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Self Improvement | Working on My Canine-Snappin’ Skills

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I’ve never been one to share much of my own photography on Barkarama, mainly due to the fact that I’m not very good or confident with a camera. I envy the skills of fashion and lifestyle bloggers, who get snap happy to create beautiful/stylish/inspiring content, and with such a handsome boy as Basil, my skill shortage has been frustrating the hell out of me. I was fortunate enough to receive a hand-me-down SLR from my dad but as someone who prefers to learn by doing, I couldn’t be faffed with the manual and I’ve been stuck in ‘Auto’ mode ever since. 

I started browsing for beginners’ photography courses but the ones I found were either too expensive or didn’t seem to offer what I was after. In my case I wanted to get to grip with the basics – understanding the various settings, what all the buttons meant, and some starter for ten directions on the type of photographs I’d like to take. As luck would have it, Jessops approached me about sharing some gift ideas on Barkarama and in amongst their press materials, I noticed they offered courses at their stores including Photography Level 1 Course – BINGO!

Catering for users of all DSLR’s, CSC’s, Mirrorless Systems and Advanced Compact / Bridge cameras, Jessops’ one-day Photography Level 1 Course is designed specifically to help people with no prior photographic knowledge get to the next step with their camera and as was my case, out of Auto mode! 

Available from 15 stores nationwide, I opted for their Oxford Street branch so on one Saturday morning I found myself sitting in a classroom with around nine other hopefuls. The friendly course leader quickly put everyone at ease, talked through the day’s schedule and then went round the room to get an insight into the type of photographs we each wanted to achieve. My list included:  

  • Product shots – in full and close ups to capture detailing such as a dog collar buckle
  • Street style imagery of Basil with edgy or interesting backgrounds 
  • Sharp imagery of my subjects be it a tin of treats, or a portrait of Basil but with a slightly blurred background so that the subject was the main focus 
  • Fun action shots with Basil where he’s yawning, licking his lips, jumping and so on

Basically shots like these (none are taken me by the way)… 

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ABOUT THE COURSE 
The course was a mixture of theory and practical work. I wasn’t bored for a second and it felt like a real opportunity to learn. We covered the basics like how to hold and care for your camera, as well as technical knowledge of our cameras to help capture the different shots the group wanted to achieve, plus useful tips on how to compose a photograph. While the majority of the day was indoors, the group ventured outside a couple of times to put practice a few of the things we’d bee shown. Take a look at this short video from Jessops to get an idea of what to expect from the course…


THE VERDICT
I found the tutor incredibly helpful and hands-on, patiently answering all our questions without any confusing jargon. Despite the group setting, we each received plenty of one on one time to ensure we understood how each demonstration applied to our individual cameras. Another key win was that the tutor wasn’t overly salesly or trying to convince us that we needed to purchase lots of kit for our cameras. At £119, the Photography Level 1 Course is amazing value for money either as a gift or a treat to yourself. 

At the end of the day I definitely felt more confident using my camera, with a greater understanding of how it (and photography) works and feeling enthused about getting snap happy. I know I’ve a long way to go to achieve the kind of imagery I so admire but with my knew-found knowledge and a dog that loves the camera, it should hopefully be a bit easier and fun. Basil and I did our first little shoot the other day so we’ll be sharing our exploits in a day or two.

HOW TO BOOK 
The one-day Jessops Photography Level 1 Course, priced £119, is available in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, St. Albans, London Oxford Street, Bath, Cardiff, Belfast, Horsham, Ipswich, Nottingham, Sheffield, Gateshead, Aberdeen and Leeds. To check dates, availability, book and view Jessops full course offering, visit Jessops.com.

I’d like to thank Jessops for sponsoring this post.

Image credits: Montrealdogblog.com |  Citydogliving.com@Goldenarchie | @HoundCollection

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