We’re well into May, and it’s safe to say that beach days are finally over. But there’s no need to be bored; now is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby. Like photography, for instance. You may associate so-called ‘money shots’ with hazy sunsets and sandy beaches but – contrary to popular belief – crisp winter days are actually a great way of exploring the versatility of the photographic medium. Stormy skies are great for dramatic effect and mild clouds can cast a beautiful soft light that is superb for portraits. And the air itself is actually cleaner. Want to give it a shot? In Cape Town, there are many schools and teachers offering a worthwhile initiation into the multi-facetted world of photography. Christine Hogg investigates.
Location: 60 Barnet St, Gardens
Courses: From beginner to pro, DLPHOTO has a range of workshops on offer, such as introduction to DSLR cameras, to flash and lighting, outdoor photography, and post-production and editing. Advanced workshops are also available, featuring practical exercises in portraiture and fashion photography.
Times: Three-hour one-on-one sessions on weekdays and group sessions on Saturdays
The Experience:With practical instruction and industry experience from David Lazarus – who has worked with likes of Adidas, Cosmopolitan and David Beckham – DLPHOTO’s workshops provide the skills and info needed to start a career behind the camera. The aim is to give people the confidence to start calling themselves photographers, while discovering the rewards of photography not just as a profession but as a lifestyle. Whether you’re just starting out or wanting to pick up some advanced techniques, there is a variety of one-on-one, conversational three-hour classes to choose from. And, to begin with at least, you don’t even need a camera. DLPHOTO makes gear available to learners, including a fully-equipped studio with DSLR cameras, infinity curve and lighting equipment. David believes that winter is the perfect time to pick up a camera. “While people usually think ‘photography’ and imagine a photojournalist roaming the world, winter can provide great opportunities to observe the immediate world around you – whether taking advantage of the soft lighting to make magical interior shots, or practising your portraiture with family and friends. It’s easier than you think, you just need to get started!”
Cost: Workshops range from R850 to R2200, with all gear supplied.
Specials: The Beginner to Pro is a comprehensive short course in mastering photography through DLPHOTO’s four core workshops for only R4000, with discounts on Advanced Workshops and Studio Rental.
Added extras: A fully-equipped studio with DSLR cameras, infinity curve and lighting equipment, and the Know Your Camera workshop, which provides instruction in whatever camera you own (no need to have a DSLR)
What to bring: Your camera (if you own one)
Website: www.dlphoto.co.za | Email: email@example.com | Tel: 079 777 2772
Location: Unit A 6 Howe Studios (North Entrance), 5 Howe St, Observatory
Courses: Introduction to Photography
Times: Saturday mornings, 9am to 12pm
The Experience: Running over three Saturday mornings, this ‘Introduction to Photography’ course is designed for those who want to learn quickly. “There’s no wasted time,” says lecturer Louis Duarte. You’ll learn all the necessary theory – including exposure, reading light, colour balance, contrast, use of different lenses and their perspective, composition and camera settings – in a short amount of time. Louis explains that modern cameras can be quite complex, but if you get to know them properly, the results are incredible. He teaches in small groups of three to four people and welcomes personal interaction. “I always encourage students to stay in touch and to come and discuss any difficulties they may be encountering with their photography, and many do. It is always very satisfying for me to see their photography improving.” And why is now a good time to pick up a camera? “Light in winter is generally better and there is also less dust in the atmosphere, so it is a great time to photograph the glorious landscapes that we are so lucky to enjoy in this part of the world… and those beautiful clouds… the darker the better.”
Specials: Bring a copy of this article (printed or on your smart phone) and you pay only R1300
Added extras: Notes to take home, additional information that even intermediate photographers can benefit from and optional one-on-one tuition
What to bring: A digital single-lens reflex camera, or a ‘bridge’ or compact camera with manual settings
Website: www.studioflash.co.za | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: 082 338 3120
Location: 153 Loop St, Cape Town
Courses: Absolute Beginners
Times: Two-hour sessions on 11, 18 & 25 July
The Experience: Taught by Greg Hillyard – an experienced lecturer and photographer – this course’s outcome is to demystify the camera and allow the student to shoot comfortably in fully manual modes. Classes are held in the wonderful Amplify Studios, in a relaxed and conversational atmosphere. Greg says that questions are encouraged and can often lead the group to other relevant topics without distracting from the goal. And apart from teaching a sound understanding of the camera, there’s a heavy focus on creativity and inspiration. By the end of the course, Greg hopes that students have overcome any technical issues and are able to express themselves as artists. “Photography began as a meditation for me whilst still working in the IT industry. We all have creative abilities and photography is one of the most accessible methods for tapping in and exploring your creativity.”
Cost: R900 per person
Added extras: Homework in-between sessions to practice the concepts
What to bring: A camera; preferably a DSLR.
Website: www.mirth.co.za | Email: email@example.com | Tel: 084 211 4254