If you are struggling with the basics of photography or wish to improve your practical knowledge of certain skills, then my training options might be ideal for you.
You will find my sessions, enjoyable, informative, thought provoking and fun. I am very attentive and have lots of patience....after all, we were all beginners once and I teach kids Tae Kwon-Do, so it can't be harder than that!! You will not find gear snobbery, pressure or uncompromising direction. Instead you will learn at your own pace and be free to use your own ideas and approach to shooting, as this is by far the best way to learn the technical and creative aspects of photography.
I have always had to be flexible and adaptable in my career choices to date and so I come with the right approach to photography skills training too. It will be pitched at any level from the complete beginner to the more experienced photographer who wishes to share ideas and see how others work. You are guaranteed to have an enjoyable experience in an informal atmosphere, injected with humour.
For some years I have been helping friends and associates to learn the technical and artistic aspects of photography, through a camera club, self-constructed courses and on-location field work. I run many small and large group sessions at a major country park, covering everything from basics to outdoor portraits and macro photography. After all this time, I thought it would be a good idea to offer my training to anyone out there who wishes to have a go.
A common story among those I have helped with their photography is that they are intimidated and overwhelmed by the apparent complexity of modern cameras, which means they hide their nice camera in the cupboard or use it only as a point and shoot. I will show you that the key elements of modern photography are actually very simple, as they always have been. It is my belief is that it is essential for photographers to attain a level of technical understanding that no longer limits their creativity, so that both their technical and artistic skills can develop without restraint. My training therefore ensures that you will gain a good working knowledge of the key principles of exposure in a simple and easy to understand manner. We will be taking our cameras off automatic modes and exploring Manual and Aperture Priority exposure modes, to give you the confidence to shoot in any conditions, with any camera you own now and in the future.
I will endeavour to push you just outside your "comfort zone" with tasks that provoke thought and creativity and cover useful learning points. Feedback tells me that this always proves very enjoyable and part of the day participants remember most.
For landscape workshops we will discover how to scout a location for opportunities, to set up our tripods, consider image type and quality, composition, focusing and metering, remote triggering and the use of filters including neutral density, graduated neutral density and polarisers for dramatic effects. Importantly, you will not be told what to shoot, but given whatever guidance and freedom you need to capture a scene as you see it, which is of far greater value.
Also offered is back to basics photography training for those who have been gifted that new camera but do not know where to start, or those who wish to take better photographs of their family and friends with or without flash.
For those who already own their own equipment I wholly recommend that you bring this with you as it what you will be shooting with as your photography develops. If you can borrow something, great, if not, there are companies that do gear rental.
Whatever you want to cover, I look forward to meeting you and working as hard as I can to ensure you get the most from your session, whether it be short or long and 1-2-1 or in a group.
What training is offered?
I believe in being flexible to give customers what they need.
Flash and light blending
Photography basics, (stand alone session or incorporated within one of the other disciplines).
If you have ever wanted to capture those surreal long exposure shots, close-ups of bugs or flowers, or wanted to learn dramatic lighting, it can all be done here.
How long will it last?
Again, flexibility is the key. Based on your level of experience and what you wish to cover, I will recommend either 2 hour, 5 hour or 9 hour sessions. Landscape sessions will normally be 5 or 9 hours. Photography basics can be covered locally and 2 hours can be a nice introduction.
Where will we go?
This depends on what you wish to cover. For basics, flash and macro photography training, there is little need to travel far. For landscape shooting, you may have a location in your mind that you have wanted to shoot and we can do our best to visit. For group workshops itineraries may be set from the point where the workshops are offered, but there may be flexibility within a locality, depending on weather and the feelings of the group.
How many locations will we visit?
Generally for all-day sessions we will try to visit 2 locations to give you some variety and different shooting opportunities. For shorter sessions, best use of time may mean 1 location. I strongly believe that you will gain far more by exploring a location in detail and giving yourself plenty of time to concentrate on the technical and artistic aspects, rather than rushing around trying to cram in as much as possible. Less time in the car also means more time behind the camera and more teaching time, which is what it's all about!
What do we need to bring?
We will discuss this at the point of booking and tailor it to what we expect to do. Let's start with your own camera, suitable lenses and spare, CHARGED batteries. For landscape work, accessories such as filters, a remote release and a tripod will enable you to get the most from the day, whereas for lighting sessions, you will need your flash or similar light source. Try to bring gear suitable for the day we have planned and remember you have to carry it! To get the most out of some sessions you will ideally need a camera with manual exposure mode, usually shown by the letter "M" on the exposure mode dial. Just ask me if you are unsure.
For outdoor workshops and training bring warmer clothes than you think you will need and ensure you have a wind and water proof jacket, plus suitable footwear to traverse uneven ground on the way to locations that require a walk. A weather proof and protective camera bag is a good idea. By all means bring drinks, snacks and even a pack-up, though we will endeavour to find a suitable pit-stop at a convenient point in the day, supporting a local tea room or cafe.
For macro work, sunscreen, hat and (ironically!) insect repellent are a good idea. Ticks and biting flies can be a problem in some areas and ticks pose a significant health risk.
Above all, bring a sense of humour and enthusiasm to learn!
How much will it cost?
You choose whether you wish to be one to one with me or to share the experience with a friend.
2 hours £50
5 hours £120
9 hours £200
For 2-2-1 (price is for 2 people, not each!)
2 hours £70
5 hours £170
9 hours £250
Specific landscape or Group workshops
These are normally for a max of 4 persons and will run for at least 8 hours, sometimes more.
£110 per person
Do you ever cancel workshops or training sessions?
I will do all I reasonably can to ensure a session goes ahead as planned to avoid any inconvenience. However, photography is meant to be fun and for the sake of you and your expensive gear, the session will be rescheduled if the weather forecast includes persistent rain and/or very strong winds. We can do something in almost any other conditions and in fact most of the best images can be shot in changeable weather. There are even good possibilities on those grey, overcast days. In the event of a day being cancelled, I will confirm this the day before and we can reschedule it to a mutually convenient time.
What if weather conditions turn unexpectedly bad when we are already out?
To an extent, we have to take what the British climate throws at us and changeable weather can often be the best for landscape work. It may be that we have to bolt for shelter here and there or go have a coffee for a while. However, I am a fair person and if we are not getting a useful level of photography and training done, I will offer to reschedule the balance of time we are unable to use to a mutually convenient date in the near future.
Risk, accessibility and mobility
To get the most from a session we may have to walk with our gear to and from the locations we are shooting at. This may involve some moderate exercise and steep or uneven sections of path (especially on the coast). You are responsible for your own health and safety at all times and it is suggested that you pack and dress thoughtfully if the day is likely to involve some more energetic routes. Dress appropriately for weather conditions that may reasonably be expected and use sunscreen and insect repellent if needed. Please let me know in advance if you have any particular mobility or health issues as there are plenty of locations that are easily accessible. You can easily bring too much camera gear which can detract from the enjoyment of the day, so bring what you need, but don't overdo it!
How do we get there?
Unless stated otherwise, please make your own travel arrangements to the meet-up location. Depending on the number of participants and where we are going to shoot, car sharing is usually a good option from this point.