Photography Lessons don’t have to be formal, or in a classroom
Back in August I received a phone call from Rachel inquiring about photography lessons, but it wasn’t for her personally, it was for her partner’s birthday present. I am so glad I picked up the phone as that led me to a brilliant Saturday with Iain, an amateur photographer with hidden talents.
We set up a date over email, but even 3 weeks after the initial phone call from Iain’s wife we had not spoken on the phone to discuss his specific needs. In all my 1-1 photography lessons, I tailor the session precisely to what my student wants; after all there is no point teaching a student something generic when the learning opportunities are so vast.
Iain was very clear about what he wanted. He wanted to understand the reasons ‘why’ he should use a certain shutter speed, or use a type of lens, or why he should use a certain camera mode (such as aperture priority or shutter priority).
So I set about designing the day teaching him the three fundamentals and then using those theory and practical lessons to use in real world scenarios; I chose Coombe Hill because of its beauty and varied landscape. The views up at Coombe Hill are amazing on a clear day, but there are patches of forest that are present lighting challenges that I wanted Iain to face and resolve. I always start with a brief practical, then the theory, then practice and finally a test.
The test is critical as it quickly identify any potential gaps in my student’s knowledge. The test is brief and very informal. It is VITALLY important that Iain never feels silly or belittled if there are things he does not yet understand, so I do try to have a relaxed relationship with all my students.
Iain’s knowledge was very impressive, either that or he’s an incredibly fast learner 🙂
Iain understood the nature of shutter speeds very quickly, he also has a great perception of combining the three fundamentals in unison to capture the perfect composition. He has very deep questions about camera technique, and was very responsive when I had to correct him a few times on how to hold a DSLR camera like a pro!
The next part of Iain’s day was to have a bit of lunch (we had some lovely sandwiches made by his wife) and discussed software, in particular Adobe Lightroom. Prior to his birthday, Rachel had asked me about software so I recommend she buy Adobe Lightroom as part of her gift to him, so when I arrived it had already been installed and running on Iain’s iMac computer.
We imported the photos from the day and I demonstrated the optimized workflow within Adobe Lightoom, the advantages of shooting in RAW, how to organize masses of photos and dozens of other tips as well as answering his well thought out questions.
I had observed he has a ten-year old Canon camera, but even though it has aged it is no less relevant because of the advice I had given Iain regarding bodies and lenses, and to demonstrate my point we took a photographic tour of his beautiful garden… if you want to know that secret, then you’ll have to book me for photography lessons 😉
I had a wonderful time spent parting knowledge to a perfect student, Iain’s attitude was positive and humble. He took onboard everything I said and obviously challenged me when he felt necessary which I ABSOLUTELY encouraged.
I will finish with a quote from Iain.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day and understand a lot more now about the fundamentals of photography which was my aim, so thank you!
I am happy for you to use the photos for your blog and I hope to be in touch soon to continue my journey back into photography.