Weekend Courses – Get The Right Photography Training That You Want

Two-day courses are for those who do not want recognition of a master degree in photography or for those who do not have much time to spend on a regular degree in photography. Most regular courses are designed keeping amateurs and newcomers in mind but for professional photographers, weekend or online courses along with other photography workshops are the best choice. With a weekend photography course, you will learn to combine photography concepts and techniques with a proper understanding of composition.

Basic understanding about the different types of photography is significant when you are looking for a new course because most weekend courses are designed for photographers who are looking for more information on a particular niche. If you are looking for a course that can provide you with the general insight to photography techniques such as editing, lighting, composition, exposure, light and shade, a beginner level course is the best deal.

There are many streams of photography such as:

Commercial– In commercial photography, your basic job is to click pictures that can be used in various marketing tools such as the company’s website, brochures and other marketing materials. You are limited to click pictures of the company’s employees or products but chances for exploring your creativity are almost limitless. If this type of photography fascinates you, you should look for a course that leaves you with more insights on this niche.

Fashion – In fashion photography, you will be mostly involved with promoting yourself and picture taking is just a part of your job because the competition is quite tough in this industry. For a fashion photographer, good communication skills and marketing skills are must have skills. Good courses usually deal with portfolio creation and management, marketing techniques, business promotion, studio techniques, communicating with model and photography tools. Normal Digital photography tools are not commonly used in fashion photography studios but custom cameras and tools are commonly used.

Medical Photography– Medical photography mostly deals with clicking pictures of human organs as well as various hospital settings.

Forensic Photography– For a crime scene photographer, attention to detail is the most desirable skill. Even the smallest piece of object and mark is important in forensic photography so you should be equipped with necessary tools.

Photojournalism– News photography is the common form of photojournalism but these days, there are individual photographers who work on specific assignments as freelancers.

Wedding– Gone were the days when wedding photography was not taken seriously. Today, this is one of the most desirable streams of photography where a lot of money and fame is involved. If you have noticed, the niche is becoming competitive day by day.

Wildlife– Wildlife photography demands reasonable level of knowledge about animals, insects, plants and ecosystems. You can find plenty of courses offered in this niche.

Underwater– Marine photography is a great profession, especially for those who love scuba diving.

All these photography niches use different types of cameras and other equipments. Go for weekend courses that help you to improve your skills in your favorite photography niche.

Wedding Photography Lenses That Every Photographer Can’t Do Without

There are generally four kinds of photography lenses that every wedding photographer should have in his or her gig bag:

  • Wide-Angle Zoom
  • Wide-to-Telephoto Zoom
  • Image-Stabilized Telephoto Zoom
  • Prime/Portrait Lenses

Wide-Angle Zoom

Wide-angle zoom lenses are one of the most important photography lenses that every wedding photographer should have, typically 17mm to 35mm in length with a fixed aperture of f/2.8. They provide a large depth of field, making it simple to have foreground and background in focus. They are an indispensable wedding photography equipment which allows versatility in confined areas such as a small banquet room or crowded dance floor. While shorter photography lenses allow you to capture more details, wide-angle zoom lenses allow you to capture more reactions and atmosphere to tell a richer story.

To elaborate further, wide-angle zoom photography lenses allow you to shoot a wider perspective of moments happening around the major subject, hence providing a bigger picture of the entire event. For example, wide-angle photos have the capability to tell “stories within a story”, allowing you to reveal more of the story behind the shot. This is essential for a good photojournalistic wedding photography. As events surrounding weddings are so time sensitive, good photography lenses will allow you to capture as many actions or emotions in the quickest time as possible.

When used in a venue such as the church or ballroom, wide-angle zoom photography lenses also magnify the grandeur and spaciousness of the area, which encapsulates the creative feel for a photojournalistic wedding photography.

However, you need to be selective of the scenes or actions using wide-angle photography lenses, as a caveat to shooting wide is that it creates some body distortion, particularly when a subject is photographed close-up. Generally, people tend to look heavier and shorter on the edges, while arms can look huge. The last thing you want is to have the bride cursing you for making her look like she has put on 10 pounds! To get around this problem, you should as far as possible avoid putting the bride and groom at the edges of the wide-angle distortion. In addition, wide-angle photography lenses might also introduce distracting or unwanted elements into the frame, which would otherwise ruin a picture perfect moment.

Wide-to-Telephoto Zoom

Wide-to-telephoto lenses are the single most important photography lenses that a wedding photographer cannot do without. They should ideally be lenses that cover somewhere around the 20-70mm focal length range with an aperture of f/2.8. This ideal range lets you get wide enough to take a group photograph and close enough to capture facial emotions in your candid shots or a three-quarter portrait of a couple without the undesirable effects of wide-angle perspective distortion. They also double as good lenses for portraits. Given just this lens, you would be able to capture most of the shots needed for a wedding decently well.

