Got some questions about my landscape photography workshops? No problem. I’ll do my best to answer them here.
Q. What can I expect to learn on one of your landscape photography workshops?
A. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with your camera’s settings; you’ll have mastered them by lunchtime! I’ll take you back to basics at our first location by running through ISO, aperture, shutter speed, white balance, metering, focusing etc. I’ll gauge how much knowledge and experience you currently have and build on this throughout the day. Even if you’re currently shooting in automatic mode, I promise that I’ll get you comfortable working in manual mode by the end of the day.
Of course, there’s a lot more to landscape photography than just dialing in the right camera settings. I’ll help you with your compositions too, so that you can learn to capture images that convey a sense of depth. If the light is flat, we’ll look beyond ‘the big picture’ and have a go at photographing more intimate details within the landscape. After the workshop, I’ll email you my landscape photography eBook which summarises the key learning points, so that you can refer back to this in your own time, at your own pace.
Q. Will there be other people on the workshop?
A. No, unless you’ve booked a place for anyone else! Occasionally, I run landscape photography workshops for groups of up to 10 people (e.g. for camera clubs) but, generally speaking, my workshops are bespoke. I think one-to-one or two-to-one is the most effective way to learn. I want to get to know you and your camera in order to provide focused, in-depth tuition, without the distractions of managing a group.
Q. If it’s just the two of us, won’t it be a bit awkward?
A. I know it can feel a bit daunting, spending eight hours alone with a complete stranger! I’ve run a lot of landscape photography workshops over the years and haven’t had an awkward experience yet, even when there’s been a language barrier to negotiate. I’m very ‘down to earth’ and I’m sure we’ll find lots of things in common to chat about, e.g. over lunch or in the car travelling between locations!
Q. Can I bring my partner, or a friend?
A. Yes, of course! Additional charges apply, if two or more people are attending. I always particularly enjoy the dynamic when there are three of us (it’s usually more fun!), so please don’t hesitate to bring your partner along. I’ll gauge which level you’re both at and will divide my time between you so that I can pitch my teaching accordingly. I’ve run many landscape photography workshops like this and it’s always been a success.
Q. What photography equipment should I bring?
A. Equipment is very much a personal choice, dependent on your budget, experience and your aspirations as a photographer. I’ve made some recommendations (below) but please don’t rush out and spend a small fortune on new equipment specifically for one of my workshops! You might find that what you learn on the workshop will help you decide what equipment to invest in. Also, don’t bring more than you can comfortably carry! I only ever carry one camera body when I’m doing landscape photography.
Camera: I don’t mind whether you’re shooting with a compact camera, a top of the range DSLR or brand new mirrorless camera system. Even a mobile phone will produce decent results in the hands of a good photographer! Whatever camera you’re using, have a play around with the menu before the workshop and bring along the camera manual, if you have a copy to hand.
Camera bag: I recommend using a rucksack, as opposed to a shoulder bag, for comfort when walking. Ensure the contents are protected from the elements, e.g. with a rucksack cover.
Tripod: A good tripod is essential if you’re serious about landscape photography. It allows you to carefully consider your composition and use small apertures and slow shutter speeds. Ideally, a tripod needs to be light enough to carry over long distances but sturdy enough to avoid camera shake. A carbon fibre tripod is an excellent investment if you have the budget. Don’t forget to bring an allen key in case any part of your tripod works loose during the workshop. Remember to pack your quick release plate!
Lenses: For landscape photography, I use two zoom lenses covering the following focal lengths (on a full frame sensor): 24-70mm and 70-200mm. The quality of most zoom lenses nowadays is superb and they are more versatile to work with than fixed focal length lenses. I recommend you avoid shooting with an ultra wide angle lens to avoid the foreground losing its impact in your landscape images.
Filters: Don’t dismiss filters as ‘fake’! Their purpose is to help the camera to capture what the human eye sees. A selection of high quality filters are a great investment. There is little point in forking out a lot of money on quality lenses, only to screw cheap filters on the front! For landscape photography, I use professional quality UV filters, a polariser, and a range of neutral density filters (graduated and uniform). Many filters can be replicated in post-production but I strongly recommend ‘getting it right’ in camera.
Remote/cable release: This is an inexpensive piece of kit but essential for avoiding camera shake, even when the camera is mounted on a tripod.
Spirit level: A hot shoe spirit level is another cheap piece of kit but is useful for ensuring your horizon is level.
Backup and storage: Ensure that you bring sufficient memory and have a means of backing up your images. Bringing your own laptop will enable you to process the images you capture during any multi-day workshops and will facilitate critique sessions.
Spare batteries: Bring at least one spare battery and remember to pack your charger if you’re attending a multi-day workshop.
Lens cloth: This is useful for removing spots of rain. A small towel is also useful for drying your camera and lenses after shooting in the rain.
Diffuser/reflector: A collapsible diffuser is extremely useful for removing harsh shadows from ‘detailed shots’ if shooting when the sun is out.
Q. What personal equipment should I bring?
A. I drive a Yeti which has a reasonable amount of boot space but it fills up quickly! Try to pack as lightly as possible without compromising on safety and comfort. The key is to stay warm and dry under a variety of weather conditions.
The following is a good starting point:
- Walking boots
- Spare socks
- Walking pole
- Waterproof trousers
- Waterproof jacket
- Hat for sun protection and warmth
- Gloves (even in summer!)
- Midge head net
- Drinks container, e.g. 1 litre water bottle
Q. How fit do I need to be?
A. Walking will be generally straightforward over rough ground and good paths, with no major ascents. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required for some short steep sections. A walking pole can be helpful for keeping your balance on rough terrain while carrying a heavy camera bag. My landscape photography workshops are fairly leisurely but we will typically spend up to six hours outdoors, depending on the weather and light. Don’t worry if you think you might ‘run out of steam’ in the afternoon; we can substitute the last location for a café and have a look through your photographs!
Q. What if the weather’s rubbish?
A. I generally try to pin down a preferred date for the workshop, but also pencil in a ‘reserve date’ in case the weather forecast for the preferred date is particularly bad. Changeable weather can be great for capturing memorable images but can be very frustrating for teaching! Ideally, we want stable weather so that we can focus on the tuition without having to repeatedly dash back to the car to dodge the rain. If the only option is to head out in inclement weather, then please make sure that you’re sufficiently wrapped up and that you’re able to protect your gear from the elements.
Q. Do I need insurance?
A. Insurance isn’t a condition of booking but it is recommended, especially for any multi-day landscape photography workshops. In this scenario, I advise that you’re ensured for medical and personal accident risks, as well as cancellation, curtailment and baggage.
Q. How do I book?
A. Please get in touch and we’ll try to pin down a date for your landscape photography workshop (and a ‘reserve date’ to fall back on in case of wet weather). If you’re happy to go ahead, I’ll send you a link to an online booking form and take upfront payment, either by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal (with a 5% surcharge if using PayPal).
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