workshop content

beginners workshop content

The “beginners workshop” is, in fact, a very comprehensive day’s training and will be of interest to anyone from a person who bought their first camera earlier this morning to a keen amateur enthusiast of many years. Even after 30 years of shooting cameras, both film and digital, whilst teaching this course I’m still reminded of things I’d forgotten along the way.

DSLRs came on the market many moons ago now and there are literally millions of them lining the shelves, bags and cupboards of households the world over. Not all are actually used, however and even fewer are used in anything but “auto” mode, meaning they are effectively being used as huge “point and shoot” cameras. In fact, a 2012 survey conducted by Sony showed that 72% of all DSLRs sold were used for pet and family shots and 65% of DSLRs sold were only ever operated in “auto” mode, at which point we can safely conclude that 65% of camera purchasers would have been better off buying a relatively simple point and shoot camera, saving themselves the aching bones from lugging around their DSLRs and lenses as well as the cost.

Anyone who wants to take up photography seriously, however, will obviously want to reap the benefit of the image quality and lens variations that DSLRs can offer but only if they can actually learn to use them as they were intended. This workshop is designed to allow you to learn how to do just that.

So what will we cover? We will touch briefly on most of the below at some point during the day, whilst going into some depth in certain areas which directly impact your ability to control your camera and lens. We can’t make you an expert in all things photography during a single day workshop (though you’ll be welcome to come back for further workshops) but we can ensure you know the basics of how your camera should be operated in fully manual mode. If you can do that you have a great foundation on which to build, you’ll begin to really enjoy your photography and hopefully you’ll be inspired to pick up your camera more and more. And the more you do so, the better you’ll become, as long as you know what you’re doing! There is saying which differs ever so slightly from the version you might already be acquainted with. Perfect practise makes perfect!”


  • Choosing a camera
  • New or used?
  • Compact, bridge or DSLR?
  • Canon or Nikon? Fuji or Sony? Pentax or..?
  • Mirror or mirrorless
  • Where to buy
  • Controls, dials and menu system
  • Basic settings and what do these buttons do?
  • Formatting your memory card (and choosing a memory card)
  • Focus settings (how to set focus and what each type does)
  • Aperture settings (how to set and what do they do?) (What on earth is “Bokeh”?)
  • Shutter speed settings (how to set and what do they do?)
  • Attaching and detaching a lens
  • Sensors – crop or full frame
  • Batteries & charging
  • Neck straps, hands straps, grips


  • Choosing a lens
  • Fast lenses & pro lenses
  • Consumer lenses
  • Zoom lenses
  • Prime lenses
  • Macro and specialist lenses
  • Legacy lenses (oldies but goodies and often cheapies!)
  • Using extension tubes
  • Using teleconverters


  • Depth of field (DOF/Bokeh – what is it and how should I use it?)
  • Framing a shot
  • Live view
  • Viewfinder
  • Zooming with your feet
  • Perspective
  • How to make shots interesting
  • How to freeze action
  • How to employ motion
  • Portraits
  • Landscapes
  • Macro and close-up
  • Pets
  • Low light
  • Night/astro
  • Staging shots & props

tripods & supports

  • Are they needed?
  • Which one do I need?
  • Ball-heads and tripod heads
  • Monopods
  • Rails

flashes & lighting

  • Understanding light
  • Built in flash
  • External flash
  • Off-camera flash
  • Light diffusion
  • Light boxes and light tents
  • Using backgrounds 

software & image editing

  • How to “develop” a “digital negative”
  • A basic Photoshop tutorial
  • Photoshop Add-ons
  • Lightroom
  • Photo storage

35mm film cameras

  • How did/do they work
  • Film, how it was developed and how we still need to develop our digital files

intermediate workshops

Intermediate workshops begin to focus on more specialised areas such as macro or landscape photography and are generally tailored to an individuals’ or groups’ specific demands and needs. Please contact me to discuss constructing and booking an intermediate workshop.

general Information

The workshops normally run from 9.30am until 3.30pm (group workshops often a tad longer) but if we need a little more time or accidentally run over, that’s fine and participants may leave whenever they need to, of course. 

how to book

Please call Duncan on 0800 2980152 (this is a free number that will connect to both my office and my mobile phone) for further information and to book your workshop. Alternatively, you can book your workshop on this page and email me to book a date. 

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