Category Archives: Workshops for Beginnners

Beginner’s Photography Workshops in Northamptonshire

I have just started providing beginner’s photography workshops and my first set of attendees came along last weekend on a cold snowy day to learn some basic principles of photography.

The courses are broadly aimed at parents to help them take better pictures of their own children and families.  However we also touched on action shots, scenic shots and photographing flowers and pets etc… The main focus of the workshop was to teach the basic camera settings and principles surrounding exposure, aperture, shutter speed, composition and looking at light.  Each attendee brought along some photos they had taken for critique and for follow up they will be sending other images in to see how they have improved using the techniques learnt during the course.  The goal was to get the attendees to take their DSLR’s off of the Auto setting.

The course was designed to be informal with a mixture between theory and practical shooting.   Having covered the principles we went to do some hands on shooting practice to put it all into practice.  Attendees took some pictures of each other and also a child model.  We talked about shooting portraits and I took a few headshots to show them.

We had a bit of fun demonstrating the principle of shallow depth of field with a rather nice Teasel plant and a lovely smiley lady

The ladies were kind enough to send in some feedback from the course – as follows ;

” Learnt so much with a fab teacher and great bunch of gals – thank you everyone ” – Samantha

“And the same for me.  Utterly lovely Saturday morning – with results ! ” – Virginia
“Just got home and wanted to let you know how thrilled I am to have had the opportunity to attend your course today.
I found the whole experience so much fun,informal and extremely enjoyable. Didn’t feel at all silly about asking any questions etc..
I now feel confident enough to take my camera off auto and play with it whilst on a manual setting. So pleased to have come away today with enough knowledge to help me through my first stages of ‘decent’ photography!
Thank you so much for your hospitality.. ‘Proper coffee’ too!” – Louise

” Presented in a way that was easy to understand, not too much technical jargon, but just enough to explain it well enough. Didn’t feel embarrassed to ask “silly” questions, and ask again! Timing was perfect, just enough of brain time and then the same of fun time! Good tea and biccys xxx ”  – Vanessa

” Brilliant. Really enjoyed myself.  And ditto ! Just enough info so not bombarded with technical jargon which meant it was easy to understand and I came away with things I’d learnt that I would actually use regularly when taking photos and hence not just forget! – Kerry

Here are a few of the images that were taken by the ladies that attended – including a nice example of freezing action with fast shutter speed…. looks like I might have taught them a bit too well !!

The next course will take place on Saturday 2nd March 9.30 – 1.00pm in Northamptonshire – Cost £99.  Please get in touch if you would like a place.


Photography Training Northampton

What’s the famous saying – never work with children or animals .. not sure about the animals but I love working with Children and Babies and getting lovely images for their parents.  You do however need certain skills and a few tricks up your sleeve to get the best out of children and babies.  I’ve recently started to run 1-2-1 days for photographers wanting to improve their children’s photography.  These are 2 day training, guided shooting, portfolio building – call it what you will – days.  Its also great when I get to help someone who can help me out in areas where I’m a bit weak – in this case I had a recent session with a fabulous photographer who is used to weddings and does incredible wildlife and landscape work but was after a few tips on working with children of different ages.  In return he was able to give me some tips on workflow and processing. The following images are taken by me but are examples of the sort of shots you might get for your portfolio with one of the sessions.

We started out looking at the best ways to get great shots indoors – rainy as the UK is – location shoots cannot always be outside.  Here’s a couple of examples of how to get great images in someone’s front room with just some great natural window light.

It’s also great to look at what you can produce in someone’s back garden – making use of the environment.  This show the shot I’d set up on the right hand side.

As it was a good day and we were able to go outside – we made the most of using the Autumn colours for some great shots.  Kids also enjoy playing amongst the leaves so this is a great thing to do with them.

Babies and Toddlers are always great fun to photography.  Crawling babies especially move very fast so finding good spots to photograph them can be challenge.  The bed is a good option ..

As is anywhere you can keep them contained

Again – you can use the garden to get some nice shots – thinking about suitable backgrounds

And if you really need to keep them still in one place – there’s always the bath !!

Older boys are a good subject too – as they just want to tear about and you need to keep them occupied with a having stuff to do

And again – when you have the option to include elements of the season its great to do that

Finally – it can be really great to have a cooperative little girl – who is happy to pose and follow direction

You might be able to direct the shoot yourself – or occasionally the model might get excited and start to suggest poses of her own – such as the one on the right!

It’s a good opportuntity to get some great close up portraits for your portfolio

If you are interested in building your porfolio or getting 2 days of solid 1-2-1 time and tips on shooting images of children get in touch

1-2-1 Photography Training_Photographing Children

As you know I’m a children’s portrait photographer based in Northamptonshire – but in a former life I was a qualified teacher.   Usually I’m on the other side on training courses and busy learning from people whose work I admire and people who inspire me.  However I sometimes get asked to do a bit of training for people who are either keen amateurs wanting to understand their cameras more and get better images or by Photographers just starting out in the portrait business who are looking to improve their skills and get some tips on photographing children.  Generally these sessions are completely targeted to the needs of the individual and use some lovely little models to demonstrate how I might go about working with a child to get certain images.

Group training sessions are great fun but when you have little models – even with small numbers on a course – it can be a bit of a bunfight .. and there is always that one person that doesn’t let others get a look in !   A 1-2-1 day will allow you lots of time to get shots for your portfolio or for your personal satisfaction and means you can learn completely at your pace, ask any questions that you might be intimidated to ask amongst people more experienced than yourself, and get a targetted learning experience.

All these pictures were taken on a recent 2 day 1-2-1 session where we spent a day out shooting (3 separate sessions) and a day going through processing tips, marketing stuff etc,etc.. – all subjects chosen by my trainee.   I don’t profess to know a great deal – I’m still learning all the time myself – but I have a few tips to pass on.   Everyone will do things differently – I can simply show people the way I do it. All the images below were taken by me on the day to demonstrate certain techniques and shooting processes.

This one shows the trainee at work and what we were aiming for in the final image by placing the little model where we did.

When doing images outdoors you can use whatever you have around you – I’m fortunate living near the beautiful old town of Olney in Buckinghamshire that there are some fabulous spots to take images literally just along the high street and near the main roads.

The natural environment provides a ton of different options for back drops – so its worth thinking about what would provide interest in the image – in some cases this can be foreground and background texture.

Its also good to use architecture for framing in images.

Doors make excellent frames in images as in the picture below:

I chose different age ranges for the models and a mixture of boys and girls – lovely little girls that are happy to pose – like the little sweetie above are one thing – little boys with a ton of energy to burn off are a bit different.  I try where possible to take them out and about where they can run around, climb trees, ride bikes or do whatever they like to enjoy themselves and capture their personalities that way.  Again Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire have some beautiful parks nearby so I’m lucky to have these on my doorstep.

Trees are great for lads to climb and mess about on – but you can also use these within the composition of the image.

Lets face it though – we are at the mercy of the British Weather and we can’t always be out and about – and sadly not all homes look like something out of  Grand Designs – so we also looked at the best places to find some light if you are faced just with a small house to photograph in on a day when its pouring with rain !

We had another challenge with our last model of the day – a 15 month old toddler.  These are always good fun.  They are so excited to be toddling about that they spend much of the time looking at the floor and won’t stay in one position for more than about 3 seconds – so you have to chase them around – try lots of tricks and find ways to keep them contained to get portraits.

So if you are interested in learning how to use your nice new camera a bit better – to get better portraits of your own children or if you are a Photographer looking to get some more experience and build your portfolio in a non-intimidating 1-2-1 environment do get in touch