a couple of years back, i was invited to come along and take a taster class at the jessops academy training school on oxford street. back then i didn't own a camera so they loaned me a dslr to learn with on the day, and then i promptly forgot everything after the class and moved on with my life. fast forward two years and i am now in the possession of a fabulous mirror-less camera, that has (well, hopefully) changed my life. so, with new camera in hand, i headed back to the training school last weekend, with hopes that someone would show me how to take it out of auto mode..
i'm not terribly good at learning stuff; i have the attention span of a gnat, and to be truthful, i wasn't exactly looking forward to the class. it was supposed to be a whole-day class, meaning i would be in training mode all day, learning from start to finish, probably with people who cared more and were more keen to learn than me, and... i don't like new people. but, within moments of arriving and seeing a familiar face is the glamazon that is eva, i had made myself at home and was looking forward to learning all about my camera's other, non-automatic settings.
the course was the level 1 photography for beginners one, meaning that at least the first hour was the basic "here's how your camera physically works", but after that we were on to the key features that will help me make the most out of my new toy. our instructor james was suuuuuper enthusiastic, which definitely helped me pay attention. he was boisterous and funny, and really got the whole class involved in the learning, and didn't really seem to mind too much when i volunteered to take up the unofficial role of "class clown" (some things never change).
what's great about being taught things about people like that, is that they really care about what they're teaching, and they genuinely want to help you as best they can, so you can then be as enthusiastic as they are about their craft. i suppose that's the thrill of teaching, eh. he wasn't in a rush either, and often would stop to answer the same question time and time again, and physically show those of us (me) who needed showing (me) what we were doing wrong (me), so that we could watch and learn a bit more one-on-one.
the hours flew by with talk of aperture, shutter speed and composition, and we were able to put practise into play after every new lesson so we could physically test the features ourselves. i even remembered some of the techniques from the last time, which proves i do have some long-term memory! by like 2pm we were starving and fading fast, so we broke for lunch before heading out into soho square to put all of our learnings from the day into action for the last time.
and it was in that moment that i totally blanked, and forgot everything i'd learned that day. bloody typical, no? thankfully james was still on-hand to help, and actually, i managed to put quite a few of the techniques to work and produce some alright stuff! definitely all still a work in progress and it will be a while until i'm quite confident that the photos i'm producing aren't terrible, but one thing i do know is that i no longer need to rely on auto mode to take a good photo.
so, massive thanks to james and lizzie and everyone else at jessops for giving me this opportunity to learn more about my camera and finnnnnally how to use it to its full potential, and for being so mega patient with me while i was learning. there's a whole host of photography classes on offer, not just beginner classes, so if you're thinking of upping your photography game then i would 100% recommend these guys. they're not just in london either, so have a look and see what and where your nearest class is!
*i was a guest of jessops for the day, but all words are my own*