Beginners' Workshop, 18-20th March 2016

14th January 2016

Progression can be a slow thing. When change happens gradually it's easy not to notice it, like how people age or your car gets dirtier. When you're around all day every day the small differences don't show themselves, but the sum of those changes after enough time can be huge when you suddenly remember how things were at your previous point of reference. I've never felt like a particularly good photographer. I sometimes still feel like the bumbling 15 year old carelessly sticking a finger in the corner of half his disposable camera frames. Photography has grown enormously in the past ten years, and I can't say I've kept up to speed with the trends. The advances in technology make it seem like an arms race at times, and to equip yourself with the knowledge of all there is to know is all but impossible. But I've certainly progressed. In the past three years especially, I've started thinking about what I'm doing rather than just firing away blindly, and I have photographs now that I'd never have imagined making when I first started picking up cameras.

So though the changes have been gradual, I'm getting there, and have started to notice them more, especially when friends ask me for tips. I take what I know for granted. Still believing myself to be a total novice, I assume people who aren't as involved in photography as me know as much as I do. But they don't! At least not all of them. Until somebody teaches you or you pick it up through trial and error or from an article, you don't learn these things. And there are plenty of relatively simple, easily learned ideas that can make a big difference to the images you make. A friend of mine recently asked if maybe I should try offering workshops. I'd thought about it before but dismissed it with the view that I didn't know enough myself to be able to offer much to others. But I have more to give than I originally realised, and if I knew what I know now when I started out then I'd have made a much better job of photographing some of the things I've seen in the past.

Ergo, I'm planning on running a beginners' photography workshop on the Dingle Peninsula from the 18-20th of March this year. The details are below.

Who is the course for?

If you're into the great outdoors and have just recently become interested in photography but aren't quite sure what you're doing yet then this workshop is for you. I will explain the fundamental ideas behind composition and exposure, and teach you how best to use your camera to get the images you want. We will aim to be outside as much as possible, using the cameras to learn rather than talking theory all the time. This hands-on approach is the best way to learn about photography and will take us to some spectacular locations in one of the most beautiful corners of Ireland. I will ask what things you'd like to learn from the course beforehand, and address these as best as possible throughout the weekend. With a maximum of only three participants I will be able to give time to everybody.

Where is it on?

The course will be based near Ballyferriter, a few miles west of Dingle. The scenery in this part of the world is some of the most spectacular in Ireland, making the area a landscape photographer's dream location. The mixed weather conditions make for ever-interesting light, and the range of locations available will leave us in no shortage of places to explore.


We will aim to spend as much time outdoors as possible, focusing mainly on landscape photography. While the weather may dictate a lot of where we can go and what we can do, there are plenty of options I know of that will keep us entertained. Although there are many classic scenes from the Dingle Peninsula, I hope to bring you to some lesser-known locations that will give us the opportunity to make images that few others have made before. If time and interest allows I will talk about some other types of photography like wildlife, night sky and adventure sports.

Friday 18th
As it will more than likely be dark by the time everybody arrives we'll start the workshop with an indoor session, going through some basic theory, equipment checks and plans for the weekend ahead.

Saturday 19th
- Morning: get up early (when it's still dark!) and, depending on the weather, head for a location for a sunrise shoot. The conditions will dictate how long we're out for, but once everybody is happy we're done we will come back to the house for breakfast.
- Afternoon: after breakfast we'll discuss how the morning went and depending on the weather (again) will spend a bit of time going through the images we've made, before heading back outside to work the cameras til dark.
- Evening: dinner in Dingle, followed by a review of the day's images. I will spend a bit of time talking about post-production to get you familiar with what's capable with editing, a good knowledge of which will dictate how you shoot certain scenes.

Sunday 20th
- Morning: as for the previous day, in a different location.
- Afternoon: once breakfast is done we will spend a bit of time reviewing the whole weekend and hopefully get more time outside before people have to head home for the evening.

The main topics I will focus on are:
- Composition: how best to frame what you want to photograph.
- Exposure: how your camera copes with differences in light and what you can do to control it.
- Basic Camera Controls: learning about Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance and Metering and why you need to know about them.
- Planning: how to make it so that you're there in the right place at the right time as much as possible.
- Introduction to editing: post-production allows you to have the maximum control over the images you make and a basic knowledge of it is essential in the digital age.
- Equipment: how the gear you have influences what you can do.

Accommodation & Food

I can sleep all three participants in their own private rooms at my house outside Ballyferriter. It may not be a five star hotel but it's dry and warm and has plenty of room. Breakfast and a packed lunch will be provided on Saturday and Sunday. Dinner is not included in the price. Pickup from Dingle can be arranged for those without their own transport.

What you need to bring

- An SLR camera with at least one lens
- At least one memory card and battery and charger
- Tripod
- Walking boots (wellingtons will do) for rough, wet ground
- Rain gear, warm clothes and a backpack for carrying your gear
- A reasonable level of fitness (for walking to and from locations off the beaten track)
- A sense of humour (you might need it to survive the weather!)

- Filters (polarising/neutral density)
- Remote shutter release cable
- Lens cloth
- Spare memory cards and batteries
- Laptop

If you are using a Canon SLR I have some lenses I can lend during the weekend, as well as spare batteries and cards.


The cost for the weekend is €250, including breakfast and lunch, accommodation, transport and tuition. If you would like to arrange alternative accommodation then get in touch to discuss the price.

The workshop will be fun and informal. It's quite possible (and far more desirable) to have a good time with photography, rather than stressing about it and taking things too seriously. Don't worry about not knowing enough or not having the right gear. The easiest way to learn is when your subject is enjoyable, and that's the main priority with this workshop.

If you have any questions or you're interested in booking a place you can get in touch by using the contact page.


Photo comment By Mark Eldred: hi rich an excellent 3 days will be had by those lucky enough to get on your course.
Photo comment By Louis Xavier: Hi, can you inform me if you conduct another course between April 15th-Aug-15th this year. I will be out of the country during your given dates.
Photo comment By Alan Cronin: Hi Rich, I wish you all the best. That's great news and I hope its a great success. To anyone reading I can assure you will have a great time with Richard as he is a brilliant photographer who has a real passion for the outdoors. Would love to join up but im afraid I am too busy.Ps I love the new images particularly the one from (Ferriters Cove I think) and the black and white which looks like it was taken from Mount Brandon. Enjoy everybody.
Photo comment By Sharon Mowat: This 3 day course sounds absolutely amazing. I am really into the outdoors and having climbed many mountains and walked numerous beaches l love and appreciate the beauty around me and try to capture it as best l can.l find myself over the last year growing more found of capturing photos and would love to gain more knowledge in photography. Your course sounds exactly what l am looking for, direction in what to do, camera to use starting off etc. I do not possess a camera at present but capture photos with my phone. Unfortunately only seen your post now regarding this course. Are you doing more similar like courses throughout the year by any chance. Kerry is my favourite place for photos it's hidden beauty at times is truly magical. The Maharees, Blasket Islands and Slea Head Been some of my favourites. Kind regards Sharon.

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