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The Thorsten von Overgaard Photography Masterclass Workshop in Porto, Portugal
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Thorsten Overgaard Masterclass Workshop - PORTO, PORTUGAL
Thorsten by Matthias Frei

Porto, Portugal, September 2017

My goal is to instill enthusiasm in any photographer and raise his or her skill level, self-confidence and production volume. And I do.

By: Thorsten Overgaard

Add to Flipboard Magazine.


The three-day Overgaard Photo Seminar & Advanced Workshop in Portugali is limited to 10 participants.

Location will be the Central in Porto, the second-largest city in Portugal. (Also the home of the Leica Camera AG factory in Portuga)l.

It is a combination of the Overgaard Photo Seminar and the Overgaard Advanced Workshop tailored to bring you up to an advanced level on using your camera equipment, setting up a workflow on your computer, editing and presenting images, and shooting different assignments.



Use the button to check out via PayPal
if you are sure, or send an e-mail to for further
info, to reserve a space, or to require
invoice payable via bank transfer.


Thorsten Overgaard
Photography Workshop in Porto, Portugal
September 23 - 25, 2017
Price $3,000


Early Bird
** Save $750.00 **
Only $2,250

September 23 - 25, 2017


e-mail to Adam at
for info and to sign up

Send an e-mail to for further info on future Portugal Workshop dates.

See Frequently Asked Questions
and reviews from former participants
in the bottom of this page.


Other workshop dates and locations:
See the Overgaard Workshop Calendar





Palermo Workshop 2011


What to bring

Camera(s), lenses and a computer with Lightroom installed for editing of photos. For the walkabout day we will select a minimum of equipment and wear comfortable walking shoes.

The second day you will need a computer with Lightroom (or Capture One) installed (30 day trial is available) to set up a workflow, get your screen calibrated and edit the photos we did on the walkabout the first day. The third day will be a combined day where we go shoot portrait, model and then finalize the workshop photos on the computers before we end off.


"A Life With Leica featuring Thorsten von Overgaard" short documentary from Rome, Italy.



Working inside our cool apartment in Montreal. Photo by Larry Wiedel with Leica M9 and


What to expect

You will meet like-minded people who want to improve their photography. 80%-100% will be Leica users, and if you are not, be prepared to become one. And if you are, be prepared to want more.

The seminar is very informal and hands-on. You will be able to ask all the questions you like.


Adrian Hawkmoon working with a model in a very low light setup in Palermo, Italy.


  "It has taken me a while to digest what I learned at the seminar. I have to say, you made me change my way of taking pictures. Even weeks later I recall the one or another snippet of information. There was a lot for me to go through."  
  - H. C. (Australia)  


What we will deal with

People, light, cityscapes, street photography, portraits, how to handle people, timing, composition, your goal as a photographer, color control, messages in photographs, your unique talents and skills, how to set up a digital workflow, what to look for when editing, color management, speed of work, white balance, exposure, reflectors, quality of light, finding the right locations and how to share and present your photographs.


Workshop in Miami, August 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.


End result

You can expect to get a relaxed and simplified view on photography and realize that this is something you can perform well, enjoy and produce much more than you used to.

You will walk out from this seminar taller and more confident.

No matter their skill level and experience, what participants in a Thorsten Overgaard Workshop experience is that they photograph a lot more after the workshop.



"It's really changed my perception on photography and technique as a whole."

  - B. L. (Singapore)  



Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95 sample photos
Joy Villa on Broadway, New York, June 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. Dress by Kokholm, Denmark, jewelry by Tiklari, New York. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.



"Just a short note to say how much I enjoyed your seminar this past weekend.

You were able to clear up most of my photography questions and give me a
great deal of other things to think about in image capture and techniques.
Confidence in color was the real treat of the weekend

  - A. C. J. (USA)  



Joy Villa
Joy Villa by Thorsten Overgaard, Leica M9 with Leica 90mm APO-Summicron-M ASPH f/2.0



"Thanks again for a fantastic workshop in Montreal – it was a highlight of my summer".

  - A. S. (USA)  


Thorsten explaining about small cameras at the seminar in Leica Gallery Tokyo in January 2011. Photo by Pieter Franken.


A three-day photography workshop


Day 1: (10:00 AM - 5:00 PM)

We go out as a group on a day-long walkabout. It's casual and fun. You have an overall assignment of producing three images to present to the group from this day, but the style is relaxed and we simply take a seven-hour walk with coffee breaks, lunch and lots of talking. 

We will be looking for different light conditions and we’ll work with many different situations, light conditions, compositions and people during this day.


Keywords Day 1:

Inspiration. Questions and answers, hands-on, networking, equipment, White Balancing, light meters, understanding cameras, ISO, aperture, strangers and people, street photography, architecture, finding the right light, natural photography, available light, aesthetics, focusing, correct exposure, timing, Neutral Density filters ... and lots of coffee.



"It was a pleasure to work and play with all of you for the last four days or so.
A great experience I won't soon forget. Now I have 11 new friends from round the world.
I'll make sure to let you know if I'm in your neck of the woods in the future …

Many thanks to Joy for dressing up and posing out in the hot sun for our photo shoot.
I'm sure it wasn't easy! Very much appreciated!

And of course many thanks to Thorsten for being so patient and working through the details of being an excellent Leica photographer … Searching out the light and introducing us to his efficient workflow processing procedure over the last four days.  

I will/am approaching my photography in a much different light now compared to my photography life prior to the course. Awesome! Talk soon".

  - A. R. (USA)  



One wouldn't be able to imagine all the equipment a handful of photographers can bring together. Photo by Pieter Franken.



"Thanks to everyone for making this a thoroughly enjoyable workshop 
– very atypical from those that I've taken in the past.

