It is safe to say that virtually anyone can take photographs nowadays. Whether you use a cheap smart phone or a high end digital camera there is a device out there to suit your pocket and your needs. Gone are the days when you might use one film a year on holiday, have it developed at the chemist, then put the prints in a drawer - quite often to be forgotten. Now we can take photos on our phones of life’s special events, birthdays and holidays, children growing up or ourselves at a big sporting event and then access them at anytime to show our friends and family using the same phone we took the image on. Photography has never been more accessible.
For many people that is as far as they wish to take their photography, which is fair enough, but there is so much more that can be achieved if you invest some time to take it to a higher level, and that does not mean spending a lot of money on equipment either.
Over the last couple of years I have helped to organise a photography competition aimed at schools. The students first attempts were, it had to be said, pretty poor, with bad composition and little thought given to what they were doing. After giving them some basic advice on how to compose an image and what they needed to think about when taking a photo, their entries improved immensely. When looking at a photograph I sometimes judge it on the basis of would I be happy to have that as a wall calendar for a month, and on that basis many of the student’s photos would have passed.
A good photographer will have a “photographers eye” and will know instinctively what makes a good image. Some are fortunate enough to be born with it, but if not a lot of the skills can be learned, and the best way to do that is to get along to your local photographic club and see what others do.
Many clubs encourage members to go in for internal competitions. The idea of having others critique your work may sound terrifying but it is always done in a constructive way, and you do learn a lot from it, and even if you do not wish to put in entries yourself you will learn from the talks and critiques of others.
The Burton Photographic Society is a very friendly club which meets every Thursday evening at the Priory Centre in Stretton from early September to May. Beginners are encouraged and for more experienced photographers there are intermediate and advanced groups. Talks each week and competitions throughout the year will help improve your critical skills and help you get more from taking photographs. To find out more visit their website at
www.burtonps.co.uk which gives you all the information you need.
If you’re interested in coming along and speaking to someone about photography, The Burton Photographic Society is holding an open evening on Thursday 20th September.
Photograph by: Ruth Hill.