The 2 Poles of Photography

Why McFade Splits Beginners Workshops

To total beginners, photography is a new, exciting pastime – but with a learning-curve as steep as Hardknott Pass!

Where do you start?

You can boil photography down to 2 things:-

  • Finding interesting stuff to photograph
  • Using camera settings to get an interesting shot

This is the philosophy behind my Discover Leeds and Take Control workshops.

  • Discover Leeds helps people think about “interesting stuff”
  • Take Control teaches people about camera control

To become a competent photographer, you need proficiency in both areas:-

  • if you’re not at all creative yet technically perfect, you’ll produce high quality boring images
  • if you are creative but have no idea how to control the camera, you are relying on luck to get the image you want.

So the 2 disciplines are split with McFade Training.

Discover Leeds

We concentrate entirely on finding things to shoot whilst walking around on of the UK’s finest cities. Emphasis is on changing your view point, using your lenses to warp reality, making ash-trays look cool, seeking out reflections, telling the story of Leeds to someone who’s never been…  we do touch on Exposure Compensation, and sometimes I’ll get you into Aperture Priority mode to illustrate a point… but other than that, we’re in Auto Exposure so we can concentrate entirely on “the subject”.

Take Control

This is all about developing a firm understanding of how your camera settings work, diagnosing issues, thinking like a photographer… it’s powerful information where where we learn about:-

  • Focal length
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO
  • Exposure & manual metering

We start with 4 “experiments” to show you what each variable does – often an epiphany.

We learn “why” we choose settings. It’s fine to know “how”, that’s just turning knobs – understanding “why” is the gateway to creative photography. We’ll do this for the entire afternoon. At first you’ll be completely lost, it’s new, it’s natural. But with guidance and repetition and variation of subject, you’ll gradually find it coming naturally.

At the end of the day you will understand the thought process behind how we create images, and also the ability achieve them on your camera.

Why Split them?

Information overload – if you’re new, then rethinking how you see the world on the Discover day is enough for anyone. Add in there all the stuff on metering and aperture, then you’ll end up confusing a lot of people.

We believe that it’s better to go away fully learning one concept, than part learning a lot of things.

Doing both courses, usually a few weeks apart, gives people time to practice the creative side then come armed with curiosity and questions on the Take Control day.


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