As photographers living in Porto, Portugal, we feel privileged: the UNESCO World Heritage area backdrops to shoot in, the kind of sights all photographers dream of; amazing food; great weather for most of the year; gorgeous models we love to work with – all of this at our fingertips.
Late last year, we had a lightbulb moment – why not share this with like-minded people?
After months of excited preparations (which you’ve probably read about in our monthly “Behind the Scenes”), we asked a group of sensational photographers whose work we have admired for years if they would like to join us to test our idea – much to our delight, they said yes!
And so the first Porto Photography Experience came to life: running through the last weekend of April 2016, it included a blend of sightseeing, food, and most importantly, photography sessions in a few venues with very restricted access – all of this with great models and matching styling thrown in.
Porto Photography Experience
Working and living in Porto gives us the ability to see the heart of Porto, the side most tourists never get to see; and as photographers, we understand what drives our creativity – the locations, the sights, the sounds…
The Porto Photography Experience was a result of joining these dots: an opportunity for us to show other photographers why Porto consistently gets awarded the title of “Europe’s Best Travel Destination”, in a way that allows photographers to reap the most benefit from their time here.
Putting it all together
So after months of careful planning, including getting permissions to shoot in some of the most amazing venues in Porto, casting a great, diverse group of models, selecting and making clothes, hair and make-up testing, and most importantly, scouting some of the local eateries for those perfect places to recharge batteries (a few kgs may have been gained in the process…), we were ready to go.
Having guests from all over the world means dealing with air travel, and Murphy’s Law dictates something will go wrong – and in this case, the biggest ground crew strike of the year in Germany meant some of our guests had their flights cancelled at the last minute with nary an explanation from the airlines…
But all’s well that ends well: in the end they all got their travelling sorted out one way or another, and arrived at the Porto Airport to our prearranged transfer services that would drop them at the appropriately named “The Artist” hotel.
Located within the old premises of the most renowned Art School in Porto, “The Artist” became our base station for the weekend.
By Thursday afternoon everyone had arrived, the weather Gods smiled upon us, and the Porto Photography Experience got underway.
The evening welcome drinks and dinner were hosted at the “PortoBello Restaurant & Bar”. It all began in the rooftop patio with a Port wine tasting, accompanied by chocolate, a glorious orange, pink and purple sunset… and the most spectacular 360º views over Porto. At this point, tripods and cameras started coming out of the bags, and the clicking of shutters that was to follow us for the next three days started to make itself heard.
As the sky colours finally reached the deep blue that marks the end of golden hour, the group – already boisterous, having a wonderful time, and taking in Porto – moved to the comfort of the indoors restaurant, where cameras took their rightful place at the dinner table, ready to photography the dinner that was about to be served.
The day ended with a transfer back to the Hotel, where the excitement of the days to come could be seen in everybody’s eyes.
More to come…