Thank you for choosing to participate in a Bangkok Photo Workshop with me. I hope that you will find the experience educational, entertaining and, above all, fun.
Photo workshops are a perfect way for you to hone your photographic skills whilst enjoying some of the most photogenic opportunities on offer in our vibrant city. Whatever your level of experience, I hope that my workshop will allow you to improve your skills; whether you are keen to master creative exposure control, learn the basics of aperture, shutter speed and ISO or simply to understand how best to pursue the art of street photography, we will be able to concentrate on the areas that are of most interest to you.
To get you started, here are answers to some of the questions most frequently asked by workshop participants. It’s a long list and not everything will apply to you but I hope that most of your questions will be answered. However, if there is something that you don’t see answered here then please feel free to e-mail me before your workshop.
Where will I meet you?
Our meeting venue will depend upon the type of workshop that you’ve booked. For some workshops it may be most convenient for me to meet you at your hotel or guesthouse but I will let you know well in advance. However, most workshops begin at Sathorn Pier, beside the Saphin Taksin BTS station. The BTS, or Skytrain, is a quick and efficient way to move around the city, which can often be congested with traffic. When you alight at Saphin Taksin, take the stairs to ground level and walk the short distance to the river. Sathorn River Taxi Pier is the largest of several piers and I will meet you beside the small ticket booth.
Click on the map to view and download a larger version, showing our meeting place at Sathorn Pier together with the locations that we may visit: Pak Khlong Talaat (24-hour market), Chinatown and Wat Pho.
If you would like to buy a map of Bangkok, then I recommend the Nancy Chandler map, which contains a host of useful details.
If the pictures on my About page aren’t sufficient then we’ll probably both be carrying very obvious camera bags. For some reason, participants on my workshops are easy to spot, it’s probably the look of eager anticipation on their faces. Don’t worry, I’ll find you.
Please don’t fret if you are delayed but it may be worth keeping a note of my cell-phone number in case you want to call or send an sms:
+66 84 907 3330
Where will we go on the workshop?
Most workshops will begin with a morning session at the lively Pak Khlong Talaat area. This is a 24-hour fruit, veg and flower market and provides lots of opportunities for us to hone our skills. Afternoons are typically spent in Chinatown and we’ll try to schedule our time there to coincide with the best light of the day.
Some weekend workshops may take us further afield to the fishing village of Mahachai, the unique Mae Klong market and the floating market at Amphawa.
If there is a location that you are especially keen on visiting then please let me know well in advance and I’ll do my best to include it.
What will the weather be like?
Bangkok has two weather conditions: hot or hot-and-wet. It’s never chilly here and it can reach over 40 degrees between March and July. It’s often wet from June to September but if it rains we will work around the conditions and continue to photograph.
Will there be refreshments?
Yes, Bangkok has vendors on almost every street and there will be plenty of opportunities to buy bottled water, soft drinks, tea and coffee. I try to schedule times for us to stop and eat so that we can relax and review the lessons learned. Food stops will be at places that I have tried and tested. Food will be local, simple and clean.
What about transport?
All your transport costs are included in the workshop fee and I will arrange for a car and driver where necessary. In Bangkok we will make use of public transport; the BTS, river taxis and tuk-tuks. The river taxi is a great way to see the city but can be a bit bumpy. I’ll try to remind you on the day but in case I forget, please hold tight!
How much money will I need to bring?
If you have not already paid the balance of your workshop fee then you will need to bring cash in US$ or Thai Baht. If paying in Thai Baht, the amount is based on the prevailing exchange rate on the day prior to the workshop. Please ask and I will calculate a figure.
You will also need some local currency for food and drink and for your transport to and from the workshop. 1,000 Baht should be more than enough.
What camera gear should I bring?
As well as your camera, it would be useful to bring the following:
- Wide-angle and/or medium zoom lens(es). I typically use a 16-35mm and a 24-70mm lens for the sort of street photography that we will be doing. If you have a fixed focal length lens then that would be ideal. Bring whatever you are familiar with using. Longer zooms are probably less useful in this environment. A full list of the gear that I carry on assignment can be found on the My Gear page but I tend to travel as light as possible when on workshops: usually no more than a single camera body and two lenses.
- A fully-charged battery and spare batteries if you have them.
- Formatted (empty) memory cards. Students are often surprised at how many pictures they take during a workshop so please bring more battery power and more memory than you think you will require.
- Your camera manual. You may like to let me know what camera you will be using in advance so that I can bring a digital copy of your camera manual if I have it.
Less essential items you might put in your camera bag may include:
- Portable back-up storage
- A small notebook and pen
Do I need a tripod or a flash/strobe?
If you wish to learn some fill-flash techniques then you may bring a flash but we will tend to concentrate on techniques that don’t require additional lighting. We’ll look at slow shutter speed photography and discuss ways of stabilising the camera without a tripod so unless you have a specific need in mind, it won’t be necessary. Remember that whatever you bring will have to be carried (by you) so, in this case, less is best!
What else should I bring with me?
- Please don’t forget to bring your signed [download id="11" format="1"]. We cannot begin the workshop without it. If you prefer, you can sign, scan and e-mail it to me before the workshop.
The following items are not essential but may be useful:
- A small umbrella
- A hat to protect against the sun
- A change of shirt/blouse if we’re going to be out all day
- Mobile phone
What should I wear?
Although Bangkok is a cosmopolitan city and you will see men and women dressed as if they’re heading for a day on the beach, I suggest that you dress conservatively. Not only is it respectful in what remains a fairly conservative country, it will offer greater protection against the sun. Long trousers or at least below the knee are good. T-shirts are fine. Although flip-flops are OK, some of the places we visit may be wet underfoot. I suggest lightweight shoes that you won’t mind getting damp and dirty and which can be easily slipped on and off if we visit temples. It is not necessary to cover you head when visiting temples but women especially may be asked to cover bare shoulders.
What about security? Is it safe?
Bangkok is like any other large city and it’s wise to be careful with your belongings. However, I have always found it to be an extremely welcoming and friendly place and you are more likely to be overwhelmed by the hospitality of the local people than anything else. The rule is: be confident, be sensible but please don’t be apprehensive.
What happens after the workshop?
Our workshop will end either with lunch or dinner at a local, street cafe where we will get the opportunity to review the workshop and I’ll offer a critique of your images. We can discuss ideas for future projects and answer any final questions.
After the workshop I will send you a link to a post-workshop page with links for further reading and a second link inviting you to join my online forum where you can continue discussions with other students and upload a selection of your images.
If you have time, it will be worth spending a few minutes considering what you want to achieve during our workshop. If you have a list of questions then please bring them with you to make sure that we cover everything that you want. Think about the type of photography that you want to concentrate on, look for examples of work that you admire and note down any specific techniques that you’d like to practice.
One of the benefits of a private photo workshop is that we have the ability to be flexible. We might not adhere strictly to all of the things mentioned above but we will make the best use of the prevailing conditions and maximise our photo opportunities.
I’m looking forward to meeting you and to introducing you to some of my favourite photographic locations in Bangkok.