Gift ideas from Gemma Griffiths Photography

Looking for some great gift ideas this Christmas? Don't want to waste your hard earned cash on trinkets, socks and scarves? Well, I've got some great ideas for Christmas gifts this year that will warm hearts and bring a smile to everyone's face!

Family Photo Session Gift Vouchers

First up, we've got the ultimate in thoughtfulness  - what could be better than gifting someone the opportunity to capture the love in their family? I have family photo shoot gift vouchers available that include a 1-2 hour location photo shoot in South Wales as well as a 10"x8" print and matching digital image. All for only £149!!!

Christmas gift voucherYou can order gift vouchers directly through my website and I'll pop the voucher in the post to you (or deliver if you're local) in a gorgeous little sparkly gift bag for you to wrap and pop under the tree. There's also the chance to add print credit vouchers to the session as well if you'd like to offer them the chance to buy extra prints or products.

Beginners Photography Training

Next up is a very special offering - the gift of learning. We all know someone who loves photography, they might have a DSLR camera but don't feel very confident with using it. Well, I've got the perfect solution. I've got two Beginners Photography Workshops coming up in 2019 - 19th January and 2nd February. The workshops are for adults who want to learn more about photography and how to use their DSLR. The groups are small and so there's plenty of opportunity for learning both theory and undertaking practical work during the session.

There's also the chance to book one to one sessions too! If you think a private session would be more beneficial, then you can book hourly sessions for bespoke training, tailored to the individuals needs. Book a one hour slot for some quick intensive learning or book two hours to include plenty of practical work.

So, that's Christmas sorted then! If you have any questions about the gift vouchers, please drop me a line and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Happy shopping!

Gem x


Lighting tips for parents!

Now that the weather is finally starting to improve, it's time to get out and about with your cameras! I've been offering beginners photography training in workshops and on a one to one basis for a few years now and I thought it would be helpful to write a blog post about light, with some helpful examples, using a very gorgeous model (yes, he's mine). Please excuse his facial expressions, I'm not sure what he was doing. The main aim of this blog post is to explain about the different types of outdoor light and most importantly, noticing the direction it is coming from and the effect this can have on your image.

Yesterday evening, it was lovely and sunny in the garden, so I knew I could get some great examples, of what to do and what NOT to do, when you're out and about.

The pictures below are what's known in photography circles as SOOC (straight out of camera). This means that I haven't edited them or changed anything at all. I've left them this way so that we can look at the light in the images and not worry about anything else.

First of all, I've taken a picture of my garden (please excuse the not very glamourous fuel tank in the background). I've taken this picture to show you that, outside, on a sunny day, you can see two types of light. Direct sunlight and open shade. If it's a sunny day, then you'll be able to see patches of open shade and patches of sunlight on the ground. In the photo, you can see that part of the garden is in direct sun and part is in shade (as the sun was setting behind the house). It's useful to notice these different types of light, you'll see why in a moment.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail standing in a garden

So, first of all, I'm going to put my subject in the bright sunshine. You might think this is a good idea, because it's a sunny day and it's nice and light. However, as soon as you do this, you'll notice a problem. First of all, your subject will start squinting and possibly crying and start to cover their eyes. See exhibit A (I didn't tell him to do that, it's just what happens!):

Photo of a boy with hands on his face

Next, after you've shouted at your subject, you can try and get them to look at you, if only for a few seconds. The problem with this, is that they'll be squinting and there will be some very harsh shadows on their face, eye sockets and under their chin.

Photo of a boy with a ponytailI then decided to save my son's eyesight and place him in the patch of open shade, just a few inches to his right. In this light, he can look at the camera and there's no harsh lines or contrast on his face. Better already!

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

So, open shade looks like a better bet in these conditions for getting a properly exposed image without causing pain and squinting to our subjects. It's a win win. When you're out with the kids and want to take a picture of them together or on their own. Have a look around to see if you can see some patches of open shade. They could be right next to where you're standing, so it could be just a case of asking them to move over a little bit, so that you can take a picture without harsh shadows.

Now, anyone that's been on one of my courses will have been introduced to the exposure compensation button - the little plus/minus square you can see on the back of your camera. I love seeing the reaction of students when they use this for the first time, because it can make such a difference to your images. If you've no idea what I'm talking about, maybe it's time you signed up for some beginners training? Below you can see an example of the same image, but I've used the exposure compensation control to over expose the image (make it brighter). I may have overdone it a little bit, but you get the idea. He's still standing in the same place, in the same light, but I've upped the exposure a little to make the image brighter.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

Next, I asked him to stand with the sun hitting him from the side. As you can see, this is total no no. One side of his face is too bright and the other side of his face is dark. There's lots of shadows and the whole image looks terrible. Please bear in mind, that although it's very easy to see the problem looking at this image, when you're out with the kids and there's lots of distractions, it's very easy to overlook this sort of thing and snap away, only to realise what you've done later on. Side light can be very harsh and something you should look out for.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

What do you do if there is no open shade? Sometimes, you might be in the middle of a field or on the beach and there's no open shade available. You don't want the sun shining directly into your subjects eyes. You don't want the sun hitting them from the side, so what else can you do? You can put the sun BEHIND your subject. I'm not saying this is going to be a breeze, as there's problems associated with doing this, but sometimes you'll have no choice. The problems for you will be that the sun is now shining directly in YOUR face and consequently down your lens - this can cause something called lens flare (little blobs of light that go across your image) and can also cause your images to look a little 'hazy'. It all depends on where the sun is in the sky - the lower the better - as it will be less harsh. Here's an example of my son with the sun behind him (not sure why he's pulling that face). All in all, not too bad, there's some very light patches around his hair but I can see his face properly.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

When using backlight, sometimes your subject can look a little dark and the background too light (especially if it's the sky) so I've over exposed this image a little bit, to show you the difference it can make. The light parts of the image have gone lighter (his hair is now very bright) but his face is also lighter.

