#444. Ze “Paris in Spring” Workshop. Will you join us for 2 days or 4?

By pascaljappy | News

Jan 10

Do you want to walk through one of the world’s most beautiful cities for 4 days with other photography-lovers and no outside interruptions?

Do you want to visit the most interesting locations in that city and the lesser known gems in between?

Do you want two consulting experts slash experienced photographers to unleash the power of collaborative learning to help you rapidly grow your photographic skills?


Reflections of Tour Montparnasse in a motorbike, DearSusan Paris workshop

Near Montparnasse


Silly questions, I guess. You wouldn’t be reading DearSusan if you didn’t 😉

So, here’s the outline of the workshop we’ve been promising for weeks and many of you have desperately been asking about to finalize your arrangements. Sorry about the wait, we do believe it will have been worth it !


Flowers near Les Invalides, DearSusan Paris photography workshop spring 2016

Flowers for you


Does the world need another photography workshop ? You might be surprised. We looked long and hard at existing offerings , and we found many « star photographer » workshops. Quite a few « gear » workshops. And many « star location » workshops. Some of them combine these features, with « cool gear in the hands of a star photographer on a star location » workshop.

None of which strike us as a particularly efficient way to improve your photography.

Star footballers rarely make star football coaches. José Mourinho and Alex Ferguson were never really great players. Blind gear worship is a guaranteed way to fail. As for location, this ain’t real estate. In fact the more impressive the location, the less the untrained brain is capable of objective subject analysis.


Pas sage, mais si beau

Pas sage, mais si beau


To DearSusan, photography has only one star.

  • Not the coach, even though we are super cool guys with over 40 years of university teaching, consulting and coaching below our belts. Plus a healthy appetite for fun, good food and art.
  • Not the gear, even though a full complement of Otus lenses, Leica lenses and other goodies is as cool as it gets.
  • Not the location, even though Paris is one of the very richest cities in the world in terms of photographic opportunities.
  • Not even you, dear reader, although common marketing flattery would suggest so.

No, the real stars are the pictures. They are the reason why we engage in this hobby. Pictures that stir emotions, convey meaning, capture momentous glimpses, open new avenues, suggest new visions. And beyond pictures, creativity itself. Consider ours a humanist photography workshop, if you will.

So, with that said, let’s dig into Ze Workshop, our vision of what a productive photography workshop should be 🙂


Ze Program, oui oui

After much, much, much, scouting, we have made some small changes to the original plan and, as many of you requested, we will offer two durations : 2 days for those whishing to discover highlights in a short period of time, 4 days for travelers from distant lands and those wishing to dig a little deeper into the city’s reserves.


The Rolls Royce of workshops

The Rolls Royce of workshops 😉


This is a forecast. Depending on weather conditions, real-time group preferences and last-minute opportunities, some of these activities might be switched around. 3 plan B have also been prepared in case of inclement conditions.


Day 1: “Unpostcarding the postcard” around La Tour Eiffel, Les Invalides, Le Trocadero and Le Louvre

Not that we have anything against postcards, so long as they mirror your specific vision. Here’s one I made while walking around for miles around the tower. It doesn’t get more touristy than this, but I still like it a lot: moody, iconic but slightly out of time, nice light …

So, we’ll meet up at this exact spot from 9:00 to 10.00 AM, and we’ll definitely give the postcard a chance to shine.


Eiffel Tower and Bateau Mouche on the Seine rive, DearSusan Paris in Spring photography workshop 2016

Bateau Mouche


But, after that, we’ll also try to stage the Eiffel Tower differently. We’ll walk around the area surrounding the proud tower to frame it in narrow streets, view it with different foregrounds and possibly from high-up (time allowing).


The Eiffel Tower dominating a street in Paris, DearSusan photography workshop spring 2016



Along the way, we’ll visit “Les Invalides”, a beautiful 17th century hospital / museum / church complex built for Louis XIV and one of the most visually balanced buildings in the whole of Paris, with plenty of foreground variations for everyone to experience with.



Les Invalides reflection


We will head back to headquarters via Trocadero, the Jardin des Tuileries where fountains and Parisian life can give us a lot of street photography opportunities and Le Louvre.

