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Digital Photography Courses August 2010 Update

This months issue includes:

Nikon & Canon Camera buying Guide NEW



Hi [fname]

Welcome to the Digital Photography Courses August 2010 update. We've added some extra courses in September and October in response to your requests and we are also asking you to fill in our survey about upcoming Photoshop courses.

Nikon & Canon Camera Buying Guide

A new addition to the website this month is a Canon and Nikon camera buying guide. This offers advice on choosing a camera at various price points along with suggestions on which lenses to choose. We plan to offer advice on other makes as we get time. You can visit the pages here:

The School Holidays

The school summer holidays are here and I can already hear the nations school kids saying "I'm bored". If this is the case with your kids then why not get them involved with your photography. Most youngsters take great photograph as they haven't got to that stage yet where they talk themselves out of taking that really good snap. Some of the best pictures, from any of my students, were taken by a ten year old who just loved to take photographs.

Tip One
Try getting some panning pictures of the kids on a swings or riding their bikes. Remember for action photography we use the shutter priority mode with a shutter speed of about 1/30 second, to show motion, or 1/500th to freeze action. Put the camera onto continuous motor drive and take lots of images.

Tip Two
Another good action photography tip is to place a stick on the ground and pre focus on it. Now ask the kids to run towards it and jump and cheer when the reach the spot. If you use a fast shutter speed, like 1/500th sec, you should be able to freeze them in mid air.

SAWinging pictiure

New Logo

I've seen the logo printed on my new polo shirts and jacket so I'm just waiting for them to be delivered. When they arrive I'll pop a picture on the next newsletter.

Turn your hobby into a freelance photography career?

This intensive photography course includes one to one private tuition with a professional photographer and one month of practical exercises with feedback. It also includes business and marketing advice so if you fancy a career as a semi professional or freelance photographer then this is the ideal starter course for you.

The new web site is almost finished and we are adding new course all time as people request them. Our latest offering is a month long fast track photography course aimed at those people who want to earn some money from their photography. This intensive private tuition incorporates most of our one day Photoshop and photography courses run over a month long period. This is followed by several set projects with feedback which need to be completed within a month. The courses included are:

  • Beginners Photography Course,
  • Intermediate Photography Course
  • Portrait Photography Course
  • Low-light & Night Photography Course
  • Photoshop Basics course
  • HDR & RAW Photography Course
  • Business and Marketing Advice

You can find more details at

Frequently Asked Question - Should I be using RAW?

Should I be using RAW instead of JPG?

There is no doubt that RAW files are capable of capturing a far wider range of tones than that of a JPG. It's also sometime possible to correct for a slight under exposure or incorrect colour balance which is why I often refer to it as "RAW the Rescuer". Shooting in RAW can sometimes rescue an image if you have poor camera technique but I firmly believe, that as a novice photographer, you should concentrate on taking creative photographs and developing reliable camera skills rather than trying to rescue duff pictures shot in RAW.

Once you have mastered your camera skills I would certainly look at shooting in RAW especially for your landscape photography.

Landscape Photography

I mainly use RAW for my landscape photography, especially if shooting into the light, because it can capture a far wider tonal range the JPG format can record. This means it's often possible to get detail in the sky and the land on the same picture. By shooting in RAW, and using some clever Photoshop techniques, it is possible to get detail in both the sky and the land but this takes time and some skill. I suggest that as a novice photographer stick to JPG for your general purpose photography and just use RAW for your landscape photography, or whenever the JPG format cannot cope with the very wide range of tones.

If you are into landscape photography I would definitely recommend attending the next RAW photography course in October 2010. Email me here to be notified as soon as I finalize a date.

RAW wide

The first image above is a RAW image which I deliberately under-exposed to keep detail in the sky but as you can see the land has gone very dark. What I really need is the detail in the foreground but also the detail in the sky. The middle picture is actually exactly the same file as the one above but I've used some Camera Raw software and Photoshop to retrieve the maximum amount of detail from both the land and the sky. This is one of the several techniques we use on the HDR & RAW Photography Course.

Part Payment Gift Vouchers

Thank's to Ian Pinion for his excellent idea of offering lower value photography course gift vouchers. These are already proving quite popular and are a great option for a keen photographer to get their photography course paid for by their friends and family. The vouchers are available in £25, £50, £75, £100 and £135 options and can be used towards any Photoshop or photography course.

