Toast of the Town Photography Workshop

Canon dslr

I take part in a lot of blog chats on Twitter and one message that is always consistent is that when it come to blogging, photography is king. Good photography won’t necessarily make up for bad content, but bad photography will overshadow good content. I have definitely let my photog skills slip in the 8 years (!) since I left art school and now I rely on a compact system on auto and my iPhone, so when I was invited along to a photography workshop I knew I had no excuse not to go.

The workshop was hosted by the Joe Blogs blogger network in the Millennium Hotel in Glasgow. Millennium have been involved in hosting a number of blogger events under the handle “Toast of the Town” and the Glasgow one was aimed at celebrating the city in the run up to the Commonwealth Games as well as teaching us bloggers some handy skills to capture the spirit of the city and to improve our own blogs. The workshop was led by Stuart from Dreghorn Photography Studio who was assisted by Hamish to ensure that all 25-odd participants got individual help when they needed it.


The first part of the workshop took us straight off the  fully automatic setting and onto the ‘P’ programmed auto mode. We were shown how to use this so that we could control what was to be in focus in the picture, not the camera.

*Top Tip: Create interest by having the focus off centre. Position the item you want to focus on in the centre of the frame. Half press the shutter to focus on it. With the shutter still half pressed, turn your camera to move the focus off to the side.

IMG_9835 (2) IMG_9846

Then we paired up to take some portraits and challenged to take something different from the usual square on mug shot. Stuart explained the rule of thirds, where you divide the frame into thirds and try to use the lines to centre, or off centre, your image. I didn’t quite get the hang of this, I found the Canon display – where there are small squares where the lines cross over – tricky to use, but when you know the rules you can break the rules, right? The photos above are of the gorgeous Charlene from Dainty Dresses, thank you for being my model!

IMG_9946 photo 3

Mid way and we were treated to lunch at the Millennium Bistro. As suitable for a celebration of Glasgow, a Scottish buffet was put on, including venison hotdogs, haggis burgers and shortbread. And the best bit? Haggis bonbons. My one true love!

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After lunch was straight back to work with the shutter priority mode (Tv), and learning about how shutter speeds affect the photo. A remote control helicopter demonstrated that a fast shutter speed will freeze a moving object. A slower shutter speed blurs the image which is great for capturing movement and can also create a point of interest in an otherwise static image.

*Top Tip: Remember that a fast shutter speed lets in less light so make sure you have a bright environment for these kinds of photos.

Once we got the hang of this, we ventured out into the streets of Glasgow to put our lessons into practice. And as an added incentive, Millennium told us that one lucky person would win a prize for photo of the day, so here are what I think are my best shots:

IMG_0008 (2)On the steps of the Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square.

IMG_9982Example of Glaswegian Victorian architecture with a Greek Classicism influence.

IMG_9974A great example of modern sculpture in the noble Donald Dewar statue overlooking Buchanan Street.

Street Photography IMG_9961Chewin’ the fat.

IMG_0017 (2)George Square is a real photo hotspot, particularly with it’s colourful Commonwealth display.

IMG_9953Street photo of a fellow blogger taking a street photo. Meta.

The final tip Stuart and Hamish gave us was just to get out there and practice our photography. Practice makes perfect. I found the whole day really motivating. No, my pictures still aren’t perfect, but I enjoyed taking a few hours to concentrate on polishing up my knowledge and trying new things. I really want to take a longer class now and work on this further.

Massive thank you to Joe Blogs for inviting me and to Millennium for having us and showing us such fantastic hospitality. Millennium really got into the spirit of the day, offering prizes for the best tweet and best instagram as well as feeding us lots of cakes – always a win – and giving us a parting gift. I love the camera cleaning set, as you can see from my first phoot, my camera is due a good clean! You can read their blog about the event here.

Finally, a big thank you to Stuart and Hamish for the class. If you are in Glasgow and looking for photography classes, I really recommend Dreghorn Photography Studio. Both Stuart and Hamish were very patient, helpful and approachable, fantastic qualities for tutors. I also love the fact that they do a Selfie course for younger photographers, it really shows that they don’t take themselves too seriously and are responsive to trends and what people want to do.

Here’s to a marked improvement in photography on this blog in the near future! Do any of you have top tips for taking photos? I’d love to hear them.


5 thoughts on “Toast of the Town Photography Workshop”

  1. This is a great post and really handy tips too. I have a Fuji camera and I don’t know any photography techniques. I should really take some classes.

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