Category Archive: Tutorials


The only constant is change.

One thing that I am glad hasn’t changed is the relationship with ddubble. Despite the distance we are still managing to connect to create out of the ordinary art experiences and the 3+ year working relationship is going strong.. Some new stuff on the horizon – but in the meantime check out a tune they released recently. The artwork completed by yours truly.

ddubble site : BLACK

Oh and download the tune while you are at it – good for the soul:

Amazon : BLACK track




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Take Time…

I am overly pleased to have launched Photo Fundamentals in NYC this week – bit of a milestone to be honest.

But I must admit, as soon as I launched the courses on Wednesday my mind immediately went to other areas of the business. How can I get the word out about A – what should I do about B….and on and on.

Just today, just now actually, I reminded myself to take time.

The course launch, and any other milestone for that matter, should be acknowledged and appreciated – even for a little while.

I took the above photo one day while going to meet up with a friend. I could have easily just looked at this view and kept moving – like I do far too often. But this time I am glad I took the time to admire and capture this moment.



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Bridge to the Future…

Took this photograph this past weekend on a photowalk with some really cool photo enthusiast folk that I met for the first time. I realzed  today that it represents the transitional stage of my life right now. Bright, exciting bridge of colour emerging against a contrasting sky. The sky although gray still has a limitless feel to it and the bridge continues into a distance with no clear ending point.

Can’t wait to explore what’s further down the line.

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Those Hidden Treasures…

I hope I don’t sound like a broken record. Actually, even if I do its all good.

If there is one thing that I believe my Photo Fundamentals students should remember due to my constant repetition its DON”T DELETE!

Time and time again I stumble upon an image. It usually occurs when I am in the middle of doing something completely unrelated. In this case I was immersed in data storage and the joys involved in moving gigs and gigs of data from one place to another. I found a folder in one of my external drives called “Transfer to Mac” which has images that I wanted to move over to my Mac once I had finally made the switch from PC. Among those images I found the above shot taken over two three years ago at the Concrete and Glass Festival in East London. Its Tunde of TV on The Radio, one of my favorite bands. I was lucky enough to get a press pass to their gig at that festival and had an amazing experience while catching a few snaps.

You never know.



Ps. Comments about this phenomenon? Feel free to leave them below.

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Shots taken while teaching others how to take shots

Admittedly, I get a real kick out of teaching my tutorials for a number of reasons. The main reason of course is seeing folk start from scratch with photography and then understand and grow – often right before my eyes!

One of the other, and more selfish reasons, is that sometimes I get to take some snaps too.

So I thought I would post some of the action, enjoy!

The above shot was taken by one of my students, Andrena Simmons.

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Night at the Museum

In doing some research for an upcoming tutorial, I decided to head to the British Museum. Initially there to do research, which to me is pretty awesome in itself, I also took advantage of the opportunity to take some shots. As a portrait photographer, there should have been no surprise what caught my attention – thus the theme of the evening quickly became “People in the Museum looking at history and art and stuff”.



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Shoot First, Buy Later

Probably the question I am asked most often, besides “what made you leave NY to live in London?”, is what “camera and/or lens should I buy?”

Ahhhh, so much gear so little time (and money). It seems like before you can even finish gasping at Innovation A, Innovation A.2 comes along swiftly followed by Innovation B and C, blowing your socks clean off – in High Definition of course.

Now more than ever its time to stick to the fundamentals. Any photographer, videographer, director or musician will tell you that the idea or concept is what matters – and of course your ability to present it in a somewhat interesting way. When I was completing my Marketing MBA, after finishing all the case studies – rife with SWOT and competitor analyses – one thing was at the core of it all. All the bells and whistles in the world don’t really matter. The same goes for photography, gear be damned, the product has to be good!!!!

Think back to when your uncle would take photos at the family event and everybody’s head would be cut off. Now imagine if he did that with a £2,000 21megapizel camera. Or how about if he recorded a video of your wedding that only showed the back of the bride and groom’s heads for the entire day – but it was in 1080p HD. Would gear matter then?

Now I know there is the school of thought that says buy the most expensive kit that you can afford. I personally subscribe to another way of thinking – buy what will deliver what you need with a reasonable amount of foresight. What this means is by no means should someone be taking an introductory photography course with a Canon 1Ds or Nikon D3X. The idea of ‘buy the best’ may work for flatscreen TVs but does not apply to photography.

