The first stop of the 2016/17 TICE programme began with a Photography Insight workshop in the small town of Berwick upon Tweed, a fitting place to be taking a few snaps in quite an attractive area.
Myself and Katie (along with a returning photography teacher called Sean) met with a group of 16-18 year old A level students at Berwick Academy, though at first they were a very quiet bunch and needed a little encouragement – who doesn’t on a Friday morning?
But as the day rolled on and a weekly chip day lunch ran its course, at the end of the day I got the impression that they had taken something from the day, whether it was a little bit confidence or enhancing their photographic skills through practice.
To kick the day off, the group learned about one of the main priorities in photography; Composition, which branches into several different aspects including exposure, focus, white balance and shutter speed, rule of thirds etc.
During the morning session Katie also talked about different jobs and careers that can be found through photography, as a Professional Photographer she provided a great insight into different aspects of the industry. The most important thing to remember is that the creative industry is one big tree, with many branches representing different sub-industries; Film, TV, Music, Art, Fashion, Photography etc and the best thing to do is keep your options open, explore all the different branches because each one is part of the same tree. All very valuable for anyone pursuing a career in the creative industries.
Getting back to the workshop however, as a former photography student I can tell you composition becomes your new best friend and it’s everything you consider before pressing the shutter, it really does help you take better images and I got to see that today in the group.
Armed with cameras the group then went on to put their knowledge to the test when they went out and took some photos of… well, anything they wanted to! When following them around I could tell they were very keen and now that they were out being practical and creative, it had sparked some interest and engagement from them albeit in the freezing cold which the students didn’t seem to mind at all. I wish I could say the same for myself!
When we got back in the group showed off and analysed their images. For the first round there was a lot of good images, Katie and Sean worked with the guys and girls to pick them apart and guide on how to improve them which tided in to the next session going more in depth with the ‘language of photography’ which I like to call it.
We discussed all sorts of different techniques in this session including how to use lines as a pathway for the eye, depth and field as well different angles, point of view and also framing of the subject. They were then given their project for the day; create a PowerPoint improving on the same images they shot earlier on.
After a much needed lunch the group got together, rearmed themselves with their cameras and set to work trying to recreate the same images from the earlier shoot.
The guys and girls cared even less about the cold than the first time which was great to see and when they started to filter back to set to work on their PowerPoint, I’m pleased to say that the images they shot were fantastic and very appealing. What was even better was that I could see the progress in their before and after images.
Scott for example took great advantage of the depth of field on his images and shot a great photo with a sweet cinematic look. Matthew on the other hand made great usage of vertical lines as a pathway towards to the subject and the focus point and it was the same story for everyone in the group.
Overall, I really felt that the group had taken something from the workshop and there was a lot learned in just a short day; The group learned how to take better images, we discussed what real world options are out there for creative people and Katie even learned what dabbing was – you see, we’re all gaining insight!
By Jack Abernethy (TICE Blogger).