At this very moment, dear Mancunian, if you had a digital SLR in your hands: where would you go to take a most evocative shot?

To the backbone of England? To the Cheshire Plain?

Maybe you would head into town for a bit of street photography, or to capture the red facade of the Midland Hotel, where once The Beatles were refused access to its French Restaurant.

What if you are more of a futurist? You might endeavour to capture MCJC, which looks like a chest of drawers, haphazardly closed.

These sites and more are just some of the reasons we find tourists flocking to our city, and there's a good chance that each one brings a camera!

Do you claim more than a SmartPhone and a selfie stick as your kit? Haven't you always wanted to move beyond the auto setting on your compact camera?

Taking photography lessons is the first step to formally expressing yourself through visual storytelling, and what a backdrop you have to work with!

Let's discover together where you can take photography classes in Manchester.

Or if you're down South, follow this link to photography courses in London.

Learn to photograph anything with a professional photographer
Learn to photograph the sunset with a professional photographer Source: Pixabay Credit: Bosmanerwin

Gain Photography Skills from a Professional Photographer

The wealth of sights in Manchester can make it difficult to choose where exactly to point your camera.

If that is your dilemma, perhaps you need a workshop with Alan Karl.

Native to the region, he has felt most at home behind the lens, ever since his grandfather presented him a camera for his twelfth birthday.

The mark of good photography is not simply in the technical elements but driven through passion, imagination and inspiration - Alan Karl

If you too hold that opinion and would like to learn from him, better get comfortable walking shoes on, because you will be out all day!

If you live your life to the city beat, you might select the Salford Quays workshop. If you seek refuge in nature, the Goyt Valley shoot would be for you.

Either workshop covers all aspects of camera usage: ISO settings, exposure, white balance and how to interpret histograms.

Through his tutelage, you will learn how to take your photography to the next level: using tricks of light and shadow, capturing intriguing reflections...

He recommends that you bring a mono- or tripod, if you have one, and plenty of memory cards.

And, of course, your DSLR!

A full day of instruction will cost you £105, which includes travelling to various photo shoot sites, and a packed lunch, complete with drinks.

Should you make this shooting a family affair – you, spouse and child, your fee would only be £75 per person.

What we love about Alan Karl is the passion and enthusiasm he brings to every workshop.

What we like less is that it is all about the shoot, and not so much about processing or editing images.

Still, Alan knows how to use PhotoShop. You might request a one to one training session, if digital editing is currently the biggest stumbling block to filling your portfolio.

Or you could seek the help of another professional photographer.

Peter Finch was not born with a camera in his hand; nor did he acquire one in childhood.

Professional photography is a career choice he fell into after two other, wholly satisfying careers.

He now devotes his time to visiting clients' homes for tutorials on Adobe Lightroom and how to maximise the camera's potential.

If you are new to digital photography, you could sign up for his beginners course; and if you are more advanced, you could register for his intermediate or higher level courses.

If you have decided on landscape photography as your specialty, you might join him on a jaunt into the countryside.

A four-hour, in-depth course in your home, office or other mutually agreeable location would cost £120.

The better deal, if you need help with the basics of photography as well as post processing, would be his 3x3 package.

That amounts to a total of 9 hours of lessons, for a cost of £225!

What we love about Peter Finch is that he does home visits, focused on processing and editing digital images.

And, the fact that he will happily instruct you and a couple of mates with no extra charge for the mates.

What we're less keen on is the exclusive focus on digital photography.

I don't have one foot in the bygone days of film – Peter Finch.

Maybe you have a foot – a real passion for film. If so, you may need to look elsewhere to find confrères.

Learn about photography lessons in Liverpool.

What will you find to photograph in Manchester?
If you don't know how to develop film, you can learn with University of Manchester Photographic Society Source: Visualhunt

University of Manchester Photographic Society

Anyone can become a member of this society for a mere £10 per year, and you do not have to be a student of that school.

You can become a lifetime member by paying £20, all at one go!

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this club is that it emphasises film photography over digital.

While some of their kits include a digital camera; most of them revolve around film SLR camera bodies.

As a member, you can borrow any photographic equipment you need, from kits that include lenses, filters and tripods; to darkroom chemicals.

You have to bring your own paper for developing.

If you have never developed film before, you would undergo a learning session before being permitted to use that facility.

Members meet every Wednesday afternoon to discuss and instruct on such varied topics as night photography, portraiture and optimal studio lighting for macro photography.

They also host events, separate from their weekly workflow: perhaps a springtime walk around campus to capture budding leaves in natural light; or heading out to Castlefield, to photograph architecture.

