Staff Review: Warwick Masterclass - Mastering Your DSLR

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As a camera novice I was really keen to expand my knowledge of the basic components of photography, and to learn how I could get the most from my camera. I also wanted more creative control of my photographs by stepping away from the auto mode and exploring the manual settings, and this course seemed perfect for that.

The day began by covering the three basics of photography; aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Even though these elements are fairly technical, Kate did a great job at explaining everything clearly and allowed plenty of time for questions. The atmosphere was very relaxed and Kate didn’t mind us practicing shots as she talked through the settings, which I found really useful.

Firstly, we learnt how exposure and light influences photographs, and how to enhance that with our camera settings. Kate also showed us how to gain creative control by utilising the aperture setting to select a sharp point of focus and a shallow depth of field. Kate was brilliant at describing the three basic elements, how they worked together, why they are important, and how to manipulate each to create a unique and interesting image.

After lunch we moved outside into the University campus to practice portraits. We worked in small groups taking a selection of shots in different natural lights such as bright sunshine and shade, and practiced using the ISO to balance out the light manually. It was great to finally get this kind of control over images, and as light is such an important element to photography I was glad we were able to practice this for over an hour.

We also walked around central campus, which gave us a chance to take photos of architecture, nature and landscapes. This was a great opportunity for the group to continue to use the three basics, as learnt earlier in the day, in different environments. Kate took us through the monochrome setting on our cameras and told us what to look out for when composing a black and white image as opposed to a colour, which was interesting.

Kate also touched upon photography accessories and showed us some useful (and affordable!) options to help with the common problems sometimes encountered in photography. As everyone in the group took photos of different subjects such as nature, food, landscapes etc., it was extremely useful to get specific advice from Kate about how to take amazing photographs in each area.

Overall the course was informative, relaxed, friendly and really enjoyable. I learnt a lot, and considering I had never stepped out of auto before going on the course, I now feel confident enough to use manual settings in all my photography going forwards. Kate is very friendly, open to answering questions, and was actively involved with the group – even giving us one-to-one time if we needed.

This course is a great way to meet like minded people and gain the knowledge and skills from a professional in a short, yet valuable, amount of time.

You can find out more about Warwick Masterclasses here