The best photographers are those who know how to use technique to transcribe emotion.
You may well have a photographer’s skill and passion, but where can you turn to learn technique?
Fortunately, our country has many avenues you can follow to gain photography skills: through lessons – either formal classes or with an established professional; in person or online.
For amateurs wanting to understand depth of field, black and white photography, or photographic composition; for those weekend enthusiasts hoping to make the leap and go pro:
Any amount of photographic knowledge and experience floating about the four corners of the hexagon is yours to seize.
Let us now highlight a few cities where photography is massive!
But First, Why Take Photography Lessons?
What is Photography?
The strange thing about photography is that it is, in a way, many things at the same time. It’s a medium that is not really like something like painting, drawing, or sculpture – as these are things that, really, are limited, in our culture, to this sphere known as ‘art’.
Photography, on the other hand, is different things to different people. Whilst, yes, it is absolutely an art – with photographers like Sebastiao Salgado, Eugene Atget, and Helmut Newton bringing the photo to its artistic potential – it isn’t just that.
Rather its purposes and uses range from the political, the documentary, and the mnemonic to the mundane. It’s amazing to think, really, that the same sort of medium is used to take photos of a shopping list as it is to create an image, to document a revolution, or to remember a loved one. In this diversity, photography is a hugely rich discipline – something a bit like writing, which is used in similar ways.
So Many Photos!
It’s potentially a little frustrating, then, to think that photography is used by the vast majority of people in the mundane rather than the artistic ways. A study suggested that humanity in general is taking over a trillion photos a year – a number that translates into a photo every other day taken by everyone on the planet. But these photos are of our cats, our meals, ourselves in the mirror or in front of the Houses of Parliament – and they don’t really amount to very much of value, not even for ourselves.
This is particularly true when we take them on our smartphones, or have them deleted immediately through Snapchat. But the ease with which we take these images of ourselves and of our world is dramatically new – and may well be the defining feature of our age.
So, Why Should We Take Photography Lessons?
In a context in which we are all taking photos all of the time, why would we want to take a photography class?
The answer to this refers to the first type of photography we mentioned in this section. Because some of us aren’t satisfied with the quality of the images that we take daily. We don’t get much pleasure out of taking a photo of a broken lightbulb so that we remember the type when we get to the shop to buy a replacement. Most of us don’t really think that this is what ‘photography’ is about. And we’d sort of be right.
Because the thing about photography that excites people, that causes surprises people, causes pleasure, and incites gasps of wonder is not so much the thing it represents as much as the way in which it is represented.
We mean here that it is the photo itself that becomes impressive – rather than the thing that the photo is of. It’s when the photo is most like a painting that it becomes interesting.
And it’s this that takes an awful lot of skill: we have to get the right angle, the right light levels, the right exposure length and shutter speed. If you’re a nature photographer, you have to have the patience, the right location, to see exactly what it is that you are looking for. All of this is the product of learning, of training.
So, it’s this that photography lessons are for. Teaching you the skill in the language of photography, rather than just pointing a camera at something and shooting.
And for the Amateur?
All of this is just as important for the amateur as it is for the professional. Because whilst professionals get paid to produce photos, amateurs don’t by definition – and so the beauty of the photo is the true motivation for those who do it for love.
But amateurs need to learn too. They need to continue to develop too. They need to keep learning and keep developing their skills to ensure that their passion remains their passion.
Otherwise, the risk is that they will get bored – quite simply – that they will get stuck in a little rut, with no more motivation to keep producing the same sort of images over and over again.
A teacher, a photography workshop or class, functions to keep this motivation going. They help you to find the different styles that push you, that keep you excited, that keep you wanting to keep producing the photos that you love.
This is the reason why you should go to photography lessons. Because, whilst you might be the sort of person who manage just fine, many people think that they are this sort of person, but actually are not.
Where to Take Photography Classes in London?
Opportunities to study photography in our beautiful, exciting capital city are as ubiquitous as Oyster cards on the tube.
If you wish to capture some of our most beautiful architecture and streets, London has ample opportunity for you to ply your camera with photography courses.
Having trouble getting off the auto setting?
If you are a beginner with a newly purchased Nikon SLR camera; or devoted to furthering you intermediate film photography skills: London has plenty of photography lessons for you!
Starting with these fine establishments, among others, that offer a BA Honours degree after three years of study:
- University of Westminster
- London Metropolitan University
- London South Bank University
- Kingston University
- London College of Communication
- Middlesex University
- University of Roehampton
Fair warning: most of these institutes require A levels, a personal statement and all other criteria endemic to matriculating at any tertiary education centre.
They also demand relatively large sums; an average of £10,000 per year, not including books, camera and other study materials, or lodging.
If you are not in possession of those prized credentials – or large sums of cash, attending a photography school might serve you better.
The Photo Academy London boasts an extensive range of courses, targeted to amateur photographers and advanced photographers alike, from which you could obtain a Level 3 certificate in photography.
