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My journey with the Mill Tye Gallery by Luke Couch

I joined the Mill Tye Shoot and Share Group around May 2021, having bought a camera at the start of lockdown, with the aim of learning a new skill in preparation for university. I’d spent some time out and about with that camera; I’d have it in Auto, and often the result would be incorrectly exposed, out-of-focus, or just wouldn’t capture the same image I was seeing in front of me. This led to a lot of frustration, as I didn’t know how to improve these issues in my work.

Many of my photographs looked like this – rather bland, or not quite right. I had so many issues with backlighting that I could never figure out how to fix, and I end up with an abundance of over-exposed images.

6 months on, and my photography has been completely revolutionised. I’m taking photographs I would never have even thought about taking before, let alone having the confidence and technical ability to create them, and that’s all down to Jackie’s fantastic workshops, and her amazing work in the Shoot and Share Group.

The five workshops I attended, all aimed at getting off Auto Mode, and using Shutter Speed, Aperture and Composition, were all incredibly engaging and enjoyable. Learning from Jackie alongside other workshop participants was a fantastic experience, and one that I have taken so much valuable knowledge from, not only in the use of my camera, but also the encouragement to think creatively in a friendly and supportive environment. I was seeing instant results in the improvement of the photographs I took during these sessions.

(above) The first photograph was taken at the ‘Getting to Know Your Camera’ workshop, controlling aperture to create bokeh, and using shutter speed to freeze the motion of bubbles. (right) The second photograph was taken at the ‘Getting off of Auto’ workshop, controlling shutter speed to freeze or blur motion using fans.

Thanks to the ‘Getting to Know Your Camera’ workshops, I’ve become confident with all areas of my photography. I have learnt what to consider in my composition and how to see the world around me more effectively for photo opportunities. This has been bolstered by

the photography challenges, created by Jackie for the Shoot and Share Group. These have encouraged me to experiment with my composition to see opportunities I would never have considered before. Being a member of the group has been an enormous pleasure, and getting to interact with such a large range of friendly individuals and learning from their skill sets and experience has sparked my creativity, and has made me more reflective on my own photography, encouraging me to try new approaches to ideas.

(above) Photograph taken on a train for the Shoot and Share Challenge ‘Get the Low Down’. (right) Photograph taken for the Shoot and Share Challenge ‘Portrait in a Reflection’, experimenting with metering modes.

After attending the workshops, I planned a weekend trip to London to try out what I had learned in a practical setting. I spent the weekend at MCM Comic Con, and also made time to practice some street photography in and around the Diwali celebrations in Trafalgar Square. I spent the whole time shooting in Manual mode, and took some of the best photos I have taken to date, as I was finally capturing those moments that I was unable to do so in Auto. It is so refreshing to finally feel comfortable going out to take photographs without having to worry about the final results, and the difference in my photography over the course of this last 6 months is night and day. I look forward to continuing to improve my photography with Jackie and the Mill Tye Gallery, and I can’t wait to attend some more workshops in the future.

Photographs from Diwali celebrations in Trafalgar Square and cosplay from MCM Comic Con. I was finally able to take a backlit image, which I am very proud of, which would have been almost impossible before, and I was able to control my aperture very differently in each image. Thanks to the composition workshops, I was also able to think about the images I wanted to take in order to create a better story through my photography.


Photography workshops start at the Mill Tye Gallery in March

Getting to know your Camera

Photography Workshop with Jackie Mellor

Thursday 10th March 2022, 10.00am - 4.00pm

Cost: £78

Fully unlock your creativity and add extra wow factor to your photographs, it is important to get off auto and to understand how to take control of your manual settings. In this class you will take a closer look at your camera settings and understand which settings to use for different subjects.

Getting off Auto and into Manual

Photography Workshop with Jackie Mellor

Thursday 17th March 2022, 10.00am - 4.00pm

Cost: £78

Have you ever asked yourself, how can I capture movement, freeze a fast-moving subject or be creative with very little light? And in what situations should I use full manual mode? In this class you will have the chance to take part in a series of activities which are designed to unleash your creativity and be able to work in a variety of lighting situations.

Creative Composition

Photography Workshop with Jackie Mellor

Thursday 24th March, 10.00am - 4.00pm

Cost: £78

Have you ever wondered why some photographs grab your attention strait away and have an immediate impact on you, compelling you to look a little closer or question what you are seeing? Would you like for your photographs to impress your friends and family, look great on your social media pages or bring back precious memories in a flash? This one-day course will introduce you to the rules of composition. You will be inspired by images by some of the greatest photographers past and present and learn to apply some of the rules of composition to your own photography.

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