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Vancouver Photo Workshops proudly presents this intensive two day workshop,"UNCOMMON" with internationally renowned photographer Chris Buck.

This workshop is for those of you who know you’re onto a good thing but are having a hard time closing the deal.

Chris Buck won’t be shy in giving advice on how to build a career in photography, nor will he hold back in critiquing your work – inviting you to step up and be the shooter you know you have the potential to be.

He’ll go through the strategies and pitfalls of executing truly fascinating portraits with celebrities and regular folks alike, focusing on time crunches, shy subjects, and your own fears. There will be some discussion of equipment and technology, but most of the time and energy will go into relationships - with sitters, their handlers, working any situation to your advantage so that you can always come out in control.

Assignments will focus on taking ordinary shooting situations and making intriguing portraits out of them, some in studio, others on location. It will be exciting, but also challenging – with class standards set high. In the words of General George S. Patton: “If everyone is thinking alike, somebody isn't thinking.”

Before the Workshop:

In preparation for the workshop, you will receive a letter from Chris by way of introduction and to help you prepare for the practical elements of the weekend. You will be asked to submit a selection of photographs or your website, and to book a subject – someone you want to shoot – to photograph for the Sunday afternoon assignment.

You are invited to attend the Friday evening Public Talk, (included in the tuition for the weekend workshop) where Chris will share his work and speak about his career and his approach to celebrity portraiture.

Check out this recent feedback about Chris' Workshop:

Meeting Chris Buck is now checked off my To Do list. His workshop was an ass-kicker that had me analyze how I’ve approached my work until now. Most importantly I felt his authentic thoughtfulness toward the challenges I came to workout. Inspired by our conversations and his unreasonable requests, I took risks which to most would be reasonable to avoid. In the workshop I created opportunities for myself that weren’t available before. Thank you Chris for being a friend, and enemy and an unrelenting autocrat, though not necessarily in that order.

Saverio Truglia, Chicago

Detailed Workshop Agenda/Schedule:

Saturday Morning:

Chris will select 2 or 3 images of yours and you’ll introduce yourself and your reasons for attending the workshop, followed by a slideshow of what Chris considers “uncommon portraits” – considering conventional and unconventional portraits of a number of public figures. Chris will show a brief slideshow of his work and talk about his story, followed by questions from participants, and then he will assign the afternoon assignment. You will shoot in the studio or in the surrounding area (you will be paired with each other based on the context of your planned shoot and your technical ability). Models will be provided by the workshop.

12:00 noon – BREAK FOR LUNCH
Saturday Afternoon:

You will execute your first assignment with Chris on-hand for consultation, followed by a quick edit session. Assignment will be submitted by 4:00 pm.

Chris will critique the afternoon’s assignment, and deliver a lecture relating to the next shooting assignment. You will meet with Chris one-on-one to discuss your plan for your next assignment, and will have from then until 10:00 am the next day to execute this assignment.

Sunday Morning:

You will have until 10:00 am to shoot your custom assignment, with Chris available by cell phone for consultation. At 11:00 am you will reconvene at the studio and Chris will critique the assignments.

12:00 noon – BREAK FOR LUNCH

Sunday Afternoon:

You will be assigned your afternoon shoot with your pre-picked talent, utilizing your newfound knowledge and thinking. At 4:00 pm those assignments will be critiqued, followed by a lecture on marketing and promotion (including regional vs. national presence, websites, business cards, portfolios, mailers, email newsletters, social media and portfolio reviews).

The final Exit Talk will send you off into your future with new techniques under your belt and encouraging words from Chris. The weekend will wind down with casual drinks with Chris after dinner – fun is now allowed.

Evening Presentation: As part of his stay in Vancouver, Chris Buck will be speaking at the our studios on 14 West 7th Avenue. Workshop fees include a ticket to this public lecture. For those not registered for the workshop, you can purchase tickets for Chris' evening presentation by visiting this link.

Chris Buck likes taking pictures, he has been doing so professionally for 24 years. He hails from Toronto and is now based in New York.

