#430. Spring in Paris with DearSusan. Ze Workshop!

By pascaljappy | News

Nov 26

So we’re planning a workshop, next spring. In Paris. After tragic bombings and among probably 2000 other photographic workshops held in Paris this year.

Who’s in?



Here’s why we think you should be.

This is a DearSusan workshop. So we will be focusing on your creativity, not trying to implant our vision and recipes into your conscience or encouraging you to laud our ineffable magnificence. Speaking of recipes, what we will probably end up doing is eating very well. Because photography, for us, is all about personal empowerment, lifestyle and fun.

In the room. Elephant. Let’s address safety. That’s an issue. Because, as much as we’d love to, we can’t guarantee your safety in Paris. Anyone who does is lying. For that matter, the same goes for London, Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Beijing, Copenhagen, Moscow, Los Angeles … Urban violence, earthquakes, pollution, traffic … Dozens of bikers lost their lives in Paris last year, so did pedestrians. 23 died in the metro in 2011. There were muggings, violent crimes and incurable illnesses.

Until believable signs of terrorist appeasement are here, we will be extra mindful of security, obviously. However, we do think Paris is still is a safe and most pleasant place to be doing photography with like-minded people. If you share that opinion, read on. If not, trust us, we understand perfectly!



Hotel de Ville


Ze Paris Workshop, Oui Oui !

So, what do we have in mind ?



Chatting by the Seine


Our plan has 3 goals, and 3 acts:

  • “Unpostcarding the postcard” as co-author Philippe puts it. That is, learning not to let the icon overpower us and allow personal creativity to see beyond the usual cliché of a famous location.
  • “Making the most of a location”. In other words, how to soak in the unusual and map it onto your own beliefs/passions/technical preferences to create images that develop your style.
  • “Identifying your style and elevating your game”. This, not only to enable you to go home with photographs you are really proud of but to benefit from the vision of others on your work and theirs. Which is very liberating.


Act One. Old icon, different take.

Regulars know how strongly we advise against rushing to photograph the famous icons, such as the Eiffel Tower. So, that’s exactly what we’ll do 😀 We’ll rush to the Eiffel Tower (gosh, horror) in order to create photographs that are unlike the billions of others that you have seen out there. Photographs that stage the Eiffel Tower but look like you, such as the one below, by yours truly!

Please note this morning session will hinge around taking photographs of the old lady, not from it. Queues to get up there last for hours and we’ve never been great photographic fans of high points in flat cities. But feel free to escapade after.

So we will be walking in the streets round the Tour Eiffel to find different angles and different meanings so that you can build individual stories around the iconic landmark.


Maintenance work on the Eiffel Tower creates a more interesting photograph than the tower itself

Maintenance work on the Eiffel Tower


Act 2. Portrait and street photography along the Seine

First thing after lunch, we will book a model and point our lenses at him/her with the gorgeous backdrop of the cobbled river bank.

This won’t be a portrait session. The whole idea will be to let you experiment with human beings in a travel photography context. No strobes available, no makeup artist, no protection from the elements. How do you create a lasting memory with the available light, the crowds and the elements? This, so you can directly transpose the experience to your next travel with spouse, friends or family.

Step two : walk back to base camp along the part cute, part touristy river banks for interesting street photography in the late afternoon light. If the weather allows, sunset on the river, yer bet !!

Evening debrief and collaborative post-processing session at the hotel : peer review is a key eye and mind opener. Those who love shooting with other people actually find this the single most effective way of learning photography. We’ll work on making the best of your day’s production and also vote for each participant’s best pic for an online gallery.




Act 3. Discovering an area.

Until then, you’ll have been pampered and spoiled like kids at Christmas. World famous icons, Parisian top models, sunsets to make Woody Allen faint.

Now, it’s pay-time. Now comes the tough part, where we explore an area that’s wonderfully atmospheric and scarily difficult to photograph well: Le Marais.

You’ll see multiple-century-old stone-walls with cars and motorcycles and paper notices. You’ll see fantastic old shop windows with passers-by constantly in your way. You’ll have to compose with the noise, the light, the weather and realise that research and preparation are not enough.