Thorsten, the way you've mixed the practical (technical) and the craftsmanship of making a good image with arguably the best tools out there left me with very actionable takeaways.

Thorsten and Joy - thank you for being wonderful gracious hosts and I hope our paths will cross again.  Best to all ... keep looking at your hand for the good light".

  - D. C. (USA)  



Portrait photography. British composer and producer Barrie Gledden at the London Workshop January 2013 as the portrait subject. © 2013 Thorsten Overgaard. Leica M Monochrom with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95.
© 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.



"Here I am, back in Argentina. I've been thinking about the workshop we attended
in New York City the last several days, and I'm still thinking about it.

Thorsten's job was very professional and complete. And the style he suggested fitted exactly with my way of thinking photography: Search for the light, then search for the subject.

The use of Leica lenses wide open (with the help of ND filters) - Oh! - the terrific photographs really explode in my computer. Thank you Thorsten, Joy and all of you!

Those four days will be unforgettable to me".

  - A. B. (Argentina)  



Michael, Hans, Friedl and Oskar at work in the streets of Palermo. We walk around and work as a group.


We will be spending 20-25 hours together doing formal seminar, walking about, working on images, having coffee and lunch. Lots of things to talk about. Photo by Younes Kabbaj from the Hong Kong seminar.



"Simple the best - I learnt a lot from you at the Photo Seminar.
It was great to spend a lot of time with you and your experience.

I am still deeply impressed and these were very memorable days for me.
I highly recommend Thorsten's photo seminar to anyone.
Now it is time for my homework!"

  - T.S. (Zurich)  


Doing portrait photography on location in Berlin, February 2011. Photo by Gerhard Gruber.


Day 2: (10:00 AM- 5:00 PM)

We meet in the morning and start with workflow theory. How do you set up computers, hard drives, backup, color management, systems to archive and search for the images when you need them. There's lot to take in and understand this morning. After lunch we set up each computer and then import the photos we did on the walkabout day, and then we edit photos in Lightroom.

We select the best and do reviews as a group before we call it a day.


Keywords Day 2:

Lightroom editing, DAM/Digital Asset Management, backup, cloud services, software, workflow, job numbers, photo archive, keywords, sharing, prints, exhibitions and photo critique.


Miami, August 2013. Leica M 240 with Leica 50mm Noctilux-M ASPH f/0.95. © 2013-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.


Swiss photographer Matthias Frei editing in London. © 2011-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.


  "Thanks so much for an inspiring weekend. I learned a lot, and it was a great group of people to spend the weekend with. I hope to see you again soon, either in NY or somewhere else".  
  - D.G., New York  


Day 3: (10:00 AM - 5:00 PM)

This is the final day after we have finished learning the theory, done some photography and reviewed some of our photographs. This day we are busy doing portraits, model shoot and refining our techniques – and then we have to hurry back and edit the images, filling any holes we would like to find out more about, and then wrapping before we end off at 5:00PM.

No homework. We are done when we are done.


Keywords Day 3:

Reflectors, portrait photography, model photography, white balance, light reflections, types of light, light temperature, external light meters, finding a location for portrait photography, final assignment. Getting it all right. Finishing every image and archiving. Publishing and sharing one's work.



"I certainly picked a unique workshop to attend. It was a three-day high level and informative conversation. Kind of like strolling around New York City chatting with your favorite college philosophy professor...

I'm a veteran of at least twenty workshops in the past ten years. The scary thing about workshops is you really don't know what you've gotten yourself into until you are deep into it, and of course by then it's too late to do anything about it... 

This Overgaard New York Workshop was a gem."

  - D. C. (Professional Portrait Photographer, USA)  



  "Thank you again for the course. It was a great few days when I learnt a huge amount. I like your easy style. I'm now hoping to have enough money for a Leica M11"  
  - R.S., London  



London workshop. Photo by Felix Kunze.



"Photography has become dear to my heart again. Hope we have still some time to spend together."

  - J., Spain  


Networking: The seminars tend to be new networks as we share the same passion in photography, and the participants usually have quite a lot more in common than just photography. Berlin 2011, photo by Malou Lasquite.



  "Thanks so much for all your instruction this past weekend. I really enjoyed meeting you and spending time understanding more of how you view things. I know there is a lot more to learn and hope we meet again".  
  - R.Y., Texas  




Frequently Asked Questions
about Thorsten Overgaard Workshop and Masterclass


Where to stay

Hotel and travel is not included in the workshop fee. Usually participants choose the hotel chain which they prefer, or the apartment/room that suits their liking. Some pick a place close to the workshop location, while others choose a very different location so as to experience another area of the city as well. The workshop is pretty draining on energy, so generally I recommend a time-saving location over lofty quality. You'll sleep like a baby and won't have much time or energy to enjoy the luxury of the hotel. 

AirBnb is an interesting way to experience a city and is how I travel 60% of the time:
Use this link to get $25 off:


How to get around

I prefer to learn the public transportation system in a new place. But not everywhere is it the way to get around. Other times I use which is drivers you require via the Uber App on your phone. You don't have to speak the language or be able to read the street names to get from A to B, and when you are done, the trip is charged to your credit card or PayPal. No need for discussing prices, cash or card. Any complaints, their customer service returns to you within an hour with apology and your money back.   


How to book flights

I use to research flights and either buy via the links on that website, or I use my travel agent, Caroline, located in Los Angeles to figure it all out (feel free to email me to get her name and contact info).

Often I use what I’ve learned of flight times and prices on to go to the airline’s own website and book the flight there, or tell my flight booker what I found and see if she can improve upon it.

