Wednesday 12 November 2014

Photography with Gavin Forster

Recently, local photographer Gavin Forster offered the North East bloggers an opportunity to try out a photography course that he is planning on starting for small businesses.  

Photography is something that I've really started to take an interest in since starting my blog, but at the moment I'm very much learning as I go along and don't have any idea about the technical side of taking great photographs.

Tailored for our needs, Gavin sent us a questionnaire asking us what we'd like out of the 2 hour session.  He was very keen to make the course as useful to us as possible.  

Six of us turned up to the session at the Shipley Gallery in Gateshead and we all came with different levels of experience and cameras.  A challenge for any teacher!  We had Nikon DSLRs, bridge cameras, iPhones and my little Panasonic Lumix.

At the moment, I take all of the photos for my blog with my Panasonic Lumix.  It's a great little "point and shoot" camera that I bought years ago when I was going on holiday to America and wanted good quality pictures from a small camera.  It is a lovely little camera but I will admit I've been feeling frustrated with it recently and am looking forward to getting my first DSLR next month.  

Gavin promised to teach us how to get the best out of our cameras, regardless of what they were so I was really intrigued.

One of the best things about being taught by Gavin is his enthusiasm - he very much believes that you don't need a truck load of equipment or an expensive camera to take great pictures.  With a bit of know how you can take fantastic photos on your iPhone.

Starting off the course with a bit of fun we were all given an object from a bag of props and given the task to take a photo of it in 3 minutes.  I had a rubber duck and had to make a quick decision about how best to capture it.  The room we were in was rather dark so I took my duck outside.  It was interesting when we all came back to find out what we'd considered when taking our photos.

We were then given an introduction to the more technical side of photography - using ISO, shutter speed and aperture.   I will admit I knew very little about this subject and it's something that can be very difficult to understand completely.   Gavin did such a great job of explaining something so complex and I definitely left with more of an idea.

We used our cameras to practice some of the things he had taught us and for the first time I properly looked at my Lumix and realised that I actually had settings for ISO, shutter speed and aperture.   I'd never noticed before and had no idea I could actually have more control over my little camera.

One of the things we discussed a lot was using light to take great photographs.  Gavin had some great tips for us to take photos indoors when the lighting isn't the best.   Knowing the patches of light in your house where you know you can take photos is key or using the light of a lamp or even your iPhone torch can aid with giving yourself more light to work with.

My favourite tip of the day was using the bath to take close up photographs of products, its such a great surface to take great looking pictures. 

Gavin also showed us some little tricks to take photographs on our iPhones that were so good they could actually be mistaken for DSLR photographs and tips on how to control the harsh light produced by a camera flash.

Our 2 hour session flew by, we had so much fun and Gavin was a really great teacher, explaining things well and answering all of our questions.

Keep an eye open for future courses organised by Gavin as well as other corporate and personal work he does on his website here


  1. Such a good course and a great write up! So much fun!

    K xx

  2. Oh my gosh I totally used to use my bath for taking photos in my old flat, I thought it was a bit weird, but I feel better now a real photographer suggested it! x

  3. Sounds great! I would definitely benefit from something like this!


  4. Sounds like a great course - I need to do something like this.

    Lizzie's Daily Blog

  5. Aw sounds like it was a good day! I'd love to go on one.. I deffo need it. Someone explaining to me what's best for certain pictures would be so helpful.. instead of my


  6. This sounds like great fun I absolutely love photography. I am always taking pics but mostly on my phone to be honest because I always have it. Love the duck and bath top Lucy x


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