A couple of weeks ago I attended yet another great event organised by Joe Blogs, this time a photography workshop sponsored by Currys and Canon. The idea was for us to step out of our comfort zone and start shooting in manual.
I definitely needed something like this, as I feel that I have yet to explore all the possibilities of my Canon 600D and sometimes it’s difficult to find the time to read a manual or watch all the tutorials. I had used a point and shoot for year and years and only got a proper DSLR a couple of years ago. It was an old Canon Rebel XT I got second hand and even though it had its limitations (it’s around 10 years old), it was great to start practising. Now I have a much better and more modern camera that eliminates some of the issues the older one created, so it’s about time I learn how to make the most of it. Being a kinestetic learner (I know this because I took a test at work, you know, important stuff) I learn better by doing and a workshop was the perfect way to go about it – having the chance to experiment and ask questions as we go is great! Paul Hames was there to be our teacher and photo mentor and we all had a great time (and hopefully will start taking better photos). We had a few pointers and technical advice given and then were set free in the city, to go out and explore with our cameras.
What were my main takeaways from this? There were a few more technical bits that I wrote down but I feel these are the main ideas anyone needs to remember to be a better photographer, regardless of skill level and equipment:
- The most important thing in the photography equation is you, followed by the lens and then the camera. This means that it doesn’t matter if you have top gear and no eye or technical knowledge, as it is you that makes your photos amazing.
- Shoot from the hip – especially good for street photography, as people won’t see you’re taking a photo.
- Don’t be afraid to overexpose – Getting more light into the image will also bring more light into the photo.
- Take shadows and reflections into account, as they add whole different dimensions to a photo.
- Fill the frame – so you don’t have to crop later.
- Be brave – Whether you’re photographing people or things, you need to push yourself forward, it’s all about confidence.
- Anticipate – When you are covering events, learn to observe and anticipate, so you can get that shot at that perfect time.
- Beware of blinkers – to avoid taking a photo to later find out the person’s eyes were closed, do more than one photo, that way you can even edit in post production. Apparently women blink a lot more than men too and I didn’t know that.
- People – let people into your ambient and street photos, as it gives places and situations scale and more life.
- Happy accidents – they’re bound to happen, keep taking photos and you’ll get them.
- Change angles – try different angles when taking photos of something. I have realised I don’t do this often because I mostly wear skirts and don’t really fancy flashing the world while crouching for pictures. The joys of being a woman!
- If you want to take black and white photos, take them in colour first and then change them into bw in post production, that way you not only have the option but will have a better quality photo.
- Image quality – it’s best to shoot in RAW however this makes for very large files. JPEG files apparently lose quality overtime, depending on how many times you open and close them. I did not know that!
- Card speed is also very important – I have learned this is the reason I can’t shoot properly with my screen on. It seems like I need to get a faster one!
I had a lot of fun and I think everyone else did too! Here are some of the photos of the day:
Our teacher Paul holding his best tenor pose.
I call this “Portrait of a wine drinker”.
Mel from Le Coin de Mel looking gorgeous!
A cute doggy that decided to come play with us.
Jasiminne had a great time playing with it.
Mel again – girl, you’re photogenic and fun!
Paul and Lucy’s reflections. Lucy won best photo of the day and it was well deserved!
When I saw the hard hats I was thinking Diet Coke but this was all I got.
When I go to these events I rarely get my photo taken but Lucy came to the rescue and sent me these two!
Claire looking adorable!
Which one is your favourite? I have a hard time choosing! Thanks again to Joe Blogs, Currys, Canon and Paul Hames for a very well spent Saturday!
Sara, I love your write up! You were paying attention with all the detail! and the photo’s have an energy, humour and life about them, nice snaps of me too 🙂 Good luck with your blogging and masterering your camera, I’m here for free advice if you should need me. Many thanks, Paul #photocoachuk
Thanks Paul! I’m glad you like them! I’ll definitely take you up on that 😀
That is a gorgeous photo of you there, Sara! So sad I couldn’t make this, but your tips are great.
Fab post, gorgeous! Perfect description of th course (aaaargh, I still have to write mine up!)
I learnt so much on the day. Must write about it!!!
Fav photo: the one with the half built building / Windows (+ reference to the coke advert haha).
Oh this is such a fun workshop! I really like the one with the water reflections!