His clients include Diesel, Xerox, Microsoft, GQ, Esquire, ESPN and The Guardian Weekend Magazine. In 2007 he was the first recipient of the Arnold Newman Portrait Prize, and he was recently included in the Lürzer’s Archive 200 Best Ad Photographers book (2012/ 2013). Over the past seventeen years his work has appeared in North America’s most prestigious photo annuals: American Photography 35 times, Photo District News Photo Annual 22 times, and the Communication Arts Photography Annual 11 times.

His first monograph, PRESENCE: The Invisible Portrait was published by Kehrer Verlag in the fall of 2012. The book features 50 portraits of celebrities in which they are present, but not visible.

Chris's other interests include making cocktails, drinking same cocktails, street hockey, and admiring his cats. But his favorite activity is traveling to Portuguese speaking countries with his wife, Michelle Golden. They have a three year old daughter.

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Intermediate to Advanced


Maximum 15 participants.

What to Bring

Equipment Needed:

Bring your camera (with at least 1 lens)
Pen and paper to take notes
The means to download and edit photos on-site for critique
Subject(s) to photograph for 2 of the 3 portrait assignments (models for first assignment are provided by VPW)

We Provide:

Workshop content as detailed above.


Early-Bird Discount:

Most of our courses and workshops offer a 10% discount is applied automatically if you register before the Early-Bird Discount deadline date listed in the registration table below.

Some courses and workshops offer a discount if you're among the first 3 people who register. This discount will replace the 'standard' Early Bird Discount mentioned above, and will be applied automatically during the online registration process (as long as it is available). Check the course/workshop listing page for more details.

Group Discount:

A 5% discount will be appplied if 3 or more people register at the same time for the same workshop. (All 3 tuitions must be paid for by one credit card to be considered a group registration.) Please follow the instructions on the online registration page.


In order to provide the best learning environment possible VPW keeps class and tour sizes limited to 10-15 people (depending on the workshop). This is but one reason that we count on you to attend your chosen class or tour, once you have registered for it.

If you must withdraw for any reason please be aware of our refund policy as follows:

For our Local Lectures, Seminars, and Workshops valued at or under $100, VPW is unable to provide a cash refund. Transfers are limited to one transfer to either the same event at a later date, or a different event of equal value. VPW requires 48 hours written notice in order to make such a transfer (email notice is acceptable). The event you are transferring to must occur within 6 months of the original event you registered for. A $15 fee will be applied to all transfers.

For our Local Workshops, 1 to 5 days in length and our Local 4 to 10 Week Courses, VPW requires 30 days written notice (before the event start date) of your withdrawal in order to provide a refund. (Email notice is acceptable.)

For our Master Photographer Series workshops, 1 to 5 days in length, VPW requires 60 days written notice (before the workshop start date) of your withdrawal in order to provide a refund. VPW may retain 15% of fees paid or $150 minimum in processing your refund. If the tuition is less than $500 the minimum fee drops to $75.

Within 45 days of the Master Photographer Series workshop date all fees paid are non-refundable.

For our Photo Tours (national and international), the following charges will apply:

  • If you cancel up to 3 months before the tour start date and we can fill your space, your reservation (or deposit) fee will be refunded
  • There is no additional cancellation fee up to 8 weeks before the start of your tour
  • From 8 weeks to 4 weeks before the tour: 25% of your balance
  • From 4 weeks to 1 week before the tour: 50% of your balance
  • From 1 week to 72 hours before the tour: 75% of your balance
  • If you cancel within 72 hours of the start of the trip, no refund can be paid
  • Transaction charges incurred on accepting and refunding payments will be deducted from the refund amount
  • In the (unlikely) event that we cancel the Photo Tour, all monies paid will be refunded in full

We highly recommend that you take out travel insurance to guard yourself against monies lost due to unavoidable cancellation by either party.

Transfers (for all events over $100): If you wish to transfer to a different workshop date, VPW requires a minimum of 30 days written (email) notice. All transfers are based on availaibility, and subject to approval by VPW staff. For courses/workshops with tuition above $101, the transfer fee is $35.

Transfer Fees as based on event pricing:
Tuition of $100 and below, the transfer fee is $15
Tuition of $101 and above, the transfer fee is $35

VPW can give no refunds:

If you registered for any event valued at or under $100
If you do not show up for your registered course.
If you register for a course beyond or below your skill or ability level.

