As a native Liverpudlian, can you name three picture-worthy sites in and around our city? How about outside of city limits?
In fact, The Pool has so much to capture on film or memory card that a tourists' typical week's stay would not be nearly enough to see and snap even the most popular sites!
From the world famous Victorian Gardens to our gorgeous Cathedral, it is no wonder that tourists flock to our city – and it would be a sure bet that everyone brought their camera!
Even those who come for the Merseyside derby take their fair share of snaps, if only to load them on social media.
No matter why you wield your camera, the fundamental reason for seeing the world through a viewfinder is to capture noteworthy sights and memorable moments.
If said sights and moments are indeed worth capturing, wouldn't it be worth your while to learn how to do it well?
Even if you have substantial experience behind the lens, as an advanced photographer, there is still much to learn... especially considering technological advances in the art of photography!
Or if you're in Scotland, our article on Glasgow photography courses may be of interest.
You can take extra online photography courses here.
Learn from a Professional Photographer
While you may be enthused about capturing unique moments in time and recording them for posterity, you might be stymied at the sheer variety of photographic styles.
Each of these types of photography require their own technique and, to some extent, their own equipment:
- Portrait photography
- family, seniors and babies are all subspecialties of the blanket term portrait
- head shot photography – meant for actors or anyone building a portfolio
- fashion photography
- commercial photography
- advertising photography and graphic design fall under this general term
- Wildlife and nature photography
- Landscape photography – more of a panoramic expression than nature photography
- macro photography – imaging small particles or organisms
- a macro photographer shoots fine detail in jewellery as well as tiny animals and insects
If you intend to make a career out of photographing people, perhaps portrait photography could be a lucrative career for you.
Even better: plenty of portrait photographers offer workshops, to teach you all about their methodology!
Martin Birchall is one such mentor.
A winner of the British Photographer of the Year award, he is now ready to divulge all of the tips and skills that made him the best photojournalist.
From the informal start to the session until its very last minute, you will learn to tone your composition, use light effectively and even experiment with depth of field.
He welcomes beginners and people who have shot the cathedral a thousand times, with a thousand different filters.
He does ask that you bring your own camera, and a tripod, if you have one.
What we love about this programme is the skill and talent that Mr. Birchall brings to his sessions: a passion for the art and an effortless manner to put even the most camera shy novice at ease.
We're less enthused about the session duration: only three hours long.
Still, for £40 per spot (£70 for two spots), you really can't beat the price.
Some beginner photographers enjoy the conviviality of group learning while others prefer intensive, one on one study of their DSLR.
If you are of the latter persuasion and have a particular desire to capture sights around the Lake District, Melvin Nicholson would be the instructor for you.
He will help you get beyond the auto setting on your digital SLR, dispel your composition woes and advise you on which lens and filter to use for optimal imaging.
In the eight hours you would spend in his company, you would take practice shots of various locales within an 85 mile radius of Preston (Lancashire).
He will travel further out, but mileage and accommodations will add to your total cost.
For one person, one eight-hour session will cost £195. For you and two mates, the fees would total £395, plus the costs mentioned above, as needed.
If you are hoping for a workshop, he does host them, as well, but you would have to check his calendar for available dates and locations.
He travels quite a bit, offering his particular brand of genius to as many amateur photographers as possible, so keep an eye on his calendar for events near you.
What we love about Mr. Nicholson is his vast experience in capturing stunning nature scenes, and his dedication to training the next generation of landscape photographers.
What we're less enthused about is the near-exclusive focus on how to use your digital camera, virtually ignoring any post processing or editing.
If you are at intermediate level, or are an advanced photographer – you know how to use your camera and have already established an online portfolio, you may be interested in joining a photography club.
If you're across the pond in Leeds, you may find it useful to read this article on Leeds photography classes.
Photographic Societies in Liverpool
There is no better way to expand your knowledge of photography tricks than through casual banter with fellow artistic aficionados.
To that end, we present two of the more active photography clubs in Liverpool, starting with...
Maghull Photography Club
This is a small group of enthusiastic photographers who give tutorials, hold competitions and generally expound of the life of the amateur photographer.
If you are just starting your career as a freelance photographer, you might post your best shots on their site, both to proclaim your talent, and to sell!
They express no shame in revering traditional methods of photography – read: film photography, developing and retouching, but they also embrace new technology.
As a member of this club, you may learn how to edit your digital images with PhotoShop!
Maghull Photography Club meets every Monday at 8 PM, from September through May, and boasts a full calendar; an event for every meeting save on holidays.
