Improve Your Photos
- A course for Amateur Photographers
- Learn from Professionals who sell their photography as part of their job
- Start studying anytime; work from anywhere and at your own pace
This course can be undertaken successfully without sophisticated camera equipment, however you do need the use of a camera. An SLR camera is best but any camera will do. You can do this course using either a film or digital camera; or both.
If you use film, you will need to purchase a minimum of 5 rolls of film and have them developed. (Inexpensive proof prints are acceptable). All photos and written work submitted will be returned to you.
There are 6 lessons in this course:
Origins of Photography
Image formation; how light works in photography; lenses; understanding photosensitive materials.
Understanding film and cameras
Parts of film: supercoat; emulsion; backing support; anti-halation layer; film sensitivity.
Camera construction; shutter speed; f stop; ASA/ISO
The Camera and its Use
Camera stability; ways of reducing camera movement; depth of field; filters; fault finding.
More on using a camera
Flashes (electronic and manual); flash synchronisation; problems with flash photography (e.g. red eye); using a flash in daylight; special lenses; photo composition.
Planning a photo session; posing for photos; snapshots; water photography; the human form; portraits; animals; action; landscape and still life photography.
Developing your photographic style
The principle of refraction is the basis of all lens design.
The degree to which light bends is dependant on two factors:
1. The angle the light hits the surface of the new medium which it is being transmitted through (eg: Water, glass etc).
2. The type of material the light is entering.
Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.
What's Your Style?
Photography is a creative activity – by many it is considered an art.
To produce great photographs, a photographer needs an artistic eye; an ability to see things differently to others, to see artistic potential in common things. All great photos, irrelevant of the subject, will have artistic merit. A good photographer however will also understand when it is appropriate to use artistic license, and to what extent to use it, and when it is not needed or appropriate.
Good photography is not accidental. Good photographs are created by a person with the ability to identify the photographic potential of a situation, and use that potential (plus the tools at their disposal), to create an outstanding image. It could be likened to the way a sculptor sees the possibility of a sculpture in a piece of stone, and uses the tools available (hammer and chisel), to create a final piece of artwork.
Great photographers don’t develop their art or craft overnight though; it takes time to develop a personal style. Initially photographers must follow a path that begins with learning the technical skills required to use a camera. As they become more experienced with the technicalities, they develop an awareness of how an image capture system (all the equipment that can be used in the photographic process) responds in different ways to light. Their ability (with time), sharpens even further and they begin to identify things and situations that will make great photographs - and to imagine the finished result.
Photographic ‘style’ can vary greatly from one photographer to another. Style is how something is interpreted by the photographer i.e. in the way they create an image, whether through the use of the camera, lenses, filters, lighting, composition etc., or through techniques for processing the image after it has been taken.
Aspects of Style
Style is affected by the way in which the photographer:
- Chooses what components to include, and what not to include in the image
- Organises the components in the image (which can be affected by the angle from which they are photographed: the distance, what parts are in sharp focus and what are not, what components are lit more brightly than others, etc)
- Uses colour
- Uses light
- Captures or hints at movement (or lack of movement)
- Implies or invokes emotions
- Relates to the subject
- Presents the work