Sign up for our mailing list.
“I had a great time and practised a new way of seeing things. I am pleased that I’ve booked the workshop! Thanks for everything”VerenaGermany
“I completed the Beginners Photowalk & Workshop which I really enjoyed. It’s a mix of theory & practice is excellent way to learn and understand the basic concepts”HadiaUxbridge
“Great instruction style and a very balanced mix of technique and practice”AdeleNotting Hill
“A very useful day out and a great way to learn, with friendly, informative staff. I’d definitely recommend it!”JudePutney
“It was very fun and I enjoyed the mix of structure and freestyle…the tutors were fabulous, relaxed and friendly and I would definitely love to come back for another course!”RebeccaPutney
“Enjoyed it very much…friendly, lovely people”S. WebsterKensington
“Amazing experience! Will definitely do it again and recommend to friends”G. BittencourtPutney
“I loved getting out in a cool, interesting environment to explore and get to know my camera”K. WebsterBalham
“Amazing photography workshop with @PhotographyLDN yesterday, my photos will never be the same again!”G ChagulaS London
Watch our promo
Recent blog posts
- Snapshots from the Culture Club’s Art Remixed workshop at the Hyperlink Festival, Tate Modern, April 26th
- Hot shots: London Marathon 2013
- NEWS: The Culture Club heads to Tate Modern for Hyperlink Festival
- Snapshots from the Easter break photography workshops for teens, April 8th
- Why you should invest in lenses, not bodies
Category Archives: Tips
Shopping online for a new camera but don’t know if it’ll fit in your handbag? Check out http://camerasize.com/compare/#257,101 (Thanks Nick Gurney for the link)
Those great guys at Nikon have released a handy map to ensure you get the best snaps of the Thames River pageant this Jubilee weekend. According to research commissioned by Nikon COOLPIX, a cool 332 million (!) pictures will be taken of the festivities – more than last year’s Royal Wedding! – so check out the map HERE and also take a note of shooting tips from veteran Royal photographer Arthur Edwards, just below:
- Get there early and make sure you’re in position.
- If you don’t get your pictures, you don’t get your memories. Make sure your camera is fully charged and keep it in your hand ready to take a shot as soon as you spot something.
- Make use of the whole long weekend. The great thing about the Jubilee is that we’re talking about four days of photo opportunities. Get ready to snap street parties, people dressed up, Union Jack flags popping up all over the place, and some typically British pomp and ceremony.
- Don’t be frightened to ask people to move to the left or right so that you can get a clearer view of proceedings.
- Also don’t be afraid to ask people to pose: if they’ve dressed up, chances are they’ll love the attention!
- Try taking some video clips: music plays a large part in the Jubilee events, so try capturing the entire experience.
- Try and get a picture of the Queen. She is the only reigning monarch in living memory for most people in this country, and the Jubilee events mark a tremendous achievement. Even more than that, a picture of our smiling Queen is truly inspirational: I always think if she is smiling, everything’s alright with the world.
- Don’t forget to take some crowd shots and pictures of all the venues, and get a picture of yourself there!
- If it rains, don’t let it put you off. Rest assured that the Queen will wear a vivid colour to stand out from dreary weather, and she uses a clear umbrella so that spectators can still see her.
I can’t get enough of the lovely weather in London right now – but with all this excess sunshine comes harsh shadows, and you might find your pics don’t quite turn out the way you’d expect them to – especially when taking portraits.
If you face your subject to the sun, they’ll be beautifully-lit – but most likely squint – while side lighting could be nice, but may cause some unsightly shadows. So the trick? Use the sun to backlight your subject and use your flash to light them up, so you get a pretty cool and well-exposed shot like this:
On your camera, you can control the “power” of the flash and the amount of light that falls on your subject by adjusting the flash compensation. So the next time you’re shooting outdoors, try it out!
Spring is on the way and it is a good time of year to take a look at the potential of your local park for some informal portrait photography. Take a friend and try some posed portraits or candid shots of life in the park. Children are great subjects and a fast shutter can capture playground action shots. Here are a few pointers:
Cloudy skies give a naturally diffused light, perfect for portraits. Soft shadows and the dappled light under trees can be used to great effect, to add mystery or flatter your subject. Increasing the ISO to around 400 in low daylight levels can be helpful. If it is very bright, wait for that stray cloud to cover the sun, or move your subject out of direct sunlight to avoid strong shadows.
Aperture and Lens Length
Think about how much background detail you want to show and how this will effect ‘the story’ of the image. The depth of field will determine how much scenery is revealed; a larger aperture will keep your subject in focus and blur the background. Take several shots with varying apertures to see the result. The length of lens will also increase or reduce the field of view. A zoom lens of around 70mm will enable you to fill the frame without being too near to the subject, ideal for discreet candid shots. A wider angle, for example 24mm, will enable you to include a wider view of the setting and add some narrative to the portrait.
Try not to overcrowd the image or include distracting elements. Think about where you want your subject to be in the frame. The ‘rule of thirds’ really does work but an equally strong image can include a leading line to the subject like a pathway. A lower or higher viewpoint than usual can add interest.
Bear in Mind
There are no restrictions in public places on photography but avoid awkward situations and photograph only your own or friends children. Be aware that some people feel that their privacy is being invaded if they are photographed, so do respect that.
