I met Valerie and fellow This Week In Photo host Frederick van Johnson by chance in Paris last year. They were just starting one of Valerie's workshops but they still invited me to join them for a drink. We kept in touch and Valerie recently interviewed me for one of the Street Focus podcast episodes (due for release soon I believe).
Valerie holds regular street photography workshops in Paris and I thought it would be fun to attend. While it's good to specialise, I also believe that there is plenty of overlap between genres of photography and that skills in one discipline can benefit another. Street portraits are an obvious mix between portraiture and street photography. Rather than take a candid shot, you approach the person and ask to take their picture.
I still find it difficult to approach someone randomly in the street, not knowing who they are or even what language they speak. Although a few people politely declined, most that I asked over the weekend were very positive and happy to be photographed. Perhaps it helped that it was the weekend and the sun was shining.
For the two-day workshop we walked around central Paris, such as the islands, the Jewish quarter and the Marais.
Although we took some shots as we walked, we would generally choose an area, then split up so that we could photograph separately and find our own scenes and subjects to capture.
I can highly recommend Valerie's workshops. She teaches well, spends time with the workshop attendees and is always happy to answer questions. More than anything though, she loves street photography and her enthusiasm is infectious.