A lesson learned from my own workshop, and a message for 'Chris' the Pirate Hater.

The other day I received an email from a former workshop student. The message was in reference to an image I had on my website and the student was asking why I had put my copyright info on his image and used it in my portfolio.

I was a bit surprised because I clearly remember taking the image myself and I would certainly never knowingly take credit for someone else’s image. As soon as I was able, I got on my computer, reviewed the metadata and the date/time stamps of the image and I verified that I had many similar images from the same sequence. The images were taken by my camera as verified by the embedded serial number and camera information.

I reported my findings back to the student, who, naturally, found it difficult to accept that he could have some of my images on his computer. I do not think anything untoward happened, I recalled borrowing a memory card that day and I assume that when I returned the card, it may still have had my images on it.

Honestly, I don’t know for sure, it’s a complete guess how he got them and frankly, it is totally irrelevant to this post. I don’t think he stole my images and I certainly did not steal his, it was just a simple case of mistaken attribution.

Unfortunately, during our back and forth emails trying to sort this out, I received the following email message from another party:

Why would any photographer copy another photographers work and tag it as their own? Just how many stolen photographs do you have in your portfolio?

I don’t know ‘Chris’. The contact info he provided was just a fake number and a fake email. Chris, if you are reading this, it’s really easy to make accusations, false accusations in this case, without knowing all the facts. However, in this case, you made a very wrong assumption, and made no attempt to ascertain the facts.

I don’t take such accusations lightly. I have never copied someone’s work and claimed it as my own. It makes my blood boil that some nameless, faceless person may be shredding my good reputation without the facts or truth of the situation.

However, this episode certainly brings to light an important lesson if you are attending a workshop. Be sure you take care to guard and protect your images.

If you borrow a memory card from someone, be sure to format the card before using it and after you are finished with it. Do not let anyone copy your RAW files. If your camera allows you to enter copyright information, be sure it is entered so all of your images are copyrighted upon creation, with your name and any other relevant data. Take all steps necessary to ensure you have your work properly organized and verified. 

In the end, I know these images were mine. It was never really a question for me, I remember many details about that day and this shooting sequence in particular. In fact, I can recall many details about most of my shoots, they are burned into my brain. However, because of some carelessness or sloppy handling of a memory card, I have so far spent several hours trying to collect proof that these were my images. That’s time I could have been doing something much more enjoyable and constructive.

Evolving the workshop experience.

During my Easter break in Tuscany, I had a great time relaxing at

il Poggiolo

and traveling around the region. The time off gave me the opportunity to think about my upcoming workshops and to start to lay some plans and scout new locations that we can recommend to students.

One major change this year is that we will have more of a focus on individual tutoring and reviews. I feel this will allow students more flexibility to decide what, how and where they want to shoot. I have always had a focus on individual development in my workshops, but in the past, we always had a big focus on going to locations together as a group. This year I am planning to give students more control on how they spend their time. Of course, there will still be some group shooting sessions. However, this year, I want to take more time to work with students individually, to help them move in their own unique directions.

I am confident that this will provide both returning and new students a deeper sense of development. I think it will also allow everyone to utilize their time in whatever way they prefer.

For more information, or to sign-up, please

click here

to visit the ViewFinder Center.

Tuscany fine art nudes workshop, June 2009

Herb shooting Giorgia on the beach at Marina del Albarese, Tuscany, Italy

Everyone enjoyed the warm water and sun at the Bagni San Filippo, a unique shooting location in Tuscany, Italy.

Yola takes control of the ‘class photo’ on the final evening at il Poggiolo, San Quirco d’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy.

Jon and Jadiz, reviewing their shots at the beach at Marina del Albarese, Tuscany, Italy.


Last week, from June 14-20, 2009, I offered my first on-location, fine art nude photography workshop. I have long dreamed of offering a class like this, and the Val d’Orcia, in Tuscany, Italy, offers amazing opportunities for shooting fine art nudes in natural light. 

As this was our first on-location workshop, I wanted to ensure that we chose a place that I was familiar with and that we had reliable and talented models. On both of these points, I could not have been more pleased. Our models, Carole, Giorgia, Jadiz and Nia, were absolutely superb, and always insisted on shooting. These ladies worked hard and they even cooked for us. And what can I say about Tuscany, if you have never been there, then you will never know. It is a beautiful, mysterious and magical place. It’s the perfect setting for fine art nudes, in my humble opinion.

Our week started with a group meal on Sunday evening. Monday morning was occupied by portfolio reviews and discussions about how to work with models. Monday afternoon, I took the class through shooting exercises. During the bulk of the week, we organized several trips to local shooting locations in Tuscany, including: Marina Del Albarese on the Mediterranean Coast, Bagni San Filippo a natural hot spring, an abandoned brick factory near Pienza, local Tuscan landscapes naturally, and our home in Tuscany, il Poggiolo, with it’s authentic old word charm and rustic decor.

On Friday, I walked the students through some of my post-processing techniques and answered questions. Students then put together their final selections, and I assembled the slideshows. Later that night, after dinner, we all sat down to watch the final slideshows under the stars, it was really impressive to see everyone’s progress and development from the beginning of the week to the final shows, I was quite proud, in fact.

While I can’t speak for the students, their feedback has been more than generous. I try very hard to teach in an organic way, observing students and stepping in when appropriate to offer my suggestions and answering questions as they come up. By the end of the workshop, I was absolutely exhausted, but in a very good way, or was that the grappa?

We will certainly return to Tuscany for future workshops. I am hoping to organize the next one in late August or September. Stay tuned for details. Oh, and more photos are coming soon.

From Tuscany

Jadiz in the Sun

Jadiz in White

Nia Waiting for the Waves

Nia Here to Eternity

These images were taken at my first on-location fine art nudes workshop I am currently teaching in Tuscany, 14-20 June 2009. I plan to do this workshop several times per year as the location changes dramatically thorough the spring/summer/fall seasons. It’s a great location for outdoor and indoor nudes with the sea, thermal baths, rustic Italian accommodations and landscapes all within close range. Contact me directly if you would like further information.


If you wish to use this or any of my images for any purpose, email me at info@bryonpaulmccartney.com.

© Bryon Paul McCartney | www.bryonpaulmccartney.com | All Rights Reserved