An example. In my exhibition rhythmic urbanism earlier this year, 1/3 of the prints were photos taken with my Canon 350D, and three of those were with the kit lens that most newcomers “hate”. Trust me, the prints looked fine.

So while I will never be one to discourage anyone from loading up on the latest thingamagig, keep in mind that 3 months after you buy it (and still haven’t learned how to take it off of Auto mode) there will be a bigger, better version being introduced. You will never, ever really catch up. Best bet? Buy something reasonable and shoot with it for at least a couple of years before even thinking about upgrading. Yes, my opinion, but I don’t think you would find many photographers who would disagree.


Related Posts:

My Work on Show
Be Kind, Rewind….

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Tis the season…well kind of….

I prepared myself this year. In order to ease into inevitable Seasonal Affective Disorder, I removed the thought of summer from my mind on the 1st of September (not to say the sharp shift in weather didn’t help). Now I feel a bit more prepared to deal with the early evenings, the weeks without sunshine and cold and rainey weather.

But wait, the shift in weather ain’t ALL bad!! Autumn and Winter offer entirely different opportunities and experiences. For one, Autumn is the time of year when Mother Nature really shows off and paints leaves awesome shades of red, brown and orange. All good reasons to get the camera out and produce some amazing work. And not to forget, Winter night photography is especially awesome.

Not to mention the holiday season is a mere few weeks away. And I, for one, absolutely love the holiday season. So much so that in the spirit of the holidays, and to help with the post-summer blues, I am introducing Photo Fundamentals Vouchers. Similar to vouchers that can be bought for any good or service (from GAP to Alton Towers) Photo Fundamental Vouchers can be redeemed for any course on offer.

Best news is that if you purchase the vouchers before 31 December 2010 at the current introductory rate, you can redeem for courses anytime before 31 December 2011. Cool eh?

Click here to for more info.


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Fundamental Creativity….

Sharing knowledge with others is a wonderful feeling. I know many teachers, tutors,
professional trainers, life coaches, etc. who have for years told me of the uniquely rewarding experience of helping someone learn something for the first time.

I myself have trained staff and newcomers in a corporate environment, which itself holds some type of satisfaction. But I can truly say that nothing is as rewarding as teaching people something you love – and for me this is photography.

As part of the Photo Fundamentals courses, I set up groups on the internet where participants can post images they have taken. This serves several purposes, it:

  • allows each participant to share their work other members of the group – which builds confidence.
  • engages participants in the information-rich global photo community (which is the most wonderful thing about the web in my opinion).
  • provides a medium for participants to monitor their individual progress over time.

The very cool part about this is that when I check on the images to provide feedback I get a chance to see some pretty cool shots. To that end, I thought I would share some wonderful images taken by two students of my 8-week program. They have come such a long way from understanding the basics of aperture and shutter speed all the way to composition, framing, subject selection and alas, creativity!

untitled – Copyright 2010 Ranga Chidawanyika

Nightly Treat – Copyright 2010 Andrena Simmons

The best is yet to come as there are still two sessions left to the tutorials. Can’t wait to see what else they create – Congrads to them both!

- Leon

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Those who can, do (and teach others to do!)

2010 continues to be a year of growth and transformation for me, for which I am grateful.

When running and growing a business, it can sometimes be a bit surreal when things come together since 95% of the time you are facing extreme challenges. But I can truthfully say it’s all been worth it and I am thoroughly enjoying the journey – couldn’t imagine having it any other way.

On that note, on to the latest bit of good news.

I am very excited to announce the launch of my photo fundamentals courses. While I have always been more than happy to share as much photo knowledge with folk as possible, it wasn’t until recently that more and more people started asking me to actually spend time with them showing them the basics. I found this to be extremely rewarding and started putting together learning programs for individuals. Then I thought, “Why not open this to everyone?”

Voilà! photo fundamentals! The courses have been designed to provide you with the essential tools and creative encouragement to produce your own individual works of art – from learning camera controls all the way to technique. There is too much info to try to cram into one blog post, so the details on the courses can be accessed by clicking here.

Currently I am running one-to-one tutorials, but never fear, group workshops are on their way. Please feel free to have a read through the course description and a) tell a friend, b) tell everyone you know, c) sign up for a course or d) all of the above.



Ps. Info about the courses can also be accessed through my main site at

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