January 20, 2011 Steve Gerrard

Jose Villa Workshop – Solvang, California

Some of you reading this blog will remember that late last year I flew over to Las Vegas to shoot Kerry & Dave’s wedding.

While I was (not really) in the neighbourhood, I decided to jump on another couple of planes and head out to the beautiful location of Solvang, California to spend a day with one of my favourite photographers…. Jose Villa.

I’ve been an admirer of Jose’s work for a long time. He shoots exclusively on film and the way he uses light and manages to capture beautiful images of people and details (and quite a lot of horses) means that I check his blog all the time and was just a little excited to spend a day in his company on one of his one-on-one workshops.

On the day I met Jose and his partner Joel at their home and was made to feel more than welcome. Jose is a super-chilled and friendly guy who is extremely generous with his knowledge. Over the course of the day we covered a huge amount, from how his business runs, how he attracts the right kind of clients and how he gets his weddings featured in magazines and on wedding blogs such as the massively popular Style Me Pretty. He also told me about educating clients about lighting, how he finds great light for his shoots and all about his pricing structures. We looked through his beautiful albums and he looked over my own work and gave me some honest and useful feedback.

After lunch we headed up into the hills near his home with a couple and I got to see Jose at work. We even drove past Neverland on the way! The most nerve-wracking part of the day was when Jose handed the reigns over to me and I shot the couple as Jose watched. Pressure! 🙂

I had such an amazing day and would like to say a huge thank you to Jose for his inspiration and for making me so welcome. He even took some photos of me and sent me the prints after I returned home. Thanks Jose. I hope to meet up with you again soon.

Here are some of the images I took on the day, plus one of myself taken by Jose (you may have seen it before – top right) 🙂

And here’s some I grabbed of Jose doing what he does best…

And finally.. me by Jose.

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Comments (16)

  1. Agh, what a gorgeous light… I want to move over to California (I wish…). Great opportunity for you to meet Jose and fab portraits!

  2. These are great Steve! love the light.. so soft and beautiful. I’m surprised how little Jose carries on his person when shooting… Does he only use the one lens? I’ve always been an admirer of his work to and hope to attend a workshop…. one day.

    Keep up the fab work Steve. Lovin yer werk!

  3. Wow!
    What is it with the light in California, so beautiful.
    Did it tempt you to use film at all? I would love to just shoot film.
    One day I will attend one of his workshops, I am sure I would learn a lot.
    I would love to just shoot film.

  4. steve

    Thanks for the comments folks.
    Fanni, he does use other lenses but just used one for this shoot.
    Lisa, I’m very tempted to buy a Contax and start using film again, even if it’s just for personal work. I’m also considering Jonathan Canlas’s Film Is Not Dead workshop.

  5. Nice to read this post. I think the 50mm 1.2 is the closest we will all get to the Contax 645. I love the light and effortless posing. I would love love love to attend one of Jose or Elizabeth’s courses. Lucky!

  6. Jose is one of the legends in fine art photography. I took his workshop as well and I would do it again for 1000 times 😀

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