Photography. It’s something we all love don’t we? There’s nothing nicer than a beautiful picture of your family, a special place or your favourite food!
It’s really emotive and for me my favourite photos have to be our wedding ones. When I look back at them they take me back to the moment; the smells, my dress, the love I felt for my husband and the all the emotions.
Since that day I’ve been interested in photography, I remember saying to my husband how I wish I could take photos like our wedding ones, but I haven’t done anymore about it than just wanting to take better photos!
A few months ago my Surrey Mama Instagram was born and suddenly I was enjoying photography. After two months and realising how much I was enjoying it we bought a DSLR and my passion was confirmed. I loved trying to capture the moments between my girls, with them and of them individually. BUT, as much as I loved the photography there has always been that niggle that I don’t really know what I am doing with my camera and that I don’t know the basics.
I was recently offered the opportunity to do a beginners workshop in photography with A Happy Capture and I jumped at the chance! I love taking photos but I’m always in auto so I was really keen to learn more about the principles of photography.
The workshop was nearly a full day lasting from 10 – 4.30 on a beautifully sunny day in Surrey. The venue, the Manor House School was the perfect backdrop for a day to escape, learn and use the amazing grounds to practise our photography.
Suzi who runs the sessions and is also an amazing photographer (check out her work here) was really welcoming and immediately put everyone at ease. Suzi, like me, wasn’t always a photographer. She started out in Marketing and whilst in Australia working decided to learn more about photography. She then spent a year travelling while doing a diploma in photography – what a wonderful way to learn (very jealous)!
In 2014 Suzi returned to the UK and her photography business here was born. You can now find her in Surrey either teaching or taking beautiful naturally lit photographs.
Our first task after we introduced ourselves and explained what we wanted to get out of the day was to set our cameras up in Aperture priority mode. Suzi had the challenge of helping all seven of us get set up, all with very different cameras and settings!
After we were all set up Suzi explained the principles of photography and the changes we had made to our cameras started to make sense. As with everything in life it’s great to listen and learn but for me the real learning is done through trial and error.
As a group we made our way to the beautiful grounds and started to play and test with what worked and didn’t work with the new settings in place.
This for me was key. I could have sat and listened to a YouTube video and set my camera up into Aperture Priority mode, but there is always something else to be doing at home or a child waking up. If I didn’t understand something Suzi and Michelle were on hand to guide us and there was inspiration all around me from the other attendees.
This for me is where the value lies in taking the time to do a course and really learn.
After this first exercise I felt confident. I felt confident to say goodbye to that setting on my camera called ‘auto’ and that was down to the perfect explanation from Suzi.
The rest of the day was spent understanding light (SO very important) and the basics of how to take a good photograph. I’ve always heard people say that in photography light is so important but never really understood why so this was really interesting and made me think about how I would shoot when I got home.
We had lots more time to practise in the grounds and I really enjoyed having the time to really think about my photographs – toddlers don’t stay still for long so I usually shoot and run!
The final element to the day sounds boring but for me was so interesting – learning about the kit you need, storage and backing up everything! This is one of the things I most needed some advice on, I am so guilty of uploading images and then leaving them on my desktop. We were given some good tips of how to manage files and what software to use.
You know you are thoroughly enjoying something when the time flies and before I knew it it was time to say goodbye to my fellow photographers and get back to normal life to start putting our new found skills into practise.
This course was the best way for me to feel confident with my camera and really start taking the photos I want to take. I am proud to say I have shot every photo since the course in Aperture Priority and auto has only been turned on when I am shooting video for my vlogs. I don’t think I have got all of my shots right since the course but it has been wonderful to think more about what I am shooting – where’s the good light, where should I shoot from, what shutter speed should I use? It’s really exciting when you get a great shot, knowing that you’ve influenced that outcome.
Suzi and Michelle were brilliant teachers and gave me the foundations to grow my new found passion.
If you’re a budding photographer, shoot in auto but feel like you want to learn more and start to take control of the photographs you take I can’t recommend this course enough. I’m now eyeing up what I can learn next…
Have you recently found a passion for photography? Have you learnt on the job or have you taken a course?
* Thanks to A Happy Capture for inviting me to this course. I was invited on this course to review and share my thoughts. All opinions are 100% my own.