As the second most populous city in England, Birmingham thrums with activity and life. Her diverse population offers infinite possibilities for photographers whose passion is capturing street scenes.
Have you been known to train your lens on the Bullring? Are you anticipating the upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade?
Do you have your kit ready: tripod, lenses, filters and spare batteries for your digital SLR?
Do you know how to use every feature of your DSLR camera? Have you progressed beyond the auto setting? Can you read a histogram?
In anticipation of St. Paddy's and all of the merriment that occasion brings, let Superprof get you ready to do more than point and shoot.
Let us find where, in Birmingham, you can take photography courses!
Learn About Your SLR Camera with a Professional Photographer
Photo School sounds like a brick and mortar institution full of aspiring photographers who create visual art on daily basis.
The latter part of that statement is true; the first part – that it is an actual school, with all that that implies, is not necessarily so.
Founded in 2012 by Pete Ashton and Matt Murtagh, the Photo School was born out of need.
Many of our friends were buying DSLR cameras with lots of functions but had no idea how to use them. - Pete Ashton
Adopting Cartier-Bresson's approach to street photography, this duo posted an advert for a one day workshop.
If you're a Londoner, our blog on photography courses in the capital may be of interest to you.
Somewhat to their surprise, at the appointed time, a bunch of people with cameras turned up at the designated meeting place – City Centre Pub. After brief instruction, the duo hit the streets with all of those beginners at photography in tow.
The rest, as they say, is photographic history.
Their programme has received a few tweaks. Initially, to refine the style of instruction; these days, to update their knowledge base, reflecting advances in technology.
You can find Pete Ashton and his merry band of beginners running the streets of Birmingham most every Sunday, but it would be best to book yourself into a group session, in order to benefit from the instruction he dispenses.
You could also host a workshop, with Mr. Ashton as a guest speaker.
For businesses, clubs and social gatherings, Peter Ashton will set up shop in your environment and make use of props and photos you make available.
The cost for such a venture runs between £150 and £350, depending on how labour intensive your project is for him.
What we love about Photo School is that it is so informal.
You get enough instruction to understand fundamental features and uses of the camera, and then you are turned loose to challenge your ideas of composition and depth of field.
What we like less is that it is limited to street photography.
A subject photographs differently in natural light than in studio lighting.
While it is great that Photo School students learn to use natural light, we can't help but think that a bit of indoors photography would round out this beginner photography tutorial nicely.
Still, as a photography for beginners course, you could do a lot worse than this one day of instruction.
What if you're looking to learn broader photography skills?
Red Cloud Photography Courses
Learning photography with this group guarantees you a diverse experience: you can start out an absolute beginner, as a photographer with a few tricks up his sleeve, or be more advanced in the art.
Less experienced photographers can benefit not only from the instructors' wisdom, but from those who've been on a shoot or two!
And, Red Cloud hosts a variety of workshops: in the Botanical gardens, at night...
You can even learn portrait photography with a Red Cloud instructor if you don't mind going to Nottingham!
In short: decidedly, there is variety to be had with this group.
Each instructor is a certified photographer in their own right, who believes that learning photography is a hands-on experience.
Therefore, as you stroll around the gardens, digital camera in hand, your tutor will give you tips and ideas on setting your shutter speed to capture sunlight filtering through branches, or how to get a close up of an orchid without getting close to it at all.
The skills you learn with Red Cloud photography workshops could help you decide on a photographic specialty.
Aspiring commercial photographers, macro photographers, and nature photographers could all benefit from these tutorials.
For our Scottish readers, learning about photography classes in Glasgow could be useful.
We will discuss these types of photography and more in our next segment.
What we love about Red Cloud is the wealth of experience they bring to their tutorials, both by engaging professional photographers to teach photography, and for the longevity and refinement of their programme.
What we like less is that their focus is completely on the capturing of images.
Their workshops present no information on digital image editing, post processing or retouching, if you use a film SLR.
A day-long outing costs £125. For that price, you will learn about shutter and aperture speeds, ISO and white balance, and rules of composition.
If you are mad for night photography, their evening workshop, in the heart of City Centre, will run you £35.
Two hours is all they need in order to show you how to create light trails and other light effects against the backdrop of the night sky.
Red Cloud is great for learning the fundamentals of digital photography, or honing your skill, if you are more advanced.
Does one need to learn more about photography than ISO settings and shutter speed?
Find a photography course in Cardiff!
Develop Your Photography Skills Through a Society
Undoubtedly, learning how to use your camera's settings is the first step to becoming a competent photographer, either for maintaining amateur status or to go pro.
To take your skill behind the lens to the next level, you may consider joining a photographic society.
Let us suppose you wish to make a career out of photography, but have only the vaguest idea of the possibilities of the metier.
