Photography Workshop with Currys & Manchester Photographic

Photography Workshop with Currys & Manchester Photographic

A few weeks ago I was invited by Joe Bloggers to attend a beginners day course in association with Manchester Photographic and Currys. The #LightsCameraCurrys day was tailored to local bloggers, whom photography plays a big part in what we do; for the most of us anyway. You can catch all the gossip on Currys blog here, they put on some amazing events!
There was about twenty students on the day which was quite a large group as everyone had different cameras and abilities, however the team were good to make sure everybody knew what they were doing before moving on to different sections. It became apparent that for the majority the very basics needed to be taught, Christian managed to get everybody off auto by the middle of the session. A very scary thought for some, however it is so exciting that all the doors for so much experimentation were now open. 
I already had a grasp of some of the things covered in the session, however there was still lots to learn in terms of composition and post-production etc so it was definitely a day well spent. 
The main things covered were , shutter speeds, IOS, aperture, care of equipment and post editing programs.
I thought I would approach this post by covering a few of the things covered so that hopefully you can take something from it if you are a blogger or just love photography; sharing is caring right?
1. The very first thing was how you stand and hold your camera, yes this really does matter. Everyone was on their feet giving it a go. The sturdier you are the better your pictures are likely to turn out, especially when you are on manual focus.
You stand with you feet apart with one foot slightly back, this will keep you steady but will also allow for movement if you have to adjust without losing composition for that perfect shot.  
Holding your camera is key too, we all know DSLR’s are far from the lightweight compacts which you can do a quick snap with whilst drinking a cocktail with the same hand at a party. There is the obvious hand grip on these types of cameras, however whenever you aren’t you using a tripod it is your other hand that does all the hard work. You should use the edge of your palm to stabilise and control the focusing of your lens from underneath. If you are wanting to take a portrait photo make sure you turn the camera so that the handgrip is above and you stabilise as before using the side pointing towards the ground. 
This may all seem really obvious but you will be surprised how much it helps you if you get into the habit of being conscious of what you are doing before you try to take a photo.  

2. Next up, is your settings to get you off that ‘auto’. Above is a simple guide to help you select the correct setting on your camera. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are the three elements that will help you get the perfect photograph when you aren’t using auto.

3. Aperture, is the hole in your lens which essentially lets light into the camera. It works similar to our eyes. The aperture can be altered from small to large depending on the levels of light you are taking a photograph in.  Aperture is measured in f-stops (f/2 f/5.6) The larger the number the smaller the aperture (hole) is meaning that less light is able to come through.

4. Depth of field, in basic terms defines how sharp and in focus the image will be. The size of the aperture effects this greatly. A small f-number for example f2.0 (large aperture/hole) will make objects in the forefront stay in focus with the background a blur. On the opposite scale if you choose a larger f-number such as f/16 or f/32 all of the objects within the frame will stay on focus.

4. Shutter Speed, also known as exposure time does exactly that. It is the time between pressing the shutter fire button which opens the shutter to allow light in through the aperture to closing again. This is quite complicated to get your head around however if you use the AP/A/AV setting on your camera you can alter the aperture and the shutter speed with adjust accordingly. As you can see from the photo above the difference shutter speeds can make. A fast shutter speed can keep everything in focus during movement. With the bottom photo a slower shutter speed has created lots of blur, the camera was unable to focus in the time the shutter was open.

5. ISO,  (International Standard Organisation) is how sensitive the sensor is within the camera. Using a lower ISO makes it less sensitive to light making pictures very dark. A higher ISO makes it more sensitive to light and often cause too much brightness making your pictures over exposed. Obviously the current situation entirely depends on which settings you chose there are times in lower light when higher ISO is needed, just take note that the higher you go, the picture quality lessons.

Those are the basics to getting yourself off the automatic settings, it may seem very complicated but if you keep having a go and playing about with the settings you will begin to understand how they all work. You can’t do anything wrong, just have a go!

After a morning of theory we headed out to the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, where we got to practice a few of our new found skills. It was very busy that day but I will put a few of the shots I managed to take whilst there.

If this has tickled your fancy at all, Manchester Photographic run lots of short courses suitable for all abilities, I would definitely recommend checking them out if you want to improve your skills behind the camera.

Have you tried any settings on your camera yet?
What is your favourite thing to photograph?

Hannah x
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