The truth is, it doesn’t matter what sort of camera you use to take a photograph because the camera doesn’t create the image. You do.
Your eyes, your heart, your state of mind: all of these influence what you capture in pixels and on film. Cameras are wonderful tools for helping us get inside the moment. With a camera in my hands I have permission to stop, take a breath and really look at what’s in front of me. In this way, photography is like a short-cut to mindfulness and I apply this mindfulness when I’m taking my shots.
I’m not just recording what I see, I’m recording what I feel, too.
How we see the world naturally filters into our images and in this five-week course I’ll teach you how to not only bring some delicious mindfulness to your way of shooting but how to also intentionally infuse more feeling into every shot you take. We’ll study composition and light so you better understand how to convey emotion through the bones of an image. We’ll explore what it means to develop your own personal style and how to tell stories using imagery and symbolism, a skill that’s especially useful for bloggers. We’ll also spend a week on self-portraiture, a timeless practice that goes so much deeper than the snapping of a quick selfie.
Photography is so much more than lenses and f-stops.
It’s my hope that Photo Meditations truly helps to open your eyes to not only the world around you but also to the possibilities of using your photography as an intimate form of creative self expression. By the end of the course you’ll have a better idea of how to make images that mean something to you and will know how to add more of YOU to your photographs. Don’t be surprised if you start taking your camera with you every time you leave the house!
Week By Week
WEEK 1 — THE BONES: CULTIVATING AWARENESS
In the first week we look at the bones of a photograph, the compositional elements that form the foundation of an image, and explore how to cultivate more awareness as we use our cameras to filter the world around us.
WEEK 2 — THE FLESH: LIGHTNESS OF BEING
In the second week we examine the flesh of a photograph, the layers of information that give an image more depth and resonance. We’ll also begin looking at ways to weave more of ourselves into our images.
WEEK 3 — THE HEART: SHOOTING FROM THE HEART
In the third week we figure out how we can layer more emotion through our shots, diving into different ways to capture our loved ones and record the memories as they happen.
WEEK 4 — THE SOUL: GOING WITHIN
In the fourth week we turn our cameras on ourselves, experimenting with self-portraiture as a way to translate our inner world and create metaphors for how we feel.
WEEK 5 — THE TALE: TELLING STORIES
In the last week we bring together everything we’ve learned over the previous four weeks as we explore the art of photographic storytelling.
Please note that while I will be briefly touching on post-processing your shots this isn’t a technical photography class. I prefer to use my intuition when taking photographs so this is what I will be teaching too – it’s important to know the basics, and we’ll be looking at the important ones like composition and light, but this course will be a mix of inspiration, tips and essential know-how.
Sign up to get emailed when registration next opens!
Questions and Answers
DO I HAVE TO BE IN CLASS AT CERTAIN TIMES?
No, there are no set times when you have to be in class. The lessons are emailed to you Monday to Friday for five weeks but this is a self-paced course, so you can fit it in whenever is best for you. There’s no “homework” to be completed! Expect to spend about an hour or two on the course each week.
WHAT DO I NEED?
Access to a computer + the internet. A camera. A notebook and pen.
WHAT SORT OF CAMERA SHOULD I USE?
Any camera! Your favourite camera! DSLRs, compacts, iPhones, Polaroids, Instax. All cameras are welcome in this course. I shoot with Polaroid, digital, compact and iPhone, but it’s like the saying goes: the best camera is the one you have on you!
I DON’T HAVE MUCH TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE – CAN I STILL TAKE THIS CLASS?
Yes! As long as you can switch on your camera (or load it with film :) and click the shutter button, you’re good to go!
CAN WE SHARE OUR PHOTOS WITH OTHER PEOPLE TAKING THE COURSE?
Absolutely! We'll be sharing our photos with each other in a private Flickr gallery and engaging in discussions on Facebook.
Flickr.com is an online photo-sharing website that’s free to join. With an account you can upload photos to your own galleries, share photos with other users or keep your photos private if you prefer.
