I've never made any picture, good or bad, without paying for it in emotional turmoil – W. Eugene Smith
Whether you've caved to technology entirely or are a steadfast holdout of film photography, this quote reflects the emotional, deeply personal aspect of photography.
In London, where life moves so fast, where can one learn to marry his soul to the art of photography?
Who are the best teachers to learn depth of field from? White balance? Focal points?
Who will show us how to frame a scene, pose a subject, capture and immortalise the finest moments of our lives?
For the beginner photographer and the intermediate shutterbug: where to learn lighting techniques and other tricks of the trade?
You can take this as a guarantee: for everyone enamoured of the art of photography, there is a lesson. Whole courses, even!
Let's go find them, shall we?
Learn Photography with a Professional Photographer
London, in general being a hub of artistic aspiration, might exemplify the throw a rock, hit an artist maxim.
We urge you to not throw rocks about; that could incur ill will at the least, and liability at most!
Nevertheless, our capital city sees more tourists every year than any other part of our country, and it is a safe bet that every one of them brings a camera.
How can you distinguish tour groups who point DSLR cameras at anything remotely picture-worthy from those learning photography basics with their newly-purchased digital SLR?
One way is to take note of their camera settings.
The sad fact is that the cameras of today are so complicated, so feature-laden, that most amateur photographers content themselves with the auto setting, never venturing into manual set up.
Mark Wilkinson is in the business to change auto-amateurs into photographers who capture amazing shots.
With nearly 20 years of experience as a photographer, he works with small groups exclusively, the better to instruct them on fashion and portrait photography.
London being one of the fashion centres of the world, your learning fashion photography could lead to a thriving and lucrative business!
His weekly workshops focus on shooting models out of doors. Using natural light enhanced by reflectors, he teaches how to photograph the human form for maximum effect.
Find out about photography classes in Leeds.
Included in the teaching is how to give models instruction for posing and expression, metering natural light and capturing light effects.
Speaking of light...
Mark divides his workshops between day and evening: learning how to shoot in waning light or by streetlight.
The cost for the daytime workshop is £195; evening lessons are £125.
What we like about Mark Wilkinson is the size of his workshops: four people at most, so that he can divide all of his time equally between participants, answering all questions.
What we don't favour as much is the fact that one must have basic knowledge of one's camera and principles of photography; otherwise instruction will be dispensed on the fly, with the hope that every workshop participant can retain the information.
Intermediate and advanced photographers would benefit the most from these workshops, but where are beginners to turn?
Find a photography course in Cardiff!
Ron and Lou Smith maintain that London is an exciting place to live and work, and to photograph.
Lou, originally from Edinburgh, has found her beat in the art galleries around town. Formally trained in Visual Arts – she holds a BA Honours degree, she has transitioned from painting into digital photography.
Ron's love of black and white photography was nurtured at Art College, through capturing and processing landscapes and abstract scenes.
Although he built himself a darkroom and still uses a film SLR camera, he feels inspired by the possibilities inherent in digital photography.
He has been a teacher of photography for eight years.
Could there be a better pair of mentors to learn the basics of photography from?
Together they form London Photo Tours & Workshops, offering a host of seminars, courses and photo excursions in and around the city.
Their beginner's class is limited to only six participants because they want to teach everyone how to use their own cameras instead of touting general features and applications of the most popular cameras brands and models.
It would be sheer luck that everyone in a workshop has the same model camera, wouldn't it?
Before snapping the first picture, you would be told everything about using your camera: what all the buttons and dials do, what the menu represents – including histograms, and how to set your camera for optimal image capture, in any light or movement conditions.
Participating in a scheduled workshop would cost £90; a private workshop, of three or more people, would run each participant £125.
Learn about Manchester photography courses.
What we love about London Photo Tours is the passion and experience that drive this pair of tutors, week after week, into city streets, to help people learn how to create photographic art.
What we are less keen about is that there is no image editing, processing, post processing or retouching education.
Those would be such great follow-up courses for these masters to offer!
We will have to find another place to learn what to do after taking all of those pictures...
Attend a Photography Course in London
The Photo Academy London offers an impressive array of courses aimed at the amateur photographer, all the way up to advanced photography and specialisation courses, in fashion, photojournalism, or other areas.
They even have courses on post production, image editing and using Adobe Lightroom!
This school can take you from fundamental camera operation all the way to darkroom developing, with stops at niche interests along the way.
Are you interested in learning more about studio photography or portraiture?
There is a class for that within PAL'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 course on basics of photography costs £680, with all lessons conducted during evening hours.
