How To! References for beginner and improver photographers

Girl in jeans with her back to us holding one leg up in the air at 2 o'clock, standing on the other leg, with her left arm stretched out. She faces a beautiful sunset sky with bits of blue sky, grey clouds and sunset-yellows, greyes and pinks and if you look to the bottom of the shot (you don't want to, the composition leads you upwards) you can see a bit of a building and a man's head. There is a very strong vignette effect because of the lens choice.

One of my students took this with my old D700 when her own camera battery ran out. I think it’s rather wonderful. (c) Daisy 2017 #showingoffmystudents


I’ve no idea how many people I’ve taught the basics of photography. I’d guess well over 600 beginners just from City Academy. That’s the easy estimate because I’ve excluded City Academy improvers, dance photography, street photography, lifestyle photography and documentary photography students. I don’t even know how to work out the best way to count the others. The 50ish young people at the Village School are the youngest to date. It’s a while ago and I seem to remember they were between 9 and 10 years old. I’ve also taught individuals, corporate groups, people on holiday, people who went on holiday to learn with me, ambitious potential instagrammers and more.

Originally intended so that my students could do more practical learning and less note-taking, some of these how-to posts summarise what I teach and some are in response to questions.

I thought it might be helpful to list all the relevant posts in once place, so that my busy students can find what they need with the minimum of fuss. If you’re not a student but are interested in learning more, and want to start taking control of the photographs your camera takes rather than having the camera make all the decisions, you’ll find the posts useful, and if you have other questions or find a post on my blog that I’ve not referenced below, please let me know.

Developing The Basics

Why there are no ideal camera settings


Colours at high ISO #1

Colours at high ISO #2

What settings should be used for motion blur

Five pointers that help you with panning

10 ways to incorporate the background into your image

5 fundamentals of composition

To crop or not to crop


Environments, Challenges and Starting Specialist Photography

10 pointers to help you shoot better sunsets

10 pointers to help you become a better social dance photographer

5 tips for photographing live dance

Starting Safari Photography

5 ways to improve your carnival photography



5 insider tips on how to choose your photography class

10 uses for your photographer’s workbook

If you’re good enough…

Things You Should Know

Copy rights and wrongs


Fun Stuff

Captioning your selfies

Shoot a better usi (gelfi)

Selfie apps