Amidst their catalogue, you will find specialised courses: in fashion photography, photojournalism, and even still life photography.
They even have courses on digital image editing, post production, and using Adobe products!
Enroling at this school will take you from fundamental camera operation all the way to darkroom developing.
Are you interested in learning more about wedding photography or portraiture?
For any interest, there is a class within Photo Academy’s curriculum!
Prices vary according to the instruction you seek.
A basic course in camera operation starts at £40 for a two-hour session; a five-month evening course on basics of photography costs £680.
You could then go on to select a masterclass, either in photojournalism or fashion photography, for which the fees run more than £1,800
If the cost of some of these courses slam the brakes on any ambitions of formal education in photography, you could direct yourself to photographic societies, to learn from members’ collective experience.
The Camera Club is a shining example of what you might be hoping for in a group of photography enthusiasts.
Founded more than 130 years ago, at the dawn of photography’s growing popularity, they host seminars, lectures and outings for anyone who wants to cultivate their skills in any type of photography.
Furthermore, members enjoy the use of the club’s full amenities, which include: digital image processing software and equipment, photo printers, a darkroom and fully equipped studios.
If your schedule is such that you cannot commit to formal lessons, or even membership in a club, you could still learn photography online.
Digital Master Class is a fine example of a quality provider of photography lessons.
If you received a digital SLR for Christmas and want to know how to use every feature and setting, DMC’s accredited courses could help you achieve those goals.
You could learn everything from basic composition and exposure to RAW conversions and building a portfolio, earning your certificate with your skill and artistry.
If you think of yourself as a visual storyteller and want your talent behind the lens to take you to the next level – even if you don’t want to go pro, you could learn a lot from these masters of photography.
And, of course, Superprof photography tutors are all standing by, waiting for you to reach out to them for one on one photography courses on any facet of photography training!
In fact, Superprof tutors are accessible from anywhere in the country, including our second most-populated city!
Photography Lessons in Birmingham
If your sincere desire is to progress in photography, getting yourself off of your camera’s auto setting is job #1.
Photography instructors in Birmingham know just how to help you master shutter speed, white balance and even long exposure.
You could start your journey into photography lessons through commercial concerns, such as:
The Photo School
Professional photographers Pete Ashton and Matt Murtagh were perplexed at the number of friends with nice cameras who steadfastly remained on auto to shoot everything from close ups to landscapes.
Embracing Cartier-Bresson’s philosophy for street photography, they formulated a quick’n’dirty lesson, priced for anyone interested in moving beyond auto-zoom.
These days, Pete Ashton runs bunches of absolute beginners at photography around the streets of Birmingham most every Sunday.
Booking yourself into a five-hour session costs £40 per person.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes!
Red Cloud Photography
Anyone, from beginner to advanced, is welcome to learn how to photograph with Red Cloud instructors!
Commercial photography hopefuls, those intrigued by macro photography, and future nature photographers could all benefit from their tutorials, held in the botanical gardens.
You could also attend their night photography seminars, for a cost of £35.
Their day-long excursion runs at £125, in exchange for which you would enjoy individual attention from the professional photographers who teach the course.
Count on learning about white balance, ISO, shutter speed and composition.
Red Cloud is a good start for the fundamentals of digital photography, or honing your skill, if you are more advanced.
For higher education in photography, you could earn your BA Honours degree through Birmingham City University.
Unlike other schools around the country, this photography programme expects you to declare a specialty during your second year.
Based on your chosen field of photography, advisors find you opportunities to apprentice with an established, working photographer.
If you don’t have three years and approximately £30,000 to invest in your development as a photographer, you might find courses to suit your needs online.
UK Learning College is available to to teach you how to frame a shot, pose a subject and instruct live models.
You can cultivate an eye for composition in the comfort of your own home!
You are not required to have any prior knowledge of photography, take any exam, or show a portfolio to qualify for enrolment in this course.
All you need is a sincere desire to learn all about digital photography.
Sorry, film photography buffs: no retouching or developing lessons for you!
The fee for this course is but a fraction of what it would cost to attend university; only £399.
The average per hour cost for a Superprof tutor is £15 and, depending on where you are, they might even come to your home!
Take a Photography Class in Manchester
If the right photography equipment – kit is important as you first engage in the art of photography, mastering technique is equally so.
This is where droves of Mancunians seek out photography lessons!
Of all the courses available, Alan Karl’s tutelage is among the most sought out.
For £105, you can retain his services at either Salford Quays or Goyt Valley – depending on whether the city beat has captivated you or you need the timelessness and healing quiet of nature.
Nothing says you can’t attend both workshops!
You will be treated to tips on using tricks of light, and encouragement to venture further than you ever thought it photographically possible. All of that and a sack lunch, too!
You may need a tripod, but you should definitely bring a spare battery for your camera!
Should you be inspired to follow in Mr. Karl’s footsteps and seek formal development as a photographer…
Manchester School of Art offers a practice-based course in photography.
