Your story, Class of January 2017

I asked the AYWMC students to tell me what photography means to them, and how A Year With My Camera has helped. This is is the first of a few posts sharing their stories.

Alyson Rafferty

After starting the course, I now take photos almost always on manual, sometimes on aperture or shutter speed settings but I vary rarely use automatic settings. I never need to use flash, unless it is intentional. I feel I can take pretty decent macro shots and have learned to use tools such as my tripod and other bits of equipment properly, I now understand the meaning of ISO and f stops..... I think it has made a massive difference to the quality of images I make.

I have loved the first part of the course. I have learned so much about the technical aspects of photography that it has improved the quality of my shots. I know that I have a good eye for photography, but it has made me think outside the box and tackle things that I wouldn't do before.

BEFORE: lovely "big skies" composition, but the castle is little lost, and the image is under exposed and static

BEFORE: lovely "big skies" composition, but the castle is little lost, and the image is under exposed and static

AFTER: incredibly striking, dynamic composition, using juxtaposition and balance, tones and texture

AFTER: incredibly striking, dynamic composition, using juxtaposition and balance, tones and texture

What can you do now that you couldn't before?

My macro shots were usually produced by good luck rather than good management. I didn't have a clue how to use manual control. Also the light painting which I would have NEVER been able to do before. Next challenge for me is some night sky photography. We have some fabulous dark skies up here and I cannot wait to try this out...once I get a clear night on a weekend.

AFTER: using long shutter speed for light painting

AFTER: using long shutter speed for light painting

How would you describe AYWMC to a friend thinking of joining?

I would describe the course as an easy, systematic course to get to know the workings of your camera to get the best out of the photos you are producing. All the steps are easy to follow, with well explained chapters when things are difficult to get your head round.

AFTER: beautiful, controlled macro shot

AFTER: beautiful, controlled macro shot


Diana Seymour

How has AYWMC made a difference?

Hubby bought me a DLSR in May for my birthday. I now look at how I compose a photo before pressing the shutter. I still use auto a lot, but am practising setting speed and/or aperture more often. I am learning a lot about how my camera works, and how to get the best from it. I am taking far more photos than before, just to practise the weekly lessons.

What can you do now that you couldn't before?

I can adjust the speed to capture fast-moving subjects, and adjust the aperture to change the depth of field.

BEFORE: over-use of centrally placed subject and dominant foreground

BEFORE: over-use of centrally placed subject and dominant foreground

AFTER: dynamic composition with leading lines, asymmetry and beautiful low sunlight

AFTER: dynamic composition with leading lines, asymmetry and beautiful low sunlight

How would you describe AYWMC to a friend thinking of joining?

AYWMC takes a complicated subject and simplifies it to enhance understanding. It has a wide set of other followers to compare photos with, and get advice from, as well as advice from Emma herself. The best photographic course I have ever seen!


Patrina Smith

I now know a lot more of what my camera can do, and I enjoy taking photographs now. I look at everything in such a different way now, I try to keep up with the course (as much as opportunities will let me) and love the idea of something to do each week as a learning process.

I can now use the different controls on my camera to get a better picture instead of taking snaps.

BEFORE: striking image with interesting subject, but careless focus and haphazard composition

BEFORE: striking image with interesting subject, but careless focus and haphazard composition

AFTER: textbook single focal point, focus is spot-on, and aperture changed to blur the background

AFTER: textbook single focal point, focus is spot-on, and aperture changed to blur the background


emma headshot 800.jpg

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