This past week-end I was offline and busy at my first DSLR workshop learning from an expert at the local Learning Connection. I wanted to report on my experience for those of you who have never been to a photography workshop.
I love online learning but sometimes a live course can give you a real skill boost and my course was a real eye-opener. I learned a lot about why’s as well as plenty of how’s about camera operation. It was exciting and a lot of fun.
What Do You Do In a DSLR Workshop?
Students will tell you that each workshop and tutor are different, especially for students who work and can only take a weekend photography class. Our class was limited to a small number
The range of cameras students brought in was interesting too. Canon, Nikon and Lumix cameras with a digital point and shoot in the mix as well. My camera is a basic Canon 1300D (known as the Canon T6 or Rebel in the US).
Our tutor gave an outline of what he would cover over the two days, but was flexible about how things would turn out as each class of students is totally different. I believe we all learned so much I will spend weeks practising.
What Happens in a Workshop?
My beginner post touched on basic camera use and operation to get bloggers and pet parents up and running but intereacting for real with fellow camera users meant we learned a lot
The class had a mix of explanations in the classroom and active tasks to put the theory into practice taking pictures and getting used to our own camera in Manual mode. It was a lovely day so we ventured out into the Connexion’s grounds as soon as we could.
I was using Manual for the first time and had to work hard to remember shutter speeds, ISO and aperture. Especially as there was a discussion about the ‘exposure triangle’ that includes all three elements at once. For camera users, learning about how the three elements interact will allow you adjust and take better pictures with a more sophisticated camera.
Over two days my workshop covered the following subjects, and it’s the kind of things you can expect too
- Foreground, middle ground and background shots.
- Taking images at different heights.
- Taking photographs from various viewpoints and the difference this makes.
- What happens when you crop (moving in really close)
- Contrasting and complementary colours.
- The difference your light makes and,
- Working with a flash.
- Adjustments in Photoshop and the impact of RAW.
What Kinds of Technical Stuff Did I Learn?
I learned about t
In Manual mode I had to change my shutter speed a lot to get the picture I wanted. I suspect the more experience a photographer gets the easier judging shutter speed will get.
I learned that things don’t necessarily work out the first or even second time. You need to adjust and explore your settings as a beginner.
Our tutor also covered the difference between RAW and JPEG photographs which was a revelation. I am going to do a beginners guide to RAW/JPEGS blog post because I am excited to investigate the difference it will make to cat (and pet) photographs.
My new photography software Affinity imports RAW images directly and I am currently exploring what I can do. On the
Is a Photography Course Worth It?
Learning from an experienced tutor and professional photographer meant we were able to explore and make mistakes, then correct our settings with skilled help.
The class have useful handouts to refer to which is really helpful and our tutor worked with us individually. He made sure I got to grips with my camera’s manual mode and the
Parts of the course were a bit nerve-wracking because I worried about having settings correctly set up, and navigating my camera menus, but all of the students with the same cameras were able to prompt each other when we forgot things.
I came away from the DSLR workshop with plenty of skills to work on and improve. I can do better with my cat photographs and lots of other subjects. I may even be able to improve my action shots.
I got the impression that the better your camera, the better your final results will be, but it is important to note that a lot depends on what you want to photograph.
I do not need fancy lenses for my Canon taking pictures of active cats or close-ups so will focus on expanding my Manual skills. Look out for more fun in the coming weeks.
Finally, no matter how much you think you know (or don’t know) be open to what your course tutor suggests. Their experience will allow you to learn so many things, and try new approaches, and never be afraid to ask questions.