Have you mastered your camera in manual mode? Congratulations… it’s incredibly freeing isn’t it?!
But can you take a good photo in all kinds of light? Or do you avoid certain light situations? I’m talking about those darker corners of your home, full sun, midday sun, strong backlight, hard light… the list goes on.
If that sounds familiar, you can learn the skills to confidently shoot anywhere, any time. To know instinctively the settings you need and where to place your subject to make the most of any kind of light and get the kind of photo you envision. Not to mention how to shoot in more creative light… think golden hour, dramatic directional light, dark and moody…
Claire Roads is a CLG Grad who knows exactly how you feel! She took our Enthusiast Course, and she could take a good photo of her kids… as long as they agreed to sit in a very specific spot in her house where she had good, safe, easy light most of the time. But she wanted more freedom to shoot anywhere and still get beautiful images. And that’s where the Advanced Course came in…
Hi I’m Claire! I’m from the UK where I live with my husband and two cheeky children aged 9 and 5. I work part-time in Local Government and now thanks to Click Love Grow I’m proud to say that I am also the owner of a photography business Claire Roads Photography, which I launched in September 2020.
I stumbled across Click Love Grow completely by accident back in 2019. I had tried over the years to learn how to use my DSLR ‘properly’ but after countless google searches, YouTube tutorials and even a face-to-face beginner’s course, I just never quite got it.
I loved the way the course was structured and taught, I loved the instructors, I loved the community and the friends I made through the group. It was everything I had been looking for.
I switched my camera to manual mode in week 2 and never looked back.
And I thought that was that. By the time the course had finished I had finally learned how to use my camera which is exactly what I had set out to do.
But there was something missing.
I was feeling more confident with my camera. I was getting to grips with the settings and what I needed to do to achieve a well-focussed and properly exposed image, and I could take a good photo. But I could only do that if the lighting conditions were perfect. I had one particular spot in my house which had safe, even light. If I wanted to take a photo, I would ask the kids to sit or stand right in that spot. But if the action was happening anywhere else in the house (or the light was less than perfect) I would reach for my phone instead.
I knew the Advanced Photography Course was the next logical step.
I have to admit that I was on the fence for a long time and didn’t sign up straight away. It was a big investment, and whilst I had fallen in love with photography, it was just a hobby. And (at that stage) I wasn’t planning to do anything more with it. I wasn’t sure I could justify spending that money on myself.
I also felt a bit intimidated… I had seen images in the Grads Group from ladies who had taken the Advanced Course and they were AMAZING. I honestly didn’t think I would *ever* be able to get to that level – I was worried that I would spend money on something which would leave me feeling out of my depth and a little inadequate.
But… I also really wanted to give it a go. Finding CLG had ignited something in me that I didn’t even know was there. I loved being a Mum but I finally had something for myself.
I had found something I was passionate about and had something to think about other than the kids or work. I also realised that I hadn’t spent any money on myself in years, and I needed to give myself permission to do that without feeling guilty.
So I signed up.
For me personally, the Advanced Lighting lesson was a complete game changer. This was the moment I really started to get it.
The Advanced Lighting lesson covered so much – hard light, backlighting, silhouettes, finding pockets of light – I learned what I needed to do to deal with all types of light and how to use light to add depth and creativity to my images.
I suddenly realised that I was ‘seeing’ light everywhere. Whilst I had always ruled out most of my home thinking it was too dark, I was now looking at it through fresh eyes and seeing opportunities in the unlikeliest of places.
I had never thought of myself as a particularly creative person, so I wasn’t expecting to take magazine worthy photographs – I just wanted the skills and confidence to take photographs in ALL types of light. My feed was full of gorgeous golden sun-kissed images (which I was always very jealous of!) but that was not my reality. Most of the year I didn’t have the safe, even light I was relying on, so I really just wanted to be able to embrace the Great British weather and not be phased by it.
This course completely changed my photography and the type of photographs I am now able to create. I can now confidently go into any situation and instinctively know how to set my camera depending on the light – whether that’s inside on a grey day or outside on a rare sunny one.
Rather than forcing my kids over to the *same* wall in the *same* room of the house, I am able to document their childhood stories wherever they are taking place and use the light to tell that story in a more creative way. It has allowed me to turn our everyday, ordinary moments into something much more special.
As with all of the CLG courses I have taken, the ladies studying alongside me were just amazing. I loved that we were all at different stages of our photography journey and that we all wanted different things from the course.
I also loved that some of us were taking photos of our families, some were interested in landscapes and others focussed on food – it did not matter what your subject was, the concepts and lessons could be applied to all genres of photography.
I also got a lot out of the course Facebook group. I loved looking through the albums to see how others had interpreted each lesson. It was always so interesting to see how we would all practice and apply each concept in a different way.
As an added (mind-blowing!) extra, what started as a desire to take better photos of my kids has turned into so much more when I launched my own family and newborn photography business in September 2020.
It was something that had been in the back of my mind for a while (too long!), and during the Advanced Course I started to believe I might actually be able to do it. During one of the calls Lou told us that it is often our own fear that holds us back – fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of what people will think of us – and I realised that was exactly what was happening.
I decided that I would never know what I could achieve unless I tried. I put on my big girl pants and put myself out there. It was the best thing I have ever done. The past year has been
amazing. I have discovered a passion I didn’t realise I had, found something for myself which I didn’t know I needed and the fact that I get to capture memories for other families as well as my
own makes my heart happy.
I knew as soon as I started the course that I was going to love it. Just like the Enthusiast Course, the lessons were well explained and easy to follow. They were meaty in terms of their content but with 2 weeks to digest and practice I never felt out of my depth or rushed.
Everything I had worried about in terms of feeling intimidated or out of my depth was so far from how I actually felt. I never once felt embarrassed to post an image or ask a question – everyone was so positive and encouraging.
The fact that the instructors would give such detailed feedback was so helpful, and there was no limit on the number of images I could submit. I could try something, get detailed, constructive feedback from the instructors and then try again.
I would always take the time to look through everyone else’s feedback as well as my own to learn even more. It really was so amazing to see how far we had all come by the end of the course. I still love to see the other students’ names popping up on my feed or in the CLG emails and am so proud of all the beautiful things they are creating.
If you want to learn how to use your camera in all types of light, at all times of the year… if you know you can take a ‘good’ picture but still feel like something is missing… if you know you really want to do this but feel guilty about spending money on yourself…. PLEASE DO IT.
The Advanced Course really was the best investment I could have made for both myself and my photography. It sounds such a cliché, but I really wouldn’t be where I am today without having taken this course, it has literally changed my life and I’ll be eternally grateful for that.
We think a before and after set of images is a fantastic way to highlight the growth in our students’ photography… check out Claire’s amazing B&A!
Much gratitude to Claire for taking the time to share your experience with us and your gorgeous images! If you want to see more of Claire’s work you can find her over here.
If you’re shooting in manual mode and ready to elevate your skills, on our Advanced Photography Course you will learn to shoot with confidence in any scenario, and push yourself creatively to find and develop your style through intensive 1:1 critique on your work. Head here to get more info and reserve your seat!