You could then go on to select a masterclass, either in photojournalism or fashion photography, which will run you more than £1,800
Photo Academy has some great programmes, but you could also look into DSLR Photography Courses, whose workshops include training in Photoshop as well as Lightroom.
Before editing any images, you must first capture them.
That is why these workshops are so great: they present a variety of themes, for photographers from beginner to intermediate, and even classes for aspiring videographers!
Have you long believed that commercial photography would be among the most lucrative career fields?
You can learn macro photography – imaging tiny subjects like jewellery and food, through their photography programs.
If you are as yet undecided on what make and model of camera and kit to invest in, no worries: they will lend you some for free!
Are you a fan of Nikon or Canon? If so, you are in luck; those are the brands they work with the most!
Their courses are generally kept small, seven participants at the most, so that everyone can benefit from the individualised attention that learning their art demands.
Prices fluctuate between £75 and £125 for four to six hours of instruction.
Niche fields, such as wedding photography and still life photography command slightly higher prices.
What if you are looking for more formal training in photography? Perhaps a degree programme?
If you live in the Midlands, reading about photography courses in Birmingham might help you.
Each of these universities offers a three year programme in photography training, to culminate in the award of a BA Honours degree upon successful completion:
- University of Westminster
- London Metropolitan University
- London South Bank University
- Kingston University
- London College of Communication
- Middlesex University
- University of Roehampton
While the UK has no law or regulation demanding formal education and certification for professional photographers, having a degree in photography gives you more credibility, and more access to work and photo shoot opportunities.
Click here for information on photography courses in Glasgow.
Perhaps you are just a keen amateur of photographic arts, and want to exchange knowledge with like-minded people?
Gain Photographic Insights and Tips from a Club
If your skill behind the lens has brought you a measure of fame, and you wish to share your knowledge about travel photography, wildlife photography or documentary photography with eager peers, a photographic society is a good place to find your audience.
Conversely, if you have no time for photography courses but have a burning desire to learn all about shutter speed, aperture and exposure, you would be likely to find a mentor or two at your local photo club.
London Photographic welcomes people of all experience levels, whether they love the digital or are die-hard practicers of film photography.
We're fairly certain that you will find at least one kindred spirit among their more than 7,000 members!
Their calendar is jam-packed with activities, outings and lectures; everything from using flash to night photography is covered.
Should want to enrol with a more established society...
The Camera Club was founded more than 130 years ago, at the dawn of photography's growing popularity.
Today, members enjoy the use of the club's digital image processing software and equipment, including their photo printer.
If you are a fan of film, you would gain access to their darkroom after accreditation. You must pay for the use of chemicals.
In fact, accreditation is necessary before using any of the club's extensive facilities. It consists of a walk-through and acknowledgement of the rules, rather than any tutorials on studio lighting or composition.
Is your parents' coral anniversary just around the corner?
You might consider booking one of the club's fully equipped studios to snap shots for the party announcements.
Whether you are hoping for an introduction to photography or are already a seasoned professional, it is a sure bet that you could pick up photography tips from other members of this group.
Membership is £120 per year; with seniors and students receiving a discounted rate.
If you are not sure whether this is the right group for you, you could visit – attend a few events before making a decision.
Advice on photography clubs in Liverpool.
What a dilemma! You need photography lessons in order to use that new digital camera you got for Christmas, but have no time for photography class or club meetings...
Learn Photography Online
Living in one of the world's most international and artistic cities matters not at all when it comes to online learning.
From the Orkney Islands to the Isle of Man, all you need for online photography courses learning is a sincere desire and a stable Internet connection.
And a reliable source of quality education, of course.
Digital Master Class can be counted as a quality provider of photographic learning.
If you are contemplating moving beyond the selfie, plan on investing in good photographic equipment and perhaps even moonlight as an event photographer, DMC's accredited photography courses could help you achieve your goals.
Their Level 3 professional photography course covers everything from basic composition and exposure to RAW conversions and building a portfolio.
If you are entranced with visual storytelling and want to take your talent behind the lens to the next level – even if you don't want to go pro, you could learn a lot from these masters of photography.
Superprof has a fine retinue of photography tutors ready to offer their guidance.
If you are looking for basic photography lessons in easy to understand, everyday language, Superprof's photography tutorials are sure to help you find your way.
You could learn to photograph architecture from a master photographer in Paris or... what about street photography from a professional in colourful Mexico?
As an artist, the world is yours to define. As an online student, you define your world.
London, our beautiful, international capital, has everything to offer the professional photographer.
Learning what to photograph and how to capture your subject for maximum effect takes a bit of training.
Now, you know where to find the level of guidance you need to expand your photography skills!
If you're not a Londoner, read our blog on photography courses throughout the UK.