We’ve trained more than 800 photographers of all ages and skill levels to develop and enhance their photographic ability. Here’s the story of Jon Morton Smith, who took advantage of our One to One Photography Training to hone his nature and wildlife photography skills.
Here, Jon shares the photographic challenges he has faced and how he met them head-on with a training course in London that taught him more than just how to take great photos. It extracted his ability to look beyond the obvious. That’s the photographer’s eye.
Aspiring to reach a photographic potential.
As Jon explains, “I had always enjoyed photography since childhood but I felt that whilst the pictures I took were nice, they somehow lacked that ‘wow’ factor. I really wanted them to be more striking and distinctive; photos that would make a statement and look more professional.”
He continues, “I enjoyed taking photos on holidays and at family events, but looking back I know that I took very straightforward and unimaginative pictures. This was because, like most people I didn’t take the time to know how to get the best out of my camera, regardless of its price tag and impressive functions, or have a true awareness of my capability and potential to know how to compose a really good photograph. Now that I have a bit more time I want to know how to get the best out of my camera, a Nikon D5100 as well as being able to compose a great photo.”
Thinking with the determined mindset of the senior financier, Jon realised that just as he supports his clients with sound commercial property development and investment advice, so he too needed an expert to advise him on how to make his camera, and his handling of it, work better and smarter.
His wife subsequently found the 36exp Photography School online and booked the personalised, private training lessons with Andrew Mason as a birthday present for him.
As Andrew explains, “From the initial conversation that I had with Jon, it was clear that whilst he felt his photography was ‘not too bad’ it was actually too basic a knowledge to get what he wanted to achieve from his camera, which was a very impressive piece of equipment! I wanted to show him how to work more effectively with it, and how to see his subject matter with the eye and mindset of a photographer so that he could really extol his creative side. I think we all have that capability but it’s my job to give clients that ‘A ha!’ moment when they realise how they should be looking at a subject in order to take a great photo of it.”
The value of expert training: from taking nice photographs to taking great photographs!
Given that Jon enjoyed taking photos of landscapes, flowers and the great outdoors, the training took place in London’s popular Hyde Park which offers a rich diversity of panoramas and varied subject matter. The training began with an initial review of how Jon used his camera, samples of the photos he takes, and how he would like his photos to ideally look. By knowing this, Andrew was able to advise Jon on the key skills that he should always keep in mind to take great photos.
As Jon says, “Training with 36exp showed me how to photograph taxis as they drove through the park by freezing the action with a fast shutter speed. Andrew also showed me how to pan with a moving vehicle. With this technique, I followed the movement of the cab as it passed by and pressed the shutter at the same time. I needed some practice to get that right, but DSLRs and cameras with manual controls can be set to shutter priority mode. I really enjoyed learning about that. I felt like I was in control of my camera rather than the camera telling me what to do!”
One particular highlight of the 36exp experience for Jon was knowing how and when to use a zoom lens or a DSLR macro lens, especially for his much-loved nature and flower-based photographs which often feature close-ups. “Knowing the difference between these two functions has been really helpful and has made a real difference to my understanding of the camera and to the quality of my photos.”
Now armed with a photographer’s eye.
Armed with a fresh approach to taking photos, Jon now plans to put his training into practice. He is due to travel to the far north of Sweden for a summer holiday where he will hike along the Padjelentalen trail and enjoy huge, open vistas of the Arctic; a perfect photo opportunity.
As Jon summarises, “I owe my wife a very big ‘thank you’ for buying me the 36exp course as a gift; it showed me how to step back and see a subject matter from a wider perspective. That is a key strategy for photographers, but one which could be of benefit to people in virtually any business sector including my own world of commercial finance.”
Find out more about our One to One Photography Training.