Image-Stabilized Telephoto Zoom

Image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses are also essential items in your wedding photography equipment checklist. The 70-200mm focal length is an important range for wedding ceremony photos. It allows you to give your subjects more space in situations where you don’t want to get in the way. As you will often be photographing down the aisle from the back of the church, image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses will come in very handy. 200mm is long enough to be able to take 3/4 length images of the bride and groom exchanging their vows while staying at a reasonable distance away from the action and 70mm is wide enough to take in the bridesmaids or groomsmen as a group without switching photography lenses.

A good point to note is that when using such photography lenses, nice blurred background can be achieved with maximum wide apertures of f/2.8 and long focal lengths of 200mm or 300mm, whether you are using a full-frame or a small sensor body. This allows you to isolate the subject from its background, and to focus attention on the image as the main subject you want to portray. Such photography lenses are especially useful for shots where you are unable to get in close and for intimate and private moments, where you want to be an unobserved stranger at a distance. Some examples include a stolen glance, a mischievous grin, a kiss – the details that are effectively conveyed by the emotions. Image-stabilized telephoto zoom photography lenses hence play an important role in capturing such moments.

These image-stabilized telephoto zoom photography lenses aren’t only good for blurry backgrounds or shooting events from a distance. They could also be used to photograph stunning facial close-ups from creative angles above or below the subject that don’t exhibit the normal distortions of large chins or shrinking heads that come from wider photography lenses.

Yet another advantage of such photography lenses is that you can use the small-sensor camera’s 1.5x crop factor to your favour. The 200/2.8 long end of the standard zoom effectively becomes 300/2.8, a lens that would cost $4000 for a full-frame camera. The effective 300mm length allows for more creative photo angles than shorter photography lenses, such as tightly cropped images of the groom’s hands lifting the bride’s veil or the bride and groom’s hands while they put rings on each others fingers.

The obvious disadvantage of image-stabilized telephoto zooms is that in many cases, long photography lenses tend to disconnect the subject from the main scene and there might be little to no context as to why the subject may have had expressed how they were feeling, the whereabouts of the subject and who else was there.

When using a small-sensor camera as your primary or backup body, the other disadvantage of image-stabilized telephoto zoom lenses is that neither Nikon, Canon or Sony make an f/2.8 lens that gives you an effective 70-200mm focal length. Hence, you would have to pay the high price and carry the weight of photography lenses designed for a full-frame camera.

Canon’s Image-Stabilization, Nikon’s Vibration-Reduction and Sony’s SteadyShot INSIDE systems are indispensable in allowing you to hand-hold these large and heavy long photography lenses, especially in low light situations. Every wedding photographer should ensure that the image-stablization and vibration-reduction features are available on their long lenses. You might also want to consider using a tripod to ensure continuous, accurate subject placement and sharp photos. Such telephoto zoom photography lenses are huge investments and if you have a budget constraint or an amateur just starting out, you might want to consider rental instead.

Prime Lenses

Prime lenses are essentially photography lenses with fixed focal lengths, as opposed to zoom lenses, which have variable focal lengths of say 24-70mm or 17-55mm. Prime lenses generally have a better optical quality than zoom photography lenses, and usually come with wider maximum apertures such as f/2.8 or f/1.8.

Good prime lenses are must-have photography lenses for any wedding photographer, as they are excellent for taking good portraits. Although you will be adequately equipped for a wedding shoot with the three zoom lenses in your lens kit as discussed above, it is worth including two to three fast prime lenses in your bag as well. These photography lenses are compact, light, and fairly inexpensive and would probably be needed in about 10 to 20% of a wedding shoot.

Faster prime photography lenses are ideal in situations where f/2.8 aperture is not enough to get the motion-stopping shutter speed or shallow depth of field desired, whether for artistic or technical reasons. For example, an image that requires a 1/20th of a second shutter speed at f/2.8 will only require 1/60th of a second at f/1.8, forming a distinction between a sharp image and a blurry one. Many professional wedding photographers actually include prime lenses in their gig bags as an economical backup to their zoom lenses. Not many people could afford to purchase an additional 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto lens as a backup and you also want to prevent a frantic situation whereby your photography lens fails on you during a crucial moment.

There are many prime lenses available on the market but most photographers would include a 28/1.8, 50/1.8, and 85/1.8 in their prime photography lenses kit to be used on a full-frame body. The 28mm is wide enough to cover most ceremony locations and confined spaces, the 50mm is good for small groups or a priest blessing a couple, and the 85mm is long enough for ceremony vows and exchange of rings. A wedding can be successfully photographed with just these three photography lenses.

Don’t Allow Film Photography to Fade Away

Photography is embedded in our lives, from birth to death, and at every stage in between. Even those of us with little interest in photography have most probably carried photographs in our wallets, and hung them on our walls or placed them on a work desk, and personally snapped a few shots. Since the advent of digital photography, we have been taking more photos, and using them for an increased range of activities, especially the wider sharing of images with others. Today, photographs are so common that they can almost escape our notice.

