Your story, Class of January 2017

The 5th instalment from AYWMC students who have been working their way through A Year With My Camera during 2017

Emma DeBanks

Has AYWMC made a difference to your photography?

Crumbs yes, I'm not a technical person but I'm starting to understand the science behind photography. I'm now also proud to show my photos. I'm comfortable using the A and S priority settings. I can even go to Manual. I can look at a scene and evaluate how best to tackle the shot.

BEFORE: In Emma's own words, The classic 'I know what I want it to look like but have no idea how to go about it!'

BEFORE: In Emma's own words, The classic 'I know what I want it to look like but have no idea how to go about it!'

AFTER: perfect control of focus, depth of field, composition and lighting

AFTER: perfect control of focus, depth of field, composition and lighting

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

It's the friendliest of groups! There isn't the pressure to tackle everything at once. Each lesson is a bite size piece of information, precisely explained with visual examples. There is time to digest and then put it into practice. There are always plenty of more experienced photographers to offer help or advice if needed. You never feel that you are on your own.

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Alison Cooney

I now have a much better knowledge of what the different settings do and I am not scared to use them any more! My aim of becoming a better photographer than when I started the course is being achieved and I've enjoyed learning.

AYWMC is lovely group to be part of; friendly, fun and interesting. I have loved the group and the homework, one of my favourite parts is #1Day12Pics as I love taking part and seeing what everyone else has posted.

This was the first time that I'd had the confidence to take my 'big' camera on holiday -but I really wanted to as we were going to a coastline noted for beautiful sunsets and thanks to the course I managed to take plenty of pictures that I was proud of: 

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Helen RENOUF

I have been following AYWMC on and off for three years. I started in aperture priority - this weekend I photographed a wedding with flash in manual and got paid for it. The friendly, simple approach has filled in the gaps, reinforced the fact that I do know stuff, I can help others and through learning you can continue to improve.

I am no longer afraid of taking photos of people! Actually through experimentation it is one of my favourite subjects.

AYWMC is a great place to start in your own time. It covers the basics, is friendly, there are people to talk too and if you have blanks - the clear and simple approach makes sense.

Emma is great - a real person with a real passion for photography and she is female - she recognises women can take great photos and have a different eye and can take photography beyond the stereotypes. Give the course a go. Buy the book and pick up your camera and use it... who cares what people think of your images: you are creating art!

Follow Helen at Renouf Design


Louise Docwra

AYWMC has given me the encouragement, confidence and technical information needed to experiment with the camera. I have finally come off auto for the first time and achieved results which I thought my camera wasn't capable of - so happy to learn that the camera had the capability all along, even if I didn't!!

BEFORE: "This imagepretty much sums up all that I was frustrated about with my photography before I started AYWMC"

BEFORE: "This imagepretty much sums up all that I was frustrated about with my photography before I started AYWMC"

I am now getting far more confident with the different settings I can use in order to get different types and styles of photographs - shooting with different aperture settings and shutter speeds according to the subject and conditions. I am also learning the real (as against my previously perceived) limitations of my camera - it's a bridge camera so it does have limitations compared to a 'proper' DSLR, but the course has enabled me to get the most out of the equipment I already have. (Although AYWMC is obviously aimed at DSLR users, I have managed to keep up with pretty much all of the course with my bridge camera, so I would urge anyone thinking of joining the course not to be put off if they don't think they have a good enough camera!)

AFTER: perfect control of shutter speed to freeze the action, adventurous viewpoint, focus spot on

AFTER: perfect control of shutter speed to freeze the action, adventurous viewpoint, focus spot on

The AYWMC course is straightforward, easy to access and very easy to follow. The weekly emails give you all the information you need to understand each different lesson and to complete each week's homework. You can work through the course at your own pace and there is no strict requirement to complete every section or topic. I joined the AYWMC Facebook group in January and have really enjoyed the friendliness of the group, the encouragement the members show each other and the fact that Emma is always around to answer questions. All in all, I would thoroughly recommend AYWMC no matter how little photography experience or know-how you feel you have - it has proved to be a very relevant, engaging, informative course.


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What could you do with your camera in a year?

A Year With My Camera is a free, online beginner's photography course. Register now and get started today: