March 15-21, 2020 Passionate Photographer Tokyo Photobook Masterclass - Steve Simon & Soichi Hayashi


An Intensive & Transformational Shooting Experience with Steve Simon & Soichi Hayashi.

  • Dates: March 15-21, 2020
  • Genre: Street-Urban-Travel-Photobook Photography
  • Group Size: Max. 8
  • Skill Levels: Passionate Photographers
  • Includes: Tuition, Local Transportation, Welcome and final dinners, some lunches and a final personalized photo book

This intimate and comprehensive 6-day masterclass will take you to some of the most picturesque and exciting locations on and off the beaten path in Tokyo. We focus on creating a specific set of images by each participant to transform in collaboration with our book designer into an edited and sequenced 30 page photography book.

Steve & Soichi have carved out an amazing itinerary designed to give you a great and comprehensive portfolio of images alongside unforgettable authentic Japanese experiences and a final photo book.

View All Steve Simon Passionate Photographer® Workshops Here

Workshop Details

Join Steve Simon and Soichi Hayashi for an unforgettable assignment to produce a beautiful and meaningful portfolio of images which will be transformed into a photobook from a week of living and breathing photography in Tokyo, Japan.

The Photo Book As Inspiration

In this masterclass limited to eight students, we will focus our efforts on a specific set of images made by each participant that highlights their personal take on what they see in Tokyo. By the end of the week we will edit and sequence our work for an end goal: a beautiful 40-page flat-spread photography book designed by one of the leading photo book companies in Japan, which encapsulates our Tokyo experience in a minimum of 20 images (using double-page threads and cover photo) up to 39 images. It will be printed on a DreamLabo 5000, famous for its high quality reproduction. We have hired a book designer to help us with this effort. 

On the first two days, participants travel together to 6 different and diverse areas of Tokyo where we work out our ideas for coverage: Shinjuku, Harajuku, Shinagawa, Shibuya, Ginza and Kichijoji. Then, once signed off on your project, you work independently in the area or areas that work best for your topic. 

We meet everyday in class for critique and on the last day, we cull, edit and sequence our work before handing over to the designer for final layout. We hope to have the finished PDF done and available to discuss before we depart. The book then goes out to the printer and will be shipped to you at home soon after the workshop. 

Regardless of your photographic experience, the more personal you make the shooting experience the more universal the results will be so passion for photography is the main pre-requisite. But we do ask for your answers to a short questionnaire and a small portfolio of your work for final acceptance into the workshop.

You will be concentrating on creating a cohesive set of images from your time in Japan, with local expert mentorship and inspiration as a guide. We will provide a list of suggested topics for you to percolate on prior to the workshop, but final sign-off on your project will be on Day 3 of the workshop. 

We will visit and have a discussion at The Photobook Cafe, a restaurant that contains more than 5,000 Photobooks which we will have access to.

Street Philosophies

Steve and Soichi will be teaching you new and powerful street photography techniques guaranteed to push you from your comfort zone to new heights in your work and share their street-shooting philosophies gleaned from a lifetime of wandering urban places, camera in hand.

This intensive workshop will help you find your own unique vision and street style through assignments created to get you past photographic fears and cliches to capturing lyrical, poetic and decisive moments that communicate the energy of the streets. But mostly you will be shooting the theatre that is the street; sometimes together, often on your own.

You’ll learn about the “rhythm of place” and we will discuss the laws and ethics of street photography as well as dealing with difficult situations that might pop up. We  will help define a strategy for capturing the rich daily life in Japan; overcoming fears and shyness, approaching strangers, framing, juxtaposition, layering your compositions, letting the image come to you and whether color or black and white best suits your vision. And you will have fun!

Venues

Our Base: Shinjuku—one of the most populated and diverse downtowns in all of Tokyo, with endless photo opportunities 24-7 and home for many of Tokyo best new and used camera shops. 

One of the biggest of the downtown districts, Shinjuku is well known for its neon lights and active night life, as well as the many scenes from the film Lost in Translation. It is a major commercial and administrative centre, housing the busiest railway station in the world, Shinjuku Station. The area surrounding the station is a major economic hub of Tokyo with many companies choosing this district for their head offices.

 Our base hotel in Tokyo: Keio Plaza

The Keio Plaza is a 5-star large-scale hotel, with direct bus limousine service from both Haneda and Narita airports. Located in the middle of all the Shinjuku action, we can expect amazing night cityscapes and everyday photo-ops in this part of Tokyo which never sleeps. 

The tuition cost covers the entire week of mentorship, two special dinners, several lunches and a Suica Card for transportation around Tokyo via trains and subways. Accommodations or flights are not included. You can book your room at the Keio Plaza of course but there are cheaper options available in Shujuku close to the Keio and our meeting place. Click here for some accommodation suggestions.

Street Tech

You will talk street-tech and Steve and Soichi will give you their minimalist views on gear along with a simplified shooting process to maximizing your response time to capture decisive moments. Their street tools include Nikon cameras with a carefully curated selection of lenses; but they are also familiar with a wide range of equipment to help you maximize your mirror-less, compact, rangefinder, DSLR or even your camera phone for compelling street images.

