Viking picture perfect photography masterclass with Elouisa Georgiou

photography workshop \ props \ festive table

I'm always looking to improve my photography skills, so when I was invited along to a photography masterclass at Dirty Martini in Birmingham I was chuffed to bits! The event was in association with Viking and expert photographer Elouisa Georgiou.

photography workshop \ props \ christmas crackers

Our photography studio for the night (the bar upstairs) was set out beautifully, with three tables laid for a Christmas party. We learnt very quickly they were our props, not for a three course meal!!

photography \ props \ christmas tree \ festive table

We were greeted with a Bellini cocktail and a name sticker, let's face it, it's always good to put a 'real' name to a face rather than just a blog name! Elouisa then kicked off the masterclass by explaining how the evening would run and told us there would be a prize for the best photograph. The prize was a printer, no less. The competition was on. 

Before splitting us into small groups, Elouisa talked us through camera settings, emphasising how important it is to get out of 'auto' mode and shoot in manual. To be fair, I do always shoot in manual anyway, it's often a bit hit and miss though, so it was good to hear all the tips and tricks. I'm a real perfectionist so getting THE shot takes me forever sometimes :) 

Elouisa talked to us about using lighting, bounce boards, and prisms for special effects, something I'd never considered before. 

photography workshop \ Elouisa Georgiou \ camera tips

We were a small group of four and took it in turns, with two positioning the boards and lighting whilst the other two got the shot. We practised our flatlays and tried using different angles and composition, to think outside the box basically. 

You can see how different lighting changes the effect in the next two shots. 

photography workshop \ props \ table decorations

photography workshop \ festive table \ crackers \ candles

My team was made up of Sarah [Sarah Cale], Fay [Hey, it's Fay] and Lizzie [Hello Lizzie Bee]. They are such lovely ladies so go check out their blogs.

And here they are with their game faces on..............ooh, the concentration!

photography workshop \ lighting

Elouisa talked us through the key elements to getting a great photo.

Three key elements

Shutter speed - This is how fast the shutter captures your image. To stop motion, you need a higher shutter speed number, to capture motion you need to shoot at a lower shutter speed, this will often create a motion blur. So, a faster/higher shutter speed means less light is being let into the camera so your image may be darker. 

ISO - The lower the ISO, the less sensitive your camera is to the light, the higher the ISO the more sensitive it is. For clear and less grainy photos with as much detail as possible you should always shoot at the lowest ISO possible. 

Aperture - This is what you may know as the f-stop. The f-stop controls the depth of field, i.e the amount of the subject that will be in focus in the background of your image. A low f-stop gives the background a softer focus (blur) and a higher f-stop means more of the background will be in focus.

You need to balance all three to get a clear image.

festive table \ wine glasses \ props

The lovely people at Dirty Martini provided us with more Christmassy cocktails [just look how pretty and photogenic they are] and some utterly delicious light bites. 

Red berry cocktail

espresso martini cocktail

As the evening came to a close, quite rapidly, because time just ran away with us all, we printed off our chosen photo for the competition and Elouisa picked her winner. 

My entry is below. Look what happens when you throw a prism into the mix!! Left is my pic without any props, although I still got the reflection of the unusual ceiling lights in the glass edge, but then my pic on the right is totally transformed by using a prism held in front of the lens. It's changed the colour of the womans face and also the background. I much prefer the second image. 

competition entry shot by Priceless Life of Mine

I didn't win though. It was won by Rachel from Little Blonde blog, and very well deserved too. 

All the photos in this post were taken by me on the night with my Olympus Pen (link here) and the room was dimly lit so I'm pleased with how they turned out to be honest. I impressed myself. 

I do love taking photos and there are a few things I took away from the event - Lighting is key [something I need to invest in asap] especially with the darker nights, use props to enhance, always better to under-expose rather than over-expose, and although there are rules around shutter speed, ISO etc, there are no real rules when it comes to composition, play around with the items in shot and you may just love what you create. 

I loved the event, so thank you Viking and Elouisa, I'll be putting my new skills into practice, because practice makes perfect!!!!

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