Monday, 27 September 2010

Autumn Photo Workshops in Berlin

When I'm not out taking photographs for clients I also teach digital photography workshops designed to give amateur photographers a rapid boost in their skills in a short time.  I have offered these courses on various weekends in Berlin over the last 2 years and am pleased to announce that I am now offering an 'open date format' for the photo workshops.

What does this mean?  This means that if you and your friends are interested in a specific weekend for a digital workshop, you may leave a comment below to request a specific weekend or a specific location.  There are two types of photography workshops I offer, both are intensive day courses in exciting locations in and around Berlin.


- Full day intensive photo workshop for beginning to intermediate level photographers
- Location:  Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin Mitte
- Cost: 40 EUR per person
  (2 person minimum)


- Full day intensive photo workshops for intermediate level photographers
- Location:  various abandoned buildings and historical sites in Berlin and beyond
- Cost: 40 EUR per person
 (2 person minimum) plus travel expenses out of Berlin (if  necessary)

To register for a course, please contact me through the contact form below to inquire about a certain date or to be put in contact with other interested students.

The first available date for a photo workshop is the weekend of Oct 9/10, so don't delay!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

RAW vs. JPG: Apples to Oranges?

There is a heated debate out there in the photo geek world: do I use RAW or JPG?  The RAW geeks like to have their memory cards fill up quickly and then spend hours in the latest version of Photoshop (needed to open the files) to tweak their images.  The JPG geeks (like me) prefer to get the shot right in camera, shoot hundreds of images without changing cards, AND get top quality shots.

If you are a RAW geek, I'm sorry to say you CANNOT see the difference in a print from a RAW image or a JPG image set at the highest quality in camera.  Unless the print is a ridiculously large size, like a bed sheet.  In my work (editorial, wedding, portraits), I can't futz around with RAW files when a client needs 500 pics on a DVD in a few hours.  Not to mention, most of my clients wouldn't be able to open my Nikon NEF RAW format files without special software.  When I was new to the digital game, I would ask magazine and newspaper editors if they wanted my final shots in RAW, and they unanimously said 'No way!  What the hell can I do with a RAW image?'

I was having this argument with an art photographer the other day.  He insists that shooting RAW is the ONLY way to fly, and implied that if I don't shoot RAW then I might as well give up photography, throw my camera in the garbage and get an office job.  Well, art types are sensitive, emotional types so I didn't want to piss in his Cheerios.  I just said 'apple to oranges, mate.'  Of course he shoots fewer shots than I do and has lots of software and time to tweak RAW images and print gigantic prints for exhibition.  I don't.  It's that simple.  In fact I've only seen prints from my shots once or twice. My clients deal with the original hi-res shots I give them.  They get printed into newspapers, magazines or wedding albums.  Hardly the need for all that wasted memory card space.

With today's high megapixel digital cameras, you need to keep spending more money on bigger memory cards anyway.  Why buy ten 16 gigabyte cards just to say 'I shoot RAW?'  So if you are a photographer who shoots RAW, I'm sorry to say you don't know much about the technology.  You assume 'bigger file size is better' when in fact the latest cameras get fantastic results with the JPG at the highest setting.  But what it all boils down to is this:  either you can take a sharp, high quality image that is well-composed, well-lit and beautiful to behold--or you can't.

No amount of megapixels can save you.  Most of the RAW geeks I've met only shoot RAW because someone told them to.  Like a camera salesman or another photo geek.  I've even seen some stock agencies refuse to except anything other than RAW.  Well, there are a jillion photographers out there with the latest gear all trying to sell their images in a highly competitive digital world.  So someone has to draw the line somewhere.  I feel that agencies shouldn't use numbers and file formats as the litmus test for a good photo.  I recently joined one stock agency which didn't mention RAW.  They just said that if you take pics of birds in the park, your children or the family bbq...don't sign up.

This goes out to all the misguided folks who think there is something wrong with shooting JPG.  Especially to the one slightly confused bride who told me that she chose another photographer because his camera has more megapixels than mine.  Poor dear.  And poor me for living in a world of people who buy the megapixel myth or the RAW religion.