If you have been contemplating a career as a professional photographer, you may get tips on composition and aperture settings when out with them.

More importantly, you would likely find a mentor to guide you into what type of photography you wish to specialise in. Those include:

  • wedding photography

  • portraiture and all of its sub-specialties, such as: baby photography and pet photography

  • nature photography – a bit different from landscape photography

  • wildlife photography

  • travel photography

  • photojournalism

  • commercial photography could include macro photography and food photography

  • other types of studio photography, such as fashion or food

What we love about this Society is that they do not discriminate: it is not just for students, and not just for amateurs with a DSLR camera.

What we don't love is that the most expedient way to get information about group activities and outings, or to suggest a photography workshop topic, is through Facebook.

If, all along, your idea has been to enrol in a photography course with the intent of earning a degree or certificate, University of Manchester Photographic Society could be just the springboard you have been looking for!

Curiously enough, while this photographic society is ideal in many ways, that school itself does not have a degree course to learn photography.

Click here if photo courses in Glasgow would suit you better.

Let us find now where you could go to get certified in your specialty.

Attending a Photography School in Manchester

The Manchester School of Art offers a three-year BA Honours degree, a practice-based course in which you would divide your time equally between lectures and actually photographing subjects.

During the first year, you would learn photography basics, such as the history of photography and the fundamentals of taking pictures: everything from lighting techniques to posing your subjects.

What is so great about this programme is that only a quarter of your time is spent in the classroom.

For most of your development, you will be in workshops, seminars, practical sessions and independent study.

The emphasis during your third year would be on building your portfolio and submitting imagery for review and competition.

By this time, you should have settled on a specialty, such as photojournalism or becoming a commercial photographer.

Showing well in competitions would help you find a position as a professional photographer, so your instructor will encourage you to enter your best shots into online photography galleries.

All of this sounds exciting, but if you are looking for a more structured, traditional study experience...

Learn photography in Edinburgh too, or join a photography class in Belfast.

Earn a Photography Degree through University of Salford

This is also a three-year programme, but it differs from the above-mentioned institution because the first year is generally spent studying the theory and history of photography.

You will also learn about the equipment standard to the professional photographer.

Year two focuses on developing the professional, including deciding on a specialty and experimenting with ideas.

You may research and write about topics as wide ranging as film versus digital imaging, studio versus creative photography and the art of photography itself.

Perhaps the best aspect of learning about photography at Salford or other such institute is job placement.

With a degree in photography, you are more likely to be hired: as a commercial photographer for businesses unrelated to photography, or as an assistant in a thriving photography studio.

What if you don't have three years and wads of money to throw on education, but want nothing more than to exercise your creativity behind the lens, or with image editing software?

Find a photography course in Cardiff!

Why not study photography in the comfort of your home?
You can learn photography online, from the comfort of your own home Source: Pixabay Credit: Rawpixel

Online Photography Courses

It is possible to earn your certification as a professional photographer entirely via webcam.

Digital Master Class is an excellent case in point: not only do they offer discrete modules that address specific aspects of going pro behind the lens, but they sponsor summer meetups with tutors, free of charge.

The best aspect of learning photography online with DMC is their professional photography diploma, which incorporates study modules on how to run a photography business.

Yes, even professional photographers suffer mundane business concerns such as logistics, overhead and taxation!

It is substantially cheaper to earn your accredited Level 3 certificate through online photography training.

If time is of the essence and earning your living is a factor, having a tutor available to you 24 hours a day, and learning materials as close as your computer or tablet could be the solution you have been looking for.

Such a flexible resource also serves the amateur photographer: you could sign up for DMC's basic photography course for only £75.

You could also find your ideal tutor on Superprof.

With more than seven hundred photography tutors on standby, you could easily find the right mentor to teach you all about beginner photography, processing raw files and other technical skills.

Whether you have just bought your first digital SLR camera or about to go out on assignment as a documentary photographer, Superprof is ready to instruct you in the comfort of your own home,  via Skype.

There are a multitude of ways for you to learn how to photograph in Manchester: photography schools, workshops; one to one with a professional photographer or online photography courses with Superprof.

Browse for photography courses in the UK on Superprof:

No matter which way you choose, to go pro or to satisfy your artistic passion, you now know where you can learn to photograph any subject.

We look forward to seeing your work!

Click here to find out about taking photography classes in the rest of the UK.

Need a Photography teacher?

Did you like this article?

5.00/5 - 1 vote(s)


A vagabond traveler whose first love is the written word, I advocate for continuous learning, cycling, and the joy only a beloved pet can bring. There is plenty else I am passionate about, but those three should do it, for now.