Beginners’ Digital Photography Courses in Derbyshire – Getting off Auto Mode

Learn how to get off the auto mode and take control of your camera!

Beginners photography courses, Matlock, Derbyshire © Chris James
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Our next beginners’ level courses are being held on the following dates:

Saturday December 18th – 10.00am to 4.30pm. Places available.

Saturday January 29th – 10.00am to 4.30pm. Places available.

Saturday February 26th – 10.00am to 4.30pm. Places available.

Saturday March 26th – 10.00am to 4.30pm. Places available.

A misty morning in the Derwent Valley, Derbyshire. Photo © Chris James

To enable proper social distancing, there will be a maximum of only 6 people on each course. Places cost £99.00 each. Please contact us if you would like to be emailed a booking form to reserve a place.

These one day courses are being held in the village of Tansley, near Matlock in Derbyshire. They are run in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, and designed to bring together people with similar levels of ability. Group numbers are deliberately kept low so that the workshops are flexible and easily adapted to suit the specific needs and level of experience of the participants.

These beginners’ level courses are not just for owners of digital slrs – they are suitable for any type of digital camera provided it can be used in other than “all-auto” or “scene” modes – whether it is a compact “point and shoot” camera, travelzoom, bridge, mirrorless, or dslr – on these courses you will learn about the basic controls and settings that will help you make better and more creative photos. Our emphasis is always on teaching solid photographic techniques – techniques that are relevant not just to your current camera, but also to any others that you will own in the future.

“I really enjoyed your course at Tansley on Saturday, and feel that you helped me find my way around my camera far easier than plodding through the user manual.”   Robert

The courses assume no prior knowledge of photography – so they are ideal for people who have just bought their first dedicated camera and have only been using their smartphone to take photos, as well as those who have only been using their camera in “auto” mode and would like to learn how to use it to its full potential. Everyone on these courses receives a printed sheet for their particular make and model of camera, telling you which are its most important controls and menu items, showing you where to find them, explaining in plain English what they do, and showing you exactly how to set them. You will learn:

  • what the different shooting modes are, and when to use them
  • how to get correct exposure in your photographs by using the correct combinations of shutter speeds, lens apertures and ISO
  • how to avoid blurred pictures by setting the correct shutter speed
  • how to set the focus point exactly where you want it
  • get colours in your images the way you want them to look
  • learn about the information your camera gives you both before and after exposures, and how to understand it.

All you need to come on our courses is your camera, its instruction manual, and enough memory cards and batteries for the day. A tripod is also useful if you have one (but we have several for loan if you haven’t). Your enthusiasm and creativity are much more important than a bag full of accessories! Our aim is to help you get the most from what you already have, rather than making you go out and spend lots of money. All the advice we give is completely independent – we have no commercial ties to any manufacturers or suppliers, and all the equipment we use ourselves or loan to clients on our courses has been selected purely on its merits and actually paid for with our own hard earned cash! 

“My son and I went on the beginners course recently… I cannot stress how good this course is… I went on a Canon course in London, which covered so much I ended up being more confused than before I went… Chris runs this course at just the right level and speed, gauging how you are coping and catering to your needs.” Adrian

You can see more comments from some of our hundreds of satisfied clients here.

The courses are held in the warm and comfortable Village Hall in the heart of Tansley village. The attractive gritstone building was originally built in 1843 as the village school, and was extensively refurbished in 2014, with disabled access and toilets. The room we will be using is on the ground floor.  There is ample free car parking right outside – and for lunch (not included in the course price) there is a good pub just up the road – or you can bring a packed lunch if you prefer. 


Beginners' photography courses in Tansley Village Hall, Derbyshire. Photo © Chris JamesThese workshops are a mixture of classroom-based teaching and practice outdoors (so they are not as dependant on the weather as many other courses). We will have a computer and large monitor set up in the room, which will also allow us to review the photos you take straight away. The courses involve very little walking, as the Hall is right next to the village green where we can practise outdoors – and open countryside is just a short walk away.

Tansley is conveniently situated near Matlock for people coming from Derbyshire, Sheffield, Manchester or Nottinghamshire. You can see the location of the Village Hall and get directions on Google here.

Please contact us to request a booking form, or if you need any further information.

For more experienced photographers, we also run a regular series of intermediate level landscape photography courses at various locations in the Derbyshire Peak District and Sheffield areas.