So, as you may have noticed, my more recent posts have had significantly better photo quality…. This is because I recently purchased a flashy DSLR Canon camera which I LOVE!! However, despite having a lot of love for my new toy… I didn’t really know how to use it. I tried in vain to play about with it myself to no real avail, then I turned to YouTube which was slightly better (actually managed to get the memory card and battery in position and turn the thing on by this point). Then shamefully I switched it on auto for the next few months and snapped away like that. Now don’t get me wrong, the pictures were still miles ahead of anything I could take with my iPhone…. but I just felt like I was cheating my beautiful big camera out of its real purpose in life. It was at this point I decided to look into a photography course and stumbled upon ‘Going Digital’.
‘Going Digital’ is a nationwide company specialising in teaching photography. They do a variety of courses catering for all levels and abilities and also focusing on specific interests such as wildlife or landscape photography. I figured I had better start from the top so I booked onto two courses, both conveniently situated in the Yorkshire area. The first of these was held at Roundhay Park in Leeds and was entitled ‘Beginner Level One; Getting off Auto’ It sounded exactly what I needed!
So, I arrived at the house, camera in tow and not really knowing what to expect. I was greeted by several other students of various ages who I was relieved to find out was as clueless as myself when it came to using their camera. The class was run by a professional photographer called Pandora Maud who took things at a nice pace for us and explained things in a very thorough, yet non-complex manner – just what we all needed! The course ran from 10.30 til 4.30 and she began by giving us a presentation about how the different settings on our camera affected the look of the photo. This was incredibly interesting and a good bit of theory to help us figure out the foundations of what we had to do with our cameras. Each student got a copy of the presentation with notes sent via email at the end of the course. The next bit, which I think was possibly the most helpful part of the entire course was where we split into groups with similar cameras and were given sheets which asked us to identify each button on our camera. Now I know what you’re thinking; how much of a special case do you have to be to not know what all the buttons do? Well…..It’s a lot more complicated than it looks, I can tell you! I now know what every button does and where it is and I have the scribbled on a piece of paper tucked safely away in my camera bag for reference when I forget! After a short break, we practiced a few exercises in the classroom which began incredibly clumsily and cack-handed but soon began to improve.
After a break for lunch, we were given assignments and let loose around the grounds to get snapping. This for myself involved a lot of running around climbing on things and crawling around on the floor to get the shots I wanted. I felt very professional but in reality, probably looked like a bit of a crazy person! I also tried in vain to photograph a rather reluctant swan which was incredibly unwilling to be snapped! Pandora wandered around giving pointers and correcting mistakes (of which I am still making many!) before finally rounding us all back up to sit and look at everyone’s photos in the classroom. I must admit, I felt a little apprehensive about everyone seeing my pictures (as we were forbidden from deleting any bad ones to hide the evidence) but it was a really great peer learning experience as we all could appreciate the good and bad points about each other’s images and discussed how they could be improved upon.
Overall the day was fantastic, I feel a lot more capable of using my camera and I learnt things on this course in one day, that would have taken me weeks or even months to master on my own. I would definitely recommend ‘Going Digital’ to anyone wanting to improve their photography skills and I can’t wait for my second course in a few week’s time! Check out their website for more info… https://www.goingdigital.co.uk