Portrait Photography Training with James Davies Photography Hodsock Priory

Portrait Photography Training At Hodsock Priory

Portrait Photography Training


A lovely spring morning welcomed all 12 attendees to Hodsock Priory on Friday morning for my fourth Portrait Photography Training workshop. Working with good friend and widely acknowledged photography master Doug Chinnery the day began with coffee and croissants and group introductions, a short presentation of what the day was to entail then we began shooting.

We started simple, our model Alison was position at the window and also seated at the large reflective dressing table in the bridal suite of the priory. We discussed using camera technique to create various looks and feels along with simple using and portrait techniques. Each student had plenty of time to try various shots and with input from Doug and I everyone began to see the subtle and yet beautiful portraits that can be achieved with the most simple of techniques and light.

From here we moved through the house and into the grounds trying different compositions, poses and simple ambient light. We then introduced the use of reflected light, the students, many of whom had never used a reflector, began to appreciate firsthand the striking difference a humble reflector can make to an image. We also used everyday backdrops to achieve simple yet punch portraits of Luke and Alison.

After a short break for a warm buffet lunch we were straight back to shooting. The afternoon session started in epic style thanks to the sun making an appearance through the gathering clouds, using the trusty Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed the students each shot into the midday sun and learned how to balance a maximum shutter speed with aperture and flash power to create a dynamic couple portrait.

Living up to its reputation the April showers moved in, this didn’t dampen our spirits as we could now move back into the house and discover another avenue of off camera flash, slow shutter speeds. With Luke sat at the piano the students saw demonstrated the ability of mixing moody ambient lamp light with very low power flash creating a unique feeling image. We then moved into the empty grand hall, using just a small amount of flash from an Elinchrom Quadra with a gridded 70cm Elinchrom Rotalux soft box from outside of the room the students created a dramatic bridal pose.

Our Portrait Photography Training day drew to a finish with the emergence of the sun as we gathered around the priory lake, Luke masterfully skippered the boat as we used a mix of flash and daylight to create a dreamy bridal scene. We could not have finished the day in better style as the shutter count went mad as the light became softer and more golden with the sun. It was then back to the comfort of the conference suite for coffee and cake and a Q&A session before biding our farewells.


The following BTS images courtesy of Doug, Mark Crayden and Rob Ferrol. Model images by James Davies.



My sincere thanks yet again to George and Fiona at Hodsock Priory for their continued support and efforts in making these days the best they can be. Grateful thanks to the following people who make these days what they are and come highly recommended.


Models: Alison Parsons & Luke Scott of Y2K Promotions.

MUAH: Melanie Lindsey

Styling & Dress Design: Olivia Jane Jones – Details available on request

Flash: Elinchrom LTD

Bouquet & Buttonhole: Flowers By Kay

Assistant: Rob Ferrol


If you would like to attend a training day like this and enjoy the results why not join us at Hodsock Priory of the 24th June. Full details and to reserve your space click below.


  • Sunday 23rd July - 5 places

    Urban Portrait & Off Camera Flash Workshop

    Join me on Sunday 23rd July in Sheffield city centre for an evening of urban photography in the heart of Sheffield, creating punchy grungy portraits against the backdrop of this diverse and exciting city.

    Booking & Full Details


You may also like


  • Graham Mansfield April 14, 2016   Reply →

    Really enjoyed the day. Great tips and suggestions and very well planned! Great venue and models. Would really recommend to anyone. 10/10!

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.