Upcoming Course Dates

Saturday 21st August 2010 - Beginners DSLR - 3 spaces

Our most popular beginners DSLR course. Just read the feedback from students

Saturday 4th September 2010 Bird & Nature Photography Course at Rutland Water £135 - four spaces

Sunday 5th September 2010 Bird & Nature Photography Course at Rutland Water £135 six spaces

If your are into bird or nature photography then this course at Rutland Water is perfect for you.

Bird Photography at Rutland Water

Saturday 11th September 2010 - Beginners DSLR - Two spaces

Our most popular beginners DSLR course. Just read the feedback from students

Sunday 12th September 2010 - Beginners DSLR - Three spaces

An extra course at this popular time of year just as the camera clubs re-commence.

Saturday 2nd October 2010 - Beginners DSLR - two spaces

The leaves should be changing colour about now so this is a great time to get those Autumn pix.


Saturday 9th October 2010- Portrait, Low Light & Night time Photography £135 - Three spaces

This very popular course, just before Halloween and Bonfire night, will show you how to take portraits by candle light, scary portraits, fireworks pictures, buildings at night, car light trails and much more.

Low light

Saturday 23rd October 2010 - Beginners DSLR - NEW COURSE DATE

The leaves should be changing colour about now so this is a great time to get those Autumn pix.

Sunday 24th October 2010 - Beginners DSLR - NEW COURSE DATE

The leaves should be changing colour about now so this is a great time to get those Autumn pix.

Photoshop Courses - Help us to help you.

We are planning to run extra Photoshop courses during the winter months so it would help us if we know which version of Photoshop you have & what courses would you like? Please complete this short survey

This months project - Capture a great sunset

With the sun going down about 8pm this month it's a great time to get home, have your tea and then nip out with your tripod and get a great sunset picture.

Remember the best way to avoid sunset sadness is to set your camera's colour balance to Shade or Cloudy. This will stop the camera's Auto White Balance from trying to remove the redness from the sky. Remember to put it back to Auto.


Student Testimonials

"Hi Glen,I just wanted to say thanks for the course, it was a great day, worth every penny. It's a great relief to now know that the expensive camera I have purchased and the new nikon 18-200 will be now be used correctly & hopefully I will be able to produce some fantastic picture in Borneo. I have recommended you to a few people, and I intend to see you for one of the wildlife courses in the future.Thanks again for superb day." Craig Rogers

"Glen really tries hard to avoid the jargon and keep the instructions simple & understandable. His tuition focuses on getting the basic building blocks in place. He is definitely knowledgeable and he has certainly inspired me to practice my new skills and learn more. An excellent photography course." - David John

"I just wanted to thank you again for the photography course today. I thought that it was going in way over my head but you made it seem so much easier. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be booking other courses. Excellent course full of useful information. I was thrilled with the amount I learned. Thank you. - Becky Holmes.

Students Pictures from a July courses

pictures by june students

See more pictures from July here

The Essential Holiday Checklist

1. Check the camera settings

Before you go on holiday or any important photo shoot it's a good idea to check all your camera settings. Did you know that most compact cameras, fresh from the box, are not set to deliver the best quality. Check that the image size is set to "largest or Maximum" and the jpg quality is set to the highest setting. This is often called " Fine or Superfine". It's also a good idea to make sure the lens is cleaned with a soft cloth. Finally check your colour balance is correctly set as this is the one of the most common reason for poor image quality.

2. Charge your batteries

All rechargeable batteries will lose charge over time so if you haven't used the camera for a while you need to check them. Charge your camera battery and consider buying a spare at or who will often sell replacement batteries considerably cheaper than the branded batteries from your manufacturer. Buying a spare means you can run one battery to flat before using the second one. This will help your batteries last longer.

3. Buy another storage card

With bigger cards available now at low prices there is a temptation to buy one really big card. This is not a good idea as a friend of mine found out recently when she had her camera stolen. She lost 1000s of images from the trip of a lifetime. I recommend you take at least two cards on holiday. Buy a spare card and take half of your holiday pictures on one card, then store it safely away from your camera, and take the rest on the images on another card. This way if you should lose your camera or a card you will still have some precious pictures of your holiday.

4. Use the self-timer and buy a mini tripod

How many holidays have you been on with a partner only to come home with pictures that make it look like you went by yourself. Invest in a mini tripod for a few £££s and learn how to use the self-timer. Set the camera up on the tripod and include yourself in the group picture. Visit for a great range of mini tripods.

