So we had our second meeting this time with a different photographer and in the evening, so without the children. And it was great! For one of the mums present it was the time when it all made sense.Peter’s style was a little different and much more relaxed about the technicalities of photography. His rule of thumb was ‘liberate your camera’ and think about what is around you.80% is about psychology and 20% is about technical knowledge.

Building a relation of trust is first so that people can express themselves.

Then you think about lighting – you need to make sure your subjects are lit well enough.

Then think about the background and make sure there isn’t a lot of distraction – toys, tables, chairs etc. Of course being in a house is synonymous with clatter but there are a few tricks photographers use to avoid distracting backgrounds. Hanging a piece of fabric behind the model is one solution for which you need a hanger (and possibly an assistant…). Or shooting in the doorway where lighting is good as it comes in through an open door. A naturally darker background can be blurred even more by a wide aperture (e.g. 5.6, 2.8) setting.

And finally have your camera settings ready. Last thing to do is expose on your subject to see how much you need to adjust the shutter speed (if you are on aperture priority). Once you are happy with the exposure hold the shutter release button down slightly (the camera will keep the same exposure for as long as you keep the shutter half pressed) and re-frame so that your subject is placed where you want it. And finally shoot! Peter’s advice was to use one of the priority modes – for portraits use aperture priority and settings at f5.6 and ISO 400. The only thing to adjust is shutter speed. Alternatively use shutter priority mode and leave your settings ready if you want to turn to that for when children are running for example.

In a way this piece of advice is useful as it makes it easier to shoot without having to worry about all three settings when what you want to do is capture the moment.

And another piece of advice which I particularly liked is ‘you make your photo, you don’t take it’. This is particularly true as I realise more and more that beautiful images are the fruit of significant effort – good lighting, clear background, interesting angle, expressive subject, good lens, correct settings on the camera, clothes the subject is wearing that can compliment or contrast with the surroundings etc etc. Anything else I have missed?

Anyhow I am enjoying all this learning from amazing photographers – Charlie and Peter so far – that have shared with us their skills and experience.

The assignment on which I haven’t progressed at all after Peter’s session is to take 150 shots of someone that is allowed to move everything else but their legs. So I need to give that a go, any volunteers??

Here are a few recent pictures I quite like to conclude on this session.

One without much light – taken as the sun made a breakthrough from the clouds and lit the kitchen from the window. The trees out in the garden create a nice soft shadow on the white wall.

The other is a good example of diffuse light that doesn’t create shadows.

Others that want to get involved in our photo-club please do get in touch. We will be planning our next meeting soon.