I Went on a Photography Course in London…

I signed up to Photography Course London for the day, for their Intense Foundation of Digital Photography – Level 1 course. The lovely people at Obby had invited me to choose any course I liked from their site, so as soon as I saw that I could learn so much about photography in just a few hours, I booked on it right away.

Obby: the trusted community marketplace where you can discover and
book local classes and workshops in London.

London Photography School

“Our aim is to help people find their passion. Break the routine. Get offline and discover something new. To unleash your creativity. To say “I made that”. From cookery to pottery, woodwork to needlework. We want to help you discover your genius. We work with London’s best artists, makers, chefs, mixologists and teachers. And we meet every single one of them personally, so you can feel confident in your learning experience.” – Obby

Sounds good right?

Basically any time you want to do something a little special with your time, in London (I’m thinking hen dos, Christmas presents, reunions, special weekends, days off) then take a look at Obby. There are so many cool ways to spend your time in the Big Smoke.

Why’d I choose photography?

Obby photography course

My photography isn’t the best, I know that. I am kind of going for the realist look with my photography and I don’t actually like those epic, OTT, too much post production shots. Sounds like I’m being catty right? I’m not, it’s just with everything I do I like to show it how it really is, not how I’ve coloured it in to be.

However, I do want my photography to be a bit craftier than just pointing and shooting on auto and hoping for the best. Cue Photography Course London.

Photography Course London Location

Photography course London

So off I went from Southsea to my photography course in Shoreditch – totally not knowing what to expect. I brought my camera, the two extra lenses I have, my charger and two batteries. After my battery running out on a photography course I did in Ho Chi Minh City, I did not want that to happen again.

The London Photography School was really cool. A nice warm space down in the mews of the Brickyard in Shoreditch. I’ve been to that area many times before but never noticed that cute little alley way leading into offices, shops and pop up coffee stalls.

No need for that though, I was welcomed in and offered a coffee, and I went to sit round the table upstairs for it to be delivered.

What did I learn though?

Learn to be a better photographer London

I’ve been promising myself I’d learn about my camera and photography for oo, let’s say ever since I began blogging, five years ago. I’ve read up on photography, Googled photography, even bought books on photography, but none of it has stuck, some of it didn’t even go in in the first place.

What I got from the London Photography School, and my Obby experience, in just six hours, was skills, knowledge and information that could’ve taken me days to collate online, although I know I would actually never have done it. I’ve had all those years for starters. All those years of trying to retain what ‘F-stop’ meant, or ‘shutter speed’.

I also started to understand photography more, which for me, is the first step to learning.

“Photography is all about reading the light”
– Lianne, the photography teacher

The lessons I’ve been trying to teach myself about aperture, shutter speed and ISO suddenly started to make sense. I learnt about correct exposure, white balance, how to focus properly, and metering (never even heard of that one before). The importance of light was emphasised, of working out where it comes from. All basic things to think about for any slightly above average photographer, but things that had just gone past me.

Our teacher Lianne had an old camera, which had the back taken off and served as the perfect tool for showing us exactly how a camera actually worked.

Photography course in London

We’d started with a few of my fellow students bringing in photos that either they’d taken and they liked, or ones they’d seen and would like to achieve. She taught us to work critically, and to think about what we actually liked about the photo we were creating, and what we didn’t, and how we could change it.

We spent the morning inside, learning the theory, and then after lunch we went to a little church courtyard to practice what we’d learned. Much needed after that afternoon slump. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a classroom all day!

I wrote all my notes in the back of my diary, just so I have access to them at all times. Confession: I haven’t actually taken my camera out since the course but I know that next time I do, the photos can’t not be improved. I hope.

Who goes?

Photography course London

The class was made up of hobby photographers, some with an interest to make their skill their livelihood. Most just wanted to take better pictures of their kids, another was interested in landscapes and another guy had bought a super, super fancy camera to take pictures for work that he had no idea to use.

There were two others with mirrorless cameras like mine, and then me with my Olympus PEN EPL7 and the rest with either big Canon or Nikon DSLRs who’d just been shooting on auto.

They were all lovely people to spend the day with, and to practice taking photos on.

Was it worth the money?

Photography course with Obby

The course I did was £170. I’ve been looking at photography courses for a long time, waiting to take the plunge and this is a normal price for a course so in depth and by a good school. Although, in my opinion great value for the knowledge you get and information you’re given.

It was an intensive course, by the last 30 minutes what she was telling me was totally going over my head. I honestly couldn’t inhale any more learnings. I was done. But that’s fine – it means that if anyone fancies the course who’s a little more experienced or knowledgeable than me, there’s still plenty to learn.

Lianne taught me things I could do with my camera I didn’t even know existed.

It’s difficult to prove the worth to me and you, as yet, as I haven’t been out to put my new skills into practice yet. I’m off on my travels again on Monday so keep an eye on my Instagram account to see if I manage to wow you with my mad skills from now on.

The results

London photography course

So, now I’ve told you all about what I’ve learnt I’m kind of feeling the pressure to perform. Lianne gave us certain routines to follow, every time we take a shot. Just little processes to go through in our heads and on the camera. These will help to think about what we’re trying to achieve with the photo, use our knowledge and to plan the story we’re trying to tell.

