SHOOT LIKE A PRO

It’s been two over a week since the much anticipated Louis Pang Shoot Like A Pro photography workshop was held in Brunei (Apr 19, 2009) for the very first time. Something about an inaugural event and long lasting impression had me thinking there isn’t a venue better suited for the workshop than the Empire Hotel and what a day it must have been — the exciting and nervous energy that surrounded the eager participants many of whom are ardent fans of Louis’ artistry and creativity.

The week leading up to the weekend was like a double shot Espresso. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. Let’s try again. I had had such a filled week that I needed a several double shot Espresso to get me through the exciting weekend (it helped that there was in fact an Espresso machine at the workshop). A whole week of night classes before a weekend with Bobby Chinn the renowned celebrity chef followed by Louis Pang the renowned award winning celebrity photographer.

I”ve said this earlier in the See The Light post, the workshop was a great opportunity to catch up with Louis having gone through a fairly long process from conception to reality. In between, Louis and I met over coffee at Starbucks in Warison Square in Kota Kinabalu last December and credit goes to

Special thanks to Jacqueline & Shuk Chee, two former students of mine who were insistent that our team go to Brunei. They also helped us out so much in the logistics. — Louis Pang blog

One of the few early topics covered was checking perspective distortion.

Louis and a participant (Leytzher) in an engaging conversation during the first coffee break.

A SENNHEISSER microphone would make a great addition to the EOS 5D MKII although many feel the 5D’s  sound auto levelling and other “crippled” features are an injustice to the professional audio marque and HD video.

One of many a light hearted moment during the workshop

In the hands-on sessions, the class of 30 was divided into 3 groups one of which (the Canon users) was mentored by me. It was here that I discovered that there were a number of owners of three digit Canon EOS bodies such as 400D, 450D, 350D etc vs those who owned two digit and single digit bodies. Now, as professional who isn’t using the 1-series bodies, my workhorse was once the EOS 20D and today I shoot with the 5D Mk II. I highly recommend getting as a minimum a two digit body (same family as the EOS 20D/30D/40D and currently 50D). This platform makes an excellent base to learn with and with care, there is  enough resolution and technology in the 50D for instance to last a very long time. Want to know why I feel strongly about avoiding the three or even four digit EOS camera bodies? If so, feel free to drop a comment here and I’ll gladly explain even if what I say may upset folks who are in the camera business. It’s your hard earned money and you deserve to buy wisely.

I managed to grab a couple of quick shots of Maria, one of our models for the day. The session here was meant for participant to apply what they’ve learned so far with regards to perspective lines in the background and posing of subjects.

Before I left the venue, Louis handed me two red tubes.  This aroused some curiosity among the participants who later asked me what was inside the tubes. They’re non other than Louis’ fine art prints of his award winning images which he had shown to the class. When I am done with the exams, I will get them framed and displayed in my studio along with other  priceless  collection on my “Wall of Fame”.

15 thoughts on “SHOOT LIKE A PRO

  1. Hello there, Mr. Jan Shim!

    I’ll get straight to the point: What is/are so wrong with 3- and/or 4-digit EOS camera bodies that you feel so strongly about avoiding them?

    For additional information: I’m pretty much an amateur photographer, with only a Sony Alpha-200 in hand. I figured I shouldn’t invest too much (yet) since I’ve only just started photography (and that I’m using my dad’s money haha), but I’m planning to get one of the 2- or 3-digit EOS models in the (distant?) future.

    Or would a Nikon fare better?

    Oh, and I used to want to get the Canon EOS 450D before I decided on the Sony A-200 because of the lower price but almost equal overall quality.

    Thank you in advance!

    P.S. I’ve always been a fan of ShimWorld, so please don’t stop! :D

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    • Not stopping at all but I will be on a hiatus very soon.

      I’ll be submitting my last Brunei Times column for the month. I may find time to submit just one more first week of May but as soon as the intensive classes start (9 am to 9 pm) there will be no updates till the end of the month.

      Thank you for your support.

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  2. Oh I wish I could be there at the workshop. It must’ve been a dream come true for all photo lovers!

    I understand that the 3-digit body nowadays are catching up with the 2-digit body in terms of technology. But what I’ve found with 2-digit are that they are rigidly build (well, all Canon cameras do!), faster fps, have a good weight (yet not heavy nor light) and fit nicely in my hands.

    ps. I haven’t own one yet but I’m pretty sure visiting almost all the camera shops and testing them do count for an opinion… he he

    pps. I’m saving for my 50D poison!

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    • Good choice!

      Other considerations such as form factor (whether or not its size fits comfortably in one’s hand) is equally important. The camera has to feel like an extension of your body and you can then command it to produce the results you want. Admittedly, even after one year of using the EOS 1D MK II, it never felt right from Day 1 no matter how professional grade it is, I continued to struggle with it.

