Spotlight on an Inner West business: Sydney Photographic Workshops

There are so many fantastic businesses in the Inner West, many of which I am only just discovering. I thought it would be a great idea to introduce a series on blogs highlighting the creative business men and women of the Inner West in all sorts of fields. What better way to kick off this new idea than focussing on a passion of mine… photography.

A couple of weeks ago I was photographing street artists creating the new mural on the Love Grub wall and got chatting to Daniel and Wendy, who were enjoying their breakfast while watching the street artists at work. I discovered they ran Sydney Photographic Workshops, a local business based in Alexandria. Big thanks to Wendy and Daniel for taking the time to answer my questions and also for kindly offering an exclusive offer for innerwestlifestyle subscribers and I Love the Inner West  fans (see below for more details).

How did you start Sydney Photographic Workshops and how long have you been in the photography industry for?
SPW was conceived after pro photographer Daniel Linnet, M.Photog was asked to fill in last minute for a Community College photography course during which he discovered a passion and talent for sharing his self taught photographic knowledge. A pro photographer with over 15 years of industry experience, Daniel took the workshop concept from a class room into a working studio environment and made it visual and practical, the way photography should be taught.

What kind of workshops do you offer and what skill levels do you cater for?
We run a range of workshops and courses for beginners, amateurs and even professionals looking for that creative edge.  Anything from a half day introduction to DSLR, full 8 week beginner DSLR course, Night Photography, and more advanced and intensive 1 day workshops in Portrait Photography, Travel and Documentary and Studio Lighting.  We also run other ad-hoc specialty workshops, Corporate training and Private Tuition for any level.

Where is your studio located?
Our Studio is located in Mitchell Road, Alexandria, near the corner of Henderson Road, just opposite The Australian Technology Park.

Where do you run your workshops? Do you run any in the Inner West?
Although we use our Alexandria studio as a base, our workshops are run at a variety of CBD and Inner West locations. As an example, for our 1 day Travel & Documentary and Portrait Photography Workshops we spend the day moving around to various fabulous locations in the Inner West which we keep as a surprise to be revealed on the day!

What is your favourite workshop to run?
Although the 8 week beginner DSLR and Night Photography Workshops are our most popular, we love producing the fantastic shoots we do for our 1 day workshops. The ‘People Photography Workshop’ is as close to a real life photo shoot experience as possible, teaching the photographic techniques by creating amazing images. The ‘Travel & Documentary Photography’ workshop experience, on the other hand, is as close to being a tourist in your own city as travelling o/s. It’s always full of visual surprises and impromptu encounters with Inner West characters and personalities.

What experience do your instructors bring to the workshops?
We have 7 hand picked pro, multi award winning photographers / tutors, who are genuinely passionate about passing on their wealth of knowledge and experience.  With over 65 years of combined experience in a broad range of photographic styles and genres, from Wedding, Press, Commercial, Advertising, Fashion, Landscape, Portraiture, Automotive, Still Life and the list goes on and on.  You name it, and one of our tutors has photographed it.

What are some of the challenges you have faced with your business? What advice would you give someone thinking of getting into the photography industry?
The main challenge for us these days is the number photographers starting to run workshops to suppliment their income, and not necessarily because they are trully passionate about inspiring people to want to create better images and then giving them the tools to be able to do so. In rising to this challenge, we combine current industry experience with the passion for teaching. We have a flair for creating great images to provide a unique photo workshop experience, which has in time, contributed to our reputation and word of mouth referals.

We would advise anyone looking to get into the photography industry to get their skills up and build a great portfolio of images that best represent them as a person and a photographer.  When you present your work, generally, people don’t care where you have studied but rather how good you are at delivering your visual message.  Set yourself constant photographic assignments, be constantly visually inspired by observing your surroundings, and never stop taking photos. Most of our tutors always carry a camera with them in one form or another. Once you have developed the basic photographic skills, get out and about and start puting together your portfolio. Also take an interest in what is happening in the photographic industry by joining organisations like ACMP’s ‘Trampoline’ for emerging photographers and the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP).

Does social media play a role in your business?
Yes!  We love communicating via our various social media channels. We have a growing Facebook community as well as Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, You Tube and very shortly, a fabulous new blog. We share amazing, entertaining and great photographic information including pro tips and imagery from our workshops as well as behind the scenes shoot clips and general visual inspiration.

I’m sure a lot of people, including myself, enjoy taking photos as a hobby. Which one of your courses would you recommend doing to improve our photography skills?
We have a very strong belief in starting the photographic journey from the beginning, offering education in the basics of photographic techniques and not just camera function. This is a guaranteed way for anyone to improve on their photography skills. Our 8 week Digital SLR Photography Course for beginners is perfect for anyone looking to shoot like a professional whilst enjoying every second of their hobby.  We expect you know little or nothing about photography and teach everything we can about it over the 19 hours of lessons.  You will come away from this workshop inspired and confident with your new found skills.  If you’re more advanced, then we recommend you do a 1 day workshop with us where you will shoot all day under the guidance and instruction of your tutor.

With your extensive experience in the photography industry, what do you think makes a great photograph?
A great photograph is one that makes the viewer feel! It needs to be visually interesting through a combination of evocative subject matter, composition and lighting, and it must tell a story, however grand or trivial.

Following the famous quote “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”, why do you love what you do so much?
Our principal tutor and photographer, Daniel Linnet, has often said that “photography is not just a job, it’s a way of life”, thus the origins of our motto, “Photography……, we live it!”

We love what we do because it’s different every day. We get to meet some amazing people, visit some amazing places and we see those ‘penny dropping’ moments from our students as they make a breakthrough, but most of all we love igniting their creative flame and seeing their work develop. That is the biggest reward.

Are there any future plans for ‘Sydney Photographic Workshops’ that you can share with us?
There are always interesting and exciting new workshops on the drawring board. Currently we are working on some fabulous new fashion / lifestyle shoot workshop concepts, where we will take students for a floating workshop on board a lovely old restored boat.  We also have a Wedding Photography Workshop in the pipeline and also a Speed Light / Off camera flash workshop.  These will be announced to our students and database over the next few months.

 Finish this sentence: I Love the Inner West because….of the fabulous locations we find to shoot at.

and finally…Inner west questions

Best place for a caffeine hit in the Inner West?
We love ‘Love Grub’, ‘Peas Please‘ and ‘Bar Nosh‘ which are all within a tight 1km radius in Alexandria.  We are spoilt for choice.

What/where was the last great meal you ate in the Inner West?
The last great meal we ate in the Inner West was prepared in our own kitchen using the freshest of ingredients bought at the fantastic Eveleigh Markets.

What’s the Inner West’s best kept secret?
Carriage Works at Eveleigh which hosts the most fabulous shows.


Sydney Photographic Workshops
T: 9699 4255



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