Refunds for all events valued at $101 and above (excluding Master Series Workshops):
If a student wishes to cancel their registration for any of VPW's events, and has provided written notice within the appropriate timeframe, a refund less a $50 administration fee will be provided.

Course Cancellation:

Occasionally, we may have to cancel a course due to low enrollment. In this case, we will issue a full refund of all monies paid to VPW up to that time.

Instructor Replacement:

In the event that a listed instructor is unable to participate because of a change in his or her professional schedule, we will replace the instructor with someone of equal or similar credentials. If we cannot find a replacement in due time before the course is about to start, a particular class may have to be rescheduled.


In the event that we cancel your course, for any reason, the extent of VPW's liability is limited to the return of all monies paid. We will do everything we can to register you in another equivalent course. VPW will not be responsible for reimbursement of travel expenses of any kind.

Please note: An administration charge of $50 applies to all refunds

Read complete refund and liability policy

While it's nice to be showered with compliments, hearing how great I did won't ever make me better. So, dear Chris Buck, thank you for your honesty. It means a lot to know that you believe I can do better. Now I just need to do it! As long as I have the courage and temerity to heed the lessons that you've taught me, I will be a much better photographer because of it.
Michelle Yee

The workshop entailed several shooting assignments with critiques including an ol' slam down if we didn't meet our expectations and goals. He kicked our asses all weekend both physically and mentally. I really appreciate and respect Chris' philosophy on his approach to dealing with subjects and the industry as a whole. I can't divulge too much info due to a pact that I made with Chris that I wouldn't share the "secrets of the workshop". So if you want to find out more, you'll have to attend one of his workshops yourself, I highly recommend it. Especially if you're having a creative block, trying to create impact or struggling with your own style but a warning this is not for the faint of heart….he doesn't hold back the punches!
Denine Wrixon

I arrived at the workshop lacking a clear vision of where I wanted to go as a photographer. Chris pushed me hard to define that vision and come up with goals. He also challenged me to pursue deeper personal work beyond the images that I was making in a casual way day to day – I thought that I was creating a visual notebook with Instagram, he convinced me that I was just procrastinating. The workshop was one of the most intensely creative and psychologically demanding experiences that I’ve ever had in my life as a photographer.
Matthew Lester

It felt as much a personal growth workshop as much as it did a photography workshop. I had gone through a period of self reflection during the week before, so I guess in a sense I was ready for anything he asked us to do; because I needed the intensity, I needed the critique, and most of all I craved the tough assignments without knowing I did. This was my opportunity to prove to myself how much I am capable of, and I am happy to say that I succeeded. Thank you to Chris for kicking my ass and helping me to become a better person, a better leader, and a better photographer.
Flor Blake

When I returned from attending the workshop with Chris Buck I felt like I had gone into solitary confinement with my camera and been ass-whipped on the right side of the brain. Chris challenged my ideas of my own limitations, and gave support where needed. We worked from sun-up to sun-down and I didn’t feel like a moment was wasted. It was a great experience that has certainly helped my career, and lifted confidence as a shooter.
Lisa Kannakko

The greatest benefit from Chris’s workshop was seeing how a top-notch photographer approaches the craft of portraiture. The workshop was hands-on and any question was fair game. But I was affected most by seeing the amount of preparation and the level of professionalism that go into making great portraits. Almost every time I shoot I remember one of his emphatic phrases (“A professional never does just one setup!” “Be particular about what you want in a picture because it’s not going to just happen!” You’re not there to make the subject like you, you’re there to make a great picture!”). It was a stretching experience. I was uncomfortable at times (like when Chris dropped me off with a subject I wanted to photograph and said, “I’ll be back in a couple of hours, make a great picture!”). And it made me a better photographer.
Rob Culpepper

I attended Chris Buck’s Surprising portrait class in Santa Fe a few years ago and it completely changed the way I prepare for and execute photo shoots. Chris has a knack for constructive criticism that is honest while still being supportive and encouraging. I left this workshop feeling extremely inspired and much more confident directing and communicating with my subjects.
Heather McLaughlin

Read more testimonials......

This workshop is taught by the following instructor:

Chris Buck
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Class Start Date Time Early Registration Discount: Location Instructor Registration
Saturday and Sunday February 23rd + 24th, 2013 10am - 5pm N/A VPW Studios Chris Buck Click Here to Register