I book flights based on flight times and prices. I don't go for the cheapest flights but the ones that have shorter flight times, less stops and the ones that allow me have a good sleep and get to the airport at a civilized time of the day. Often those flights are not more than a few dollars more expensive than the long flights with lots of stops. You just have to scroll down the page to notice them and see what is possible. People who don't travel a lot usually look for the cheapest flights, missing better flights for almost no extra cost.

When it gets too complicated, I have my travel agent research it. She knows who provides the best service, the shortest routes and the nicest people.  


A Workshop in my own city or far and away?

The workshops tend to be a little like a kindergarten. Professional people (who are usually very busy) get to explore their passion for photography exclusively in a place they always wanted to go to. Often the time outside the workshop participants use to explore restaurants, shops or museums they always wanted to visit, meet up with old friends, etc.

On the other hand it is also very practical to do a workshop in your own city.  It's not as distraction-free because the office or spouse might call in the middle of the fun. The advantage is that you will learn to see the possibilities in your own place and never ever again hear yourself say, "there's nothing to photograph in my city".


Workshop or a Masterclass?

In truth, do what fits with the location and date. Here's why:

All my Workshops are tailored for anyone who had a Leica for two weeks or 30 years. We go over the focusing, exposure and other issues that are always a concern. Nobody is left behind and everybody learns something new.  

All my workshops have lots of time for talking and questions, live demonstrations and how to get things to work better.

There is a large emphasis on workflow and sharing in the workshop. That means getting your digital files under control and setting up a way to work that allows you to concentrate on taking photographs and making great results, without spending much time by the computer.  If you hate computers - or even if you love them - you will enjoy the breeze of sanity in your digital life, that Thorsten Overgaard offers.

The participants in the workshop, you will find, are very different, yet very compatible. We all share a passion for photography, and often a passion for Leica. Not surprisingly, we have the same values and viewpoints on many things in life. You will find there is lots to talk about and much experience to share that isn't directly related to photography. 

All participants are professionals in their walks of life, who above all, try to simplify things and are now passionate about becoming just as competent in their photography as they are in the rest of their life.


The Masterclass is different in the way that participants are generally expected to know the basics of photography and cameras and have some experience. It was originally developed to accommodate a wish for "the next workshop". To say it as it is, in the Masterclass we do the same basic theory and training as in the Workshop. Nobody is too old or experienced to learn new tricks and just because you have owned a camera a long time doesn’t mean you know all there is to know. The route to simplicity is to truly understand, so we don’t take anything for granted. 

In the Masterclass you are not expected to be a master, only that you aim to become one.   


Doing a Workshop or Masterclass again

A great deal of those who have participated in an Overgaard Workshop or Overgaard Masterclass come back to do another workshop the same year or some years later. There is no “elevated” program for return students, because each workshop is the same but also a new and different experience. And each workshop is an individual session with Thorsten Overgaard and a new group of compatible, likeminded people.

The workshop if first and foremost indulgence in your passion for photography in such concentrated dozes as you have never experienced before! Return participants often have some certain goals or subjects they want to explore more. Each workshop tends to take the individual participants from where they are now, to a new level.    


Schedule of 3-day and 4-day workshop

Some times the Workshop or Masterclass is four days, some times three days.
Most workshops are 3-day workshops now as it has proven to be a very workable format.

    3-day workshop schedule:       4-day workshop schedule:
    Before workshop study
You get a PDF booket with theory and inspirational notes to study.
17:00 - 20:00
  Schedule Day 1
Introduction and theory
(includes a PDF of paper copy) .

10:00 – 11:30
11:30 – 12:30
12:30 – 13:30
13:30 – 17:00

  Schedule Day 1
Introduction and camera settings.

10:00 – 11:00
11:00 – 12:30
12:30 – 13:30
13:30 – 17:00

  Schedule Day 2
Camera settings.

10:00 – 12:00
12:00 – 12:30
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 16:30
16:30 - 17:00
  Schedule Day 2
Thorsten talk on on workflow.
Import of photos from the walkabout.
Editing of our own photos.
Sharing photographs.
10:00 – 12:00
12:00 – 12:30
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 16:30
16:30 - 17:00
  Schedule Day 3
Thorsten talk on on workflow.
Import of photos from the walkabout.
Editing of our own photos.
Sharing photographs.

10:00 – 11:30
11:30 - 12:30
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 16:03
16:30 - 17:00
  Schedule Day 3
Portrait photography.
Model shoot.
Import and editing.
Sharing photographs.
10:00 – 11:30
11:30 - 12:30
12:30 - 13:30
13:30 - 16:03
16:30 - 17:00
  Schedule Day 4
Portrait photography.
Model shoot.
Import and editing.
Sharing photographs.
    After workshop references
We share our selected photos to a hard drive that everyone copy to their computer  before we leave.
As notes to the workflow part you get the Lightroom Survival Kit (included in the workshop fee).
      After workshop references
We share our selected photos to a hard drive that everyone copy to their computer  before we leave.
As notes to the workflow part you get the Lightroom Survival Kit (included in the workshop fee).




Frequently Asked Questions

Which computer do I need for photography?

Here are recommendations for your next computer, before or after a Thorsten Overgaard Workshop: Apple computers are far the best for photography workflow. Even if you work with a PC for work, consider an Apple for your photography.

Generally, I recommend getting the fastest MacBook Pro available, and with the 15" Retina screen. And change it every 18-36 months to stay in the loop with the fastest technology (things change so fast that a 3 year old computer tends to be really slow).


Cosy moment with the Apple MacBook Pro 15" Retina, LaCie 4TB hard drive and the Leiac M-D 262 digital rangefinder. © 2016 Thorsten Overgaard.  


