A Photography Week in New York
Epicenter of the arts. Trendsetter. New York City wears many crowns, and spreads an irresistible feast for all.
Discover the capital of the world with our photography master – Brian Dilg.
No two people will come back from this workshop with the same photos. You can choose to explore New York’s most glamorous façades and its most gritty underbelly. You will find no better place for street photography in the world.
You may find yourself electrified by the overwhelming buildings, by the doormen standing in their shadows, shifting on tired feet as they smile and open doors for the world’s elite, or by the detritus beneath your feet. You will see the city in the best possible way, on foot as well as on its subways and water taxis and trains.
Dates: September 21-28
New York City is so iconic even in the minds of its inhabitants that for many who have never been there, it is the United States. In truth, it is so unlike the rest of the country and the rest of the world that it’s effectively a world all its own, self-contained and inscrutable. Not only is it impossible even for residents to summarize what makes it different than any other city in the world, it is not the same city for any two people. In it you will find your own personality reflected in its endless glamour or grit, the skyscraper canyons slashed with sunlight and deep shadows, the inexhaustible beehive of street life, the residents who have seen it all and for whom all manner of absurdities, triumphs, and catastrophes are merely the backdrop of daily life.
You can experience the city in an infinite variety of ways. You may be drawn to its monumental architecture, the soaring towers packed onto bedrock that lays beneath downtown and midtown. You may find yourself drawn to the beautifully designed parks packed with life, people seeking relief from asphalt and concrete, or the street vendors on every single block selling everything from hot dogs to elite handbag knock-offs. There are the ubiquitous taxis, the gritty corners, the hidden and surprising twists – wide beaches, junkyards packed with thriving ad hoc businesses, world-class museums, the vital harbor and rivers that divide and surround the five boroughs.
Above all, it is the people who provide endless fascination and amazement. In the borough of Queens alone, you will hear no less than 138 languages spoken of the estimated 800 heard throughout the city. 5th Avenue juxtaposes giant flagship stores for the world’s most luxury brands with beggars and supermodels. It is an ever-shifting canvas of diverse faces, commerce, culture, fashion, design. Millions of people pass through it daily, their behavior often clamoring to stand out from the crowds. Often they seem to be divided into natives too busy to do more than glance at even the most absurd spectacles, and the tourists exhausted by it.
What is the program?
- Get a chance to explore one of the greatest cities in the world with a master photographer, teacher, and 19-year resident of the city.
- Move your photography skills forward by a quantum leap through lectures, demos, shooting, critique, examples from the greatest masterpieces from photographic history, and trips to world-class museums.
- See not just the most popular tourist destinations but get an insider’s view of the little-seen corners of New York City, its vibrant neighborhoods, astounding galleries, soaring skyscrapers, and hidden corners not found in any tourist guidebook.
- Learn techniques for street photography, location lighting, portraiture, architectural and landscape photography, and advanced digital darkroom techniques.
- Stay in a four star hotel in central Manhattan
And not to be overlooked, we will take full advantage of the staggering variety of New York City’s innumerable restaurants, making every effort to experience some of the best culinary delights the have to offer on a daily basis!
ABOUT YOUR INSTRUCTOR
Brian Dilg grew up under the tutelage of two serious photographers, immersed from childhood in film photography, the darkroom and later the computer. He has been roaming the world with camera in hand for over 40 years. He lived in New York for 19 years, founding the photography department for New York Film Academy and acting as its first department chair.
He taught innumerable photography workshops throughout the city, schooling students from around the world in every aspect of the craft. He’s published two renowned books on photography featuring many of his own unique images of New York City, on book covers for publishers including Simon & Schuster and Hyperion, in the New York Times and The Village Voice, and others. He has over 30 years of teaching experience. You can see more of his work in his books and on his website.
We will be accommodated at the luxurious Four Points by Sheraton hotel, right in Manhattan Downtown.
All rooms offer premium bedding, free WiFi, iPod docks, and LCD TVs. Coffee makers, and free newspapers are among the other amenities available to guests.
During this workshop, we will empower you to capture New York’s wonders through an intensive daily schedule of instruction, shooting, image processing, critique, and discussion. In addition to group outings, there will also be plenty of time for you to wander through the city as you see fit. We’ll teach you indispensable tricks that every street photographer needs to know to work invisibly so you can capture completely authentic human moments. You’ll learn how to utterly transform the character of any situation with a single portable strobe and how to achieve studio quality lighting with inexpensive handheld gear, with sunlight, and even with just the flashlight on your phone. You’ll learn how to balance difficult lighting situations with such subtlety than the lighting is undetectable.
We’ll cover techniques for both staged and candid portraiture, architecture, street photography, landscape, and tricks for exploiting any lighting conditions, from flat, foggy days to the harsh contrast of midday. We’ll learn to shoot from the very beginning with the final print in mind, optimizing the advantages and eccentricities of the digital RAW format to move beyond the safe middle ground, to explore high-key and low-key images, to orchestrate color and tonal relationships, and to protect highlight and shadow detail – and how to creatively dispense with them. We’ll delve deeply into image processing using Lightroom and Photoshop as example tools. Your sense of what’s possible will be completely transformed.
Most importantly, through vital daily discussions with your teacher and your peers, you’ll clarify your own identity as a photographer and learn how to shoot with your preferred image processing methods in mind, whether that’s as a purist or as someone whose images are largely constructed through digital collage and retouching. You will come home tired but renewed, with an enviable catalog of new images and an expanded sense of what’s possible!
