Saturday, 23 July 2011

Photography Course

May 9-13 I did a 4 day beginner's photography course with London School of Photography. The Wednesday was a day off, so it actually ran over 5 days.


On the first day we met our instructor and introduced ourselves. One of the other people on the course was Trinny, who looked and sounded oddly familiar - turns out it was Trinny from Trinny and Susannah! This day of the course covered the basics of digital photography, such as: lenses, image quality and type (JPG/RAW), shutter speeds and aperture settings. We had a bit of fun playing with shutter speed and light grafitti, and homework for that night was to get a self portrait of ourselves in 2 different positions. Considering it was still light at 8.45pm meant this homework took a while to complete, and I had been sitting around, waiting for it to get dark since 4pm, so got a bit bored, and couldn't wait for it to get any darker!

fast shutter speed
 This day we learnt more about manual exposure including ISO and the light meter, as well as manual and autofocus. In the afternoon, we had a bit of a 'field trip' to a local park near Oxford street with a fountain, where we used the camera in shutter speed priority, which gave a completely different look to the water. We also played with different effects by zooming and/or twisting the camera while taking a picture and looked at the difference in depth of field using aperture priority. After that we practised panning, where you follow a moving object and the back ground blurs.

Slow shutter speed

As the Wednesday was a day off we had two sets of homework: 1. to get a shot will all 3 colour traffic lights, and 2. to take photos of the elements of nature (fire, water, air, earth). That night I caught up with Gillian and her sister, and we took the traffic light photos, as well as having a bit of fun with our cameras!

fun with Gill :)

We learnt about bracketing and metering modes. We also spent a bit of time looking at white balance and creative styles. Next we learnt a little bit about composition (rule of thirds, the golden triangle, and golden spiral, all based on the golden ration) and lighting. Homework for that night was 'reflections and shadows'. 

Not part of homework, but I found a squirrel in Hyde Park :P
Friday we learnt about flash, and how something as simple as putting a piece of tissue (well, actually we used toilet paper! :P) over the flash can help diffuse the light, giving a much softer photo, particularly for portraits. Next we did a short bit on portrait photography, followed by a quick tutorial on photoshop, which ended the course. Before we did that though, we went to Chinatown with the task of only 10 photos... to be honest I didn't really like the subject matter, so I struggled getting that many!

Now for the big question: Was it worth nearly 600GBP?? I will admit it was useful, and I did find out how easy it was to go from fully automatic mode to fully manual mode, something which I hadn't quite picked up with all the reading on photography I have done... BUT with six people in a class I am struggling to see how we used nearly 3600GBP of resources over the 4 days. We had 1 tutor for less then 6 hrs a day, and about the only equipment we used was a room and a computer, as we all used our own cameras. While I did meet somewhat of a celebrity, and they (the photography school, not Trinny!) did provide biscuits and drinks, I don't think it was worth the price... however this course wasn't much more expensive then all the short photography courses out there, so I guess there is a lot of profit involved, no matter where you go!