Speed comparison of MacBook Pro using Lightroom:

Which is fastest for Lightroom? This is how big a difference there is working with Lightroom 6.x. This test was performed with 346 DNG files from 24MP camera (= size 20-30 MB each):

    MacBook Air 11
(Mid 2013)

1.7 Ghz i7
512 GB
hard drive
Intel 1.5 GB
1 Thunderbolt
$1,700 in 2013

  MacBook Pro 15"
(Late 2013)

2.6 Ghz i7
Quad processor
1 TB
hard drive
750M 2 GB
2 Thunderbolt
2 USB 3
SD-card reader
$3,300 in 2013

MacBook Pro 15"
(Mid 2015)

2.8 Ghz i7
Quad processor
1 TB
hard drive
2 Thunderbolt
2 USB 3
SD-card reader
$3,100 in 2016
B&H Photo / Amazon

  MacBook Pro 13"
(Late 2016)

2.9 Ghz i5
Duo processor
hard drive
Iris Graphics 550
4 x USB-C/
Tunderbolt 3
$1,899 in 2017
B&H Photo
  MacBook Pro 13"
(Late 2016)

3.3 Ghz i7
Duo processor
1 TB
hard drive
Iris Graphics 550 2GB
4 x USB-C/
Tunderbolt 3
$2,899 in 2017
B&H Photo
  MacBook Pro 15"
(Late 2016)

2.9 Ghz i7
Quad processor
2 TB
hard drive
AMD Radeon Pro 460 GPU 4GB
4 x USB-C/
Tunderbolt 3
$4,299 in 2017
B&H Photo
Import into Lightroom 6
of 346 DNG files from SD-card
  11:31 min
USB reader)
  2:14 min
(built-in SD reader)
  1:54 min
(built-in SD reader)
  9:54 min
(USB to USB-C dongle)
  7:53 min
(USB to USB-C dongle)
  2:11 min
USB-C  reader)
Making 1:1 previews
of 346 DNG files
  26:34 min   21:32 min   11:48 min   17:43 min   17:08 min   13:40 min
Export of files **
(346 web-sized JPG's)
  24:16 Min   4:44 Min   3:12 Min   7:33 Min   7:30 min   3:45 min
Total waiting time
for import, preview and export of 346 pictures **
  62:21 Min   28:30 Min   16:54 Min   35:10 Min   32:31 Min   19:36 Min
SSD hard drive/Flash Memory
read/write/copy speed *
  200MB/sec   800MB/sec   2000MB/sec   1900MB/sec   1950MB/sec   1950MB/sec
Delay in showing a full-size preview in Develop Mode *
  3-5 Sec   0.3 Sec   0.1 Sec   2.0 Sec   2.0 Sec   1,2 Sec
* = When you edit in Lightroom on a computer, the computer depend on the hard drive and not the processor/RAM to show previews immediately.
** = Export of files in other sizes than original uses the processor to resize the files.


Big screen

If you want to work on a large screen at home, I recommend getting one or two external screens that connects to your MacBook Pro, rather than having a "large computer" at home and a "small computer" for travel. It's much easier to have just one computer and not having to sync two computers; and you can invest the money in one really fast computer.


Workspace with two 30" Apple Cinema screens run by a MacBook Pro. © 2014-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.
Workspace with two 30" Apple Cinema screens run by a MacBook Pro. © 2014-2017 Thorsten Overgaard.


Always buy the fastest model available

No matter which MacBook model you buy, upgrade the processor to the fastest possible model, and upgrade the hard drive to the largest available.

In the MacBook Air series, they usually come with an i5 processor, but upgrading to the i7 will increase the speed for photography workflow 4X and only cost $100.

The MacBook 12" is cute, has a great screen, but is also the slowest model for photography workflow. My mother has one and loves it, but she's 70 years old and only uses it for e-mail and online banking.

If you visit an Apple store and compare the 13" MacBook Air with the 15" MacBook Pro, you will realize that there's not much difference in size. So why not get the computer with the largest screen and most speed?

Even I travel 49 of the years 52 weeks, I've choosen the MacBook Pro 15" every time, and I've picked the fastest model available every time. I travel with my computer, but I never really carry it around. I park it in a hotel or apartment, and when I travel to the next place I put it in my bag until I arrive in the next hotel. Only if you always (or often) carry your computer around town with you does it makes sense to get a smaller model.

Currently, the MacBook Pro 15" (Late 2016) with 2.9 Ghz and 2TB hard drive may be the choice for slick design, better screen and the 2TB hard drive. But in terms of speed, the previous 2015 model is actually 14% faster for Lightroom.

Currently, the new MacBook Pro 15" (Mid 2017) with 3.1 Ghz and 2TB hard drive ($4,299 at BH Photo) is likely to the first of the new MacBook Pro's that is actaully faster than the previous silver 2015 model. I will test it as soon as I can.

With it the new MacBook Pro's (Late 2016 and Mid 2017 models) comes the pain of new Thunderbolt 3/USB-C connections and no SD-card reader built-in. An upgraded MacBook Pro 15" are expected to be announced in October 2017 with faster specifications (but still with four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connections).


LaCie 5TB harddrive USB-C   LaCie 4Tb harddrive USB3 with USB-C dongle
LaCie 5TB harddrive USB-C   LaCie 4TB harddrive USB3 with USB-C dongle



The MacBook Pro (late 2016 and Mid 2017) does have a slick design. After having looked at Joy using a less-than-impressive in terms of speed 13"' for some weeks, I started looking at my 2015 macbook as a clunky device. The fingerprint opening of the new MacBook is a nice feature together with other things that makes the Late 2016 and Mid 2017 model a pleasure to use.

The four similar connections is a freedom, once you get harddrives, SD-card readers, SD-card readers and all that connects to the Thunderbolt 3/USB-C ports. And unlike the iPhone, it still has a mini jack for headphones!