5. Tell a story

It's very easy to come home from holiday with a few photographs of the family sitting by the pool or drinking in a bar. Remember these images are reminders of memories. You probably paid a lot of money for your holiday so try to show the venue and views of the area. Sunsets are a great addition to any album so use your new tripod and switch off the flash for great sunset pictures. Look at local postcards for ideas where to get the best shots.

6. Viewing your pictures

Digital Photography has many advantages over film and prints but it does have a downside. It is all too easy to either leave 100s of images on the camera or save them to your computer never to be seen again. Look at getting your best pictures printed or you could make a picture DVD or CD. Windows users can use the excellent built in Movie Maker program to make a picture CD complete with music. Mac users have iPhoto or iMovie to play with. Picasa also has a gift CD option so family and friends can view a slideshow on their PC. On the subject of music beware of copyright restrictions if you intend to publish your work.

7. Saving and finding your pictures

One of the problems with taking 100s of digital pictures and then storing them on your computer is they can be difficult to track down after a while. A good filing system is essential and I recommend the free Picasa program from Google. This awarding winning file management and editing software helps you import, file and save your images as well as allowing you to view and search for them. It also has some tremendous editing tools for making your lighter or darker, cropping and much, much more. Picasa also has a very good back up option for saving your images to DVD.

8. Don't hide your precious pictures

The downside of digital is sometimes you never get to view them after the initial upload onto your computer. You could use Picasa to create a gift DVD for viewing your pictures on a TV or PC but sometime there is no substitute for handing your best pictures around. Rather than just get your images printed straight from the card, which is the quick and easy option, I suggest you save them to your computer, choose the best ones, crop and improve them in Picasa, Photoshop Elements or some other editing program, then copy them back to a card. This way your pictures will all be spot on and you can wow your friends with your new found photography skills. Another great option is to buy a digital picture frame. These will hold 1000s of images and rotate them in a slide show.

9. Back Up, Back Up, Back Up,

Your digital images are the equivalent to your negatives. If you lose them you have lost all those precious memories. Backing up your files is like storing your negatives in a safe place. The easiest option is to burn your pictures to a CD , which will hold about 700 MB of pictures, or to a DVD, which will hold 4.7GB, which is about five times more than a CD. If you have a 5-6 mega pixel camera set to the best quality each image will be about 2MB so you should be able to fit around 350 pictures on a CD or over 1700 images on a DVD.

Other options are online storage or an external hard drive. It's also a good idea to back up all your data, not just pictures and store a copy away from your PC in case of theft or fire.

10. Take advice and invest in your photography

'How many photographs to you think you will take in a lifetime? - 1000, 10,000, 1/2 million. Even a conservative estimate of 250 per year - that's less than one a day on average- will return a figure of 20,000 over a lifetime. Investing in your photography skills early on could save you 1000's of badly exposed, unsharp or poorly composed pictures. Instead of your friends resigning themselves to looking at your holiday snaps they'll be impressed a pleased to look at your stunning, well composed landscapes and sunsets that capture the feel and excitement of an expensive and memorable vacation.

You could start by reading your instruction manual or buying a book or tutorial DVD. Better still attend a digital photography course and learn from the professionals. A one day course will cost less than a couple of tank of petrol in a family sized car and the skills you learn will last a lot longer.

August 2 for 1 Special Offer - Closing soon.

241 Special Offer

To launch our new web site we are offering a special 2 for 1 offer for July and August 2010. Book any of our private tuition courses and bring a friend for free. This means you get 221 private tuition for not much more than the group course price. This can be a dedicated courses of your choosing or one of our standard courses:

  • Photoshop Elements - Levels, Curves, Layers, Cloning & Replacing Skies
  • Photoshop - Using Levels, Curves, Layers, Cloning & Replacing Skies
  • SLR plus Photoshop - Extended one day course for 3 students covering DSLR & Photoshop
  • Digital SLR plus RAW & HDR - Extended one day DSLR course covering RAW & HDR photography
  • Photoshop - Restoring old photographs.

The weekday courses are £299 (= £150 pp) or weekends at £399 (=£200 pp) Call 0116 279 6906 to arrange a date.

We hope you have enjoyed this newsletter

Best Wishes


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