Starting Young

Bogen Imaging's new workshop series helps photography students shoot like the pros.

In the crowded field of consumer photography workshops, no one is paying enough attention to the kids. That was the idea on which Bogen Imaging built its new worskshop series aimed specifically at university-level photography students.

"There are certainly plenty of events out there for enthusiasts," says Andrew Mougis, Bogen's vice president of sales and marketing. "But we also need to educate this generation and start them off using a good tripod, a good flash, a good lighting system."

The company's new program, called Bogen Café, is designed to do exactly that. The free three-day workshop will travel to 20 schools each year -- familiarizing students and faculty with products from Bogen and its cosponsors and introducing them to retailers in their communities.

Of course, once these students get used to the feel of top-quality gear, the sponsors are hoping they will become loyal professional purchasers. And students always receive a 10 percent discount on Bogen products, which include flagship tripod companies Gitzo and Manfrotto, as well as lighting, support, and bags.

But Mougis says that Bogen isn't focusing on immediate sales during the workshop. Instead, it is trying to fill a gap in brand recognition. Pros and older consumers know the names Gitzo and Manfrotto, but younger shooters often aren't familiar with them. At the café, "they get to experience what a pro photographer might use in his world," Mougis explains.

But as any photographer will tell you, great equipment does not necessarily mean great pictures. First you have to be a great photographer. And to help students get there, professional photographer Steven Katzman is on hand at every workshop.

Photo by Dan Christiansen
A shot from the first Bogen Cafe in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., by Dan Christiansen, who was awarded the workshop scholarship.

A professor of photography at Ringling College of Art and Design, Katzman helped formulate the Café and kicks off each workshop with a slideshow presentation about his vision and inspiration. At the inaugural workshop (held at the Art Institute of Florida from August 23 to 25), his photos and stories drew tears from the standing-room-only crowd.

"One of the main reasons people have that reaction to his imagery is that Steven's presentation spans every kind of photography," explains Evan Parker, Bogen's technical representative. "Everyone was able to connect with what was being shown and able to go into the workshop feeling a bit inspired."

After Katzman's presentation, which is open to the whole university, the true workshop part of the Café follows the next day with two classes, usually including 30 star students that the coordinating professor has hand-picked. The schools can choose from a "menu" of classes addressing special topics in lighting, printing, and editing. So far most schools have followed the typical workshop schedule of a hands-on shooting class in the morning and an editing/post-processing session in the evening. While shooting, students are instructed in the use of an array of equipment from the sponsors, including Hewlett-Packard, Hahnemuhle USA, Datacolor, Lensbabies, Adobe, Wacom Technology, and Rangefinder.

"This is their opportunity to play with all the latest and greatest toys," Mougis says. But as Katzman points out, the café organizers were also determined to have the students create new images during the workshops. During the first Café in Florida, they were sent to shoot at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. Katzman started the day with a demonstration and talk about portraiture, then continued to help individual students throughout the day.

"I think it's important for them to meet with a professional and see how that professional conducts himself on set," Katzman said.

At each school that the Café visits, professors will also choose one top student to receive a scholarship including a $1,000 gift certificate toward Bogen products, a copy of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop CS3, a ColorVision Spyder2PRO colorimeter, packs of Hahnemuhle photo paper, a Lensbabies 3G, and a Wacom Intuos3 tablet. The student's work will also be featured on the Web site Bogen hosts at bogencafe.com. After each cafe, students will find their images from the workshops on this site, which Bogen hopes will become a meeting place for students and educators.

Bogen has scheduled Cafés through December and is working to organize the final ten from December through May. Universities and especially retailers are eager to participate, and Mougis says from the positive reaction of faculty the Art Institute, they are already thinking of ways to do a follow-up program. For information on how to get involved with Bogen Café, e-mail bogencafe@bogenimaging.com.

Bogen-Cafe-instructor-and-professional-photographe
Bogen-Cafe-instructor-and-professional-photographe
Bogen Cafe instructor and professional photographer Steven Katzman demonstrates his shooting technique for students from the Art Institute of Florida.Courtesy Bogen Imaging
The-participants-of-the-first-Bogen-Cafe-at-the-Ar
The-participants-of-the-first-Bogen-Cafe-at-the-Ar
The participants of the first Bogen Cafe at the Art Institute of Florida.Courtesy Bogen Imaging
A-shot-from-the-first-Bogen-Cafe-in-Ft.-Lauderdale
A-shot-from-the-first-Bogen-Cafe-in-Ft.-Lauderdale
A shot from the first Bogen Cafe in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., by Dan Christiansen, who was awarded the workshop scholarship.Photo By Dan Christiansen
An-image-from-the-Bogen-Cafe-by-Stephanie-Fletcher
An-image-from-the-Bogen-Cafe-by-Stephanie-Fletcher
An image from the Bogen Cafe by Stephanie Fletcher, a student at the Art Institute of Florida.Photo By Stephanie Fletcher
A-student-takes-advantage-of-the-equipment-provide
A-student-takes-advantage-of-the-equipment-provide
A student takes advantage of the equipment provided by Bogen Imaging and the cosponsors of the Cafe.Courtesy Bogen Imaging
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