In the evening, we’ll explore some of the galleries and covered passages next to our hotel (that’s our quaint hotel, at the end of the passage 🙂 )


The look

The look


After this, there will be plenty of time for editing your files on your personal computer / software and commenting our photographs of the day and participate in agile games to structure our analysis, compare results with expectations and isolate quick paths for  improvement. For dinner, we will visit what might well be the most Parisian of all Parisian restaurants 🙂 Come for the food, stay for the photo ops.


Day 2: Beaubourg to Quartier Latin, by way of Notre Dame … to covered passages

This walk starts and ends in two very famous areas, takes us through Île de La Cité, across multiple bridges and into numerous little back alleys and secret viewing spots.




It is, however, quite challenging. Beaubourg is difficult to photograph in an interesting way and the streets are busy at all times of days and night. We will focus on developing vision and a strong eye under these conditions in order to incorporate meaning in our shots.



Île de la Cité covered market


We will follow the Seine a short distance to a superbly photogenic museum …




… before returning to camp for an exploration of more covered passageways (there are over 15 and – yes – we walked every single one to find the best opportunities 🙂 )



Vivienne chic


Northern Passage


Getting it straight


After this, we will resume our evening group activities to review work, explore new ideas and evaluate progress.



Mercury dancing ?


 Day 3: By the Seine


Pont Alexandre 3


Elegant bridges, superb views, boat-houses … walking the banks of the Seine provides an abundance of subjects that could keep us happy all day.



The same from above


But the river can also be used as an amazing backdrop for portraits. So we will be joined by a photo model who will walk with us to several locations along the river to allow us create a series of portraits using a great variety of natural lighting and focal length scenarios.


Capturing beauty

Capturing beauty


We will use a systematic approach to ensure that, within only a few hours, you have amassed enough know-how and real-life experience on how to make the best choices for the photographic results you have in mind to bring a human side into your next trip by photographing more people in the streets.



Home by the Seine


We will make our way back to the bustling terra firma via a little visited canal port which will take us to a place you might recognise 🙂


The Opera Bastille in Paris, France. B&W in contrasty light



As for the two previous days, meals will be scrumptious and evening activities will be formative 🙂


Day 4: Aspects of Montmartre

Place du Tertre, on a balmy Sunday afternoon, can be a photographer’s nightmare. Early in the morning, when the sun is not yet high in the sky, delivery trucks are unloading crates of beer and painters are setting up shop … now that is something else altogether.



Morning painter in Montmartre (c) Philippe


If there is a place in Paris where you may be able to recapture the spirit of Doisneau, it is Montmartre.

We will assemble early on this most iconic of town squares and photograph until famished, then assemble in a nice nearby cafe for a great breakfast, after which we will explore the more quiet streets with vines, windmill, cobbles and views.



Ye old Montmartre street (c) Philippe


After a hearty lunch in one of the area’s favourites, we will end out day’s walk in a cemetery. Those needing to rush out can catch a ride out. Those with more time on their hands can stay on into dusk, where cemeteries are simply incredible for photography.




Optional tour : Giverny & Seine cliffs (subject to enough interest)

Early April is a great time to be in Paris as trees are budding and rapidly change the landscape from barren and wintry to green and full of life. And, while Giverny (Monet’s house and garden) is splendid at every time of the year, early spring can be a riot of colours and photo opportunities.



An OTUS doing what it wasn’t designed for


Philippe doing what he was obviously designed for


So, if you haven’t had enough of us by then, stay on for an extra out-of-town day in Giverny. Not only are the gardens very interesting, but the views onto the Seine river and cliffs is a sight for sore eyes.



Flower galaxy 1


Philippe has been spending the best part of 2 years working on his flower photography skills and will supervise the group to ensure superb results.



Philippe’s cartwheel


Philippe’s duelists


Depending on how many of us choose to stay on, we will either take a minivan or a bus to Giverny, shoot and have lunch at a local tavern before driving back to Paris for a final goodbye.


Dates & Pricing

As requested by numerous respondents to our previous email, the workshop is now available in 2 and 4 day formulas. And we’ve kept it as affordable as we could while not sacrificing on the quality of the experience.

The workshop will begin on Thursday, April 7th and end on Sunday, April 10th. The extra day in Giverny will be on Monday, April 11th (provided at least 6 members of the group are interested).


