Photography for beginners: stage 1

Course Dates: 04/11/19 - 09/12/19
Time: 14:00 - 17:00
Location: PS - Photography Studio

Always wondered what half the buttons on your camera actually do? Discover how to use them properly and produce impressive photographs, even as a complete beginner. Gain useful technical knowledge and get expert creative guidance in easy-to-understand language. An ideal first step before enrolling on our intermediate courses.

See what you could create – view a selection of work made on our photography courses



What is the course about?

Getting to know your camera and using it in a technically competent and visually interesting way, from knowing the right buttons to press, to composing a photograph creatively. Learn about shutter speed, aperture, photo composition, lighting, and indoor/outdoor work. An inspiring introduction to photography as a form of creative self-expression anyone can learn.

What previous students liked most about this course:
“I found Conrad [Blakemore] very patient and understanding. He always had time to look at all the individual cameras and help us as much as he could.”

“Very good tutor [Armelle Skatulski] who explained everything very clearly, was efficient, professional and dealt with course participants well. Content – very useful and well structured.”

“I am delighted with the course. Matthew [Ward] is a very patient, clear teacher and good facilitator and very responsive to individuals’ own styles.”

“Grant [Smith] was a helpful and supportive tutor – I really enjoyed being able to get out of the classroom and photography local surroundings.”

“The handouts. Tutor [Michael Harding] very approachable and patient.”


What will we cover?

The basic mechanics of photography, including but not limited to:
- choice of camera
- exposure and taking light readings
- shutter speed settings and movement
- apertures (f-stops) and depth of field
- composition and lighting
- creative approaches to photographing different subjects.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- produce photographs demonstrating some technical and theoretical understanding
- produce visually interesting photographs
- have a better understanding of the manual functions on your camera
- identify and use different sources of light i.e. daylight and artificial light.

What previous students have achieved on this course:
“A good understanding of photography including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance and exposure compensation.” RH

“I have achieved more than I expected! It’s been great fun, standard of teaching was very good indeed [Conrad Blakemore]. I feel like I want to start taking lots of pictures now.” SM

“Greater confidence in using semi-automatic and manual modes. Greater awareness of composition.” LS

“Gained good oversight of camera functions, composing strong and balanced images. How to use aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create pleasing effects.” PW

“Much more confidence to use DSLR camera. When to use M, S, A, ISO, white balance, exposure compensation. Enabled to create many more artistic images and variety. Exceeded expectations!” BS


What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You don't need any previous knowledge to join this course; it's for complete beginners or anyone needing a technical refresher. You will need to have manual functions on your camera (i.e. be able to change the aperture and shutter speed settings). Most students will have a digital SLR or bridge camera, but 35mm film cameras are equally welcome.
You should be able to follow simple written and verbal instructions, demonstrations, hand-outs and health and safety information, and will be invited to take part in group discussion. You should be happy using numbers and be able to do simple measurements and calculations.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

A mixture of lectures, demonstrations, practical exercises, discussions and project work, involving some individual tutoring and group work. You will receive and be invited to contribute to positive critical feedback on your own and each other's photographs.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

Please bring a working camera (either digital or film) which has manual settings for aperture and shutter speed. If you do not have a camera you will be supplied with a digital SLR for use in the class. If you are using a film camera you will need to pay for up to five rolls of film, together with processing and printing - you can use colour or black and white. (Please note we do not sell or process film at City Lit). The City Lit has a selection of tripods and lenses (Nikon and Canon) which may be used during the hours of the class.

If you would like to buy art materials for your personal use outside of the course, City Lit students receive 10% discount off everything* from Cass Art, the UK's leading art supplies retailer. Your tutor will advise you on what you should buy. You will need to show your enrolment receipt in-store to receive your discount. Visit the Charing Cross shop at 13 Charing Cross Road WC2H 0EP or find your local shop at *Terms and conditions apply, visit

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

If you've been inspired why not take the next step up to our 'Improving your photography' course, choose a specialism (people, landscape, performance, wildlife, close up, food, documentary etc) or enrol on the intensive 'City Lit photography' foundation course.


Customer Reviews 18 item(s)

Write a review

Reviews below are by students who have attended this course, regardless of the course teacher. Please be aware you may not be booking onto a course with the same teacher.

Great place to learn a new skill
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 08/10/2019)
A good introduction for beginners, and a good refresher for those who want to get more familiar with their cameras
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Review by Paul / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
Excellent start at getting to grips with the technical aspects of your camera.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
If you are a beginner and have no idea how to use your camera this is definitely for you. It has enabled me to take much better photos than I could when I depended on the auto settings and I feel ready to start an intermediate course.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
For a beginners course very good.
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Review by Simon / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
Go for it. If it’s what you want?
Why wait
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Review by Jason lincoln / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
I would highly recommend this course for beginners. You certainly get to learn about the features on your cameras and the teacher was great and very knowledgeable.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
Go for it. Enjoyable and rewarding
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Review by Satish / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
That it is very practical and relaxed.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
A great course if you are new to photography. Very informative and clearly explains from the basics of using your camera. The teacher is excellent and gives confidence to all students. Inspired me to sign up for a further photography course.
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Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
I would recommend the course to anyone who would like to learn camera skills. Very knowledgeable tutor who was able to share her passion for photography to her students
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Review by Anon / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
The tutor is both highly competent as a photographer and as a teacher- a good combination. Review by Anonymous / (Posted on 05/09/2019)
Really good course & brilliant tutor! Thanks! I enjoyed this course and learned a lot.
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Review by Denislava / (Posted on 17/10/2015)
A really great course for those wanting to learn the basics of how to use a camera, in a very nice setting. The tutor is great and other classmates were lovely. Would definitely recommend.
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Review by Kathryn / (Posted on 01/08/2015)
Excellent & Essential Course for anyone interested in Photography
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Review by R S / (Posted on 09/07/2015)
An excellent course! I learnt a lot more than I thought I would, I'd recommend this course to anyone wanting to gain confidence with their photography and learn more about the functions of the camera. The tutor was excellent and the activities really helped to practice what we had learnt.
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Review by Sam / (Posted on 09/07/2015)
This is a very good course for people who have a good camera but very little knowledge of how to use all its functionality
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Review by Laury / (Posted on 30/06/2015)
Very good course. Learned lots.
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Review by ab / (Posted on 13/04/2015)
Tutor Biographies
Armelle Skatulski

I am a fine art photographer and lecturer who has worked for leading arts institutions such as the Whitechapel Gallery (London), the Gallery of Photography (Dublin), the National College of Art & Design of Ireland, and more recently as a visiting lecturer at the Royal College of Art. I am committed to the Lifelong Learning sector through my work with organizations such as CityLit as well as through outreach projects. I am a graduate of the School of Media, Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland) and the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College (London). I am presently a PhD candidate at the Royal College of Art for which I was granted a TECHNE doctoral scholarship by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: VY897

Please choose a course date 

Mon, day, 04 Nov - 09 Dec '19

Duration: 6 sessions (over 6 weeks)

Full fee: £309.00
Senior fee: £309.00
Concession: £188.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

Download form & post

Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2700/2703

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.