Last month I attended a photography workshop in the very photograph-able Aldeburgh. Run by Craig and Andy; the marvellously named Photo Walkshops are a series of walks taking in a range of beautiful Suffolk locations. Andy invited me to come along though I can’t remember the last time I used a ‘proper camera.’ So I brought along my husband for moral support, thinking that we would both be as bad as each other, and that would make me feel better!
The Walks are aimed at anyone with even a vague inclination to take photos; the idea is that it’s a practical session of expert tips and sharing information to help achieve that perfect photograph.
So if you’re thinking this sounds like something you might enjoy; read on to find out what to expect:
Who is it for?
Everyone! I take the odd picture for instagram or blogging but I have never shown any great promise as a photographer. So admittedly I went along in equal measure for the social aspect, as much as to learn a new skill. I was more than a little nervous that everyone else was going to be much more professional than me, even having to admit to not owning a camera before attending. As you would expect I learnt loads throughout the evening but wasn’t held back or shamed by my absolute lack of knowledge.
Equally there were people on the walk who knew loads already. They’d brought all the gear and were merrily getting stuck in. One chap I got talking to even mentioned he was considering making photography his new career. The beauty of having two hosts is that Craig and Andy could spread their time around efficiently meaning that photography nerds make just as much progress as amateurs like me who struggle to find the ‘on’ switch (no really).
What does it cost?
£25 per person for a 2hr walk and tutorial with a loan-camera included (if needed) and a round in the pub afterwards.
Book onto a subsequent course and you will recieve a discount for being a regular.
What to bring:
Not much, it turns out. After having no luck trying to find a fancy-looking camera I could beg, steal or borrow for the evening I rocked up with my smart-phone and a pair of walking boots. Even that was overkill.
Craig presented everybody that wanted one with a camera to borrow and even emailed the pictures over to me a few days after the walk.
We walked a very leisurely route along the promenade and although we diverted out across the beach a few times, mostly it was completely accessible so walking boots were not really neccesary either!
In simple terms: a walk and some photography and some excellent company.
In more detailed terms: We began with a very brief overview of the basics of the cameras for those that needed it. I listened attentively while others drifted off to start finding interesting things to capture.
Once we had officially set off, the walk was handily interspersed with periods of learning. We stopped to listen while Craig and Andy explained various different features of the cameras and how to adjust settings for different effects.
We then had time to wander off, select our targets and experiment with putting this knowledge into practise. This was handy for me as I am a kinaesthetic learner. I must ‘do’ in order for something to sink in, rather than just listen or watch. There were therefore a few times that I thought I’d understood something only to find, when it came to it, that I had no idea what I was doing. Happily there was lots of help on hand, either from Craig and Andy or a more clued-up member of the group. Or, as an absolute last resort; my smug husband who discovered he was actually quite good at photography!
Throughout the walk we covered aperture, shutter speed, exposure and using a flash.
We rounded off the evening with a detour to the pub on the way back to the carspark. It was a great chance to sit and chat with everyone as also get some extra insights from Craig and Andy who would happily sit and chat photography forever.
I was so worried before I went that I didn’t have the right camera, didn’t know anything and would look foolish compared to everyone else. I needn’t have worried. I’ve never had any great skill with photography in the past. And looking at some of my photos Craig sent over after the walk; it appears I still don’t! But that’s almost not the point. Maybe it’s sour grapes because it turns out my equally amateurish husband is a MUCH better photographer than me…..Maybe.
However I would happily go along to another Photo Walkshop even with the understanding that I may never be great. There is still so much I can learn and improve on that I will definitely be giving it another go. It’s a very supportive atmosphere to learn in and, if all else fails, it’s a great evening out; to go for a walk, meet new people and chat to fellow creatives. I might even bring the smug-husband again….If he promises not to out-do me too much!