Frequently Asked Questions | For beginners learning photography in Galway

Q: What is the difference between the 4 hour private one 2 one lesson & the full day workshop?

A: The content is the same for both, i.e. the same topics are covered in each as well as the same hands on demos & tutorials. The difference is that the group workshops (limited to 4 attendees) is extended to 7 hours so I can ensure ample one 2 one time with each attendee. The private photography lessons are one 2 one and as such we can focus on your specific camera and tailor the lesson around the areas you are most interested in. In general, some people are more comfortable in a group settings & others like the idea of being on their own for a one 2 one lesson. Attendees will leave with the same level of knowledge irrespective of the course option they chosen.  

Q: I do now own a camera yet, do I need one to prior to attending one of your photography courses?

A: No, certainly not. Quite often people are interested in learning photography but are unsure of the best/most value for money camera to start out with. In those cases, I encourage people to attend one of my courses before buying any camera equipment, that way I can guide & advise people on the most suitable camera & lens option for beginners as well as provide details on where to buy them. Like any consumer, we're looking for value for money when buying equipment and quite often that can mean buying online or from bigger stores where the best value is available. I do have a spare camera that can be used at my photography courses so people can get a feel for a DSLR camera and it's controls before investing in their own. I also have a Fuji XT1 mirrorless camera for those looking learn about mirrorless cameras. 

Where to buy DSLR cameras in Galway

That being said, some people also like the idea of having their own camera before attending so they can practice on their own camera during the courses, in that case I often chat with the person prior to the course and provide details on camera models & lenses and where to buy them, if they do not already own a camera. As this can often be quite confusing for first time DSLR camera buyers, I've added a page on my website which provides an overview of buying a camera as well as lens options. This page is available in the learning centre menu item.

Q: I'm a total beginner, I only ever use the auto camera mode, will I be suitable to attend one of your photography courses?

A:Yes, 99% of my course attendees are complete beginners. I've designed the course content in such a way that the topics flow & build upon each other to take you from a beginner level to a confident shooter. I've been teaching photography for a number of years & over that time, I've refined the course content and structure to make it easy for beginners to follow. The course is pure photography & camera related, there is no time wasted with topics that can be learnt elsewhere, for example, you won't learn how to copy images from the memory card to your computer, nor will you learn about the history of photography, instead we jump right into the core topics of photography & camera usage so that by the end of your lesson, you have a solid level of practical knowledge acquired, ready to go off and practice with. 

Typical Camera Problems for Beginners

Q: What type of camera do I need to attend the workshop?

A: Camera function remains pretty much the same across all camera types, as in the same principles of photography applies to all cameras, even the camera in your smartphone operates pretty much the same way as a DSLR camera in terms of the photo taking process. The majority of attendees have DSLR cameras but I also teach attendees with mirrorless cameras and bridge cameras. What cameras model you own is irrelevant to me and part of the course includes a quick explanation of the difference between camera types, i.e. DSLR vs mirrorless etc. Certainly some cameras are better than others in terms of the features they offer but the core elements of what I teach is applicable to any camera type/model.

Learn how to use your camera correctly in Galway

Q: I've read that you teach a "3 buttons does all" shooting method, can you explain what that is? 

A: My course is designed to simplify camera usage. The most common thing i hear at my photography lessons is "I knew how I wanted my photo to look, but I just was not sure of what settings to use". Another words, people quite often tell me that they wish to take creative photos, not just point the camera in auto mode and press the button, but they are unsure of what camera mode to use or what the other settings on their camera are used for. The "3 buttons does all" method means that any type of photo can be taken whether it be a portrait or landscape, indoors or outdoors etc. by just using 3 buttons on your camera. This is not just my method; this is a generally accepted way to use your camera recommended by the majority of professional photographers. In essence, 99% of the time, I only use a single camera mode, ignoring all the rest, this means I have less buttons to worry about when shooting. This means less time is spend wondering about which settings to use, and more time spend taking creative photos. So with only 3 buttons to worry about for the majority of the time, you can focus on learning to take great pictures, not spend time messing with settings. But of course, I will explain what all the major camera settings do and why you may need to use them, but the essence of the course is to make things simple for you and to show you the proper way to use your camera from the get go. 

Learning Portrait Photography photo of a girl with good lighting

Q: Do you hand out notes so that I can refer to them after the course?

A: Yes, each attendee receives a full printed set of all content covered in the course to take away. During the course we refer to these hand-outs but do not spend time reading them; rather we spend time practicing & getting hands on. The content is very detailed & one of the follow up exercises for you to do after the course it to read through the course content which is a good way to refresh your knowledge.

Q: What can I do after the photography course to continue to learn?

A: With photography, you are always learning, myself included. After the workshop/private lesson, you will recieve a follow up email from me with the following:

  • A list of free online resources where you can continue to learn & get ideas for photos & practicing 
  • A list (with links) to any specific camera/lenses that we discussed that you might like to buy
  • A list of typical inexpensive camera accessories that you may find useful 
  • A list of practice exercises 

Q: Do I have the option to come back to you after the workshop/lesson to do an advanced photography lesson?

A: Yes you could BUT you won't need to! Even though my courses are designed for beginners, we take certain topics right up to advanced levels. For example, the "Focusing" topic, once I show you the proper focusing technique so that you can pinpoint the focus of your subject within any part of the frame, (picture) then all you'll need to do is practice it, there won't be anything more advanced to learn. Taking the "Depth of Field" topic as another example, (Depth of Field refers to how much of an image is in focus and how to control your backgrounds/foregrounds blurry or sharp elements) we'll cover the 4 elements that control depth of field, you'll see and understand how to produce blurry backgrounds for portraits or how to have all of your landscape images sharp and in focus. Once you understand the 4 elements, that's it, there is nothing more I can teach you on depth of field, we'll have covered the whole topic. So certain topics go into quite a bit of detail, right up to advanced levels, but without making them difficult to understand. When you have someting demonstrated to you and you get hands on to try it yourself, you'll be supprised how fast you will learn. 

Topics what would require an advanced course would be using speedlite flashes & photo editing but I've not had any requests for those courses from beginners to date.

Learn Portrait Photography in Ireland

Q: How do your workshops / private lessons differ from other photography courses?

A: My courses get you up to speed quickly in a single day due to the hands on nature of the courses and more importantly, the small groups of attendees are limited to 4 people. The small grouping is key to a sucessfull learning experience. Surprisingly, I often have attendees at my workshops who have already attended other photography courses, but the varied expierence of the group and large numbers in each group left some attendees failing behind. In my workshops, we also have time for one 2 one tuition and I bring the group along at the same pace. 


Attendee feedback from a workshop

Participated in a day course workshop from 10:30-17:30 which actually went to 18:30 so that Gerard could accommodate our specific questions - excellent value for money. Fantastic course that balances the theoretical with the practical elements using our own camera gear. Covered all elements of photography leaving the day with all the information I need to take the best possible photographs. Gerard provided plenty of opportunities for questions which were always answered. I have attended other courses with other photographers but none were delivered this effectively or successfully. 5/5 star recommendation.

Rob Eyres - November 2014 Workshop | Review via google +


Contact Gerard via email at gerard@gerardconneelyphotography.com or phone 0872295675 to arrange a booking.  Book Photography Course in Galway

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