Photo of Juliette above is taken by Elena Shumilova during her workshop in Brussels

Almost one months ago I had a chance to participate in the Photography Workshop led by one of my favourite photographers – Elena Shumilova. I think Elena’s Art inspires a lot of photographers who like to capture children, animals and nature, and I am definitely one of her admirers.

What also makes it special is that Elena’s photos are not something abstract to me. They bring me back to my childhood when I spent all my summer holidays in the countryside at the grandparents’ house. The atmosphere on the pictures with Elena’s children is so familiar and magical at the same time! If you want to visualise what I am talking about please check this video showing how Elena captures the childhood of her sons.

So I started following Elena’s work several years ago, and I couldn’t even dream that one day she would be coming to Brussels to share with other photographers her vision, style and skills.

And it happened: a super intensive 2-days course with 16 photographers from different European countries! It’s not the first time I am participating in the photography workshop but here I was truly amazed by Elena’s involvement, workability and efficiency. The first day was dedicated to the shooting practice with the venue in a beautiful Abbey – L’abbaye de Villers.               

We had different models and settings. The most exciting thing for me was to observe how Elena was chasing the light and how careful she was with the details. Elena pays a lot of attention to the clothing style and accessories, trying to keep it natural and not distracting.

If you like to photograph your kids you can check this little video with Elena’s 4 tips for Child Photography.

During the second day of the workshop Elena was showing her retouching techniques. The photo of Juliette in the bluebells (at the very beginning of the post) was one of the beautiful example.

And yes, among other models my own kids – Juliette and Vadim – were also participating. It was at the very end of a long day of shooting: words of gratitude to my husband who brought the kids and helped to coordinate the process.

I am glad to share with you some of my photos taken during the seminar and retouched applying different techniques learned from Elena.

Maya with a goat

Little girl with lilac

Mom&daughter

Portrait of Maya

My beautiful laughing children (I was worried a lot how they would behave during the photo shooting but actually they were great most of the time and had naturally a lot of fun)

Juliette in the spot of light (the evening sunset hours are amazing, you almost don’t need to add any effects to make it look special)

With a teddy bear (this toy now will always remind us about photography event)

Op! Juliette is surprised to see her own horse on the road

… and some backstage photos (special thanks to Magda for the photos with me)

 A snapshot of a moderate quality but at least showing how the process looks in practice 🙂

Honestly it wasn’t easy at all to take care of the kids during the shooting and trying to photograph them at the same time. The last scene on the way back to the parking I was not even able to take (despite a very beautiful lightning). The kids were very tired and I put all my energy to convince them to pose a little bit more. And I am really happy we managed to do it, as it allowed to other participants to capture a magic moment with sunset light. For the memories we have another stunning image from Elena she called “Long way together”.

I am so thankful to Elena for this enriching experience! I also have meet a lot of talented people who are truly passionate about photography, and it’s so nice we can stay in touch even after the workshop. Special thanks to Kristina for the organisation of the event, without her initiative all this wouldn’t be happening.

Final photo with all the participants 🙂

And a little lyrical digression: Elena came to Belgium for the first time, and the only moment she would be able to discover Brussels was at the end of the workshop. I couldn’t resist and not to propose to be a guide (and to enjoy a bit more the company of Elena of course). So together with Kristina we showed to Elena the historical centre of Brussels, visited the best chocolate shops, tasted the waffles and the beer. And speaking Russian among tree of us was sooo good! I do miss it sometimes 🙂

I hope Elena will keep nice memories about her first workshop in Brussels and I wish next time she comes to Belgium (maybe with the whole family?) she would have more time to explore this beautiful county!

Спасибо огромное, Елена, за знакомство и возможность учиться у тебя!