Last Updated on February 28, 2019 by Fiona Maclean
Jessops Photography Course:
As a blogger and reporter I know how important good photographs can be in making a story interesting and exciting to the reader. But even with the best equipment, most of us are self-taught, and always feel we could do more if we knew how to use all the features hidden in the strangely lettered wheels, dials and buttons on the top of the camera. So it was an easy decision to take a day out and attend a Jessops Academy blogger taster course, which previewed the new range of hands-on training courses that anyone can attend to learn and improve their camera skills.
The course was held at Jessops Oxford Street in a purpose designed training room above and away from the busy street store. With a small class size everyone could ask questions and interact freely with the trainers, and we were all encouraged to bring along and use our own cameras so we could take home what we learn, although cameras were there to use.
The course started outlining the three main things you need to understand in order to master your camera and get the best shots. These are Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO (sensitivity)
As we worked through practical examples using our own cameras, with Jessops helpers to make sure we understood the relevant dial, we were able to quickly translate the theoretical into real practical results. It was explained that the standard automatic settings on most cameras are good, but will always give standard pictures. Simply learning what a couple more of the settings on the dials do can greatly increase the versatility and uniqueness of the shot.
The aperture control lets light into the camera, but can also control the depth of field. A quick tour outside with the Jessops model translated this into tangible results. The three pictures of the girl look similar, but the background is changed in each one – which do you prefer the most?
To freeze motion, or to make a racing car look still against a rushing past background you need shutter control. The picture on the left below was taken at 4 seconds, capturing the word ‘wow’ being drawn in the air by a sparkler, yet hiding the person doing it. The water balloon bursting was taken at 1/500th of a second
Outdoors again, at 1/1000th of a second you can freeze movement, making our Jessops trainer looking like he is walking in the air. It maybe a bit of trick photography, but a great tool to understand when around children (or animals)
The practical outdoor exercises with the camera helped reinforce what dial you change to get which feature, and after a few minutes we all moved from fumbling with the camera to confidently and smoothly changing settings.
The depth of field control was of major interest to all of us as bloggers, as it really creates good visual effects when photographing food or objects. The rule-of-thumb that I took away from all this is that you should use aperture control for non-moving objects, shutter speed for moving items, and auto when you just want a snap.
The Studio Section explained the use of light and infill, as well as choice of backgrounds. All the equipment shown can be purchased from Jessops, and this is an ideal way to learn and try things out that are matched to your camera.
The Studio Course includes a model for the day, which allows you to practice a range of shots and effects to see the difference it makes on a consistent subject. There was even a Macro section which explained how to take a perfect picture of a muffin. Set up on the right home lighting table, the resulting first-shot image was impressive, and definitely better than we could have taken before the course.
There are a range of Jessops Academy courses, fitting into product courses and visual courses including:
- Digital SLR Level 1 & 2
- Compact Systems and Bridge Cameras
- Macro Photography
- Studio Level 1
- Wedding Photography
- City Tours
- Birds of Prey
- Big Cat Photography
The Jessops Academy Courses are available across the country with prices starting from £119. There are also one-on-one courses available which are ideal if you have a specific need in mind.
I was so impressed with the quality and content of the course that I’m delighted to be able to offer a special discount to London-Unattached readers for the CSC & Bridge, Digital SLR Level 1 & 2 or City Tours. They normally retail at £119 but I have got you £40 off.
The process for booking your discounted course is:
1. Call 0844 800 4444 & choose option 1 for sales.
2. Quote this code ‘ACAD40’ and save £40
3. Book your course and receive confirmation Email