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Help me snap snappily
April 25, 2012 7:01 AM   Subscribe

I want to take a photography course in London that will show me how to use my DSLR properly. Where should I go?

I have - some have said - a very good eye when it comes to my pictures, but I'm starting to bump up against the limit of my technical knowledge. I've recently graduated from a PowerShot to a Canon 550D, and not knowing how to set it quickly and properly is really frustrating. I want to get better rather than panicking and going back to my compact with its lovely 1cm macro.

I have bought a few kinda entry-level lenses - a macro, a telephoto, a nifty fifty and I have the kit lens - because I have an idea of what I want to do, and I want to know what I can be doing to get the best out of these. I'm not a complete beginner, I did venture beyond the auto settings on my compact, but working out my apertures and getting a proper white balance (so fricking fiddly on a DSLR) is making me horribly frustrated.

My interests are street/scenic photography, macro work (I particularly enjoy shooting sweets, trinkets etc.) and capturing slightly unusual things rather than portraiture and fashion, although the latter is mainly from lack of willing models, and it would be nice to improve so I can try new things.

I don't have a good idea of how to post-process my photos, and I find it difficult to curate them - as you can see, those are pretty old ones shot with my first, 4MP Kodak point and shoot - I have a lot of current ones on my hard-drive because I don't know where to start editing them down. So I would also like a course to help me sharpen my critical eye when it comes to putting together a sort of portfolio, and on how to edit (I can do basic colour correction but any touching up I try looks like I've smeared the screen with Tipp-Ex.)

I'm aware there are a ton of resources online but I'm someone who learns through doing rather than watching, and I think the discipline of a weekly course would be very helpful for me. Any recommendations? I have looked at CityLit - and fancy doing their Documentary Photography series at some point - but I need to be comfortable with basic skills first. (There's something along these lines at Central Saint Martins, but it's £600 and I'm not 100% sure it's exactly what I want.) Also, it needs to be evening as I work full-time. I work in the Holborn area so most places central are easy enough for me to get to. Any tips?
posted by mippy to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total)
 
Oh - I got down to the casting stage for a Channel 4 photography series six years ago after sending them some portfolio shots, and fudged the audition by being generally too shy and quiet back then (and maybe the only person who was at the audition with a compact). That would have been IDEAL. Possibly.
posted by mippy at 7:03 AM on April 25, 2012


I did a DSLR course at Zoom-In Photography, about 5 mins from Oval tube. They have evening courses, about £180 per course (I think) which go on for about a month and take place on a weekly basis. Their courses range from beginner-level to advanced. I'd recommend them.
posted by Ziggy500 at 7:35 AM on April 25, 2012


What about books? My first recommendation for getting the exposure you want, is Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure. (The liftraft shot is underexposed, but dang that London Heatwave shot is sweet!)

To me, there are two aspects to digital photography - the exposure, which captures your vision, then the post work (film did this stage for me - I so miss shooting portra). The post side of things I really can't say as I've spent years fiddling to get stuff to the stage I want.

I'm in London too, drop me a line - I can take my camera and laptop out to explain stuff.
posted by TrinsicWS at 9:33 AM on April 25, 2012


I run a course in Birmingham and would happily have you along for a free lesson if you wanted to get the train up one Sunday (details are up here). We generally do more interesting stuff than your basic introduction to digital photography.

Otherwise that Zoom-In Photography course looks pretty well planned.
posted by brilliantmistake at 3:38 PM on April 25, 2012


I see that you're familiar with the Digital Photography courses at CSM, but Camberwell also offers an Intro to Photography course. 3 Saturdays at £445. London College of Communication also usually has some digital photography short courses but I don't see any offered right now. Might be something to keep an eye on, though.
posted by Polychrome at 6:54 AM on April 26, 2012


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