Frequently asked questions

Is it for me?

If you feel put off by large groups or just prefer private tuition, then my One to One days are for you; and best of all, they are run at the weekend to fit it with the working week.  What's most important about these days is that location and conditions do not matter, it's the information that you will take away with you that counts. Locations can be chosen by me if you don't have anywhere in mind but if you have a location that lies close to your heart, then we can meet there too. One to One days can be nature and or landscape orientated and will focus on you going forward with a better understanding of photography, composition and all the technicalities.


Do I need lots of equipment?

I am more than happy to work with any level of photographer, from raw beginners with just a camera and a single lens, to photographers with a full complement of equipment. To get the most a workshop or a one to one, an SLR is recommended! I have additional tripods that can be borrowed if you don't have one and also a spare set of Lee filters and filter rings for those wishing to improve their landscape photography skills. For nature photography, please bear in mind that most British mammals and birds require the use of a long lens to photograph them and not having one will limit your opportunities. In this instance, there is a variety of other natural history subjects we can work with. 


What personal items will I need on the day?

I recommend you bring wellingtons (whatever the weather), but the rest is down to what you feel most comfortable in. Basically, you should dress yourself as if you would for a day in the hills, but be mindful that there may be long periods of standing around. Hand and foot warmers have been used with great relief on many workshops to date. Food and drinks are also advisable as we are not always near to a shop when you might need one.


What do I get for my fee?

You will get full tuition whether be it in a group or one to one. I will advise on your results in the field and how to correct many common mistakes. The way I like to work is in the first instance, allow you to find and compose the image without my help, take the image and then have that process reviewed afterwards. This is a great way to learn! You are free to email me your pictures afterwards for a thourough appraisal at your efforts. Free transport throughout the day is offered but unfortunately I do not provide transport to the event, unless you are located along my route to the site. A free lunch is offered on all full day one to one workshops. 


I am a beginner, what will we cover?

That depends upon the workshop type. In all cases we will unravel the mysteries of aperture values, shutter speeds, ISO rating and file formats. For landscape specifically you will learn how to use filters, identify the best spot for any given location, how to use different lighting conditions, working with the rule of thirds, knowing how to break the rule, finding good foreground interest, selecting the focusing point, maximising depth of field, lens choice and much more. For nature workshops, there will be all the above to consider but also the nature photographers code of conduct, which not only covers the subject but also the habitat too, whether licenses are required, acceptable disturbance levels and learn when to pack up and leave a subject in peace. In the first instance, I will ask you to provide me with some samples of your work via email so that I can appraise your level. Coming from an ecological background I am able to help you develop your natural history field and identification skills too.


Is the day planned in advance?

To a point yes, although it's best to remain as flexible as possible and let the weather conditions on each day dictate what we do.


What is the group size?

With the exception of one to one days the maximum group size is six and beyond group sizes of four we will car share


Will we be making use of the best light?

To get the most from any given workshop and your money,  we will work through the whole day when the light is not always at its best. You need to keep in mind that the workshop is about learning robust technique, which will allow you to take good photographs consistently. If the light looks promising at the end of the day, we can make a decision on whether to stay and enjoy the fruits of our labour or go home. I am flexible in this respect.


Will Simon be taking photographs during the workshop or on one to one days?

I never assume that I will be taking pictures, but I will have all my camera and lenses with me as familiarity with my own equipment can best demonstrate what can be achieved. In the past clients have wanted me to shoot with them, as they like to see my approach, but it's up to you. Whichever you prefer, you will always come first and you will never need to ask for help.