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 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 whole session 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!
SESSION 1 — THE BONES: CULTIVATING AWARENESS
In the first session 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. We’ll explore line, shape and form and investigate the Rules of Thirds and Odds, negative and positive space, and why it’s necessary to break the rules once in a while!
SESSION 2 — THE FLESH: LIGHTNESS OF BEING
In the second session we examine the flesh of a photograph, the layers of information that give an image more depth and resonance. We’ll explore colour, texture and pattern, and spend a whole lesson diving into the wonders of light — how to use it, capture it and be mindful of it when shooting. We’ll also begin looking at ways to weave more of ourselves into our images.
SESSION 3 — THE HEART: SHOOTING FROM THE HEART
In the third session 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. We’ll explore how to use details and symbolism in our images, how to play with perspective, focus and scale, and start nurturing the genesis of our own unique style. I’ll also give you a quickie aperture lesson in layman’s terms :-)
SESSION 4 — THE SOUL: GOING WITHIN
In the fourth session 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. I won’t make you take hundred selfies (unless you want to), have no fear! But we WILL be exploring the healing benefits of putting ourselves in front of the camera, adding real emotion to our shots and taking back control of our own image.
SESSION 5 — THE TALE: TELLING STORIES
In the last session we bring together everything we’ve learned over the previous four sessions as we explore the art of photographic story-telling. We’ll learn the five Ws and explore crazy-useful stuff like shot check-lists and how to put images together when editing. I’ll share a sample blog post with you so you can see how I put my images together and what impact this has on the story I’m telling.
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.
Questions and Answers
When does the course begin?
Today! The beauty of a self-study course is you can start the course straight away — simply hit the “buy now” button above. Once payment has been made you’ll get a receipt and another email asking you to confirm your subscription to the mailing list. Please make sure you click the link to confirm — this is so we can start sending you the lessons! If you have any problems signing up (or don’t receive the confirmation email) please contact my lovely assistant, Jess — firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT DO I NEED?
A camera (or two or more!), access to a computer + the internet and an email address (all lessons are delivered via email).
WHAT SORT OF CAMERA SHOULD I USE?
Any camera! Your favourite camera! DSLRs, compacts, smartphones, film SLRs, 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! This is not a “technical” course — our focus will be on the creative aspects of taking photographs.
HOW DOES A SELF-STUDY COURSE WORK?
The course is broken down into five key sessions (with 5 lessons per session) which will be emailed to you one after the other (in other words there's no break between sessions). The course runs for 25 consecutive days in total, starting the day you sign up. Each session comprises two lessons, a slideshow, a photography secret and an interview with a photographer I admire. It’s best to work through the lessons in the order they arrive in your inbox as each part builds on the last — the slideshows in particular will help to clarify and illuminate the theories presented in the lessons, so do make yourself a hot drink and put aside some time to watch those :-) On the last day I’ll give you a link to download the (116 page!) ebook containing all the course content including links to the slideshows and resources.
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 visit this useful online currency converter. PLEASE NOTE: If you live in the European Union (excluding the UK) VAT will be added to the total when you check out.
Is there any group element to the course?
No, this is the self-study version of Photo Meditations which means you work through the material in your own time. There is no Facebook or Flickr group with this course.
“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!”