For more info on the megapixel myth and RAW vs. JPG, check out Ken Rockwell's highly informative site:

Friday, 27 August 2010

A Pre-wedding Portrait Session in Berlin

Guan-Cheng and Yu-Han decided to get their engagement portraits done in the fabulous Berlin area known as Museumsinsel (Museum Island).  This 'island' is surrounded by canals and is loaded with classic architecture and enough scenery packed in to provide the perfect backdrop for some romantic portraits.

The couple contacted me after another photographer had let them down.  Berlin is full of photographers, but sadly, many of them do not have the experience, talent and professionalism for a city this size.  Fortunately I was able to help them at the last minute---literally the day before they flew to America.

We started at the Neues Museum (New Museum), home to several famous Egyptian treasures, most notably the bust of Queen Nefertiti.  Our tour of Museum Island would be limited to exteriors only, so no posed shots with any Egyptian queens that day!

We took our time strolling through the beautiful architecture, gardens, statues, steps and waterways that make up the island.  We finished our tour of Museum Island at the Bode Museum, probably the most imposing structure on the island.  I've always been impressed how the building is situated at the corner of the island where the canal splits in two and the walls of the museum drop directly on the each side to the water.  It gives the impression of both a small fortress and a Venician waterway.  But we had just a bit more time in the end--just enough to get a few shots by the icon of Berlin, Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate).

All in all it was a very fun portrait session in one of Berlin's most beautiful areas and I am very pleased that we could work together.

For more pre-wedding / engagement portraits in Berlin, Prague and Paris, please visit my website here.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

A Berlin Wedding

Recently I had the pleasure of photographing Yuka and Karsten’s wedding in Berlin. It was a beautiful morning in Schoeneberg; the few drops of rain were already disappearing before the couple approached the Schoeneberg Town Hall. It was going to be a sunny day and everyone was in good spirits.

Rathaus Schoeneberg is a very large structure with labyrinthine halls and long corridors. I arrived early in order to navigate the halls to speak to the right people about the order of events. I like to be fully prepared for the day’s photography. As a documentary wedding photographer, I need to know all the details of the day: the ceremony, the marriage hall, where I can be during the Big Show, etc. After finding the marriage hall I was pleasantly surprised by an English speaking German woman who told me that I could go anywhere and move around and basically do whatever I need to capture the best images which go into the photo story of a wedding day. I said “I like you!” and with that, I continued the shooting I had already started when the couple arrived: friends and family greeting one another, the anticipation of the Big Day, the smiles and hugs and all of the warm emotions that make me glad to be a wedding photographer.

The ceremony went very well; nobody forgot the rings or their lines and I was free to move around and capture the events. Afterward, we went outside to be greeted by a shower of flower petals and cheers. A man played accordion as the happy newlyweds were each handed a pair of scissors and were set to work on a white sheet decorated with a giant heart shape with their names in the middle. They each cut the cloth heart along the red lines and after a short time they had a nice heart shaped cut out in the cloth. Karsten stepped through the heart-shaped threshold with Yuka in his arms. It was beautiful.

After taking some portraits in the nearby park, we all headed down to the Center of Town for champagne toasts and hors d'oeuvres on the rooftop of the Reichstag. They couldn’t have picked a better spot; the view and the atmosphere were tops! After some more portraits and documentary shots at the Reichstag café, we proceeded to Brandenburger Tor, the icon of Berlin, for some more portraits. In a nearby hotel they held the reception and cake cutting.

Once again I would like to thank Yuka and Karsten for choosing me to document their wonderful wedding day in Berlin. For more samples of my wedding photography work, please have a look at my website.  Thanks!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Your English-speaking photographer in Berlin

Craig Robinson Photography covers Prague, Czech Republic and Berlin, Germany.  My specialities are documentary style wedding photography and stylish, artistic portraiture.  I am also available to photograph your wedding or pre-wedding portraits anywhere in Europe.  I have been hired for photography assignments in England, Ireland, France, Germany, Cyprus and the Czech Republic.  After 10 years of offering my unique style of photography in the Czech Republic, I am now expanding my photography business to include Berlin and I frequently travel between Prague and Berlin on assignments.

Please feel free to leave comments and customer reviews of my services by using the comment form.

Visit my Berlin Photo website for samples of my work in Berlin and beyond.

Thanks for reading!

--Craig Robinson, photographer