Photography first entered the lives of the general public in 1888, when George Eastman invented and marketed his original Kodak camera. It was a very simple box that came pre-loaded with a 100-exposure roll of film. Once used, the whole camera was sent back to Kodak, where it was reloaded and returned to the customer, while the first roll of film underwent processing.

The simplicity of the camera and film processing made photography accessible to millions of casual amateurs who had no professional training, technical expertise, or aesthetic ability. Eastman’s marketing campaign deliberately featured women and children operating his camera, along with the slogan, “you press the button; we do the rest.”

Snapshot photography became a national craze within a few years, and by 1898, it is estimated that more than 1.5 million roll-film cameras had passed through the hands of amateur users.

Early snapshots were made for purely personal reasons. Typical subjects included important events such as weddings and other less formal family gatherings, holidays and leisure activities, and to capture the transitory appearance of children, pets, and prized possessions such as cars and houses. Images were reproduced as small prints, and a member of the family often arranged the photographs as narrative sequences in albums.

In the early part of the twentieth century, serious amateur photographers started to promote photography as a fine art where – unlike snapshot photography – the photographer demonstrated aesthetic sensibility and technical expertise. This goal was successfully attained, and photography became elevated to an art form.

It didn’t take long for the tide to turn (as it always does), and certainly by the 1950s, the qualities of the snapshot started to become adopted by professional photographers for their honesty, energy, and spontaneity. Grainy, blurred, tilted horizons, erratic framing, and black and white all became an acceptable route to capturing the moment. By the late 1990s, the snapshot finally achieved the status of modern folk art.

These two broad schools of photography produce a dichotomy in camera design and development. For the snap-shooters, cameras remained little changed (technically) from the original, while serious photographers opted for more complex tools that offered far greater precision.

From the mid 1970s, electronics started to take a grip on camera design, and this made improved photographic performance available to the casual photographer, without the need for technical knowledge. However, the biggest step-change emerged and began to dominate around the millennium: the digital camera.

Digital photography was revolutionary because it eliminated the costs and delays inherent with film cameras. It also expanded the options for viewing, editing and sharing pictures, and accordingly the range of uses to which they could be put. Other developments such as the increased ownership of personal computers, and growth of the Internet both supported the benefits and expansion of digital photography.

Today, camera phones are the major photographic device, and social media the foremost manner in which our snap-shots are put to use. While most photography, as in its early days, is largely a point-and-shoot capture of our daily lives, the underlying social behaviours have altered significantly.

For at least the first hundred years of photography, the family was at the heart of our activities. Cameras were usually owned by families, and used to the benefit of that family. While all members may have been participants in the capture of a photograph, one particular person was usually the custodian of the family album. The cost of photography made every shot valuable, and the duds that never made the pages of the family album were still retained.

By contrast, today individuals own cameras, and almost everyone under a certain age has one. Our social circles have changed: we tend to have a far larger pool of more casual acquaintances, and fragmented families. The zero cost of photography means high numbers of shot are taken, but the ease of deletion makes the permanence of images more ethereal.

It is these changes that bring me to the point of this article; to voice the concern that we are creating a historical void where information and details about an era risk being lost. I personally have gaps in the pictorial record of my life that start from the time I too turned to digital photography. Of course I could print my photos, to make them more tangible, and put them in an album, but I don’t: it’s not part of the digital ethos to recreate the limitations that contributed to the demise of film.

Equally, the increased automation of camera technology and accessibility of image manipulation conspire to erode the need for technical expertise, and aesthetic sensibility (at the moment of exposure) that underpinned photography as an art form. Indeed, the only significant recent resurgence in aesthetic film photography – Lomography – champions the abandonment of forethought, rules and knowledge.

I am not advocating that film photography should be fine art: the snap shot is as worthy an approach as it ever was. Neither am I trying to assert that digital photography does not demand skill, nor its images qualify as an art form. My concerned is that yet another skill – photography using unforgiving film – will become lost in a world where we increasingly rely on technology to do our thinking for us. The situation is little different to saying that just because we have calculators, we should forget how to do mental arithmetic. Equally, the craft of compiling a narrative photo album is at risk of loss, in favour of viewing a jumble of images on the tiny screen of a mobile phone, which travels with us in a world where it is continually exposed to the hazards of damage and theft.

In summary, the key difference between digital and film photography is that the former often ends with a click, while the latter merely begins with the clunk of a shutter. If you are on the cusp of a decision to explore or return to film photography, my advice is take the plunge and give it a go. Film photography is an engaging hobby, even if it’s only snapshot style. Its images are more enduring, and have an increased likelihood of surviving the passage of years. When all said and done, photography is merely a process for freezing time, and capturing memories so they can be recalled and enjoyed over and over again, throughout our whole lives.