Part academia, part apprenticeship: you will spend most of your time in workshops, individual study or out in the field.
You will have the chance to enter your work in competition with your fellow students; your best shots can then become a part of your portfolio!
Building a portfolio is equally easy through online photography courses.
Digital Master Class is a fine example of excellence in online teaching.
Their modular curriculum addresses aspects of going pro behind the lens, even sponsoring summer meet-ups with tutors, free of charge.
The best part of learning photography with Digital MasterClass is their professional photography diploma, which includes modules on how to run a photography business.
It is possible to earn your certification as a professional photographer entirely via webcam, and Superprof photography tutors are available to help with any extracurricular work!
So are the mentors at University of Manchester Photographic Society.
If you are a purist – believing that film photography is the only way to express oneself through photography, you might be astounded to learn that their club favours film over digital cameras.
With your lifetime membership of £20, you can attend meetings and workshops, toddle after those more advanced in photography and learn how to develop and retouch images in the club’s darkroom.
Liverpudlians should be so lucky!
Finding Photography Courses in Liverpool
The Pool is not to be discounted with regard to photography course offerings.
Whether you want to learn about your camera’s features or editing digital images; or even getting started in portraiture, possibilities for professional and amateur photographers abound.
Where do they all learn photography skills from?
The City of Liverpool College offers a Level 1 photography course to anyone who wishes to learn about:
- Composition and the rule of thirds
- How to set aperture and time exposure
- an introduction to Photoshop
This is a ten-week course, during which you will learn everything about your compact or SLR camera.
The course culminates in your submitting a major photographic project in lieu of a final exam.
Photography being a visual art, what is the point of any school requiring high marks on a written test to prove aptitude?
The cost for these evening lessons is £220, not including course materials, and you must provide your own camera.
If you are not yet sure whether Canon or Kodak cameras are best, perhaps engaging a Superprof tutor could help you decide!
Any Superprof tutor you contact could also discuss with you the various types of photography:
- Portrait photography
- family, seniors and babies are all subspecialties of the blanket term portrait
- head shot photography – meant for actors or anyone building a portfolio
- fashion photography
- commercial photography
- advertising photography and graphic design fall under this general term
- Wildlife and nature photography
- Landscape photography – more of a panoramic expression than nature photography
- macro photography – imaging small particles or organisms
- a macro photographer shoots fine detail in jewellery, food and machinery
Even if there is no Superprof tutor in Liverpool, any one of them would be happy to discuss your future career in photography via webcam.
You could earn a Level 3 certificate entirely online, too!
The University of Creative Arts ranks high among the Guardian University League tables, both for satisfaction with teaching materials and quality of instruction.
These courses are designed with the idea that everyone must be a novice digital photographer.
The course starts out learning camera basics, progresses through technical and analytical skills needed to compose and shoot subject matter, and finishes with an accredited certification that will start you on the path to a lucrative career.
To round out your studies, why not join a photography club?
South Liverpool Photographic Society is steeped in tradition and history, and their calendar reveals a variety of planned activities, all relevant to the ardent amateur and passionate professional photographer.
They welcome both film and digital photographers to their more than 160 years of excellence in photography.
Photographers in Leeds have a comparable organisation through which to display their talent behind the lens!
Learn Photography in Leeds
Don’t let the beauty and heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area fool you!
For all of her commerce and financial dealings, Leeds is a treasure trove of photo opportunities – both in subject matter and in ways to learn the art.
Leeds Art University has a three-year programme will take you through the history of photography to today’s digital equipment technical skills, and then drill down to specific aspects of photography as a career.
This institution has established itself as one of the foremost photography degree programmes by maximising graduates’ employability in the field of professional photography.
As previously discussed, university programmes require a substantial cash outlay and investment in time.
By contrast, online lessons are a thrifty, time-saving way to ensure quality education that permits you to start on the path to professionalism much sooner than those who opt for a traditional setting for their career development.
You could beat the crowds to the job market by enroling with The Photography Institute, a strictly online learning platform.
Their programme is self-paced, so that you can work as quickly as you’d like. Ideally, students attain their Level 3 certificate within six months – although it is possible to take a bit longer, if you need to.
At just under £600 for the entire course, you would pay only a fraction of what it would take to see a university programme through!
The course being conducted entirely online, you may feel you need a bit of hands-on tutelage, especially for some of the more difficult concepts covered.
Should that be the case, it would be a good idea to visit Leeds Photographic Society
They do not offer any structured lessons, but the members’ wealth of knowledge about photography permits them to help up and coming photographers such as yourself.
They could lead you to understand exposure limits, aperture and shutter speed; and explain how to use them for maximum effect.
It costs only £40 for a year’s membership, and you would be entitled to join them on outings and submit your photos for critique and competition.
A bit of friendly competition is a good thing!
But not when looking for quality instruction on your future career.
That is why Superprof photography tutors are always ready to assist and advise you on choosing subject matter, framing your scene, lighting techniques and how to use Photoshop and Lightroom!