(Click here to read Part 1, published on January 30th)
We’ve all heard of the Rule of Thirds, framing, using diagonals and curves, etc. etc. They work because they are psychological rules that help us understand why humans find certain images more interesting. Get to know these rules well but don’t restrict yourself by them. They are guides, after all and you can use that knowledge to assess when you can bend or break the rules, if the situation allows, in order to get a great picture. My personal suggestions on reading more about this are to read Michael Freeman’s The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos, or visit web pages such as Phototuts’s 14 Composition Techniques guide or Photography Mad’s 10 Composition Rules as a starter.
Tell a story
Personally I found this crucial in advancing my photography. To be creative, you have to know what you’re trying to portray. It’s so easy to get lost in technique, but the key to getting creative is to use all the tips and tricks you’ve learned in combination to produce something of interest. I know when I’m taking business portraits that I want to portray people as confident and approachable; if I’m going on holiday, I shoot in a documentary style to show what’s going on and what the country I’m visiting is like. Don’t just take photos because you have a camera. If you don’t do this already, challenge yourself by creating a photography project based on a theme, and that theme must be emotive – “Being Happy”, “Dereliction”, “Leaving Home”, and so on. Don’t do a theme based on something technical like “colour”, “texture” or “abstract” if you know how to do represent them already. For me, those are at an intermediate stage of your creative learning. Put all of the above four points together and you will be make more interesting images that don’t just excite other people, but excite you as well.
Photography is, in many ways, very technical. I remember starting my photography journey by learning the jargon of aperture, light temperature and inverse square law; moving on to a fascination with all the wonderful gadgets we can use – macro lenses, studio light triggers, filters, light meters and so on.
Some people are happy just to learn about the technical side, but for those who want to produce better pictures – the ones that stop people in their tracks, that encourage an emotion in their audience – then it’s important to get creative. After all, the expertise of a photographer is that they can see and present the world in a way most people can’t.
Being creative is something you can learn, and you’d be amazed how far you can push your photography if you practice, challenge yourself and take a few risks. So here’s some tips that should encourage your creativity:
Learn your kit inside and out
I find the novelty of using new techniques or equipment exciting and disruptive at the same time. It’s exciting because I’m trying something new, but then it also means that I’m still trying to find out its limitations, suitability for certain jobs and I don’t yet know how to sort problems if something goes wrong. The upshot is that I concentrate more on getting used to the technique or gadget than on what’s happening in front of me. So before I go on a job, I test, test and test again. Whatever it is I am learning soon becomes familiar to me, and I become more confident in using it; ultimately, I can then concentrate more on the people I’m photographing. I can move them about, create more action in the shots, confident that I don’t have to worry about anything else. That confidence means you can use your knowledge to do new things, without worrying so much if things go wrong – by then, you’ll know your kit so much that you’ll know how to fix it.
Think about your pictures beforehand and do lots of research
It really helps to visualise how you want your pictures to look, even when shooting events or travel. In truth, most great photographs take some planning, no matter how small. What will help you to visualise your image is to do lots of research beforehand. Personally, I hoard magazines and books so much that my living room has turned into a library! But that’s because I want to see how other people have interpreted things like street market life, tourist attractions, corporate and social events, or even studio portraits. I want to see what’s already been done and if I can do something different. Having that imaginary library in your head will mean you will not be caught out so much when a great photo opportunity appears in front of you. You will know the different ways to capture it when it arrives.
Try different angles and viewpoints
Every time I go to work on an event, I see other people with cameras and they all do the same thing; put the camera at eye level, stand rooted to the spot and take a few snaps. For me, I am constantly moving; I bend down, grab chairs (or take a stepladder) to get a higher viewpoint. I tilt my camera to create some dynamism to the image. When you’re trying these new viewpoints, accept that some of them won’t come off. But the point of taking risks is that you learn from the mistakes to make better images later on. So don’t be afraid of getting on to the ground or up towards the ceiling – by moving about, you’re already doing more than the ordinary snapper.
2012 is going to be a big year for Great Britain, so what better time to start a photo blog? Whether you are a seasoned blogging pro or are a complete novice to all things blog-related, here are a few tips to get you started:
You don’t need the latest Canon 5d Mark II or Nikon D4 DSLR to be a part of this club. A smart phone with editing software such as Photoshop Express and an outlet to show off your images does the job perfectly. You can download software for about £1 or less, and have plenty of effects to play around with.
Finding a Blog host
There are literally hundreds of different blogging sites available – WordPress and Blogger are popular for writers, where Blipfoto, Tumblr and Flickr are predominantly photography-based. If you are shooting on your smart phone, web hosts can be accessed online or most companies tend to have their version of an app.
Start looking for images in your day-to-day life. Some days you will know exactly what your blog entry is going to be, where other days will get you thinking outside the box. You start to develop a new appreciation for taking photos of the ordinary – clocks on the wall, art in the sitting room and waiting on the bus all take on a new meaning! The weird and wonderful seem to jump out when you are searching for a different image.
Look for inspiration
Other blogs are great when you are stuck for ideas. Researching their work will give you a plethora of different techniques to try, places to visit and ideas to expand and grow.
Make friends and enjoy
Comment on fellow photographer’s entries on sites like Flickr and get to know what their approach is. If you hit a photographic wall, then chatting about someone else’s photo might be just the thing you need to pick yourself up again and get the creative juices flowing. It will be a resolution you return to year after year!
View my photoblog at www.blipfoto.com/StephSummers.