Frequently asked questions
Should I choose a one to one day over a group workshop?
If you feel put off by large groups or just prefer private tuition, then One to One days are for you. These days are specifically tailored to suit your needs at a location of your own or one chosen by Simon. Generally, locations chosen by Simon will be locations where group workshops are run to ensure you get the most out of the day. Group workshops are better suited to those who require less input from the tutor.
Do I need lots of equipment?
Any level of photographer, can be accommodated from raw beginners with just a camera and a single lens, to photographers with a full complement of equipment. To get the most a workshop, an SLR is recommended! Compact and bridge cameras have limited aperture ranges and can prevent certain images types from being achieved.
What personal items will I need on the day?
It is recommended that you bring wellingtons (whatever the weather) so you can get into shallow streams, lake edges etc, but the rest is down to what you feel most comfortable in. Basically, you should dress yourself as if you would for a day in the hills, but be mindful that there may be long periods of standing around. Hand and foot warmers have been used with great relief on many workshops to date.
What do I get for my fee?
You will get full assistance whether be it in a group or one to one. Simon will advise on your results in the field and how to correct many common mistakes. A great way to learn is to find and compose the image without Simon’s help in the first instance, take the image and then have that process reviewed afterwards.
Do I get any help after the workshop?
You are free to email Simon your pictures afterwards for a thorough appraisal of your efforts.
Is there transportation for the duration of the workshop?
Free transport throughout the day is offered on most workshops unless stated otherwise, but unfortunately transport to the event is not provided unless you can be picked up in the Preston area or en-route to the workshop.
I am a beginner, what will we cover?
We will unravel the mysteries and relationship between aperture values, shutter speeds and ISO rating. You will learn to work with live view and in full manual mode, understand histograms, learn how to use filters, identify the best spot for any given location, how to use different lighting conditions, working with the rule of thirds, knowing how to break the rule, finding good foreground interest, selecting the focusing point, maximising depth of field, lens choice and much more. As a trained professional ecologist, I am able to help you develop your natural history field and identification skills too. What’s most important about workshops and you must bear this in mind, is that location and conditions do not matter, it’s the information that you will take away with you that counts.
Is the day planned in advance?
To a point yes, although it’s best to remain as flexible as possible and let the weather conditions on each day dictate what we do.
What is the group size?
With the exception of one to one days, the maximum group size is currently three photographers plus Simon.
Will we be making use of the best light?
To get the most from any given workshop, unless stated, we will work through the whole day when the light is not always at its best. You need to keep in mind that the workshop is about learning robust technique, which will allow you to take good photographs consistently. I try on all workshops to offer at least a dawn or a dusk shoot as part of the day.
Will Simon be taking photographs during the workshop or on one to one days?
I never assume that I will be taking pictures, but I will have all my camera and lenses with me as familiarity with my own equipment can often best demonstrate what can be achieved. In the past clients have wanted me to shoot with them, as they like to see my approach, but it’s up to you. Whichever you prefer, you will always come first and you will never need to ask for help.