30th June 2023
Intermediate Photography Classes


June saw the completion our Intermediate Photography Classes at Millennium Court in Portadown. Over the six weeks we covered a range of topics and finished up on our final week with a photo walk around Portadown. We had students of all ages take part and with a wide range of cameras and equipment.

In this blog feature, we will highlight the student’s work and also outline what the course content included. Our Intermediate Photography Classes are perfect for anyone wanting to expand on their beginner’s skills and meet fellow creatives.

I love seeing everyone grow in confidence on the weeks and how supportive everyone is of each other. They share ideas and useful information to guide each other, plus it’s the perfect opportunity to look at the different gear that they may want to invest in for their kit. I really enjoyed working with the group and look forward to seeing how they progress on their photography journey

Intermediate Photography Classes


Over the six weeks on our Intermediate Photography Classes, we covered a range of topics. The first five lessons were delivered in the classroom. The final class took place outdoors around Portadown where the students put their knowledge into practice and experimented with new techniques to capture a variety of topics. Students also had a dedicated WhatsApp Group where they were inspired with photo challenges and they received constructive review of your images each week.

Intermediate Photography Classes

Week 1

Ideally students will have completed the Beginners Photography Course with The Photo Academy NI, however it’s not essential. In this class, we had a mix of experience and a wide range of camera equipment to work with. Some students were shooting with SLR Brands such as Canon and Nikon, whilst we also had Sony and Fujifilm users as well. In week one, we did a recap of the basics of exposure settings – Aperture, Shutter Speed & ISO before moving on to the new content.

Intermediate Photography Classes
Image Credit – Audrey Carroll

We discussed aperture in more detail than on the beginners class, highlighting challenges of shooting at wider apertures and the importance of keeping your sensor clean. Lens compression was also covered and we looked at how it beneficial it is for a variety of subjects. We finished off with an intro to flash photography – covering the equipment options and the different occasions where you might want to use flash.

Intermediate Photography Classes
Image Credit – Mark Brown

Week 2

Flash was the topic at the start of this class again as it’s a very detailed subject. We discussed which flash guns to use, the different flash modes and the variety of modifiers that you can use to diffuse and spread the light. White balance was also covered and I explained about the important of your WB Setting, particularly when taking photos in artificial lighting.

When using flash, you probably will want to invest in either a reflector or some off camera accessories. These are used to balance out the shadows or enhance them for more creative portraits. We look at more cost effective alternatives and also the variety of reflectors available on the market.

Week 2’s home work challenge was to take a photo in shutter priority mode that reflected movement and the student’s did a fantastic job.

Image Credit – Debbie Black
Image Credit – Sharon Wickham

Week 3

A common question that I get asked by students is whether they should shoot in RAW or Jpeg file format. My answer is … it depends. When you are a beginner, I normally recommend Jpeg as most people at that stage are still mastering the exposure settings and probably don’t have access to software that you can edit RAW files in.

I only shoot in RAW but I’ve been doing this for some time now so it makes sense for me to do so. In Week 3, we looked at the difference between the two and discussed the pros and cons of each file format. Next topic was Histograms – for anyone reading this blog who doesn’t know what a histogram is, basically it shows you a scientific review of a photograph after you’ve taken it and tells you how evenly exposed an image is.

Intermediate Photography Classes

Week 4

Long Exposure Photography was this week’s subject. It’s one of my favourite photography techniques to explore during our Intermediate Photography Classes, as you can really get your teeth into a wide variety of photography genres. Students can use longer exposures for shots taken at night but also in daylight to show motion blur and give you those dreamy, misty waterfall images.

We discussed the different accessories that you can use such as tripods, ND filters, remote shutter releases and intervalometers. There is more dedicated and sophisticated gear that you can invest in for Astrophotography and we touched on this as well. Some of the group are very keen astrophotographers and they shared useful apps and tips with the group as well. That’s what I love about teaching – you also pick up information that is beneficial to other students from someone who has invested their energy into a particular genre.

Intermediate Photography Classes
Image Credit – Alan Dougan

Week 5

Our final week in the classroom dealt with photo editing. There are a lot of different editing apps and software options out there to choose from. It would be impossible to cover them all, so I selected Adobe Lightroom as our main feature for week 5. You can use it on your phone or on a laptop / desktop. It’s my go to programme for managing my photography workload and it’s where I do the bulk of my editing.

You can totally transform your images whilst editing by making adjustments to specific parts of the photo, adding filters and tweaking your exposure, tone and colours. As I always tell my students, editing won’t turn a bad photo into a great one but it allows you the freedom to express your creative style.

Lightroom Mobile

Within the Lightroom Mobile app, you can also capture images in both DNG (RAW) and Jpeg format on your phone and then edit them. It allows you to set your Exposure, Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance and manually focus the camera lens to perfect your shot. This can be particularly useful for iPhone users who don’t currently have a ‘Pro’ mode within the main camera app on your phone.

Intermediate Photography Classes

Week 6

Our final class is a student favour as we get to explore outdoors and put all our learning into practice. We decided to stay local and explore Portadown. Luck was on our side with the weather and we even had a group of people on the river to feature as our subjects by chance. The jet skis were perfect for explore faster shutter speeds to freeze action. We also used the Continuous Autofocus mode to help the camera track focus as the subjects were so fast moving.

Intermediate Photography Course

We also took the opportunity to pop over to the People’s Park where we discussed a variety of topics. These included light and the use of reflectors for portraits, how important your shooting angle is when taking photos and also the placement of the sun in your images. One of the students loved sun burst photos so we experimented with our aperture setting to capture some beautiful shots.

It was the perfect way to finish off our six weeks together and everyone told me they really enjoyed the course, so much so that we agreed to meet up again for a photo walk and catch up. I really love keeping in touch with students and watch how they put their learning into practice. Most of them follow my social media channels or have signed up to my #52Creative23 challenge where they take a photograph each week based on a topic that I set. If you would like to take part, you can sign up by clicking here.

Intermediate Photography Classes
Image Credit – Rebecca Fearon

Intermediate Photography Classes Northern Ireland

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Intermediate Photography Classes
Image Credit – Alan Dougan

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