Derry’s Engage Offers Free Photography Workshops

New creative start-up engages global experts to educate aspiring and professional photographers in concept, portrait, food, wedding, fashion photography and more

Derry-based digital start-up Engage is offering aspiring and professional photographers free online courses in all aspects of the photography business, from concept, portraiture, wedding, food and baby photography to brand creation and business planning.

Founded by Donal Doherty, one of Ireland's leading wedding photographers, Engage sees expert photographers from around the world stream full-day live master classes, filmed in HD and involving interactive chats with Engage users, which are subsequently made available to purchase as downloads.

The aim of the company is to help photographers of all abilities, from Northern Ireland and further afield, to get creative, sharpen their skills, learn new tricks, network and ultimately establish themselves as brand leaders in their chosen fields.

'When I moved from marketing into photography,' explains Doherty, 'I needed assistance in so many things. I needed to learn about the art of wedding photography, about composition, equipment, lighting, editing and more, and about how to translate those skills into a successful business.

'I found that there were few courses readily available online, or indeed in-person, teaching those types of skills. So, after learning from friends within the industry, I was determined to offer other aspiring photographers a means to learn and develop themselves as professionals. Engage is now in place to do just that.'

Engage has offered a number of test courses since launching at the beginning of 2015, including an exploration of iPhone photography art with award-winning specialist Gerry Coe, whose ‘Lone Tree’ piece sold out at the 2011 Royal Ulster Academy exhibition. 

The next Engage course features Brett Florens, recognised by Nikon as one of the world's most influential photographers, delivering a full-day class on shooting brides and models in 'What Women Want', which will stream live from a photography studio on Derry’s Spencer Road from 10am to 4pm on June 23.

Having first picked up a camera while fulfilling national service in his native South Africa in the early 1990s, documenting crime scenes and violent clashes for the police riot unit, Florens has gone on to shoot global commercial campaigns for the likes of Wonderbra and Quiksilver, and has published portraits of South Africa's most famous faces in his coffee table book Perfect Weekend.

Now established as an A-list wedding photographer, Florens will work with male and female models during his live stream, which is now available to pre-order at the reduced price of £29.

'We are very much looking forward to working with Brett and all the other mentors confirmed for the remainder of the year,’ said Doherty. ‘Photography is a great passion of mine, and theirs, and I hope to encourage many more people to pick up their cameras and get creative in whatever form of photography most engages them.'

Forthcoming Engage courses, streamed live and for free from Derry’s Innovation Centre and elsewhere, include newborn posing with Lyn Chapman, concept photography with Andrew Appleton and experimental portraiture with Richard P Walton. Visit the Engage website for more information on live streams, downloads, in-person workshops and Skype mentoring.