Photography for beginners

Course Dates: 01/12/18 - 15/12/18
Time: 10:00 - 17:00
Location: PS - Photography Studio
Tutor: Grant Smith

Always wondered what half the buttons on your camera actually do? Discover how to use them properly and produce impressive photographs, even as a complete beginner. Gain useful technical knowledge and get expert creative guidance in easy-to-understand language. An ideal first step before enrolling on our intermediate courses.

See what you could create – view a selection of work made on our photography courses



What is the course about?

Getting to know your camera and using it in a technically competent and visually interesting way, from knowing the right buttons to press, to composing a photograph creatively. Learn about shutter speed, aperture, photo composition, lighting, and indoor/outdoor work. An inspiring introduction to photography as a form of creative self-expression anyone can learn.

What previous students liked most about this course:
“I found Conrad [Blakemore] very patient and understanding. He always had time to look at all the individual cameras and help us as much as he could.”

“Very good tutor [Armelle Skatulski] who explained everything very clearly, was efficient, professional and dealt with course participants well. Content – very useful and well structured.”

“I am delighted with the course. Matthew [Ward] is a very patient, clear teacher and good facilitator and very responsive to individuals’ own styles.”

“Grant [Smith] was a helpful and supportive tutor – I really enjoyed being able to get out of the classroom and photography local surroundings.”

“The handouts. Tutor [Michael Harding] very approachable and patient.”


What will we cover?

The basic mechanics of photography, including but not limited to:
- choice of digital or film camera
- exposure and taking light readings
- shutter speed settings and movement
- apertures (f-stops) and depth of field
- composition and lighting
- creative approaches to photographing different subjects.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- produce photographs demonstrating some technical and theoretical understanding
- produce visually interesting photographs
- have a better understanding of the manual functions on your camera
- identify and use different sources of light i.e. daylight and artificial light.

What previous students have achieved on this course:
“A good understanding of photography including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance and exposure compensation.” RH

“I have achieved more than I expected! It’s been great fun, standard of teaching was very good indeed [Conrad Blakemore]. I feel like I want to start taking lots of pictures now.” SM

“Greater confidence in using semi-automatic and manual modes. Greater awareness of composition.” LS

“Gained good oversight of camera functions, composing strong and balanced images. How to use aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create pleasing effects.” PW

“Much more confidence to use DSLR camera. When to use M, S, A, ISO, white balance, exposure compensation. Enabled to create many more artistic images and variety. Exceeded expectations!” BS


What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You don't need any previous knowledge to join this course; it's for complete beginners or anyone needing a technical refresher. You will need to have manual functions on your camera (i.e. be able to change the aperture and shutter speed settings). Most students will have a digital SLR or bridge camera, but 35mm film cameras are equally welcome and a comparison will be made during the course.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be happy using numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

A mixture of lectures, demonstrations, practical exercises, discussions and project work, involving individual tutoring as well as group work. You will regularly receive and be invited to contribute to positive critical feedback on your own and each other's photographs.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a working camera (either digital or film) which has a manual settings for aperture and shutter speed, and a tripod if you have one. If you do not have a camera you will be supplied with a digital SLR for use in the class. If you are using a film camera you will need to pay for up to three rolls of film, together with processing and printing - you can use colour or black and white. (Please note we do not sell or process film at Build).

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, Build students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

If you've been inspired why not take the next step up to our 'Improving your photography' course, choose a specialism (people, landscape, performance, wildlife, close up, food, documentary etc) or enrol on the full 'Build photography' foundation course.

General information and advice on courses at Build is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details


Book your place

Course Code: VY899

Please choose a course date 

Sat, day, 01 Dec - 15 Dec '18

Duration: 3 sessions (over 3 weeks)

Full fee: £339.00
Senior fee: £339.00
Concession: £339.00

Or call to enrol: 222-66-889-99

Download form & post

Any questions? [email protected]
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

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Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online . You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.