No more SD-card reader in the Late 2016 and Mid 2017 MacBook computers

  StarTech USB-C cardreader for SD-cards
  StarTech SD-card reader is $30 at BH PHoto

Apple doesn't even make or sell (in the Apple Store) a SD card reader, so you have to visit BH Photo, Amazon or eBay to find a third party SD card reader that goes into the USB-C plug, or a traditional SD card reader with USB and use a USB-C to USB3 dongle.

Using a USB 3 card reader via a dongle is extremely slow. There are more and more USB-C readers available. The one I got is the StarTech ($30).

Then a few weeks later, I got the SanDisk USB-C reader, and that one is better:


The SanDisk Extreme Pro SD UHS-II Card USB-C readers does the job.
The SanDisk Extreme Pro SD UHS-II Card USB-C reader does the job. © 2017 Thorsten Overgaard.



USB-C is not the same as Thunderbolt 3

The plug for USB-C is the same as for Thunderbolt 3. The confusion on this is so great that the staff in the Apple Store doesn't always know. They will claim it is the same speed. It's not. Thunderbolt 3 is four times faster than USB-C, and that is important when buying a new hard drive: LaCie makes hard drives with USB-C (USB 3.1) connections and Thunderbolt 3 connections for this reason, but many portable drives have just USB-C connection. USB-C speed is rated as 10GB/sec and Thunderbolt 3 is rated as 40GB/sec. This is so little known, most will claim USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 is the same connection and speed (though it was specified in the 40 page document following the release of the MacBook Late 2016).

Thunderbolt 3 hard drives
Hard drives with USB-C are not the same as Thunderbolt 3. The LaCie 6TB, 8TB and 10TB d2 drives are the first ones with real Thunderbolt 3 cables and speeds.

My LaCie 10TB drives with one USB-C connection (top) and two Thunderbolt 3 connections below. The cables for USB-C (has a USB-symbol) and Thunderbolt 3 (has a thunder synbol and 3) are different.
My LaCie 10TB drives with one USB-C connection (top) and two Thunderbolt 3 connections. The cables for USB-C (has a USB-symbol) and Thunderbolt 3 (has a thunder synbol and 3) are different. I have numbers on by hard drives, on front and back, as well as how big the drives are. After a while you can't remember which dive is which, and how much space it has.


Look at performance, don't listen to the hype

When the new MacBook Pro was announced, it was announced as "Metal on all four sides" and "17% thinner than the previous model" and so on. That's how they sold us Thunderbolt some years ago and that's how the MacBook 12" may sound great (even it is the worst for picture editing).

It's difficult to not get enthusiastic about the new, but make speed comparisons before you go get it all.


Which external hard drives do I need for photography?

You need external hard drives for storage, and you need two so one is your storage, the other is your backup of that. In other words, you always buy two, four, six or eight hard drives at a time.

Portable hard drives have a live span of 12-18 months before you want to replace them with a bigger one. You think they will last forever, but your need for storage grows faster than you think. The good news is that price of hard drive space drops with the same speed as your need more space.


This is how big (or little) a difference there is between USB and Thunderbolt
(tested with Blackmagic Sped Test):

    USB 3
hard drive

2 TB from
BH Photo / Amazon
4 TB from
BH Photo / Amazon


hard drive

4 TB from
BH Photo
/ Amazon

hard drive

hard drive
LaCie 6TB
  Thunderbolt 3
hard drive
LaCie 10TB
Read/write/copy speed *
  75 MB/sec   80 MB/sec
Read/write/copy speed with MacBook USB-C (Late 2016) via dongle to USB 3
  75 MB/sec   80 MB/sec
Read/write/copy speed with MacBook USB-C/Thunderbolt 3
(Late 2016/Mid 2017)
  T2 cable
via USB-C dongle
  T3 cable
* = Specifications of USB 3.1 says they can do 1,250MB/sec and specifications of Thunderbolt 2 says 2,500MB/sec. That's in theory. If you test them on your machine with a free program like Blackmagic Disk Speed Test, you will see the actual value ((which of course depends as well on your machine's hard drive (5400 RMP or 7200 ROM or SSD). Specifications for FireWire 400 said 100-400MB/sec and FireWire 800 said 800MB/sec.


As you can see, the extra price of Thunderbolt external hard drives (usually $100-$200 per hard drive) isn't warranted by the 6% faster speed compared to USB 3. Thunderbolt 3 is greatly improved speed compared to USB-C.

With new MacBook Pro 15" (Late 2016 model) that has only four Thunderbolt 3 conncetions (which are the same as USB-C that the MacBook 12" introduced), you don't really have a choice. You can use converters for a while, but all future things you buy should be directed towards Thunderbolt 3 (when Thunderbolt came out, you could get FireWire to Thunderbolt converters, and they work; but you want clean cables without having to use converters).


My portable hard drives are currently 4TB LaCie Rugged (USB3) and 2TB Western Digital (USB3).
My portable hard drives are currently 4TB LaCie Rugged (USB3) and 2TB Western Digital (USB3) and 5TB Thunderbolt 3 (same connector as USB-C).


Remember, you will buy a new one anyways in 12-18 months. Go with USB 3if you can, and don't spend much time reconsidering this decision until portable SSD hard drives come down into a reasonable price range. (There will be coming a new type of SSD hard drives that you can expand unlimited - e-mail me for more info on this so you get a notice when they are available). 

Make sure to avoid portable hard drives that require external power supply! Not much compactness in having a small drive that needs a power supply. A portable hard drive should be powered by the USB or Thunderbolt cable. 

