I attended the Making a Start in Photography course at Jessops School of Photography over the weekend. I’ve had my D-SLR camera (Nikon D50) for a few months and wanted to learn how to make better use of it.
The course was held at the Jessops Camera World Store in Leicester (UK). This is not in the town centre where there are other Jessops stores. The store is a short drive from the M1 / M69 motorways, convenient for many surrounding areas.
The course was a day in length (from 10:30am to 4:30pm), with a buffet lunch. At only £50 I thought it was very good value for money, but then when you consider there were about 30 people on the course, I don’t suppose it’s a bad money earner either.
The course was run by Leigh Preston a fellow of the Royal Photographic Society. You can see an introduction to him at: Leigh Preston Exhibition in Guildford. Or see his book: Shadows of Change: Photographs of a Disappearing Industrial Landscape.
Most of the people on the course had Digital SLR cameras (D-SLR), although a couple had traditional film based SLR cameras, and about 5 had digital compact cameras. The course was applicable to all these, especially the parts on composition etc. The course did not cover any of the computer editing aspects, such as downloading photographs and using photoshop or other photo editors. Jessops School of Photography offer different courses for these aspects.
The course started with looking at some photos introducing photography, and looking at the reason for taking photographs. Then we moved onto some of the terms associated with cameras, and why you may want to change these. This included terms such as shutter speed and aperture settings and f/stop values.
There were also some examples of the different attachments that could be used to improve photographs, such as a tripod, flash gun, filters etc.
We also saw a number of slides of photographs showing some good and bad examples of composition, and showing some of the mistakes that have spoiled photographs. Finally there was a short amount of time at the end to look at photographs that students had brought in to provide constructive criticism.
All in all it was a very good course. It didn’t go quite into as much detail on some of the camera settings as I’d have liked, but this was due to lack of time rather than any other reason. I would highly recommend the course to anyone with a camera (particularly SLR, D-SLR or high end compact camera), that wanted to learn more about taking photographs.