Your story, Class of January 2017

The 2nd instalment from AYWMC students who have been working their way through A Year With My Camera during 2017

Sarah Varnam

I am constantly learning and hope that I will continue to be encouraged and pushed to look for new opportunities. I am beginning to 'know' my camera better (and can even alter some of the settings quickly without looking, on a good day). I also enjoy being inspired and looking at the work of others. It has opened a whole new world to me.

BEFORE: clean shot, but static composition, competing focal points, incorrect white balance and underexposed

BEFORE: clean shot, but static composition, competing focal points, incorrect white balance and underexposed

AFTER: controlled use of aperture to blur the background, single focal point, supportive background

AFTER: controlled use of aperture to blur the background, single focal point, supportive background

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

Shoot off auto and be in control of what I want to express or communicate. I am getting better everyday.

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

It is a positive and nurturing experience, which keeps you motivated with challenges that you will constantly practice. I love it and love looking at the work of fellow students and the nurturing advice of yourself and everyone involved.

AFTER: in full control of aperture, shutter speed, composition and lighting

AFTER: in full control of aperture, shutter speed, composition and lighting


Allan Gilhooley

AYWMC has given me a well-thought out programme to follow, building on the OU course but much better. I've become more confident using the camera, experimenting with different settings and producing better photographs. It's also been great to see the work of others. 

BEFORE: an appealing receding composition, but too much foreground, a blown out sky and a static horizontal composition

BEFORE: an appealing receding composition, but too much foreground, a blown out sky and a static horizontal composition

AFTER: a dynamic composition involving triangles, diagonals, contrast and leading lines. Assured use of aperture and crisply focussed subject

AFTER: a dynamic composition involving triangles, diagonals, contrast and leading lines. Assured use of aperture and crisply focussed subject

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

A fantastic course to follow, at your own pace, which will take your photography to new levels. It also provides membership to a community of like-minded photographers to share your photographs with. Each week, early on Thursday morning, an email arrives with the week's task and teaching materials to help you understand what has to be done. There are also projects occasionally to help consolidate the skills learned and develop creativity. The AYWMC community are very supportive when photos are published so there should be no barriers to showing others your work!

AFTER: a confident night photograph, shot in challenging conditions with good exposure

AFTER: a confident night photograph, shot in challenging conditions with good exposure


Jane Russell

AYWMC has made a massive difference, not only did my hubby upgrade my camera for my 50th in May, but I actually understand how it works now!

BEFORE: This is nearly a great fill-the-frame image. Distracting branches and a bit of soil showing at the edges lessen the impact.

BEFORE: This is nearly a great fill-the-frame image. Distracting branches and a bit of soil showing at the edges lessen the impact.

AFTER: Much more careful composition, using leading lines, framing, and a beautiful echo of the front house behind.

AFTER: Much more careful composition, using leading lines, framing, and a beautiful echo of the front house behind.

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

Everything! My understanding is so much better now. I always had an eye for a good pic but now I feel more confident that I can actually achieve one.

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

Dont hesitate. Emma is ace and everyone in the group is great. So much help and advice.

Follow Jane on Facebook


Emma Fisher

Has AYWMC made a difference?

Definitely, I always used to shoot on auto, now I rarely use it. But more importantly it's given me tools to help improve how I take photographs and to think about the photograph I take. It's also made me more aware of photography used in films and TV.

BEFORE: a good attempt at dynamic composition, but static foreground, careless framing and flat light

BEFORE: a good attempt at dynamic composition, but static foreground, careless framing and flat light

It's hard not to gush but I am so grateful for this course, it has re-lit my love of photography and got me out and about much more. I've done the course with my dad so it's been lovely spending time with him both taking photos and talking about it.

AFTER: very engaging viewpoint, creative use of shutter speed, higher contrast, vibrant image

AFTER: very engaging viewpoint, creative use of shutter speed, higher contrast, vibrant image

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

Do it. It's a great way to learn, you can do it at your own pace, and even though you learn how to use your camere it's not too technical.

AFTER: absolutely phenomenal water splash photograph. Anyone who has tried this will know how hard it is to get the perfect crown of splash and even lighting across the water.

AFTER: absolutely phenomenal water splash photograph. Anyone who has tried this will know how hard it is to get the perfect crown of splash and even lighting across the water.


emma headshot 800.jpg

These could be your stories, this time next year

Join AYWMC now and get started today. It's free.