Our Photography Courses Blog

Pictures from DSLR photography course at Stourhead, Wiltshire

Posted in Photography Courses on August 29th, 2012 by Phil – Comments Off

We love teaching photography courses at Stourhead, as it gives an amazing range of scenery, nice sandwiches and ice cream.  The gardens are often described as the jewel in the crown of the National Trust, and if you like landscape gardens and you’ve not seen Stourhead, prepare to be amazed.

As you can see there is a great variety of things to photograph, and even on a beginner’s photography course the pictures can look very good.  The one danger at Stourhead is that it was built as a series of views, so if you’re not careful everyone takes the same pictures.  However, as you can see – no danger of that here – a nice set of varied and interesting pictures of a beautiful location.  The Autumn is probably the best time of year to go, with Radio 4 broadcasting live from there every year on the best day for Autumn colours.  Naturally the trees were chosen from all over the world to give the best greens.

Photography Mentoring Service – Ann’s cropping dilemma

Posted in Mentoring Service on August 28th, 2012 by Phil – Comments Off

Ann sent two crops of the same picture in to the mentoring service, and wondered which was best and how to improve them:

Here are the original two:

Ann's first crop

Ann's second crop

Here’s Phil’s bit of mentoring:

We think the wider angle works better, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we can’t see the story. It’s not really pretty enough for an abstract vision of a cyclist frozen in mid-air. Secondly, because it’s at f9 the shutter speed is a little slow – needs to be faster for such a fast-moving subject. If it was shallower the cyclist would be more at the centre of our attention. Thirdly, we like the shadow on the wall – it helps us to understand what is going on in 3D. I’ve cropped it tighter and kept in the water – see what you think.

Here’s Phil’s crop:

Phil's crop

It’s not always necessary to get the whole thing in, sometimes it’s good to cut to the chase, catch the edge of the knife slicing through the fruit rather than the slightly bored-looking cook. However, here we felt the story was the thing, so we cropped in to get more story, without losing the context.
However – they are three different pictures, and it’s just an idea. The idea of the mentoring service is to help you to get the images you want, not impose our will on all the shots.

Well done Ann, and thanks for letting us use this example.

Pictures from DSLR Photography Course in Malvern

Posted in Photography Courses on August 27th, 2012 by Phil – Comments Off

We’ve just moved offices to a swanky new building up the road, so these are some of the last pictures to be taken on a course in the gardens at PMS towers in Colwall, over the hill from Malvern.
It’s a good place to practice basic photography, although we do find that the greenery can sometimes cause the cameras to get things wrong in the white balance department, and under-represent the colours a little. We also have an amazing variety of insects if people want to brush up on their macro photography.
We also like to throw water around to give people a chance to play with shutter speeds – it can get a bit messy, but you’re ok if you keep out of the way!  There are a lot more pictures like this on our facebook page.

The new office is on the top of the Malvern Hills, convenient for getting up onto the hills, and for our old favourite the Wyche Inn for lunch. We have a fully-equipped conference room now, lots of parking, and it’s easy to find.

Creative photography course at Sudeley Castle

Posted in Photography Courses on August 24th, 2012 by Phil – Comments Off

What a fantastic day we had today…..it was amazingly hot, unlike last time when it rained all day and we waded through mud! And although we carry on regardless of the weather, rain is a real nuisance. The group were amazing and took some incredibly creative photographs. In fact, the ‘spooky’ shots were possibly the best ever taken! There’s often something interesting going on at Sudeley, and today was no exception! A BBC film crew were there filming some murder mystery thing. (See why I send students out to create a ‘spooky’ photo in-camera?!). We always have fun on the Creative Photography Course, and I (Rachel) really like to push people out of their ‘comfort’ zones. What’s the point in taking the same old stuff all the time? Albert Einstein said:
“The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, and expecting it to turn out differently”…..well said, Albert!