Although there is no annual membership fee, there is a charge of £4 per meeting.
That gives you the freedom to attend only those workshops and lectures that interest you without paying for sessions not targeted to your focus.
What we love about this club is the flexibility it offers: in fees, scheduling and diversity of photographic learning material.
We are not so keen on is the limited practical nights.
Only three times per season are the cameras actually used: to photograph models, or commercial photography subjects – still life or a product.
Find a photography course in Cardiff!
South Liverpool Photographic Society
Founded sixty-five years ago, this fun faction of photographers have embraced digital imaging, but still welcome fans of film photography.
Nearly forty years after their inception, they incorporated with The Pool's oldest, most venerated photographic society, thus embracing more than one hundred and sixty years of amateur and professional photographic excellence.
They offer a year-round syllabus, including a summer programme to display your holiday snaps, which runs from July until September.
On Sundays, they host The Improvers' Group workshops, where you can exchange tips and ideas with other photo enthusiasts.
What we really like about South Liverpool Photographic Society is its tradition and history, and a varied syllabus: a different activity for every meeting.
What we don't like is the lack of transparency: the charter itself proclaims that fees are determined on a meeting or situational basis.
While it is always a good idea to discuss your hobby/passion with those of similar interest, perhaps you would like to get a more formal education in the art of photography.
To find photography clubs in Manchester, take a look at our article!
Take Photography Classes at the City of Liverpool College
Established in 1992 from a consolidation of four separate campuses, the City of Liverpool College offers a Level 1 photography course to anyone who wishes to learn about:
- ISO – the sensitivity of your camera's image sensor
- Aperture and Shutter application
- Introduction to Photoshop
During this ten-week engagement, you will learn everything about your compact or SLR camera, and will be called on to prove your knowledge by submitting a project as your final exam.
The cost for these twice-weekly evening lessons is £220, not including course materials, and you must provide your own camera.
If you haven't yet invested in a camera, you might borrow one, until you can learn more about what you want in a DSLR camera.
And, until you have decided on a specialty!
The commercial photographer uses different equipment – camera bodies, lenses and filters than, say, someone adept at night photography.
Therefore, you may want to wait until you are more advanced in learning photography before spending any money on photographic equipment.
In this course, your instructor will detail the pros and cons of various camera models and types, from compacts to ones with all of the bells and whistles, during your first lesson.
You could always expand your knowledge about photography training by taking it to the next level in a more advanced course.
Surprisingly, inexplicably!: formal photography programmes seem rather limited within Liverpool. However, you can obtain a Level 3 certificate or a BA Honors degree online, through distance learning.
If you'd like to do the same in London, click here to read about photography courses in the capital.
Learn Photography Skills Online
University for the Creative Arts offers a degree programme online, a path to professional photography that you can complete as quickly as you'd like.
These courses operate under the premise that everyone is a novice at digital photography, and takes you from the camera basics, all the way through technical and analytical skills needed to compose and shoot subject matter.
Their programme is modular, meaning a student could select, from among the vast series of learning units, which topics pique his creative and intellectual curiosity.
As for specialising: the modular concept permits mastering only of the type of photography you intend to pursue as a career.
If you love travel photography, for example, you would select nature and wildlife photography study modules, and reject fashion or food photography.
As you move closer to your degree, your tutor would more intently support you in creating challenging work, to reflect your advanced photography skills and mature eye for composition.
As you progress in the art of photography, your instructor will help you develop your visual storytelling capabilities.
University of Creative Arts is highly ranked by the Guardian University League tables, and for good reason!
Its relatively low cost, coupled with student satisfaction – both with teaching methods and study materials, makes this online institute of higher learning a fine choice.
Especially for those who do not have access to a photography study programme that is within commuter distance from their home.
If you really prefer studying at home, you could always engage a Superprof tutor.
Superprof has more than 700 qualified teachers of photography to instruct you through online photography courses, via webcam, in the comfort of your own home.
Are you a film photography fanatic who is hesitant about going pro with digital equipment?
Conversely: were you spoon-fed on digital but now wish to master film photography and developing?
Have you only ever played around with compact digital SLRs but are looking to trade up to a more complex model of camera?
For all of these instances and more, Superprof has a tutor for you!
With all of the tourists taking pictures around our fun city, with so much a photographer could capture – on film or memory card...
With the knowledge that Liverpool, herself historic, has so many visual treats to offer: doesn't our city nearly beg you to take photography lessons?
And now, you know where and who you can learn from!
If Liverpool is too far away, reading about photography classes in Birmingham might be useful.