We will talk lenses, auto focus, zone focusing, shooting form the hip, using live view, flash and a host of other tips, tricks, distractions and ideas that will improve your work dramatically. It’s a street photography workshop but the lessons learned will benefit you in all genres of image-making.

We also know that photography doesn't end when you push the shutter button; in some ways that is where it begins. It is paramount that you find a consistent way to deal with the thousands upon thousands of images you will take in your life time. 

Steve and Soichi will walk you through their processes of organizing, editing, processing and archiving their huge library of images. You'll learn how they work with programs like Photo Mechanic and Lightroom to cull their best work out of every shoot. They will discuss all aspects of the process, from memory cards through archiving onto drives and in the cloud. 

In class, you will look at a selection of your best work from the previous day. These daily critiques are of crucial importance, where you share ideas and constructive criticism as you look through each others’ images. The workshop will be a “safe place” for group discussions with suggestions and new ideas put forward. Of course we will be looking at our work in the context of our end goal, the photobook.

Shooting Locations

Soichi Hayashi, my long-time friend has traveled the world and is an accomplished Japanese photographer whose work is beautiful and very different from mine, which will makes for a great and complimentary teaching team.

In the Passionate Photography Workshop you will wander and explore vibrant, visually rich places and neighborhoods chosen for their visual potential. Steve & Soichi have scouted locations with the photobook in mind, flexibility and independence are encouraged among participants– if you fall in love with an area and want to work further their– you are encouraged to do so.

Workshop attendees in the past have arrived early and have continued their travels in Japan after the workshop and we can assist you in making those arrangements. 

    Testimonials

    Anna Blanco, New York City

    “Best workshop I’ve ever taken! Steve is not only a great photographer, he is also a terrific teacher. He is patient and very hands- on. In some workshops the instructor sends students out to shoot after a short lecture–Steve goes out with his students, coaching them throughout the process. His course is well organized and covers diverse topics. He is funny and engaging and generous with his time and knowledge. I had SO MUCH fun and am ready to sign up for the next one. Highly recommended!”

    Anne Dunford, Ithaca, New York

    "My week in Steve’s Street Shooting workshop challenged me tremendously. There’s nothing like taking your work apart and putting it back together with new vision to make you a better photographer. If you take this workshop, I guarantee you will see the world differently at the end."

    Gary Niederpruem, Chicago

    “What a fabulous experience. I learned more about photography in one week than I had in 5 years. Steve is very knowledgable about the technical side as well as composition. He is very patient, gives excellent feedback and will work one on one with you on any photography subject you want. I asked him for help on night photography and at 10 PM he was out on the streets of Havana with me with step by step instructions on how to take the shot. 5 star plus rating!!”

    Paul Lavergne, San Juan, PR

    "Steve’s passion for photography is contagious and his teaching abilities and knowledge extraordinary! I highly recommend this workshop to anyone interested in photography."

    Chapman Solomon, Mountain View, CA

    “Participating in the NYC Street Photography Workshop was an enriching and exhilarating experience. It challenged me to step out of my comfort zone to improve my skills. Steve’s curriculum and hands on approach offered me an opportunity to learn new techniques, add some creativity and visualize subject matter from another perspective. Each day presented abundant photo opportunities, resulting with the capture of some amazing images, exceeding my greatest expectations.”

    Stephen Sholl, New York City

    "Not only is Steve a great photographer, he is also a caring, compassionate person as well. He is constantly trying to help participants achieve their photographic goals in a gentle, caring, and sincere manner. Sadly, the critiques of my work were very helpful. Steve was right-on in terms of his suggestions to better my work. The totality of the workshop was terrific, primarily because the parts were all excellent as well. Choice of shooting locations, image reviews, suggestions, videos shown, and galleries visited were all great. Steve also promoted wonderful interactions among the participants. The venue was perfect for the workshop. We could spread out, leave your things there, use the facilities, and eat the goodies provided. You know you’re in good hands with Steve! An outstanding workshop!!"

    Steve Lavelle, London

    "This is an outstanding workshop, led by a world-class photographer. It is impossible to spend time in a room with Steve Simon and not be inspired to get out there and make great images …I had high expectations and you exceeded them…Steve is very personable, articulate and passionate about photography, very welcoming with a warm, engaging personality. Steve’s style is outstanding. I knew of Steve from the TWiP podcast and would have attended if he was talking about how to watch paint dry…”

    Oscar Piñeyro, Dallas

    "I just spent the last three days with Steve Simon, What a wonderful experience, the best time spent in a workshop ever. Steve is a perfectionist, every presentation not only had spectacular photography but also the perfect music to enhance the mood, a roller coaster of emotions. He cannot hide his journalistic background every single image tells a story. His technique is flawless; his teaching patience unparalleled. I am eager to start a new chapter of my photography applying what Steve taught me in the last few days."