Photography lessons for all age groups

Photography lesson with work placement student Natalie

I started delivering interactive photography lessons via zoom a few weeks ago. It amazed me how much I would enjoy helping people develop their interest in this incredible art form. Initially, I aimed my lessons towards children, and young people. However, I quickly found there was a market for photography lessons for all age groups.

The idea for my interactive photography lessons

It all started off with the idea to assist home-schooling parents by providing a short 30-minute photography teaching session for children. It would overwhelm me having to develop a rich learning experience for a child. I also thought children might not be learning photography at school, so this would add variety to their syllabus. Also, it was a chance to get some fresh air, exercise, and a break from reading. Importantly, I thought it would take children away from their screens for a while. Also, photographing your environment inevitably leads to learning about it. So, a buy one get one free (BOGOF) photographic science lesson!

My plan was to set small, practical exercises. For example, taking photographs of family members, pets, nature, etc. I would find out what the young person enjoyed doing, and what they liked to photograph, then tailor their exercises accordingly. I estimated that by offering five 30-minute lessons, I could touch on some theory, talk about camera settings, and give feedback on homework. Also, I would have time to share some photographs taken by the greats; there really is no better way to learn.

My first teenage student: William

13-year-old William told me he enjoyed photographing the moon. He showed me this impressive shot he’d taken previously. It is a fabulous image that William is understandably proud of. I had suspected that younger students would know less than the older ones, but William was about to prove me wrong.

I provided some additional hints and tips, including the best camera settings and ideas for composition. Luckily our second lesson coincided with a Super Moon on 8 April, so it was an excellent opportunity for some practice.

William also explained he enjoyed nature photography. I showed how to photograph leaf details against a bright white background to bring out the variety of leaf characteristics of various plants. Please excuse the socks! William’s homework was to hunt down other examples from the garden and photograph them using different backgrounds.

As part of my homework, I made it a priority to understand the capability of all my students’ cameras. This meant I could tailor exercises to suit what was technically possible using their kit. I am amassing a large collection of camera manuals on my laptop as a result! It can be a huge frustration to learn a new technique, only to find out your camera cannot achieve it. For example, William’s lens had an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/6.3. This meant that all my examples showed William what was possible using his camera:-

William was a joy to teach during our interactive photography lessons. He was enthusiastic and always found time for his homework. I found out from mum that he also had a mountain of homework he was receiving from school. Offering photography lessons for all age groups opened my eyes. He already had a very advanced skill-set and even requested colour correction advice. William kept me on my toes and inspired me to continue teaching. He was a joy to work with and a photographer to look out for.

My first grown-up student: Muur

Muur was a fabulous student who up for trying anything and everything photographically, using her iPhone 7 Plus camera. Muur had just started a new business before the COVID-19 lockdown called Walkies Norwich. She offers a dog walking service for dog owners in the NR2 and NR3 postal code districts of Norwich. Muur has a Facebook business page here: Walkies Norwich and wanted to improve her dog portraits. She planned to use her new skills to promote her business and also share the dog portraits with their owners.

Our lessons started with a canine theme. I shared with Muur some of my successful pet images…

… as well as some of my less successful dog shoots: Pet photography is hard! It’s full of a lot of cajoling and treat bribes. For example, dogs, inexplicably, seem able to detect that you have a camera in your hand. Because when you are desperate for them to sit still and look at you, they morph into whirling dervishes with legendary energy! However, my worst example was a pair of dogs that detested one another. Now that was a challenge! I had to settle for ‘I’ll be near you, but I won’t acknowledge you’ pose:-

We explored Muur using the Portrait Mode function on her iPhone 7 Plus. This is an excellent option to achieve a lovely blurred background behind your subject. And don’t forget that your subject can be animal, vegetable or mineral! We talked through how to create bokeh, the beautiful dreamy ‘blobs’ of light also created using a shallow depth of field:

We also looked at some examples by an amazing pet portrait photographer, Elke Vogelsang, for inspiration. You can see more of her images on Instagram here.

Where art and photography collide

Muur knew a lot about art history and there were many instances where we compared traditional ‘painted’ art with photographic art. Particularly this applied to composition and use of colour. She threw herself into the lessons with gusto! Pet portraits were difficult because of the lockdown and temporary closure of her business. Instead, Muur photographed her daughter Esme, the cat, and her husband. This is a gallery of some of her images:-

A testimonial from a satisfied customer

Dan, one of my wonderful adult learners, who has a real knack for photographing people, left me this lovely testimonial on Facebook.

ETT teaches camera craft for all age groups – would you like a lesson?

You may already access on-line photography training videos. However, you may think something more interactive would be more beneficial. Also, you might have specific questions you would like to ask. Alternatively, you may just want some in-depth feedback on how to improve your images. Now is a great time to learn!

ETT Photography offers these photography lessons for all age groups, skill levels, and photographic interests. You choose the number and frequency of the sessions. After three sessions, you can pay as you go. See below for prices of a course of three initial, followed by additional pay-as-you-go, sessions.

Three 30-minute 121 lessons via ZOOM
– all lesson materials used supplied as a PDF or .pptx (Powerpoint) file format
– a review of the capability of your camera kit (including mobiles)
– tailoring of lessons to suit your camera kit, skill level and age
– exercises set as homework between sessions (suitable during COVID-19 lockdown)
– opportunities to ask questions at any point during the lesson and
– a review of learning completed
Note: These photography lessons for all age groups and skill levels.
Additional 30 minute lessons pay-as-you-go – per lesson£10
Telephone and email advice between sessions and up to the last booked session (10 sessions or less booked)FREE
Telephone and email advice after 10 booked sessions for 2 years after the date of the 10th sessionFREE

If this interests you, please contact ETT Photography here. We can have a no-obligation chat about what you would like to learn or improve.