Digital Photography Course – Review

Class One

We watch a slideshow and there are some incredible photos – a beam of light throwing a splash of colour upon a road, a man draped in stripy shadows in a black-and-white shot. Apparently these photos have been taken by past students. AMAZING! They look like they’ve been taken by professionals. We are told to never use the little green ‘auto’ button on our cameras again.
Tip: Don’t bother with manual focus. Use auto – and if you want to focus on something that isn’t center frame, focus on it then keep your finger on the release button while you recompose your photo, then shoot.

Class Two

Arrive early enough to bags a red beanbag seat. Tonight we learn about shutter speed and spend the last half hour outside taking photos of passing cars, streetlights and a luminous bus shelter. Thank goodness for digital – I would hate to have wasted developing paper on these.
Tip: Invest in a good tripod. For slow shutter, and you’ll want to use slow shutter, you’ll need one.

Clearly an early sign of genius.

Class Three

It’s about aperture and metering tonight. An information overload, we’re told. And it is. But it doesn’t matter because now I feel I’m ready to go out and take some photos and make aperture, ISO and shutter speed work together. The three elements of exposure.
Tip: Take your light reading off the mid-tone in a photo. This will often be the subject’s skin.

Class Four

Time for the fun stuff as we begin to learn about the creative side of photography. It’s all about composition – the rule of thirds, lines that lead your eyes… We even discuss the impact of the Fibonacci spiral. And white balance.
Tip: Use white balance not just to neutralize a photo, play around with it to give unnatural blue or orange hues to your shot.

Playing around with white balance.

Class Five

Night shooting! Make sure you bring your tripod for this. We learn about shooting at dusk, after dark, and about taking photos of lightning and fireworks. We all go outside, our tutor lights some sparklers and we all take photos of him dancing around like a crazy person.
Tip: Use a high aperture number to ‘bleed’ the colour in your photos. This gives lights a starburst effect when shooting at night.

Shooting with sparklers.

Field Trip!

We go on a Sunday afternoon field trip which is a really a great way to bring together the skills we’ve learned in this course. Unfortunately, it’s cloudy in the afternoon and then rains at night, but it’s still loads of fun.

A pic from the field trip.

Class Six

Flash photography. I started to turn off at the beginning of the lesson because in my experience, flash has always looked bad. But apparently not! We see some really great photos where flash has been used, particularly in lighted conditions where you would not normally think to use it.
Tip: Use flash to eliminate the shadows on someone’s face when they are standing in full light, it brings the face in line with the back light.

Class Seven

Second last class, which is sad. We get a really comprehensive rundown on how to edit our photos in Lightroom. I need to take some more photos for next week’s finale and am planning a few 6am mornings to catch the sunrise.
Tip: To really make your photos pop, get Adobe Lightroom.

Class Eight

Canapes, drinks and slideshows of our work. A great way to finish a very rewarding course.
Tip: Your photos probably aren’t as bad as you think they are!

And they weren’t. I got one of mine in the Top 30 – a selection from about 1,000 student photos, which means I’d come a long way. I’m pretty happy with that!

My winning shot.

Find out more about this fantastic digital photography course and buy a voucher here.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Wow, this all are really superb photographs. I love photography and always in search of different types of photos. I had read this whole article and given tips are surely going to improve my photography quality.

  2. vashti
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    thanks! glad you liked it :)

  3. Amanda
    Posted July 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Nice one Vashti!!! Still doing a great job!!! They are lucky to have you!!!

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