Do you live in Japan and want to learn photography in English? We run lessons for photographers of all skill levels.
About The Classes
You may be someone who already knows something about photography, or who has a new digital SLR camera and wants to learn more. Or perhaps you are an absolute beginner and need some advice and a few lessons on how to get the most from the hobby? Whatever your needs, I hope I will be able to help.
I have been running English language photography classes in Tokyo for almost four years now and was recently featured in Travel & Leisure magazine. See the article below and click on the picture for a larger version, which has text big enough for you to read.
My students are a mixture of beginners and more seasoned hobbyist photographers, each with their own list of things they want to learn more about. With a lesson or two all of them have felt not only more comfortable with their camera and more able to get the best from it, but also slightly more switched on to the world around them. Enough for it to begin to better feed their new-found skills with some extra creativity.
Japanorama has a group on Flickr, which you can see here. In that group are a fair amount of people who have either been out on walks and workshops or who have had lessons. Very talented bunch.
I teach all levels of photographer. For beginners it would be, first, just going over what you grasp about the basics of aperture, speed and ISO [i.e. exposure] and then going through establishing a way of you being able to measure and play with exposure in your photography. Understanding light, shadow, tone, contrast, dynamic range; these things are key to be able to get yourself to a point where you can feel in total control of the camera, rather then feeling like the camera is controlling you.
Learning photography, in my opinion, basically breaks down into three main stages and the first two are key in order for you to achieve the third…..
- learn the machine [the camera], where all the controls are and what they do.
- learn about light, exposure and get comfortable juggling ISO, aperture and speed variables as well as figuring out which of the variables to set first for certain shots, or change last in particular circumstances.
- use knowledge and confidence of the first two, above, to then unlock your creativity and achieve with the camera the picture you see in your head when you step up to your subject.
After tackling the first two points, we try to work on subjects that you like shooting and how you can get better at shooting them. The lessons, after all, must be fun and you must feel a progressive sense of satisfaction. We’ll work on little projects and by us shooting together during the lessons. After that I introduce various other areas of photographic technique: macro, nature, people, still-life, architecture, for example. There’ll also be subjects and projects you’ll probably feel less comfortable about. It’s important to be challenged and get outside of your comfort-zone.
We’ll also work on how you ‘see’ things. This is not exactly the same for everyone as we all see the world around us differently. The aim here is to, at least, get you seeing some new things about the world around you which you can then feel confident about capturing with your camera.
I offer photowalks, presentations and group lessons for your business or social-club and have worked with a number of major companies in the Tokyo area to provide entertaining, informative and educational programs. Please enquire for more details.
One of our weekend photography fieldtrips was to Chiba and the coast there, last July. You can read about that trip here. There are also photos from students and a video of the weekend.
Take a look at galleries of student’s work!
[All student photos: copyright the photographer]
On this website I try to post a new article and gallery from each workshop we do with students. Here are some recent highlights, with lots more student pictures and write-ups from the events:
- Creativity Rules! – a recent studio workshop based around 10 props from the 100Yen store.
- Composition 101: armed with a cardboard frame and our cameras, we explored some Tokyo streets to learn about composition.
- The World At My Feet: a popular themed photwalk.
- The World Above My Head: it’s not just the floor we look at on workshops!
- Yokohama Photowalk: exploring some of the less beaten-paths in Yokohama.
- Shoot the Kids! – we filled a studio with kids and parents to learn some more about to get some great shots of our little monsters.
- Photowalk and group barbecue in Kamakura: this was a great day…. lots of great locations, some great shots and then a barbecue to round it all off.
- Bokeh workshop in Ningyocho, Tokyo: exploring the world of defocus on some characterful Tokyo streets.
- From A-Z via B, C and D: photographing the alphabet around Tokyo.
- Photowalk in Yamate, Yokohama
- The City is Our Studio: in Yokohama with model, Natsuko Kojima.
- Photowalk: Tamachi to Odaiba via the Rainbow Bridge
- Photowalk: Wide and Monochrome
There are some technical and creative aspects to every lesson and we try to work on projects that combine the creative and technical. You can find some of our projects on this site:
Here’s a rough idea of lesson costs:
- One-to-one tuition: JPY5000 / hour [although if you buy a series of lessons, this price comes down]
- Introductory lesson: 3hrs for 10,000Yen but don’t expect me to stop right on the dot of three hours: I’m not a taxi meter. You’ll get a generous three hours.
- Group lessons: from JPY 2000 / hour, each, depending on the number in the group.
- Photowalks: we organize these almost every weekend and prices start at 4000Y for around 6hrs of walking, shooting and tuition.
- Lighting workshops: these start at between 6000Y and 8000Y per person for a four hour session. If we are shooting in the studio, we split the studio cost equally amongst the students.
- Gift vouchers: thinking of giving some lessons as a present? We offer gift vouchers. Please enquire for details.
Outdoor classes can take place at a location convenient to you and me. I live in Shinagawa-ku and am happy to travel a reasonable distance from here on the train to reach you.
Drop me a line to alfiejapanorama[at]gmail.com or use the contact form on this site to get in touch.