I use Western Digital 2TB portable hard drives (BH Photo / Amazon) and LaCie 4TB USB3 hard drives (BH Photo / Amazon).



Desktop hard drives are a little different in that they last for 3-5 years. Then you want to upgrade them to larger ones because you need more space and the connections becomes obsolete. FireWire 400 (invented 1995) and FireWire 800 (introduced 2009) have died out. Again, time works for you, the price of a top-of-the-line 120 GB hard drive in 2000 was $400 back then, and a 6,000 GB hard drive today costs $400 as well. 


This is how big (or small) a difference there is between FireWire 800 and USB3:

    FireWire 800
hard drive


hard drive

Read/write/copy speed *
  71 MB/sec   75 MB/sec


The lesson on FireWire, USB, Thunderbolt and the new Apple USB-C Port is that it's the size of the connections that change dramatically, not so much the speed. But the hype with each new type makes you buy new equipment, and that's the main feature.


Some of my external hard drives. FireWire/Thunderbolt in the background, USB backup drives on the front, and USB3 portable hard drives for travel.
Some of my external hard drives. FireWire/Thunderbolt in the background, USB backup drives on the front, and USB3 portable hard drives for travel.


USB desktop hard drives vs
Thunderbolt desktop hard drives

You can set up several USB 3 external hard drives via an $18 USB 3.1 Hub so they are all connected at the same time. As the Hub provides power as well, you can actually go with portable drives instead of the Desktop hard drives (that all requires a separate power supply). If you don't depend on speed but use the connected hard drives for archiving (and photo editing, video editing, etc. on the much faster internal SSD/Flash Memory), this is actually worth considering. The USB hub also can charge iPhones and stuff.  

Thunderbolt hard drives can be connected in "daiseychain" which means you have one cable going out of the Mac to the first hard drive, then a Thunderbolt from that to the next and from that to the next. They are all connected this way, although it requires that the desktop hard drive needs two Thunderbolt connections (one in and one out).  

One of the problems with Thunderbolt is that the cables go black for no reason. They simply stop working. Some times, after some weeks of rest they may work normally again. If you have a rather complicated setup of drives it's annoying to locate the faulty cable and replace it. Others have reported that Thunderbolt cables caused errors that wiped their hard drives. All in all, it's an easy technology but not a very stable one. We all got into it because "Thunderbolt" sounds so cool, and it's the future (and who doesn't want to be in that?). 

  Sanho 5-in-1 hub for MacBook USB-C is necessary in order to plug in more than one thing. It's a mess..!
  Sanho 5-in-1 hub for MacBook USB-C is necessary in order to plug in more than one thing. It's a mess..!

Next thing will be USB-C which was introduced on the MacBook 12" in 2015 and that's also what is on the new redesigned MacBook Pro (Late 2016), wich they call Thunderbolt 3 on that one. (It has 4 Thunderbolt 3 connections and nothing else).

Thunderbolt 3 read/write 4X faster than USB-C even they plugs look the same. If you connect a USB hard drive via the USB>USB-C dongle, the speed will obviously be that of the slowest cable.

In the MacBook 12" it's very unpractical as it is the one and only connection for power, hard drives, scanners, phones and all. "Be careful what you wish for", as the Apple CEO said about that feature.

I have Thunderbolt desktop hard drives and USB 3 backup hard drives. The most recent desktop hard drives I've bought have been the LaCie 6TB Thunderbolt model and the most recent backup hard drives I bought was four 5TB hard drives with USB.


Do what seems most practical. As long as you have backup of your hard drives, the problems will never be bigger than what you can overcome. I very much buy hard drives the same way I buy Xerox paper:  the price per pack for 500 sheets of Xerox paper, and the price for a 1TB hard drive. I simply make a piece of paper where I list and compare the current models: Speed, Connections, price per TB). If I had smaller storage needs, I would use portable hard drives only. Nice, easy and compact. 

As I don't expect any of my desktop hard drives to be with me for more than 3-5 years, I don't invest in one large system or one large 30TB hard drive. I buy a hard drive that will keep me going for a while; and in 6-9 months when I need more space, I compare and get the next one.


Price comparison of hard drives (July 2016):

    USB 3:

  Thunderbolt:   Thunderbolt 3:
LaCie 5TB Rugged
portable HD
          $65 per 1 TB
BH Photo
WD 2TB portable HD
  $42 per 1 TB
BH Photo / Amazon
LaCie 4 TB Rugged
portable HD
  $55 per 1 TB
BH Photo / Amazon
  $95 per 1 TB
BH Photo / Amazon
  $87 per 1 TB
BH Photo
SanDisk 960GB
Portable SSD

  $479 per 1 TB
BH Photo / Amazon
LaCie 6 TB Desktop HD
      $70 per 1 TB
BH Photo / Amazon
LaCie 10 TB Desktop HD
          $60 per 1 TB
BH Photo
LaCie 20 TB Desktop HD
  $75 per 1 TB
  $100 per 1 TB
BH Photo / Amazon




Matthias, Thomas and Chrostoph in Zurich, June 2011. © 2011-2016 Thorsten Overgaard.


Overgaard Workshop Berlin 2011
Berlin, February 2011. © 2011-2016 Thorsten Overgaard. Leica 35mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4 FLE.


  "It has been truly enlightening and a great joy for me to share those seminar days with you all! Many beautiful memories remain in the portrait and especially the street photography department ... and not last those personal talks we had about different styles of photography and Leica."  
  - M.F., Austria  



(If you use iPad you may click here to visit the original video on Vimeo)
"Picture Perfect" video about Danish feature writer and photographer Thorsten Overgaard, by Emma Brumpton for Channel Four. The video was done on The Faeroe Islands in 2008 during a week of photographing climate changes, when Al Gore visited the islands.