Peace monument and Eiffel Tower, DearSusan photography workshop, sping 2016

Leaning Tower of Peace


The prices below include for the 4 day (respectively 2 day) formula include:

  • 3 (resp 1) nights in a hotel
  • lunch and dinner day 1, breakfast & lunch for the final day and all 3 meals for intermediate days
  • coaching by 2 experienced instructors (for the same size group as other 1-instructor workshops)
  • all transport fees incurred by the workshop

Price for the 2-day workshop is 1,400.00 €. You can choose any 2 consecutive days.

Price for the 4-day workshop is 2,400.00.  We favour the 4-day formula which promises much greater efficiency for the iterative training technique we will be using.

The price for the Giverny day out is an additional 600€, which covers the extra hotel night, return travel between Paris and Giverny, entry into the garden as well as breakfast and lunch.

Paris residents not requiring a hotel can deduct hotel costs (please contact us).

Couples welcome! Any participant couple gets a 10% discount on total fees. Conversely, if you wish to travel with a non-photographer spouse, we will be happy to make arangement for accomodation, provide information on must-visit locations and meet-up points to share meals.


Hotel de Ville

Hotel de Ville


Any level of photographic proficiency is OK. Note that the workshop will not be about learning to use a new camera, which would slow the whole group down. The focus is on creative vision. But anyone with sufficient knowledge to use his/her gear will benefit from the group.

Any gear is welcome. We only request the ability to set speed and aperture and to shoot in RAW mode.

We will be staying at Hotel Chopin, located close to the Opera and inside a charming passage. It is a very simple but welcoming hotel with small but charming rooms. Those wishing for more luxury can choose to stay at nearby Marriott Opera Ambassador Hotel at an extra cost of 180€/night.


The Eiffel Tower from above. DearSusan photography workshop, Spring 2016

The Two Towers



Workshop Bonuses

Spending 4 or 5 days with like-minded enthusiasts will be a great pleasure, and flying home with a portfolio of superb images and new techniques, even better still. Be we’d like to offer more. Much more.

So here are 5 extra bonuses for all workshop participants!!


Bonus 1.Uber lens-testing

We will bring along our best lenses for you to try out (all in Sony and Nikon mount). If you’ve been wondering what the fuss is about or wanted to compare one of your lenses to an Uber-lens, this is your chance of a real-life shootout that no amount of lab testing can replace.



Underground lighting


Bonus 2. Free digital training.

In 2016, we will be releasing several digital products to help you choose gear, hone your post-processing skills, develop know-how on lighting and other topics. As a participant in Ze workshop, you will be given access to all of these digital products absolutely free.



Bercy sunrise


Bonus 3. Free extra walk suggestions

You may be staying longer or returning to Paris soon. If so, you’ll enjoy the extra set of walks we describe in this ebook that we will distribute to all workshop members.



Space Invaders in La Defense (c) Philippe


Discover Canal St-Martin (Peter Turnley territory), La Villette, La Défense, Le Marais, Jardin des plantes and Jardins du Luxembourg described from a photographer’s point of view.


Bonus 4. Free InSight: Guides

Paris has given you a thirst for photo travel in other major cities ? Our InSight: Guides collection presents self-guided photo walks in beautiful cities such as Amsterdam, London, Copenhagen, Tokio, Singapore, Istanbul …

All of these guides are free for you forever, as are all of those we will publish in 2016 !


Tokyo Temple (c) Paul Perton

Tokyo Temple (c) Paul Perton


Bonus 5. I can’t say …

… because it’s a surprise. But we think you’ll love it. And it’s just for you, during the workshop !

Montmartre overlook

Montmartre overlook (c) Philippe


Securing a spot

To our surprise and delight, our quick announcement of this workshop a few weeks ago was met with a lot of interest. To this day, 3 readers have been confirmed their booking (thank you for your trust, guys !) and 3 more expressed their interest, waiting for dates to confirm.

So half the available spots have potentially been gobbled up before this post goes live.



Rue du Caire


If you are interested, send us a message now! We will send you information to help you book cheap flights (3 months ahead is the absolute best time), about your refund policy should you not be able to attend (no worries there), about what you will need to bring with you and, most importantly, how to prepare to benefit the most from your time with us 🙂


Remember, this workshop is different

Dozens of workshops are held in Paris every year. Here are 7 benefits of ours:

Two facilitators will guide you. Unlike most other workshops, this means a lot more attention is devoted to you. Practically, this means:

(1) Much more one on one time, both in the street and during post-processing sessions.
(2) Two different styles. We are not there to promote a vision or style. (3) Two different post-processing platforms.

