For those who don’t know, Aspire Photography are based in the Lake District. Set amongst the beautiful and dramatic landscape, along a windy road and built within converted stable yard, you have to walk over an old cattle grid to enter. This may not sound like a very poetic or creative start, but hang on a mo. As you walk over the cattle grid something really rather magical happens. You can’t see it, you can’t smell or taste it, but you can feel it. It’s as though invisible fairies are perched on the gates and sprinkle you with fairy dust as you walk into the entrance.
You may be thinking that I’ve had a bit too much to drink, or perhaps been out in the sun for too long, but bear with me.
Aspire Photography (rather, multi-award winning Aspire Photography) are a very special group of photography trainers, running courses for all different levels throughout the year. They specialise in styled shoots and empowering photographers to understand how they can become better photographers, and how to run a successful photography business. They also have a strong, but by no means exclusive, female engagement. It’s not just down to things looking pretty, or sets being styled to the most amazing standard. What Aspire teach is that it’s a totally safe environment to ask questions, to challenge your limits and to play – to really play with photographic techniques and leave with a portfolio of new images and a fresh outlook on your personal style of photography.
One of the reasons we wanted to engage with the Aspire “tribe” is because the X-Series of CSC cameras has really connected with female photographers – they love how light the system is, the amazing image quality and the damage limitation the price point has on their business expenditure.
The day started with Kerry Hendry, our first UK female photographer, talking us through her journey from Nikon to Fujifilm. Why did she decide to make the switch? What did it mean to her style of photography? We then move on to the technical aspects of the X-T1, X-Pro1 and lens line-up. There’s a mixture of attendees. Some are curious and open to the idea of the X-Series and others are already X converts but want to know how to get more out of their camera.
After lunch the real fun begins, and I mean the opportunity to play! Three models have been dressed to embrace the Midsummer’s Night Theme and amazing stages of beautiful woodland fantasy scenery were created to make an amazing photographic landscape. Everyone was encouraged to interact with the models, to capture stunning still images that would demonstrate the creative capabilities of the camera and to have fun. The images from the day, from all the attendees were stunning.
I interviewed both Kerry and Catherine to understand their view of the day:
Kerry Hendry – Love The Image
Going back to using Fuji has been a remarkably natural progression for me. I shot grainy Fuji film as a teenager and fell in love with the Fuji way right back then.
I am the one who misses the smell of film in the fridge! More recently I’d gotten drawn into the whole ‘bigger is better’ perception – and that’s all it is, a perception – and it just didn’t feel right. I was looking to find my photographic mojo again – and bought a Fuji X-E2 and one kit lens, and I’ve not looked back.
I adore the unique image quality the Fuji’s produce, after all, quality is still the primary influencer. The smaller, lighter system gives allows me to feel free again – to try new things, to capture landscapes without 10kg of kit in my bag. Travelling light in any respect is liberating – and for me, using Fuji kit has made me excited about photography again, given me new inspiration – and it also seems to bring a smile to my face.
I’ve worked with Aspire for almost a decade, in a marketing capacity and as a photographer – the Aspire way really does change your life!
The team teaches you to look at your strengths, concerns, opportunities, your creative ‘wish list’ and so many other aspects of becoming a better photographer – whether that’s as a hobby or with the aim to going pro. And then of course, they help you achieve these goals.
On the Aspire/Fuji courses we leave the every day aspects of life – pressures, distractions and worries – at the Aspire gate.
Once you drive onto the estate it’s all about freedom to express your creativity within – while learning and developing too.
On the Fuji days of course we talk kit – and there’s the opportunity for guests to try and of the cameras and lenses they like – including all the latest releases.
Many courses will talk theory, but there’s no better way that putting what you learn, or new things you want to try, straight into practice on a professionally styled shoot.
It’s the perfect opportunity to capture amazing images for your portfolio, or simply immerse yourself in a friendly, explorative environment in which to learn.
Think gorgeous models, magical styling, likeminded new friends to work with, technical expertise to quiz – and of course Fuji freedom & fun!
Aspire Photography Training designs educational programs that teach and inform whilst inspiring those to push the boundaries of their photography.
We train those that have a keen interest in photography and those who are passionate about photography. Whether you are a hobbyist or seasoned professional we have a range of courses to suit all. We have been a significant influencer on some of the best businesses in the UK. Education is at the core of all we do.
We believe the Fujifilm X-Pro1 range will revolutionise the perception of what a professional photographer should look like and already is essential gear for a professional to have over their shoulder. Women and men alike are leaping to change over to the X range, all for differing reasons. We have witnessed photographers reach out to the X-range to seek sheer quality of the product, we also have seen many photographers change to the X-range to liberate themselves from an overweight camera bag, enabling them to deal with any scenario with ease. The Fuji X-Pro1 is high on Aspire’s agenda, we will be giving this camera and system a great deal of conversation, time and training space. The X range is making it’s mark with the professional photographers who are at the coal face of weddings, commercial and portrait shoots, mainly due to the freedom given and the sheer level of technical ability it gives them on a daily basis.
Aspire Photography Training is all about looking ahead, liberating and thinking out of the box. In fact we don’t even have a box, just a broad and open mind to all the possibilities photography can give you when you choose to think creativity.
The next Aspire and Fujifilm workshop takes place on Wed 20th Aug, in the Lake District.
All images by Kerry Hendry at Love the Image.