THE COURSE FEES ARE IN BRITISH POUNDS – DO YOU ACCEPT PAYMENT IN DOLLARS/EUROS?
Yes! Your currency is automatically converted when you check out using either a credit card or Paypal. To check the current exchange rate, visit this useful online currency converter.
“I want to send you my utmost gratitude to you today as I have immensely enjoyed these five weeks. I was a complete beginner but you guided us carefully and tenderly through the technical aspects so that it was easy to apply and understand. I could see how much I had developed as a budding photographer particularly during and after the week of self-portraiture. That part of the course completely resonated with me and transformed my photography onto a new level. I could see more honesty and soul seeping through my pictures. Everything came together during week five, I could see the influence of all aspects of your teachings in my photography. I am going to miss your regular 8.00 am emails each day!”
“I enjoyed Photo Meditations so much and I can't thank you enough. Where I often felt desperate to express myself but unsure how to go about it in Unravel- ling, the knowledge and structure provided in Photo Meditations set me free and after the first couple weeks I began to notice this sense of complete and utter calm, peace and fulfillment overcome me when I was considering and composing photos. Such pure, quiet joy. It means so much to me because I have been drawn to photography ever since I was a little girl but I could never begin to express myself through it which was frustrating. Now I feel so happy taking my pictures -- I know I am at the very very beginning of learning but that feels like a good, exciting thing.”
“Oh my, Susannah, I have LOVED your course. It's brought me alive visually, though I haven't got out with the camera as much as I would have liked. I might redo the course for myself over another 5 weeks. You are genius. Your work is beautiful. Your lessons are clear and inspiring. Your layout and language totally appetising and encouraging. Your balance of technical and whimsical just delightful. Keep on keeping on. I am your greatest fan.”
“Susannah, many, many thanks for the last few weeks! I have looked forward every morning to your posts: I will be bereft now! My photography - and my eye - have been transformed! It feels like the beginning of a whole new part of me. Your gentle style, insights, generosity of spirit and advice and the way you set up the course have been an inspiration. I will use it over and over.”
‘I don't want it to end! I'm really enjoying your teaching style and it's just been so inspirational. Even though I've been working on my photography since my first class *gasp* 13 years ago, each week there's been a few "aha!" moments. And just the excitement and enthusiasm of my fellow students is inspiring. Loving. it.”
“Watching the slideshow, with your narration, just touched me so deeply. To be unearthing the how of seeing for its emotional impact, to hear another artist deciphering the beauty in images that move them, is a generous slice of heaven that you are sharing with your photo girls. From my perspective, the simplicity of your voice beneath the pictures is as magical as radio – it feels so personal, and yet like community. I can already tell that i will be reaping rich rewards from this experience for a very long time to come.”
“I appreciated the structure of daily prompts - they kept me engaged. I appreci- ated looking at examples from your work and those of others in your slide shows and the interviews -- I often felt surprised and delighted, making sense of "seeing" and inspiration for what's possible, learning and expanding my sense of beauty. I also appreciated the learning in using my camera. I smile writing this - I recall a statement you made somewhere in the class: "what's the light doing?" That has been replaying in my head -- the learning about light and its effects has been helpful. Taking my first self-portraits as part of this course and taking in the effect that in itself has had on me, I feel gratitude. I discovered gentleness towards myself and something "happened" for me in following that prompt. A sense of trust that comes from understanding something, I cannot grasp, yet. Thank you for offering this class.”
“Susannah, thank you so much for this course. I loved it! I have been taking my camera everywhere and I haven't done that in years. Would you believe that I was shooting outside during my prep periods at school. I was running out in the parking lot trying so hard to catch the morning light. Normally I am so busy inside the building that I don't even see the morning light!!!! This course has helped me to become more aware of life's little everyday moments and has given me the inspiration to capture them in photos. Oh...the slideshows were amazing. I have gained more knowledge about composition, color, light, self-portraits, storytelling, how to use line and texture more effectively, and so much more. This course is full of info. I cannot wait for the next course to begin!”