(4) We are not professional photographers, but experienced photographers plus experienced coaches.

(5) Multilingual abilities. I’m fluent in French and English. But that pales into insignificance when compared to Philippe’s familiarity with too many languages to count. In real terms, the workshop is open to French, German and English speaking photographers. But basic knowledge  of English is required so that we can all have group talks.

(6) An opportunity to test exceptional lenses. We will bring our best Zeiss & Leica lenses with us. If you own a Nikon or Sony camera, you are welcome to try these.

(7) Unlike most photographers running workshops, we know Paris backwards. This won’t stop us getting lost because our collective navigation skills don’t exceed that of a walnut. But we do know our locations well 🙂


Observation telescope on Tour Montparnasse, DearSusan photography workshop, spring 2016



Our mission is not just to entertain in a pretty location or just to educate but to solve real problems you are facing and to inspire.

Any photographic workshop held in Paris will inevitably benefit from the beauty of Paris itself. Night and day, rain or shine, this is a city of great style and historic significance. We will take participants to many of the most visually interesting places and take time to make photographs from beautiful vantage points. Because, however much learning and friendship you find on the road, you still want to go home with the money shot, the photograph you want to show others and remember for a long time.

But, beyond this, we also want you to discover some more out-of-the-way places that are every bit as stimulating as the Louvre and Hotel de Ville under moonlight. Many covered passages are really very interesting, as are many restaurants, manors and churches.



Le bouquiniste patriote


And, finally, we will focus on seeing beyond the obvious. As charming as the famous sites are, photography is all about creating visual objects that mirror the author’s style and technique. So, we will work individually with each participant, one on one, to work towards that goal.

Philippe and I am experienced photographers and experienced consultants. Philippe coaches and advises powerful business leaders and I have taught hundreds of hours in French universities before becoming a consultant myself. We have no ego to flatter or hidden agenda. Our goal with that workshop is simply to provide valuable training to and have fun with a group of like-minded individuals.

We look forward to walking those streets with you and creating great art together. Drop us a line to book your spot and see you soon!



  • pete guaron says:

    Where is the final photo taken, Pascal?

    And don’t worry about the walnut – if I ever wanted to get lost somewhere, Paris is the perfect place to do it in!

    PS – sadly, I can’t make it – I’ve only recently finished going through all my shots from my last trip to Paris and planning for my next trip is only now starting. But your photos and comments have given me some great ideas. One of the main things I get out of these exchanges is the way sharing with each other opens our eyes to more and more stuff that’s sitting there, waiting for a camera to drift past.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Hi Pete, the last shot was made in La Défense, on the stair under the “Grande Arche”, a very photogenic place and one where the sun often creates superb lighting.

      I’m sorry you won’t be joining us in Paris next April but understand your point 😉 If you derived new ideas from the post, that at least is great. Maybe we can meet up next time you visit in a year or two.


      • pete guaron says:

        I’m sorry too – but one of my nieces is hopefully getting married in Normandy towards the end of the year, and I’m hoping to make it for her wedding – then flick across to the opposite corner of the country, to see something of the alps. Last year’s trip was really focused on l’Occitane, where my family comes from – I had to lie to my wife, and tell her we were going to Paris, to get away with that.

        • pascaljappy says:

          Aaah, so we come form the Same area 🙂 I was born in Montpellier. If your weather cooperates, you’ll love Normandy. Lots of lovely spots there. And the Alps, well, that’s just superb 🙂 Enjoy !

  • Leonard says:

    Bloody terrific pix, which revitalize my longing to revisit Paris – It’s been over ten years, and that’s ten years too long. But this what happens with late bloomers such as myself. I have been playing catch-up in other parts off the globe – and not much of that, either. I doubt I can get my finances together by the Spring. Perhaps the next year.

    • pascaljappy says:

      Thanks Leonard. Too bad you can’t make it. We’ll definitely hold another next year as well as others in other locations in 2016. Hopefully, we’ll meet in one of those. Cheers.

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