Subject Focus: Life Through a Lens
Hotcourses Editor

Subject Focus: Life Through a Lens

photography courses and photography classses

First published date February 09 2011 Amended date August 28 2015

Photography is a creative outlet and powerful communicator, and many amateur photographers find inspiration on the UK’s vibrant streets and in its social scene. If you’re considering picking up a camera for the first time, then a photography course could be the catalyst to greater things and could take your ability and the quality of your images to the next level…

We all take photographs at some point in our lives and their power as memory joggers, sentimental tokens and communication tools is potent. The emergence of new photography technology means that most of us own a digital camera or have a camera embedded in our mobile phone.

We have the power to share our images almost immediately, using social networking sites and image editing software like Picasa. There’s a big difference between simply capturing a scene with a camera and creating an unusual picture that has impact. So, how can we take better pictures?

The basics of photography
What’s the point of owning a state-of-the-art digital camera and the accompanying tripods, lenses and gadgetry if you don’t know how to use them? If you’re a photography beginner with a desire to hone your skills behind the lens, then it makes sense to get some professional photography tips and tuition. There are hundreds of photography courses suitable for all levels, ranging from basic skills right up to photojournalism qualifications.

Practical photography courses that teach you how get to grips with your camera equipment often contain artistic elements such as composition, lighting and portraiture. It doesn’t matter if your interests lie in traditional methods such as film photography, darkroom developing or in new technology, digital photography and image manipulation – there are lots of specialist photography courses to cater for every taste.

Group work
Many creative people and artists gain inspiration from others. Taking part in a group photography class, where you travel on a creative journey, learn and take pictures together, can help you to reassess your approach to photography. You may be stuck in a rut, sticking to what you know and following a similar format when taking pictures.

Immersing yourself in a group photography class can allow you to see how others go about creating striking images. Feedback and constructive criticism from respected peers can often help you to raise your game and develop your individual style.

It may be that you are more attracted to the idea of photography as a subject and have an interest in the work of others. Why not take a photography course that explores the history of the medium, take you on a guided tour of a photographic gallery or museum, or familiarises you with a variety of photographers from traditional to modern masters? The knowledge you gain from examining and comparing the work of other photographers can often influence your future work.

If you take inspiration from your surroundings, acquire some technical knowledge and a large dollop of creativity from a photography course, then it should be relatively easy to start producing pictures to be proud of. We list plenty of photography courses that should help you in your quest for pictorial perfection.

Ask the professionals

Paul Blundell is a professional photographer who has worked for numerous clients, including NIKE, GQ, Esquire, FHM, Waitrose, Sleaze-nation, Super Super and Oyster. He now specialises in portrait photography, celebrity, sports and action photography. Hotcourses discovers what makes him tick...

What inspired you to pursue your photography career?

The first time I picked up a 35mm camera and processed the film in an old darkroom, I knew. Ahh… good old black and white film – it’s the best way to learn!


How has your job changed since you first started out?

Technology has changed my business drastically. Where we used to buy a camera and the client paid for the film, we now have to buy new equipment every two years to keep up with the advancements in the industry – it can be very expensive.

What tips could you give to someone who is interested in photography?

Take photographs of the things you like – people, buildings, landscapes, food, nightscapes etc.

Your first step, once you have learned the basics at college or university, is to get in contact with a photographer you like and ask if they require an assistant – this is when you learn the most about shooting and working commercially.

It’s a very complex business and can be quite isolating and lots of hard work but the rewards are great if you have what it takes.


Have you ever done work experience or voluntary work?

Yes, lots! I’ve worked for charities, magazines and companies just to get my foot in the door. It’s is a perfect way to meet new people and make valuable contacts for the future.


What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you at work?

We got flown out to LA to photograph Quentin Tarantino for an Esquire cover. That’s one of the coolest things about my work – you never know what’s around the corner! Becoming a professional photographer is not just a career, it’s a lifestyle.

What do you like most about your job? 

I have a chance to travel and I get to meet a whole array of fantastic celebrities, sports stars and real people. No day is ever the same and as I work for myself, I have perfect job security.

Do you have any advice for people interested in taking a photography course?
It takes time to get very good but don’t give up. Always keep in close contact with people who might be able to help you make your photography dreams become reality.




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