Photography course in Manchester to start with and start considering a deeper course

by Isabel


I hope my question provides you with the information you need to reply :) If not, please, just ask, because I do not know what to start with!

I am a journalist. I am currently living in Manchester and I love photography.

I studied photography at university as a part of my degree qualification. Basically, it was one of the subjects we had to deal with every single year, for 4 months. I have studied the basics and the history of photography, and also travel photography and photo-journalism (hope this last term makes sense -if not, it would be something like documentary photography?).

I have a NIKON D3000 with two lens (18-35mm and 55-200mm) and, well, it seems to work quite well! I feel very comfortable using it and it comes with me everywhere!

At the moment, I am just trying to find time to get back to my notes and what I learnt at uni and improve my shots. I haven't got a great deal of time but I am doing my best to spend at least a couple of hours every week taking pictures outside and finding guidelines and tips online to put into practice -I know it is not enough though.

I like taking pictures of people, pictures of actions. I am practising my artistic skills but I love taking pictures of things that are already there, not composing, but finding the right perspective to make the most of what you've already got on scene.

I love capturing smiles, eyes, hands, objects meaningful by themselves. I love taking pictures of lively places, pictures in the city... I guess I am bit obsessed with the idea of capturing something nobody else saw or realised at that moment.

Does it make sense? Does it gives you an idea of what I could need?

I usually use my camera with manual settings, playing with the shutter speed and apperture. Now I was having a go with light (temperature, shadows, etc) but I am a bit lost here, I think. I would like to improve my knowledge of lighting and filters to control the results. I guess I need to work on ISO settings too.

I was looking at Manchester School of Photography, to go on a weekend course, either the lighting or the portraits one, but I was not very sure whether I should go for a weekend or a day course.

What do you think?

I'd also love to know more about publishing and selling pictures (for example, proceeding to publish pictures you have taken on the street and how to or why ask for permission to the people that appear on them...). But I assume this is a different matter.

Thank you very much in advance. I hope it is not too long and I am using the right words in English. If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you very much again :)

Kind regards,


Best Photography Course's Answer

Hi Isabel,

first I have to tell you something.
Do you know what I instantly felt while reading your inquiry?

PASSION. I can literally feel the passion that you have for photography just by reading your submission. I love such "passionate posts" - it means everything to me!

Why? Because I know exactly what photography means to you. For me it is even more than "just" passion. Please don't ge me wrong. It's probably one of the best things for a human being if you can earn money with something that you LOVE!

In my opinion you just can create exceptional results if you love what you are doing. Everything that you do will shine through your work (including passion). It's what drives us. It's what keeps us awake late at night and get's us out of bed in the morning.

Photography for me is a way of life - a way to express myself, realise creative thoughts and make them visible for the world. It's something I want to do for the rest of my life. I bet you know what I mean, right? :-)

But now back to your questions. To make is easier I will start at the beginning and answer one question at a time.

I am aware of photojournalism (I have also an article on photojournalism courses on BPC). But I think that travel photography is one of the fields that are great to start with. You learn a lot if you have different situations/landscapes/people if you are, let's say in a foreign country.

In March I did a photography tour through Thailand and it was phenomenal. I will never forget it and I learned a lot (yes, in photography you are never "done". You will learn until the end of your life).

Here's a picture of myself on a photography tour through Bangkok:

Myself on a photography tour through Bangkok, Thailand

The NIKON D3000 is a good camera to start with. What you probably know is that the lenses are the important parts. You will likely dispose the camera body some day, but if you have quality lenses - you will have them A LONG time. Plus, the long-term maintenance of value is great if you have excellent lenses (like the L-lenses of Canon or the Nikkor.

Please don't get me wrong - I think that you probably use two Tamron lenses and that is ok for the beginning. If you keep learning and if you grow as a photographer you might want to look at some "first-class-lenses". Yes, those are not cheap and I would only recommend to buy them if you can really afford it.

Start small and grow your equipment (and quality of equipment) over time. Way to go, Isabel.

You practise on a regular basis and that is exactly what you need. Go out and just test, learn and then improve. Do that until you are comfortable with the outcome and then attack the next step.

And yes, it makes perfect sense!!

It's a bit difficult to provide specific tips about courses. I always tell people that you have to decide what you ultimately want to do with photography.

Do you "just" want to improve your photography skills?

Or do you strive to become a professional photographer and make a living off photography?

That's a totally different perspective.

A great way to get your feet wet is to start with photography part time. Of course, ALWAYS keep your 9-5 job until you make a solid income! But you know that.

As for the courses: I would personally start with a one-day lighting course. Lighting is the fundament. Then you can take a weekend course in portrait photography - that's at least how I would do it.

You do not risk too much with a one-day course (not so expensive and one day of your valuable time). Low risk - great chances!

As for publishing and selling pictures. This is a huge topic! But before you think about "making money with photography" or so - get to know the basics. Strive to become a "master of the basics" - the rest will follow naturally.

For example, I never thought that the BPC website will grow to such levels. I thought this was impossible. It all began with something I love - photography. I has grown to a real company. All I did was follow my heart - and a lot of positive things followed.

It's all possible - follow your dreams and great things will happen. Believe me :-)

I hope you will find at least one useful tip in my reply. That's what I wanted to accomplish.

All the best,

PS: For all who are interested I've an article on Photography courses Manchester.

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