This detailed beginners course will show you the way.  You will put into practice what we teach you about film speed, exposure and composition of photographs, developing your own style along the way!  Professional photographers will study your photos and advise you on how to improve them using tried and tested photographic techniques.

Course in Amateur Photography

  • Learn to understand how light forms an image in a camera
  • Develop your ability to take pictures under complex conditions.
  • Learn how an image can be captured in a camera


The course contains six lessons including a special project, each requiring about 8‑10 hours of work by the student. Lesson content is outlined below:

  1. Origins of Photography Image formation; how light works in photography; lenses; understanding photosensitive materials.
  2. Understanding film and cameras Parts of film: supercoat; emulsion; backing support; anti-halation layer; film sensitivity. Camera construction; shutter speed; f stop; ASA/ISO
  3. The Camera and its Use Camera stability; ways of reducing camera movement; depth of field; filters; fault finding.
  4. More on using a camera Flashes (electronic and manual); flash synchronisation; problems with flash photography (e.g. red eye); using a flash in daylight; special lenses; photo composition.
  5. Photographic Techniques Planning a photo session; posing for photos; snapshots; water photography; the human form; portraits; animals; action; landscape and still life photography.
  6. Developing your photographic style


This course can be undertaken successfully without sophisticated camera equipment, however you do need the use of a camera. An SLR camera is best but any camera will do. As you proceed, you will need to purchase a minimum of 5 rolls of film and have them developed. (Inexpensive proof prints are acceptable). All photos and written work submitted will be returned to you.


  • Identify the four layers which make up a modern film.

  • Explain which layer of film carries light sensitive chemicals

  • Describe main developments that led to an increased emulsion speed in film.

  • Describe the action of a shutter.

  • Explain how the shutter controls light.

  • Explain what the "F" numbers on your aperture represent.

  • Explain what a doubling of ASA speed represents in terms of sensitivity

  • Discuss the pros and cons of a digital camera versus a film camera.

  • Learn to properly use the camera and equipment before taking any photos
  • Read and understand any manuals
  • Know how to use photographic equipment skilfully.
  • Think about the things you select to photograph.
  • Slow down, and consider way you compose your photographs, i.e. The way you arrange the things which you select, what parts of the subject matter are highlighted, in focus, in the foreground, excluded, the way they are lit etc.
  • The content of the picture influences the style.
  • The approach used to photograph something, influences the style. (Different approaches to the same subject will produce different styles).
  • Just because a subject is unusual or rare doesn't mean the photo will be unusual or rare. The uniqueness of the photo depends on the way the subject is photographed as much as it does on what the photograph is itself.
  • Visual impact depends on the way composition, form, colour, action etc. are seen in the finished photograph.
  • Lighting affects balance, colour temperature, etc. You can choose your form of lighting and angles of light to develop your style.
  • Style is how you interpret the subject matter of a particular photograph, through that photograph, by using the various photographic techniques available to you.
  • Look at other people's work; in books, magazines, newspapers, exhibitions etc, and try to see the differences in style between different photographers. You can learn a lot about composition and lighting by looking at classical and avant-garde works of art. Can you photographically emulate their style; Rembrandt’s lighting, Leonardo’ da Vinci’s composition?
  • It is often a good learning experience to work with another photographer, maybe a professional, perhaps in a photographic society, photographing the same subjects and comparing the differences in the final result.