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  3. Normally I don’t entertain or encourage “which brand is better” discussions for obvious reasons. If you’ve been on the web long enough you’ll know that brand discussions ONLY end up in flames and in the end instead of approaching the subject with an open mind the discussion invariably leads to some eye opening display of vulgarities and inappropriate conduct.

    Now, back to topic. Why do I feel so strongly against the EOS 3 and 4 digit bodies? Firstly, anyone who has read The Accidental Artist story will have known that my first body was the EOS 300D. To cut a long story short, I nearly gave up photography or rather to put more gravity on the subject, my photography career almost did not take off because I found the 300D rather difficult to use .. maybe it’s me but I swear a lot of its design is anything but intuitive. Simply put, the location of buttons, and biggest NO NO in the 3/4 digit bodies are the absence of the AF point selection toggle (I call it a joystick) and the thumb dial. Click on the following link where I have lined up the current models to give you a visual side by side comparison and it’ll all become clear (images © dpreview.com).

    Canon EOS 500D — 50D — 5D MK II Rear Body Comparison

    I would have gladly kept this subject under the rug had it not been for the workshop where I discovered a number of participants who were using any of the 3 digit EOS bodies as their learning platform. When I say it’s not intuitive it simply means it’s not very friendly to use. Do note that we are not talking about image quality here. Image quality across the various series of the same generation exhibits negligible differences but we are talking about important design matters that determine whether or not your camera and hence its inherent learning experience is comfortable and rewarding.

    Pay attention to the three EOS bodies in the image. Notice the obvious differences—the 500D (same applies to 300D/350/400/450D) does not have the joystick or thumb dial. Now, take a look at the 5D Mark II. The 5D/5D MK II is Canon’s flagship affordable full frame professional body so in the non 1 series family category, the 5D platform is today’s flagship body by which all the series below it is compared with. Having said that, I’m not going into deep discussions why the joystick and thumb dial are important aspects of dSLR photography. There is a reason you’ve chosen an SLR over a digital compact—FULL CONTROL of the exposure triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture) along with Focusing Points.

    One of the workshop participants asked me as early as end of last year which body should he get as he’s new to photography. I said the same thing, avoid the 3 digit body and he’s glad he did. If after reading this and you’re still not convinced then perhaps you should spend sometime researching online. Buying the wrong body from day one isn’t a life threatening experience but you’ll only end up spending more as you grow out of it when you progress.

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  4. OK, that explains a lot. Thank you!

    I feel slightly embarassed about my “which brand is better” question, but I guess that’s a lesson to learn. :p

    Again, thanks.

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    • Well, if you must know, I’m all for BRAND’s Chicken Essence — liquid horsepower to help maintain mental alertness at all times, even at times I don’t need. OK, that’s not really true, my brand is really Nescafe Gold! :)

      My wife insists that I take Brand’s Essence when (she thinks) I’ve lost my edge! Sorry, I’m exhausted and delusional from a topsy turvy schedule that I’ve not experienced since I was last in school.

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  5. As an EOS 400D user, just wanna sharing with you guys of my experiences:

    I must agree with Jan for better not to choose 3 and 4 digit camera at any stage of photography if people ask me now. During my DSLR life for about 2 years (1 yr 9m precisely), I am getting a little bit of tired and thinking to get a better camera which is in term of higher quality, the sharpness of the image…etc. (I think we all do need some lessons before understanding the saying is true!) So my next move would be 5D or its FF family! I will send my wishing list to Santa this year.

    My friend just bought 50D and is now in the post-purchase evaluation stage for being regret did not choose 5D……

    With no conflict or restriction to indicate my view on the brand choose discussion here, I’d prefer Canon, my first S50, 400D and lens are also from the same brand. Don’t ask why and people are saying that’s more easier and convenience to borrow lens and accessories from other canon’s users. End up, I bought the all the gears myself! So I am planning to work for Canon in the coming few years….ANY authority from Canon if you are so happened to see my message here, I think I deserved to have some rewards for supporting and being loyal to your brand. XD

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    • Let’s not jump the gun here. Your friend who “just bought a 50D” is regretting his purchase and wished that he had bought a 5D instead? Why? The 50D is a fine camera, one that as a 5D MKII owner I would not mind owning as a second/backup body. Perhaps this is the time to get it off him so you can sell the 400D off. Opportunity’s knocking on your door (but don’t show the buyer of your 400D what I’ve written here haha!)

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  6. Thanks Jan for being there and helping out. It was great fun. I will be blogging abt it. Work and speaking engagements is taking up a whole lot of my time.

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  7. Be patience guys & gals. I will be talking abt the workshop on my blog. Just be swarmed with the conference I am speaking in Manila next wk. I am so behind in blogging…still have the Penang workshop which I taught 1 month ago which I have not put up yet. So many things to do, so little time.

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