Imagine how it would feel to have complete control over your photos. To have the skills to look at a scene, subject or location and know exactly what you need to do with respect to light, exposure, settings and composition – to recreate the vision that is in your head?
When Sara Sparrey joined our Advanced Course, she was already shooting in manual mode, having self taught. But she had no idea about light and composition, let alone creative exposures, colour theory, or deep level compositional skills (just a snippet of what we teach on the Advanced Course).
She was frustrated and increasingly putting her camera away for months on end.
At CLG that’s what we call “ready for the next steps”… which is to take your foundational skills and build on them, so that you can take photos using dynamic light with visually striking compositions and overal wow factor. On purpose.
So I wanted to share with you what those next steps look like, and the things that I know make all the difference, after having taught thousands of women photography:
Step #1 is to go deeper on your technical mastery. Knowing not just how to use your equipment, but to advance your understanding of lighting scenarios, and the intricacies of exposure will increase your confidence and allow you to capture exactly what you envision.
Step #2 is to expand your creativity. Stepping outside your comfort zone to explore and shoot in styles that you may never consider, but will arm you with the skill sets and know-how to evoke mood, feeling and strength of purpose in your images.
Step #3 is to receive expert critique and feedback on your work. You can’t see what you can’t see… and having someone identify the strengths and weaknesses in your imagery is invaluable so you can take the steps to improve and strengthen in your work.
And when it’s laid out like that, it sounds so easy right? Which is exactly why I’ve created our Advanced Photography Course… to walk you through each of these steps in detail and with support.
Sara joined the Advanced Course with a desire to get more creative control, and today I’m delighted to introduce you to her and show off her gorgeous images… proof that she took away from the course everything she set out to learn, and so much more!
Hi I’m Sara! I am a mum to two beautiful children, a lawyer and now thanks to CLG I can proudly say that I am a photographer as well!
My main goal when I joined the Advanced course was to learn enough to feel confident to take photos, in particular of my children, that reflected the vision I was creating in my mind. I also wanted to find a balance between my corporate job and my creative side which had been neglected for way too long.
Before I joined the CLG Advanced Photography Course I had self-taught myself to use my camera in manual mode. But when it came to composition and lighting, I was just playing a guessing game.
I found myself constantly frustrated and deterred when taking photos because they just did not match my vision and were far from the standard of the images I was seeing elsewhere.
For the most part I would get my camera out on the odd occasion, snap a few photos and then away it would go away for another month… two months… or longer.
I then came across the amazing Claire Eastman (a CLG graduate) and booked her to take family photographs for us after my son was born. It was through following Claire that I came across CLG. Her work inspired me and I decided it was time to get back in touch with my inner creative and finally do something to properly learn how to capture those moments I always aspired to capture.
The advanced exposure and advanced light lessons were game changers for me!
Through the advanced exposure module I learned how to correctly meter to create images that matched my preferred style, which then allowed me to find some consistency in my photos. Hooray!
The light module introduced me to various creative lighting techniques and before I knew it I was noticing beautiful light everywhere!
I began to learn how to read light and use it effectively to maximise visual impact in my images. Finally the vision was coming together!
Before the Advanced Course I would focus on the subject’s face and ensure that my exposure was ‘correct’ and then just take the shot. I didn’t know to expose for the highlights and I had no idea how to expose to suit a style – dark and moody vs light and airy.
I also really didn’t consider composition – where my subject was within the frame, what other elements were in the surroundings which could assist in a stronger frame, or how to ensure I led the viewer’s eye to my subject. Most of my shots consisted of the subject being in the centre of the image and directly facing the light source. They were generally flat, and nothing like than the dark and moody style that I tend to gravitate towards.
So my biggest takeaway from the Advanced Course was to slow down and learn to consider all the elements before reaching for that shutter button – reading the light, multiple layers of composition, positioning, perspective, framing, colour theory and beyond!
I had absolutely no expectations save for wanting to confidently use my camera for personal use.
Fast forward and I now have my own photography business, which never have happened if I did not take the plunge and enrol in the Advanced Course.
Since graduating from the Advanced Course I’ve done four of their Creative Workshops. I love learning with CLG because the courses and workshops are designed specifically with busy women in mind – they’re structured in a way that make them attainable to complete despite being busy working and caring for my two young children.
The instructors have a wealth of knowledge to share and provide critiquing along the way so that you not only read the material, but get to practise and tweak what you’ve learned as you go through each module.
Also, the community… AMAZING! I went into the Advanced Course expecting to complete the modules and then go off and continue to do my own thing.
Well, almost a year after I first enrolled in the Advanced Course I find myself still hanging around, engaging with and being inspired by the other talented grads and having met so many beautiful people along the way.
I am forever grateful to CLG for creating a platform for so many supportive, encouraging people to come together and share a love of photography with one another!
If anyone is considering enrolling in the advanced course I say treat your inner creative, you wont regret it!
The traditional before and after! Check out Sara’s set… her photo taken before she learned with CLG is cute, but it’s a little cluttered in the background which distracts from the subject. The light is a touch too bright, and the framing is unbalanced. In a nutshell it’s not what Sara envisioned for this portrait. Fast forward to her gorgeous shot taken after the course and subtle and mindful changes make a stunningly professional portrait. Amazing transformation huh?!
WATCH MY CHAT LIVE WITH SARAH HERE:
A big thank you to Sara for taking time out from your busy schedule to share your story and photos! If you want to see more of Sara’s work, you can find her here.
If you’re already shooting in manual mode, 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. Our next course is starting soon… join our wait list to get an email when we go on sale!