Everyone’s a photographer these days, with the camera on their phone…right? But most people still want to know how to take better photos, especially how to photograph nature. 
 
So it was with relish that I accepted the request to put on a workshop for budding photographers…of both smart phone and DSLRs….to raise money for Scannappeal. They had partnered with Greenacres Chiltern, which is a fabulous location near Beaconsfield with acres of buebells in woodland and the most beautiful wooden ceremonial building, Woodland Hall, where I gave my lesson in photography. 

The best weather for photography 

We chose to hold it when the woods were full of bluebells and had a dozen intrepid photographers brave the winds, having had everything crossed that the rain would bypass us, and enjoy the light as the sun emerged from angry skies. This turned out to be the best weather for photographing bluebells as they were fresh from the overnight rain and glistened in the sunlight. 

What are the challenges when photographing bluebells and woods? 

After an introduction by Janie Grover from Scannappeal, I gave an introductory talk. The overriding message I tried to get across is that there is no right or wrong way to photograph something…it is an art, not a technical exercise and as such I believe that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder! 
We considered the main photographic challenges of the group, which included: 
 
Composition - maybe use a mount as a visual aid, consider what is in and what is out of the frame 
Achieving an image that you have visualised - our eyes see very differently to the camera. Getting what you want can take time and practice. 
What angle of view to use - use your feet and walk around, think laterally and consider taking photos from above or the side or below 
How to use the kit you have - don't revert to automatic mode, get advice on how to use it so you can achieve your vision. 
What are the limitations of a mobile phone camera - smart phone photography is great these days and actually there are lots of in camera operations and apps that just need a different way of thinking 
 

Using light, colour, shape and texture in your photos 

My photography workshop slideshow included visual examples of how to achieve different perspectives from the same object and how vastly different images of one subject can be by using composition and considering the light. 
 
Having put the delegates into groups along the lines of the kit they were using, I went through some technical stuff to ensure everyone knew how to use their camera, whether it was phone or more sophisticated, so that when we went out everyone was prepared. 
 
We then ventured out into the bluebell woods to do a photographic exercise….I tasked them with taking ten photos of something that screamed colour, ten photos of something that screamed shape and ten of texture. No deleting and no more than thirty in total! 
 
The results were astonishing. I have to say that I was really pleased with everyone’s photos and delighted to show some of the results here - thank you Ian, Janie, Piotr and Cathy for allowing me to show your images. 
 
For individual lessons or more details on future group workshops do get in touch
 
To find out more about Greenacreas visit their website 
To find out more about scan appeal  
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