The most lucrative fields of photography include:
- wedding photography
- portrait photography, including babies and pets
- commercial photography
- macro photography – food, jewellery, machinery and other tiny parts, including insects
However, you may wish to capitalise on your photography skills while indulging a different passion altogether.
In that case, you may consider:
- wildlife photography
- nature photography
- landscape photography, the panoramic version of nature photography
- travel photography
- action photography – snapping pictures at sports events, for example
If you are undecided about where you photography skills could take you, discussing your dreams with other photographers could help you refine your goals.
Take a look at our article on photography lessons in Manchester.
You would find people of such caliber at your local photography society.
Smethwick Photographic Society
Established nearly 100 years ago, SPS has become one of the country's largest photographic societies.
Their rolls list more than 200 members, of which at least 20 of them are fellows of the Royal Photographic Society!
Besides over a century of collective talent, their facility houses a medium-sized studio with a range of lighting systems, a well stocked library – sure to be a most valuable resource; digital imaging software of all types, not just Adobe!
They even have a darkroom, for those who contend that film is the only true medium of photographic expression.
Should your kit be lacking, you can rent lenses, filters and tripods from their concession.
Although there is activity at the club house nearly every day, the main meeting is held on Thursday nights, in their comfortably outfitted lecture hall.
Individual membership costs £36 per year. If your spouse shares you love of life behind the lens, both of you can join for £58.
Students, seniors and unemployed members enjoy a reduction in annual fee.
What we love about this society is that it at least touches on every aspect of photography: film versus digital, Adobe versus InDesign – and a darkroom to develop and retouch negatives.
Learn about photography classes in Leeds.
It is really difficult to find anything negative about this organisation but, if truly pressed to, we might aver that there is no overt expression of any type of mentoring programme.
And, the syllabus reflects a distinct lack of outings.
Supposedly, if you need guidance, help, hands on tutelage or information, you are expected to take your query to the library and figure things out for yourself.
That resembles the teaching philosophy many institutes of higher learning embraces... doesn't it?
Attend Photography Lessons in Birmingham
Although the UK does not require formal education to become a professional photographer of any type, we emphasise that obtaining a degree in photography will advance your career faster than any advert will.
Birmingham City University offers a three-year undergraduate course in photography, which covers:
- Principles, practices and the enterprise of photography
- Context of photography and collaborative practice
- Critical practice – establishing your direction under guidance of your teachers
At some point during your second year, you will be expected to have chosen a specialty, such as studio photography or photojournalism, around which your education, from that point on, will revolve.
A further bonus during your second year is an optional work-study module, enabling you to develop professional attributes through apprenticeship.
The total cost of this programme is £9,250 per year, plus the cost of materials, books and lodging, if needed.
Naturally, you would be expected to bring your own camera and laptop to school, or purchase them after your first lesson.
Especially if your computer does not have the power to process RAW files, you may need to upgrade.
Besides these expenses, you could participate in field trips: to Berlin, to Paris and other exciting, international locations.
If you're not local to Birmingham, why not read about photography in Liverpool?
What if you don't have the resources for formal photography training, but still wish to learn the art of photography?
You could also take photography courses here.
Take Online Photography Courses
Ah, the Internet, where you must ask the right question in order to find the answer you seek!
Fortunately, as far as online photography courses are concerned, that is not too difficult a task.
UK Learning College is ready to help you discover your eye for composition and teach you how to frame your shot, pose your subject and meter light – all in the comfort of your own home.
Earning a photography degree online is not a lonely endeavour; your tutor is ready to help, via email or text message.
As an enrolee, you would have access to the student portal where you can find others who are passionate about photography, and have dedicated time to learn all about it!
You are not required to have any prior knowledge of photography, take any exam, or show a portfolio to qualify for enrolment in this course; all you need is a sincere desire to learn all about digital photography.
The fee for this course is but a fraction of what it would cost to attend university; only £399.
The downside to such an online course is that it neglects film photography completely.
However, today's fast moving world quite nearly demands the use of cutting edge technology, so perhaps it is fitting that such photography courses would deliver instruction only over what is needed for professional success.
Not on the history of photography or traditional methods of capturing and editing images.
If you do wish to learn how to work with film, perhaps engaging a personal tutor would be the best way.
Superprof has more than 700 tutors, each one passionate about photography, all ready to take you under their figurative wing.
They will disclose the mystique of black and white, the explosion of colour and the alchemy of transforming ephemeral images into tangible portraits.
No matter which direction you decide to take your photography skills, where and how you discover tricks of the trade and with whom you share you love of capturing images, Birmingham has the right outlet for you.
Now that you know where to turn for photography basics, we'll look forward to seeing your photography online!
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