Back at Christmas, I attended a blogger event run by Camb Meet Up, which ended with a raffle, the money going to Jimmy’s Cambridge, a homeless charity. Jimmy’s is a fab charity, so I bought up quite a few tickets. The top prize was a photography course with Jessops, and I thought to myself that I rarely use my DSLR anymore, I just use my phone… which is just as well because I won the top prize!
I bought my camera back in Japan in 2010 ish, and I loved taking photos of everything I saw there. I’ve been carrying it around for years, snapping around the world. But I always use “auto”, never all the other settings.
With this in mind, I chose the basic Level 1 course, perfect for someone like me who needs to graduate from auto. It’s a full day – from 10am – 5pm, and it went by at the speed of light, but I was also exhausted to the max by the end of the day.
Our teacher was Dean, a young man with great skills in explaining things. The other classmates were people from older generations, and while they were getting caught up with simple details, he didn’t get impatient once. It seems that his classes are really popular as there was even a guy who had driven from London to take it there!
The course structure was that we’d learn a little bit, then go outside to test it out, which was fantastic because it’s all well and good making 5 pages of notes as I did, it’s much better if you can just get stuck in!
Dean really went into great detail – had us even taking out our memory cards and looking at how our cameras actually take the photos. I learnt so much much from the word go.
The first outdoor test was to try to take a photo so that the cyclist is still and crisp but the background is blurred…I still need a bit of practice at it!
What surprised me about the course was the reaction from people on the streets when we went out to take photos. Most of the time we weren’t taking photos of people, just buildings and stuff, but passers by were really glaring at us as if we were doing something really wrong. So strange.
I’ve purposefully not included any of the information I learnt in this post, because if you are like I used to be – stuck on auto – then I really think that you should book a session and have someone like Dean talk you through it. For years I’ve been trying to get tips from blogs and other how-tos on the internet, but just having someone explain everything (and it really was everything!) from zero in a non-patronising way, really helped me.
Did I achieve my goal of not using auto anymore? Yes, absolutely. Did my passion for photography get rekindled? Yes, absolutely! And I am so glad I won the top prize!
For information on your local Jessops Academy, have a look here, or visit your nearest Jessops shop.