My main takeaways from the day are to plan my shots, to work through the routines and to analyse mine, and other people’s shots, to see what kind of photographs I like best. And, that I would definitely go back to London Photography School to do one of the more advanced classes, when I’m ready. They’ve got load to choose from.

Let’s see how my photography get on next week, when I find out where I’m going on my surprise trip!

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tagged in london

13 Comments

  1. by Chadwick on March 24, 2017  9:33 am Reply

    I'm a photographer, and like most things in life, you get better the more you practice. Your first few attempts to put the new knowledge into practice will probably be shit (that was certainly my experience!). But you'll learn from that.

    I started out in the dark (room) ages and found it really hard to learn because the time between taking the picture and seeing the result was so long, I'd forgotten what I did, and there was no opportunity to try again. Digital has changed all that and it's so much easier now to try for a specific look, fail, and then tweak the settings a bit to try again.

    One of the most important things I learnt about photography is that despite all the knobs and dials on the camera, there's only 2 controls that do anything important - shutter speed and aperture. And maybe ISO, if you can't get what you want from the shutter and aperture. Everything else is just bells and whistles, and shortcuts.

    The PEN is a fantastic camera by the way. Don't think of it as inferior to a big DSLR. Try lugging a big camera around all day, or packing one in hand luggage, and then see which you prefer! In any case, it's the photographer who takes the picture, not the camera. Cameras these days are so good that the limiting factor is usually the photographer, not the equipment (eg.your work guy with the fancy camera).

    I'm looking forward to seeing the results of this course!

    • by Vicky on March 25, 2017  8:21 pm Reply

      Ah thank you for your comment Chadwick – a good pep talk for my upcoming travels starting on Monday. Yes, I should've taken the camera out within a few days of the course, but time has just disappeared. I hope that I will remember everything, and that my notes are good enough, for me to get some good pics this week.

      Yes, I really like the PEN. I know it's a good camera but it just doesn't look as elaborate as the big DSLRs you see. I'm glad I don't have to cart one of them around! Hopefully this week I will work towards mastering those controls and take some photos to be proud of!

  2. by Chadwick on March 27, 2017  8:40 am Reply

    Lots of professional photographers have switched over to mirrorless cameras, sometimes completely ditching the big DSLRs. I couldn't stretch to a PEN so I got the OMD M10 for when I'm travelling. It is so good being able to pack a decent camera in hand luggage!

    • by Vicky on April 1, 2017  8:00 pm Reply

      Oh I think my friend Helen had that one in Lisbon – she had some really nice photos on it. Although it's all in the skill of the photographer of course :)

  3. by Cathy (Mummytravels) on March 27, 2017  3:39 pm Reply

    This sounds such a great course - I did one ages ago which totally confounded me with jargon and technical terms (think I had my film SLR at the time so that's going back a while) and actually learned so much more on the informal photo walks a photographer friend of mine runs. But I still want to keep developing properly and an intensive course sounds something I'm more likely to fit in than committing to something for weeks.

    • by Vicky on April 1, 2017  7:59 pm Reply

      Ah yeah that's happened to me on courses before. I need practical tips and to actually practice what we learn otherwise it's just never going to stick in my mind. That's what I thought too. I'd love to do some sort of qualification but I just know that I wouldn't be able to commit to a few weeks. Really enjoyed this course!

  4. by Paul on March 28, 2017  5:07 pm Reply

    Some lovely depth of field shots Vicky! I went on two photography courses last year, best thing I ever did. I bought a good camera and just didn't really know what it could do, haha. I'm also hoping it will help with my blog.

    • by Vicky on April 1, 2017  7:53 pm Reply

      Thanks Paul. I really need to get out and practice with my camera again. I'm not very happy with my shots from Lisbon this week – need to recall everything I was taught!

  5. by Rich on April 3, 2017  2:21 pm Reply

    Your pictures look great Vicky and I'm looking forward to seeing your developments with photography. Rich :)

    • by Vicky on April 11, 2017  8:37 am Reply

      Ah thank you Rich! It was good to find out what my camera was actually capable of when I tried it out of auto. Just need to practice more. :)

  6. by Bob on April 4, 2017  12:24 am Reply

    Hey Vicky, Fantastic on doing the photography course. Composition + lighting + focus + exposure (F-stop + shutter speed) + highest priority, (if the subject is human), rapport and empathy. Just my thoughts from another old film & darkroom addict. Enjoy your new found wisdom.

    • by Vicky on April 11, 2017  8:35 am Reply

      Thanks Bob! I really should've gone out straight after the course though. Feel like I've forgotten it all. I need to dedicate a day to revision and taking some pics in Portsmouth, and England. I just feel like I never do it justice and make it look worse than it was before :). Need some confidence and practice I think!

  7. by Nikki-ann on April 16, 2017  8:54 pm Reply

    It certainly sounds like you enjoyed the course and you definitely got something out of it. I fancy doing something like that myself :)

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