Cardiff, with its distinctive character, its quick route into the countryside and to the sea, and its ever-growing cultural life, is a fertile and instructive place to learn photography, to learn how to take a photograph, and to learn what best to do with it next.
Because photography is not simply a process of ‘point and shoot’. It isn’t really what you do when you switch on your mobile phone camera. It’s not about sending photos via WhatsApp, Snapchat, or Instagram – or all the other platforms that are both a cause and a symptom of our world’s proliferation of photographs.
Whilst we, right now, take more photos than any other generation in history – although the history of photography is a short one really – what we call photos take no effort. We see a cute cat and snap an image. We eat a nice meal, find a new dress in a shop, or see something we need to remember, and we take a photo. This is almost second nature to us now – and the photos we take are not the strange and magical things they once were.
It would be hard for them to be. Because everywhere we look, we see photographs. Walking down the street, on a bus, or in books – not even to mention online – there are photographs literally all around us.
And, whilst this is good for the professional photography industry – and for the media platforms we use to share our photos – it might not necessarily be great for the person learning photography. Because we take images for granted, and we don’t really recognise what it takes to produce an image that is beautiful, that is special, that stands out.
For you that are here to find out about photography courses, you should know that it is this recognition that constitutes one of the most basic, and most important, photography skills.
Let’s take a look at what else you need to know – and the reasons why you might want to join a photography course.
Take your camera somewhere lovely.
What we forget, in our over-photographed world, is that a good photograph takes a lot of skill to produce. The professional photographer exists for a reason: whilst we know how to shoot images on a cheap digital camera or smartphone, great pictures come from a lot of work, knowledge, and skill – as well as a bit of patience.
To develop this photographic knowledge, sure, you can practice by yourself. However, some things are best learned through teaching. And if you want to be a photographer – a photojournalist, a portrait photographer, or a commercial photographer, or whether you want to get involved in food photography, street photography, sports photography or event photography – the best route is through formal lessons with an expert.
There are a few reasons for this. Let’s take a look.
Photography is a discipline that involves a lot of different pieces of equipment, different bits of technical knowledge, and generally a lot of stuff beyond the camera. So, commercial photography brings with it the photography studio, the studio lighting, as well as the aspects of the camera itself, the shutter speed, etc.
However, then there are the concerns with what happens to the digital image once you have taken the photo. Knowing how to photograph is not really enough – as computer software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop are just important these days as the photography basics.
This is important to mention because, whilst you may have all the passion in the world for digital photography or whatever, all this collateral material demands a lot of financial commitment, technical study, and an understanding of all the elements that make up a photo.
Photography workshops provide the teaching of these elements – but they also offer the use of these technologies themselves. Rather than forking out hundreds of pounds for Photoshop, you can develop the skills you need in a photography class before you commit to the money.
Timing is everything in photography
The other really crucial element to learning photography is going to be the people you meet. Ask any commercial photographer and what they will say is that, without connections or a network of people, you ain’t going to go very far. With the commercial photography industry growing at a steady rate, there are so many photographers around these days. To navigate this, you need to know the right people.
Knowing the right people means, in the industry, getting clients. It means having people help build your reputation for you. It means making a living from your work! Because, whether they are professors, peers, or people ready to pay you hard cash for your pictures, knowing lots of people in the industry is going to be a huge plus if you are trying to grow a photography business.
Photography classes – particularly at degree level and beyond – are going to be an excellent opportunity for exactly this, as your institution will help you share your work with the people that matter. It’s a little mercenary, but it is true!
Finally, it’s worth pointing out some of the benefits of the photography class for those who don’t really have any intention of pursuing photography as a career. You guys are the hobbyists, the amateur photographers, potentially the people that enjoy the activity the most!
However, if you are practising your art alone, it can sometimes be a little difficult to stay motivated, to find new areas that excite you, to keep progressing and progressing and progressing. You can find yourself just repeating the same things over and over again, producing photos that, sure, are nice, but lack the spark that kindled your love for the medium in the first place.
A photography teacher can help you if you find this sounding familiar. They can show you new techniques, set you new challenges, and get you thinking of new subjects, ideas, or feelings to explore. It is, in the end, their job to stretch you – and being stretched is the most inspiring and motivating thing there is in a hobby.
Try photography classes in Cardiff!
And so, to Cardiff. We began this piece by saying that Wales’s capital city is a great place to learn how to hone your skills in photography. And it sure is.
With universities, colleges, private photography studios, and photography tutors all offering lessons, there is plenty of competition in which you can find the perfect teaching style for you.
So, strap on your camera – and join one of these photography courses in Cardiff today!
Cardiff has a big student community, with Cardiff University, Cardiff Met, and the University of Wales all having campuses in the capital.
Honestly, this is great for anyone hoping to learn anything at all. Yet, it is particularly good for everyone interested in something like photography: whether it is a professional photography degree or an evening class, most of these educational institutions offer some sort of course in the discipline.
Photography degrees specifically run over three years, and you’ll learn both the technical elements of the camera and its technologies and the commercial elements of the business of photography. The combination of both is essential – and you’ll find yourself in a great position to start a career in photography once you have finished.
If it’s private tuition you are after, Superprof is the place to find it.
Of the millions of private tutors we host across the world, eight are photography tutors in Cardiff! These guys charge an average of £16 an hour, and their specialism range from documentary photography to art and design, nature photography to digital image manipulation techniques.
They are friendly, committed, and flexible – and will be dedicated to the things that you specifically need to learn. So, whether you want to get outdoors to snap some nature shots, or need a run through the latest Photoshop, you’ll find what you need with Superprof’s tutors.
Whilst Cardiff itself has a whole load of excellent opportunities, just down the road there is the chance to perfect your skills in nature photography and in outdoor photography.
Sarah J. Evans is a photographer who has been working in the field for years. She now teaches the art of looking through the lens in Cowbridge. And, whilst you might think that this is a long way to go for a photography lesson, you’d be a little daft if you did.
If you are interested in outdoor photography, your best shots won’t come from the city. So, get out into nature and capture the beauty of the world.