Last week our ten year old said, “Before I have children I want to learn how to take really good photos so I can take good photos of my children.” Whilst she made me giggle she was ‘spot on,’ taking good photos of your children is important and something I wish I had learnt before I had my children. I also realised anew the power of modelling, as all things photography is what I’ve been modelling for months now.
Several months ago I embarked upon a new adventure, I began an online photography course with Robyn at Please Don’t Say Cheese. I’d long been frustrated with my lack of photography skills and desperately wanted to improve but had no real idea how to ‘go about it’. When I heard of the PDSC course I lamented that Robyn was in far away Sydney where she offers workshops to Sydney mums on the Northern Beaches. However after reading Chareen’s review I realised an online workshop was a possibility.
Signing up for the course gives you a six month membership for an 8 week workshop, the time flexibility demonstrates an understanding and acceptance of busy mamas. There are other courses available as well, including ‘in real life courses,’ challenges and a VIP membership.
As a participant of the 8 week workshop you can access: Robyn’s blog, video tutorials, images of all members and most exciting of all your course content! It is not necessary to own a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex camera) for the course, I only own a compact ‘point and shoot’ camera, though thanks to the course I have now learnt how to use my basic camera to a far better capacity than I was.
Covered were basic camera skills, exposure, composition and light, further the course challenged you to think photo potential in a creative manner, stressed the importance to avoid the ‘cheese moments’ and to tell stories with our photos. Lastly we undertook a lesson on how to edit our photos, in which I discovered I still had much to learn.
There are eight lessons in the course and many lessons have subtopics. Some as many as five topics within a lesson. Each lesson is comprised of a teaching section. These are thorough and extremely well explained with assignments. Robyn makes no assumptions as to your knowledge but explains all in terms that even a complete beginner understands. At the conclusion of each lesson the content is summarised. You are then given your assignment, which you undertake and select your four best photos to share.
Robyn regularly encourages you to refer to your camera manual, be familiar with all your camera is capable of. Robyn’s mantra is ‘practise, practise, practise.’ The more I practised the more I saw wisdom in this mantra. Some days I would do a ‘photo shoot,’ take 200 and then only keep 5.
The assignments were challenging and interesting. You read your lesson, put your new knowledge to practice, then it was time to be vulnerable and share. Robyn was always encouraging, though challenging to always do my best. Without Robyn’s encouragement I would never have taken my camera off its auto setting and discovered manual and aperture priority. Robyn’s feedback and practical advice on each submission was extremely helpful. Not only with to skills but teaching me to see the world creatively in a new way. Robyn has helped me analyse my photos, to notice positives and detractions in my photos. To be aware of background clutter, shadows on faces, catchlights present or not, on eyes and iso noise (grainy).
At the conclusion of each lesson you upload your image. This must be done before you are allowed to progress to the next lesson. This systematic approach, building blocks of knowledge and skill was indeed wise. For a girl who likes to read the last chapter of a book, it was difficult to follow the rules.
During our lifetime there will be several ‘game changer’ decisions we make, in all honesty I can say undertaking an online photography course with Please Don’t Say Cheese has been a ‘game changer’ for myself and our family. The growth that I saw from one of the first photos I submitted
Disclaimer: In exchange for my review, in which I have given my honest opinion, I was offered a free place in the Please Don’t Say Cheese online photography course.