Reviews of the
Thorsten von Overgaard Masterclass Workshops:


What People Say



User review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshops in Rome and Paris:

"Thank you for the Rome workshop.

The last days I spent with you in Rome I have done once before. So why do it again? Same type of workshop and with the same photographer.

Simply because I was so inspired by the first workshop two years ago, that I felt I would (and could) squeeze even more out of you a second time.

Of course some repetition was present on theory but two photo shootings are newer the same, and you always get new information there either wasn't presented the first time, or that you did not grasp at that time.

My overall goal taking part in the Rome Workshop was to focus much on the light, which I can transfer to future photo and television news stories that I produce.

And I got it!

The hands-on practice and advice from you benefits both experienced pro's like my self, and amateurs who wants to step up a level. So with my tired feet walking around hot Rome, I now will go back to work and let the experiences and inspiration go into my photography works.

You are newer too old, too experienced or (especially) too good to learn. Thank you for good company and learning experiences. Thank you to Princess Joy villa and Robin Isabella as well!"

  - Morten Aalbek (Videographer of the year 2014, Denmark)  



Review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in Berlin:

"The Berlin Workshop is still resonating with me. It was truly a great experience, and was really nice to meet you and your family!"

  - T. S. (Canada)  



User review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in Seattle:

"I diligently edit and process my images after every shoot as taught in your workshop and am always up to date with my images.

I have had your New Inspiration Course for a couple of days and have viewed all videos. I recently submitted a few images to a gallery in Portland for an exhibit.

I will continue to refine and work on the things you have talked about."

  - J. L. (Canada)  



Thorsten Overgaard Workshop Review:

"Thorsten, I appreciate the genuine way in which you continue to communicate with your students and admire your success in creating a community of enthusiasts around you.

"I was such a beginner when I did your workshop that it has taken me quite a while to incorporate what you taught us into my photographic life.

"I remember you are not a fan of spending hours on a photo, and nor am I – indeed one of the benefits of the workshop was to show how one could spend more time out and about with the camera".

  - M. B. (France)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Paris:

"Thank you for the great days and your hospitality. Besides meeting you, Joy and the others and having a good time, the workshop inspired me a lot and I learnt lots of new things.

I took more photos than I usually take and was more courageous as well in shooting people. That was great! I´m really happy with the results and what I did.

There is also an element of frustration about start working with the photos in a better way, to learn more, to improve, to take more time for photography. Let's see what changes this might lead to".

  - B. K. (Sweden)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Hong Kong:

"It was a great pleasure spending the past three days with you guys.  It was a lot of fun walking around Hong Kong with our Leica. 

Thank you Thorsten for sharing your professional experience with us, it really changed my point of view on keeping data files. With the advancement of technologies, we must keep a set of data which can take the test of times. That's a very important message amongst others that I learned in the past three days.

In the meantime, always carry your camera and be ready for the next shot!"

  - B. L. (Hong Kong)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Vienna, Austria:

"I would like to say thank you for the workshop. It was a great experience of realizing my potential, capturing important hints and of course meeting you personally.

It was a pleasure for me to join you and the Leica fellows these summer days in Vienna."

  - A. P. (Russia)  



Review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in Rome, Italy:

"I enjoyed myself very much in the Rome Workshop. I learned a lot, and only now the full experience is sinking in.

Thank you. I am trying make the New York Monochrome Masterclass.

All the best to Princess Joy Villa and Robin Isabella".

  - E. L. (Jerusalem, Israel)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Sydney, Australia:

"Thank you again for the great time in Sydney. It was (and I say this quite seriously) a life changing experience. I'm a lot more confident to take and show my photos now. You should be proud that you have obviously brought knowledge and confidence to so many people. I will see you again some time in the future for a refresher."

  - J. G. (Australia)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Malmo, Sweden:

"I was participant on your photo workshops in Malmo in 2011 and 2012. My abilities increased beyond imagination after that. Will you be offering a workshop only about portrait photography?"

  - C. B. (Malmo, Sweden)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Berlin, Germany:

"Meeting you was one of the most memorable things in my life!"

  - I. L. (USA)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Bangkok, Thailand:

"I'm one of the luckiest guys in the world who have chance to attend the Thorsten Overgaard workshop in Bangkok."

  - N. S. (Thailand)  



User review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop:

"I also wanted to express my gratitude again for the great workshop experience. As you know, I have been rediscovering my love of photography, and I feel that – beyond everything I learned about light, technique and software – I really took a giant step forward in "seeing" again, and in embracing the sheer fun of making photos.

I think your design of the workshop os right on the mark. The full day of ambling around, looking for the beautiful light, and taking (hopefully) great photos. I know it worked for me (since I was up at 3 AM trying to take pictures of the downtown skyline).

I feel energized about my photography, and am planning on getting much more involved with it over the coming months. I've been taking photos of fun things in the countryside on my way to work (I drive through about thirty miles of fields, dairies, falling-down buildings, old and rusting farm equipment and so on). I'm also learning more about both Lightroom and Media Pro.

So, thanks again for a great experience. I hope to take another of your workshops again."

  - B. S. (San Francisco)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in Seoul, Korea:

"Dear Thorsten and Joy, I wish to thank you and Joy for a wonderful four days of photography. From the first day of theory to the last day of choosing our best, it was a wonderful experience that inspired me to take more pictures and share them with others.

I learned a great deal from your critical comments and also your showing how to improve the final picture through minor adjustments in Lightroom. Many of my friends have a heavy hand with Lightroom but you showed us how to adjust the camera so that minimal post processing was necessary to have a good final product.