What is included?
Intensive daily photography instruction, practice, and critique
A master photographer as instructor with 30 years of teaching experience
7 nights in the Hotel
Local Transportation (travel by public transportation in the city – we should get a weekly MTA subway/bus pass for everyone, which is $32 each) for the duration of the workshop between shooting locations in the workshop area.
Entrance fees to museums (MoMa, Whitney, etc) in case we plan to add these attractions to our programme.
Flights to and from New York City
** If you decide to come earlier and / or leave later, we can arrange you extra nights at preferential rates from the same hotel
Personal expenses like souvenirs, bar beverages, laundry, insurance (travel, medical, cancellation, which are all recommended)
Although New York has a large population (8.6 million in Manhattan and over 20 million in the metropolitan area), the water-driven geography also makes it quite dense – the opposite of sprawling cities like Berlin or Los Angeles. Fortunately, that makes getting around by foot and public transportation quite easy; there are not great distances to cover.
As we will be on our feet so much, perhaps the most important thing you need to bring other than your camera is a very comfortable pair of walking shoes. Two pairs are even better, as alternating them will help. Don’t forget to leave room in your suitcase to bring things back with you, as New York City’s shops offer many temptations!
You will need to have a file backup strategy, of course; we recommend no less than two separate copies. Portable USB drives are light and inexpensive, but you can only connect them to a computer – either your own laptop or a computer you can rent at an internet café by the hour. It is also possible to connect an external drive to a tablet if it has a separate power supply, but make sure you test this first, as it can be tricky to set up. Either way, you will get more out of the workshop if you bring a device on which you have imaging software to edit and export your RAW files to JPEG format.
Regarding camera equipment, less is more. The rule of thumb is not to bring more than you can comfortably carry on your back all day. I personally favor prime (fixed focal length) lenses over zooms, as they are far smaller, lighter, sharper, and faster (larger maximum apertures). If you are a big fan of long telephoto lenses, consider the weight limitations of your carry-on bag and the health of your back after carrying it around the city all week. It is very easy to rent equipment at any number of stores in Manhattan; Adorama is one of the best. You will need a credit card (not an EC or debit card) that has enough free credit on it to cover the replacement value of the equipment. You can rent by the day or by the week, which is usually a 3 or 3.5 day rate.
Some accessories that we recommend are a tripod, a collapsible reflector/diffuser (at least 1m or more in diameter is great, white / silver / diffuser).
Bring more batteries than you think you need, especially if your camera has an electronic viewfinder (Sony A7 series, for example), lots of memory cards, a card reader for backup, USB cables, and if nothing else, bring a circular polarizer filter for your main lens. I also highly recommend a 2, 3, or 4-stop graduated ND (neutral density) filter. It will make a huge difference when shooting outdoors to balance the brightness of the sky with what’s on the ground. Remember one stop = .3 when it comes to filters, so ND .9 = 3 stops of reduction.
Last but definitely not least, even if you have never used a flash, have only used on-camera flash, or think flash looks horrible, you will miss a huge opportunity to radically improve your skills and transform your photography if you do not bring a portable strobe with you. If you don’t yet own one and are unsure what to buy, you might want to wait until we arrive in New York, where your instructor will be happy to guide you to one of the city’s massive camera stores and advise you how to get the most for your money.
Autumn 2019 Tickets (Sep 21-28)
Unless otherwise stated in the course description, the group conversations will be in English.
Our instructors are all at least bi-lingual, so we will probably be able to help you in your own language in private, in case of any questions. Please check before registration if you do not feel comfortable in English.
If for some reason you can’t make it on the trip, please email us ASAP by simply sending an email to email@example.com.
The following conditions apply to cancellations and booking changes for the trip:
Up to 90 Days: 20% of the price is held as cancellation
89 – 31 Days: 50% of the price is held as cancellation
30 – 0 Days: 100% of the price is held as cancellation
Tickets are not for resale.
No. The application is open to everybody who have the passion for photography and learning. This trip is for beginners as well as for pros because we believe that we all have different talents and we can all learn from each other. Even though, a basic knowledge of photography is highly recommended.
Once we receive your payment, we will get back to you with a short survey or a call to get to know your preferences for language and accommodation. As the trip gets closer, we will keep in touch with you again to confirm the trip, introduce the instructors, update you on the progress and communicate the full program.
Yes, you can either apply for a private room, share it with your partner or friend or directly let us pick a match from the same sex for you. In case we run out of private rooms, we also will select another photography-enthusiast of the same gender for you.
No. This trip will be organized by and for Swiss Photo Club only.
Your children must be at least 16 years old to join.
We want to offer the best conditions to all the participants. That’s the reason why the pets are unfortunately not accepted.
Allergies and/or food intolerances:
We take seriously your allergies/ intolerances. You could let us know about everything when we’ll contact you.
Additional photo equipment:
We have a partnership with great photography manufacturers. If you need to buy photo gear for your trip, do not hesitate to contact us and we will send you a quote (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There is no insurance included in the weekend photography trip. Please make sure you have health, travel and accident insurance coverage.
We will ask you to give us a way to get in touch with a contact person of your choice before the trip.
You and your beloved ones can contact all of us during our trip and our team back in Geneva and Zurich.
In case of any special allergies or medical treatments, we highly recommend to contact your doctor before applying for the trip.
Swiss Photo Club does not provide any insurance.