Rejoice with Joyce

1 Year on!

It's almost a year ago to the day that Joyce walked into my introductory photography made easy class in Meriden.  Since Sep 3rd 2013 Joyce has completed the 5 week beginners, course, had Lightroom tuition, completed the Portraits Course, attended several location workshops and has been on the monthly mentoring program since Oct 2013.

Joyce on her first location workshop - Nov 2013 at 6am in cold water at Grasmere. In at the deep end!

Joyce on her first location workshop - Nov 2013 at 6am in cold water at Grasmere. In at the deep end!

Joyce is no different to many of the people who attend my classes.  Full of aspiration and desire to improve her photography skills.

However, Joyce has shown that special ingredient in life - to improve and show perseverance and determination.  The investment she has made to progress with her photography (purely as a hobby) as resulted in significant photographic improvement and understanding.

I had the pleasure of Joyce's company this week on a 1-2-1 tuition lesson and we discussed the transition and progression of her skills and eye but also what makes some people achieve their ambitions in life.


Joyce started her photographic journey with me 1 year ago, like many, her objectives were to capture and create the images she saw in her head and heart but couldn't quite get in camera.

She took the "wise" decision, though some may save brave :),  to attend the beginners course and like so many who attend this initial course, she tried hard to put forward work based on her new knowledge for me to critique and point out where things didn't quite work - in her own words she "loved the fact that I was always honest with her".

Joyce's early images that she presented to me, were in all honesty, fairly typical in standard of many of the beginner's I teach - good ideas and often a real sense of seeing something worth photographing but lacking in the technical and composition skills to really execute the shot as well as they would have liked.

Joyce continued her journey of learning and understanding by quickly going on a location workshop and then joining the monthly photographic mentoring program I run.  Naturally it took a little bit of time and perseverance before Joyce started to execute more consistent results.  In fact I chuckled with her this week that when she actually followed assignment briefs rather than doing her own thing she showed great potential!  For instance her Minimalist images were the best landscapes shots that I had seen from Joyce but in no way minimalist.

Joyce's image from recent coastal trip

Joyce's image from recent coastal trip

Joyce's progression over the last year has been a real pleasure for me to be part of - she will be the first to tell you that she isn't there yet but I have seen a remarkable improvement in 12 months in every aspect of what she does when it comes to creating images.

  • Not just seeing images but feeling the potential opportunities
  • Simplifying her compositions and introducing a narrative and clearer intention
  • Executing the camera to maximise the technical aspects of capturing the best quality data
  • Enhancing and processing images with an understanding and sensitivity to the subject
  • Importantly enjoying new challenges and exploring the many facets of photography

I am really proud of her, the progression and dedication to keep improving images is a shining example to any beginner about what is possible if you keep at it, practice and make time for something that brings so much pleasure and satisfaction, despite the days of frustration too!

Joyce is about to start the next chapter of her photography journey by being on my Intermediates course - she will design a project and work on creating a portfolio of images that encapsulate her perspective and vision photographically.  I am looking forward to seeing this next chapter of her work and the proud day that she exhibits it publicly in an exhibition on a Leamington high street.

What we did on our 1-2-1 session

Joyce just wanted a field trip to try out some techniques and of course try and capture some great images in the process.  We opted for a sunrise start at the sunflower fields and despite some very mixed weather and light had a great time having our souls filled with these amazing smiley flowers!

Joyce working close up

Joyce working close up

Joyce pondering the composition

Joyce pondering the composition

The light was slow to arrive and eventually burst through the clouds shortly after 7am to make flat looking images come to life with energy and happiness.

pre-sunrise

pre-sunrise

the sun finally breaks through and kisses the sunflowers

the sun finally breaks through and kisses the sunflowers

After spending some time discussing many aspects of composition, light and of course the state of the world we moved into the meadow to work on close ups and Joyce enjoyed the opportunity to use the fish eye lens to get some whacky-ness out of her system.

Joyce's shot with the fish eye lens

Joyce's shot with the fish eye lens

my equivalent using a standard lens - i prefer Joyce's!

my equivalent using a standard lens - i prefer Joyce's!

Joyce's new tripod!

Joyce's new tripod!

When I mentioned to Joyce a few months back that she needed a tripod that would give her extra reach and perspective I wasn't expecting her to turn up with this!

We went on from here to Chesterton (naturally) and Joyce was keen to try some different types of shots focusing more on angles and close ups rather than the usual landscape vista type shots.

Chesterton Windmill

Chesterton Windmill

Our final location was Charlecote Park and other than tea and cake we enjoyed some time discussing the merits and practicalities of using ND filters. See separate blog for tips 

Charlecote weir with the Little Stopper ND filter

Charlecote weir with the Little Stopper ND filter

I started this post by saying that Joyce is no different to many of my students - that isn't quite true because she has invested time and money in tuition for the last year with me.  I don't take any credit for the dramatic improvement in her shots or the consistency she now shows with the quality of execution, sensitivity of processing and understanding of her subject.  These things are down to her because she puts in the work and commitment to her hobby.  It's a great success in my view and a testament to her and the pleasure she gets from creating images.

Thank you Joyce for your patience, determination, custom and for being a bundle of laughs the whole time - looking forward to our Lake District trip and helping you create a portfolio for exhibition in December.