Joy was also such a pleasure to be with. She is such a professional in her chosen field of modeling, entertainment and production. Her sharing of this knowledge with us was a compliment to Thorsten's photographic knowledge. She was also very flexible and willing to share her poetry with us after coming out of the cold of Seoul's winter too.

I will always remember those four days as being very special because of both of you. When you come to Seoul again, I plan to be there!

Again thank you for a wonderful photo experience."

  - G. F. (Korea)  


Overgaard Workshop in Berlin
Overgaard Workshop in Berlin.



User review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in New York:

"The Overgaard Photography Workshop is an investment that pays immediate dividends.

In four short days there was a marked swagger in my step. This may sound irrelevant to photography, but in my opinion it’s one of the unspoken tangibles that make professional photographers like Thorsten so damn good – their confidence is able to make them disappear in a sense, and put their subjects at ease.

The funny thing about this is that it wasn't something discussed during the workshop, it was something that I learned from observing Thorsten work. The way he moved without hesitation, the manner in which he sized up his subject, and got the shot and moved on. Quick, clean, and confident! For me, that was the most valuable part of the workshop – spending four days at the elbow of a professional photographer!

What an experience!

I came away excited, eager, and confident that I could produce the kind of photographs I've always envied!

Thank you to my friend Thorsten! Some time in the future, somewhere in the world, our paths will cross again!"

  - J. J. (New York)  



Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop Review Video



User review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in Perth, Australia:

"I've had some time to reflect on the Perth Workshop and wanted to send you a note to say a big thank you for everything that you taught me over the four days.

It was fun, relaxed, informative and a really positive environment. You and Joy complimented each other perfectly, your collective enthusiasm is infectious and you've changed the way I look at the world.

I now understand why people who attend one workshop are likely to do another one. I think attending a second workshop would be like listening to your favourite song with really good headphones - you get so much more out of it! I will definitely be back!

I can't recommend your workshop highly enough - if anyone is even considering it they should definitely do it (although; be prepared to want more Leica gear)!

Since finishing the workshop I've bought a light meter and ordered a WhiBal card and a Rock'n'Roll camera strap from Tie Her Up. I've downloaded the workshop notes and saved them to my iPad for holiday reading and will get a new Apple laptop and some hard drives in the new year, start going through all my photos and set up the workflow you taught us.

Most importantly, I'm now carrying the Leica X Vario with me more often!

Until we meet again, keep having fun and spreading the love!"

  - J. H. (Australia)  



User review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in San Francisco:

"Thanks again for the GREAT workshop experience!

It is going to take me a while to return to (almost) normal after the last several days. I have photo and software details swirling around in my brain, and I am trying to assimilate it all."

  - B. S. (USA)  



User review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in Hong Kong:

"Thanks again for an amazing experience. Definitely keen to do another workshop with you both in the near future to hone my skills. Apologies for having to run out constantly. Thanks again for everything."

  - G. C. (Hong Kong)  



Review of the Thorsten Overgaard Workshop in London:

"I was in a flat spot with my picture making, I was reading your blog which I follow with great interest. Your blog said 'wear your camera and get out and do something'.

Well after a bit of thought, I went out and put on an exhibition of 80 pictures in our local library exhibition room. This turned out to be very successful with photographic societies and others visiting the exhibition.

Thank you for having inspired me!"

  - R. D. (UK)  



Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop Review from the London workshop:

"Towards the end of 2012, I purchased a Leica M9P camera and Leica 35mm lens; I did not know how much this little black box was about to shape all of 2013 for me.

In Jan 2013 I attended a four-day workshop in London with Danish photographer Thorsten Overgaard. It was, not only, an incredibly informative few days but also tons of fun and I met some wonderful people. The encouragement I got from Thorsten and everyone else gave me an incredible boost to get 2013 started. In fact I loved the workshop so much I immediately enrolled on the Sept 13 session which turned out to be even better.

I found Thorsten's straightforward approach to both using the camera and towards editing extremely refreshing but it was the way he taught me how to look for light that, honestly, changed the way I view the world.

I see differently now and because of that I also think differently. I've started to compose and record music in a way that is much clearer and for the first time in my career true to how I want to hear it.
(Feel free to see images on my blog).

  - B. G. (Music Composer & Producer London)  



User review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in Sydney, Australia:

"First of all I would like to thank you for some very educational and inspirational days in Sydney. I feel that I've grown a lot as a photographer, not only through what you taught us, but also by just observing how you move and interact with subjects on the street. And your "All you need is love" approach to photography is the best advise I've ever received as a photographer.

I'm still aiming for my "less is more" approach to photography. If something doesn't add to the story you’re trying to tell then try to crop it out (preferably in camera) or wait for the right moment when there are no distractions. I just had another look at your website and one of my favorite photos is of the Sikh reading a book shot with the 80mm Summilux-R. There must be hundreds of people in that photo but they all add to the story and therefore not a single one should be cropped. Very inspiring indeed!

Hope to see you again in the future, in Australia or somewhere else around the world. All the best."

  - H. H. (Sydney)  


As always, feel free to e-mail questions or comments to me at

- Thorsten Overgaard





Student photo of Thorsten in London, September 2011, by Swiss photographer Matthias Frei

Also visit:

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Leica Definitions
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Leica 50mm Summicron-M f/2.0
Leica 50mm Summilux-M ASPH f/1.4
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"On The Road With von Overgaard"
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White Balance for More Beauty
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Screen Calibration
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Lightroom Survival Kit
The Story Behind That Picture


Thorsten Overgaard
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator. Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.

Feel free to e-mail to for
advice, ideas or improvements.



Review of the Thorsten von Overgaard Workshop in Luxoria Magazine:

Thorsten Overgaard Workshop Review in Luxoria Magazine



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I am in constant orbit teaching
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