to look at. The colours are very natural and the graduations between the tones are smooth and look very ‘real’.


The Magic Fountain, Barcelona

The camera has a CCD sensor so there’s no live view, video nor incredible high ISO sensitivities as possible with CMOS sensor cameras. However, the photos are very usable right up to ISO1600 and the noise looks more ‘film-like’. Skin tones in particular looked better to me with this camera.

So the image quality of the Pentax 645D is the best I’ve experienced outside Hasselblad and Phase One. But this will change and when it comes down to it, the Pentax 645D is just such a pleasure to use. No camera comes close; most feel crippled in some way, sullied with marketing gimmicks or beset by compromises. Not this beast. It’s a true photographers camera; fun to play with then instantly forgettable when the magic moment appears.


We Love Barcelona’s Tapas Restaurants!

El revision de la camera, Pentax 645D

He fotografiado con un vasto numero de camaras. Algunas son las mias propias, otras pertenecen a mis estudiantes y tambien estan las que he tenido para hacer estudios y articulos. La verdad es que no hay una ‘mejor’ camara en el sentido de que no hay un ‘mejor’ coche. Sin embargo no hay camara que compita con la Pentax 645D en el placer de crear fotografia.

Yo esperaba de una camara de formato medio que fuese lenta y ((clunky)), pero a la 645D le lleva solo unos segundos grabar el masivo archivo DNG a la targeta de memoria y ((manages)) 1fps, lo controla como una pro dSLR. a 0.16segundos, ((shutter lag)) es esencialmente al momento de apretar el boton de disparo.

Incluso mejor, se espera que el fotografo que tenga esta camara sea profesional, por lo que todos esos botones de marketing han sdo reemplazados por logicos y precisos controles.
El bloqueador de movimiento del espejo no esta perdido en el menu, lo encuentras en un switch en el cuerpo de la camara( y es automatico con el self-timer de 2s!) Todo lo que necesitas es facil y rapido de ajustar.

barcelona-passeig-gracia-fountain-photo-645d-0151b copy

Olvidate de los 40 megapixels, si puedes; solo por el visor esta camara entra en una calificacion aparte. Es increiblemente brillante, y el ajuste para diopter es tan bueno! Literalmente puedo ver el mundo mejor atraves de la camara. Tambien hay que decir que el visor es enorme. Marca una diferencia tremenda en como te sientes al capturar imagenes.

La pentax 645D es tambien muy buena para usarla con una mano. El ((grip) es grande y encaja perfectamente en la mano. He sido capaz de tomar fotos (con una mano) con velocidad de oturacion de 1/13s con resultados increiblemente nitidos. Tambien puedes colocarlo en tripodes de manera horizontal y vertical.

Tambien es una bestia resistente, pero no pesa mas que las dSLR que he usado, pero al parecer puede soportar muchos ‘abusos’ de nuestra parte, digo esto porque le llovio encima y vi como la camara se deshacia de cada gota que caia sobre ella. Es una herramienta muy profesional construida para anos de trabajo duro!