Dade Freeman
Photographer & Trainer


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Photography tips for beginners

I was recently commissioned by Currys to deliver a workshop for 30 amatuer photographers and avid bloggers. The aim was to teach them how to use camera modes other than 'Auto' and help them to understand why they would want/need to.

As everyone started to arrive, the hushed voices became loud chatter as the bloggers met each other for the first time. A quick cuppa and it was time to begin. Using a combination of slides and my real-world experience, I addressed the group.

The first part of the workshop covered technical elements. I know they're not fun and can be boring but if this bit isn't understood, at least in part, then the foundations are weak and you will struggle later. By using a few analogies, I tried to make this part simpler as I talked them through Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO (the exposure triangle).

After the heavy load of facts and numbers we took a quick tea break. Settling back down, I showed slides illustrating the earlier points because I think seeing things and how they work is much clearer than simply talking about them - the participants agreed. I explained my approach and how I typically decide what is important within my shots and how that affects the settings I use.

After lunch, we went through the various camera modes, which ones you would most likely use in different scenarios and why. Showing the group a selection of images, I explained ways they could improve, what to consider about the backgrounds of their shots and how to use an array of compositional techniques.

In the afternoon, we left the studio and headed to Brighton beach armed with a list of challenges:

  • Use leading lines  
  • Frame your shot
  • Use a shallow DoF
  • Capture motion
  • Photograph symmetry
  • Freeze fast action

The participants set about trying to apply the learning, understand their camera settings, all the while attempting to fulfil the given challenges.

The course was a great success and everyone learnt something. Result! After a group photo it was back to the studio to evaluate the images taken and wrap up the workshop.

Several of the participants have already blogged about the event and you can read about their experiences via the links below.

Just me, Leah  -  Living Life in Docs  -  Georgie St. Clair  -  Coffee and Vanilla  -  Girls got a face  -  City Coastal Life & Style  -  Ville De Brighton  -  Tora Baker  -  More about cat  -  Chambray & Curls

Currys set up the Twitter hashtag #LightsCameraCurrys for participants to tweet throughout the day, and also supplied prizes for the participants. Currys talk about the event from their perspective HERE, so drop by and check that out :)

I have attached a PDF full of information and tips from the workshop, to give you something to think about next time you have your camera in hand. Feel free to download my tips for beginners. 

Dade Freeman is a Brighton photographer producing portraits and headshots for actors, musicians, corporate business and other professional industries.