So, weather permitting, it’s up at sparrowfart for pre-sunrise light, walk, great breakfast and then more walking around the narrow streets, Place des Vosges and Beaubourg. You can safely bet you’ll feel frustrated several times during that day. But you can also be certain your better photographs will be a huge satisfaction and a great source of learning about yourself and street work.



Shh, don’t tell!


So there you have it, Ze Paris workshop à la sauce DearSusan. We won’t try to make it easy, but we’ll do everything in our power to ensure you return home with a set of great photographs, great memories and a new trick or two. Who is it for ? Anyone wanting to develop a personal style and is willing to look beyond gear and social scoring.


What do you need ? A camera, a lens. Cards or film and batteries. A small tripod. Flash, if you enjoy one. A laptop, if at all possible.

You’ll find the best photographs of the workshop aren’t always made with the most expensive gear. This won’t be a workshop in honour of a brand or a million-dollar gear feast. It’s about photography.  For grown ups with imagination. However, let’s be honest, we are absolute gear nuts, so we will obviously talk about gear and be available at all times to discuss gear choices and technical aspects.


What next?

What do we expect of you ? Not much at this stage. We’re just planning, sorting out accommodation and pricing, and letting you know. Reservations aren’t open, but we guarantee you a priority spot if you wish to express your interest now.

It will be 2 of us pestering you, so we’ll limit this to 12 attendees. We handle food, sleep and organisation. Knowing Philippe’s sense of orientation and mine, we’ll get lost plenty, and accidentally stumble on places like this 😉




If you’re interested, just drop us a line in the contact page or leave a comment below. ONE THING: We’d like to build this with you, which is why we’re giving early warning. So send us your best dates in March – April, the ideas you’d like to explore and any other specifics that falls within the boundaries of what I described above. Are 2 days enough? Too much? Think about your goals for such a workshop. Any particular pics or styles in mind? Any particularly dear friends or spouce this could make a fabulous Christmas present for? 😉

Also, we don’t ask much of our readers, but please share this with friends, real & social, with the nifty buttons below! Much appreciated 🙂

Looking forward to finally meeting some of you guys in real life !


Email: subscribed: 4
  • David Mack says:

    Sounds great. 100%dependent on dates.
    I love Paris. This too good to pass up.

  • pascaljappy says:

    OK, so we have 5 interested readers, 4 of which are from distant lands (US and Asia). So we will likely offer a longer-stay option with more variety, obviously open to locals as well.

  • Benoit says:

    I’m also definitely interested. Possibles dates (march-april) and accommodation are not an issue for me, as I live in Paris.
    Obviously pricing is a matter of concern but I’m excited about this opportunity and looking forward to getting more information about this workshop.

  • Tillmann says:

    I’d probably be down too. But I can’t plan at all due to exams. Well maybe another time somewhere. Sounds like a good workshop though

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Tillmann, thanks for your interest. Exams matter, we understand 😉 There will be others. We’re already thinking about London, Marseilles and Reykjavik. If you want I’ll keep a spot open for you in Paris and you can tell us at the last minute. If not, no worries. Best wishes for your exams.

  • Richard Warren says:

    Lovely idea, Pascal – I was there only a couple of months ago, and I’m already planning to come back next year, but rather later than spring. Next time it’s for a niece’s wedding, in Normandy – but Paris is always a “must” on every trip.

    J’adore Paris – in fact it’s where we were married, and we try to get back every year. Like so many others, I was saddened by the recent events – the Bataclan is only a few hundred metres from where we stayed, on our honeymoon, and it’s such a peaceful part of Paris.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hello Richard, too bad we can’t see you in March, but please let us know when you visit later this year. It would be nice to have a quick chat at your favourite cafe terrasse. Yes, these terrorist attacks are a tragedy, but I think the locals are doing their best to live a normal life and not give in to fear. “Normal” life should resume, eventually, and I hope hate against us finally subsides.

  • Eric says:

    Sounds like a great idea.
    I’m living in Paris and I’d like to join (if the price is affordable).

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Eric, we’ll keep the price to a minimum and you won’t be needing hotels, so that will make it even better 🙂 More news, very soon.

      All the best, Pascal

  • >