Skills we teach
We want you to leave our Retreats with photographic skills you didn't have when you arrived, skills that you can use on photographic projects once you're home. We're very open about how everything is done - sharing brings its own dividends as techniques are experimented with and new uses found.
We teach beginners as well as advanced photographers - together. Here’s how.
This is a claim that is often made by photo workshops without any indication of how it is done. But we’ve evolved a method that works, adopting a two-tier approach that reflects the needs of each group. While advanced photographers don’t always welcome a tutor breaking their concentration in the field by offering advice on basic technicalities, they often want artistic or practical guidance at the production stage in the studio. Less experienced photographers, however, tend to need more help in the field with essential techniques to get the photos they want and might not yet be ready for complex production processes. If they want to try it, however, we have a range of Photoshop templates they can use without needing an in-depth knowledge. More advanced photographers can use these templates to fast-track their own creativity.
We understand the importance to many photographers of in-depth reviews of their work and we do this by taking just two images from each guest at a time and analysing their technical, aesthetic and narrative qualities in turn. This is done on a stunning 55 inch Sony AF8 UHD OLED TV screen to show the pictures at their best and we often refer to the small library of photography titles that travel with us on Retreat.
"I found Niall was particularly generous as a photographic tutor, not only taking us to great locations but showing us how he achieved certain shots and effects to interpret the landscapes. In other words, giving away all his trade secrets!"
/ Janet L /
“I also learnt a great deal from Niall about developing my images in Lightroom and Photoshop. His structured approach of sympathetically developing the photos you have taken to reflect the mood and the conditions was very impressive; this has really improved my photo editing techniques and skills which I really enjoyed.”
/ Phil D /
There are two main ideas behind Colour Transects images. Firstly, they let you draw the viewer’s attention to the diversity of colours present in a scene - often much greater than they imagine. Secondly, Colour Transects hold the viewer’s attention for longer than a “normal” photograph as they speculate where the colours have been sampled from. The approach puts colour to the fore rather than treating it as an incidental element. The inclusion of the latitude the picture was taken tests of the idea that colours are more subtle as we head further north (or south in the southern hemisphere).
There are many ways of creating the square colour swatches which represent the colours in the image . We show you how to do it in Photoshop and encourage you, with the basic technique under your belt, to explore how else the technique could be applied.
Chocolate bar collages
Offer a hungry man a single square of chocolate from a big bar and he’s not going to be satisfied. You keep giving him small chunks but what he really needs is a big mouthful. It’s the same with the photographs of details many of us like making: they rarely impress by themselves. But presented en-masse, they are visually much more satisfying.
The elements of these panels are shot in much the same way as if they were stand- alone images. You’ll need maximum depth of field so don’t shoot obliquely; use diffused light to render maximum detail; avoid references to scale, such as the horizon or edges, if you are after an abstract look. Indesign makes for the easiest layout but you can achieve the same look with Photoshop and Lightroom. Seek out subjects that tend to be overlooked but that are naturally varied.