Life Values

I have been following Michele Taylor’s 12 day’s of Christmas posts (well playing catch up really, as I haven’t been able to work through each post’s tasks as they were published)

So, after reading day’s 1 and 2 I sat down with my list of values and started work…

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My first photography lesson

On Wednesday evening I had my first photography lesson with Mick Payton.  Mick has been a professional photographer for over 25 years and is one of the top erotic art photographers in Europe.  He provides great value, high quality tuition to budding photographers and models.  I first discovered Mick through a Groupon deal and after the great time I had in my first class I will definitely be going back for more lessons – and highly recommend his services to anyone else who wants to learn photography in a friendly, fun, relaxed environment!

Grass test shot, formed a perfect bell curve in my histogram 😀

The ‘basic’ course was the ideal starting point for me, I had only recently purchased my Nikon D3100 camera and really didn’t have a clue how to do any more than put it on ‘Auto’, point and click… now of course you can get some ‘okay’ pictures this way, but what’s the point in buying a decent camera if you don’t/can’t use it properly!?  I had bought this camera because I wanted to take better pictures – I don’t want or intend to become a ‘professional’ by any means.  I just want to take quality photographs!

The first challenge for me was familiarising myself with some manual settings on my camera before going to the class – I failed at the first hurdle!  The ‘user’ manual was not very helpful, to me it seemed to assume you already knew a bit about cameras 😦  So when I got to the class I still wasn’t really sure how to find the settings for using my camera manually, shutter speed and aperture setting (how useless am I!?).  Amazingly I had at least found the iso setting and how to access your histogram – and more importantly how to ‘read’ the histogram!

We had been told that the class would be very practical, but to bring a pen and notepad if we wanted to take notes – these were not needed at all!   After a few minutes chat we got straight into the practical work, adjusting our camera settings so the exposure indicator read ‘0’, to do this we needed to use something that was 18% grey to focus on – grass!?  Then followed lots of practise adjusting the settings for the iso, aperture and shutter speed, using readings off the histogram to get the exposure correct depending on the amount of light/shade you were taking photographs in.  I was so chuffed when I got the shot below which gave the kind of ‘in focus’ foreground, ‘out of focus’ background effect we were aiming for – I could never have done this before (and while it’s not ‘perfect’ it is ‘awesome’ to me, because I did it!)

I was very pleased with this shot!

Our practise continued outdoors before moving into the studio to learn how to use  lighting effects to enhance our work. All the time the delightful model ‘Pink’ was at hand to be posed – although all of us seemed rather nervous about asking/telling her what to do!  As a result she owns the copyright to must of the pictures taken, as the pictures are the models property unless you ‘the photographer’ have told her what to do!  I’ve had to pick carefully to include ‘my’ pictures here!

Pink - I asked her to look 'hurt'

I don’t want to give away too much detail about the lesson as you need to go along and experience it for yourself if you are interested! And even if you don’t need ‘basic’ lessons Mick also does intermediate and advanced classes and classes on specific genres – for example; glamour, weddings, sports, action and many more. Check out his website for more information and to book a class here.

Pink - 'cheeky smile'

I certainly learned much more with the practical ‘hands on’ approach than I would have done had we been sat around with someone ‘talking’ at us about these settings – ‘doing’ it is a much quicker, better way to get the hang of something, and in a way you will remember – without having to dig through copious notes that become a confusing jumble of words!

While I still have much to learn (I am still 100% a beginner in my eyes!)  it was really nice to have my fiancee comment that I actually sounded like I knew what I was talking about when I was telling him  what I had learned!

Many thanks to Mick and Pink, can’t wait for my next class! 😀

Pink - In the mirror

Pink - legs up the wall

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