Photo of a boy with a ponytail

To conclude, it is really important to start to notice the light, particularly what direction it's coming from. Even on a cloudy day, the direction of the sunlight will make a difference to your images. Photographers love a nice soft light, which happens first thing in the morning (I'm talking sunrise here) or as the sun is setting. At these times, known as Golden Hour, the light is softer and shadows less harsh. For parents with little ones, golden hour is probably not the best time of day at all for taking photos, so it's handy to know some quick tips about using open shade and backlight instead. There's lots more to learn about light of course but I thought this little taster lesson might come in handy!

I'd love to see some examples of your images - why not share on my Facebook page. Have you taken a great backlit image, or can you show an example of terrible side light, that you didn't notice at the time?

Want to learn more about photography? I offer a selection of workshops for adults and teenagers as well as one to one training. See my training pages for more information.

 


Beginner Photography Workshops in the Vale of Glamorgan

"Thoroughly enjoyable and informative camera workshop. Feel like I've learnt a lot." Kirsten

"I now know so much about my camera and things to think about when taking photos. Thank you so much, very enjoyable" Jill

"Pitched just right and had fun. Learnt a lot and feel much more confident." Rachel

"Thank you Gemma, feel much more positive about using my precious camera. Excellent." Menna

Wow! What a busy weekend! On Saturday I held my Young Photographers Workshop with a bunch of very enthusiastic teenagers. They were up trees, down slides, hanging over walls and crawling around on the floor to get the perfect shot. I've had such a lot of interest from teenagers than I'm now offering an intermediate workshop for those that want to learn more technical skills. Keep your eyes peeled on my Training pages and Facebook page for more information on dates.

Then it was the turn of the adults and I held a fab Beginners Photography Workshop at my house in Colwinston. The weather was against us, but we didn't let it stop us and managed to practise all our technical skills in my conservatory instead of getting soaked. No chance of a group photo with this group though due to the downpour the minute we stepped outside! There was a fabulous group dynamic and I absolutely loved watching everyone helping each other and discussing all things photography. There were plenty of light bulb moments too - I love seeing the reaction from participants when they see the results they can get from taking control of their cameras.

There was some interest in learning some basic Photoshop skills, so I'll be offering some small (max 2 people) sessions to help people get going with Photoshop. Keep your eyes peeled on my website and social media platforms for more info. Also, don't forget that you can sign up to my newsletter to keep in touch and find out about my latest offers, competitions, workshops and pop up mini sessions. You can sign up by going to my homepage - scroll down to the bottom and pop your email address in the sign up box.

In the meantime, here's some budding photographers in action in and around Colwinston....

Gem x

Girl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkBoy taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkboy taking a photo in a park ColwinstonPhotography workshop CowbridgeGirl taking a photo in a parkBoy taking a photo in a park ColwinstonGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkGirl taking a photo in a parkYoung Photographers Workshop with Gemma Griffiths Photography Group PhotoMan taking photo on photography training courseWoman taking photo on photography training courseWoman taking photo on photography training courseWoman taking photo on photography training course


Photography training course for teenagers!

“Thanks! The experience was really enjoyable. I learnt everything I wanted to and more.” Paige

“Absolutely would recommend this workshop to friend. Enjoyed the experience, learned a lot.” Evan

“Was fun to talk to people who like photography.”

“It’s amazing, I enjoyed it." Lily

“I really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.” Millie

Another fabulous Young Photographers Workshop last weekend! The Young Photographers Workshop is photography training course for teenagers. I've been running the workshops for a year now and I love all the energy and creativity from the kids. It's really refreshing and a real eye opener to see what they are interested in and how they like to capture images.

We start off at my house in Colwinston and we discuss light and composition and then have a little quiz (any excuse to open the chocolates!).

Then we go out exploring. We go out as a group and take a walk down towards the village hall and park area. There's plenty of chances for them to photograph all the things we've discussed on the way there and then they all get tasks to complete to help them understand how to see the extraordinary in every day life.

The rapport in the group was wonderful, with everyone sharing the images that they've taken and encouraging each other.

I'll be holding one more Young Photographers Workshop before I get really busy with Spring photo shoots. It's going to be on Saturday 3rd March and there's only 3 places left! If you'd like to book a place, you can do so directly through my website.

Here's a few pictures from the workshop on Saturday.


Beginners Photography Workshop January 2018

Beginners Photography Workshop January 2018

I held my first workshop of the year in Colwinston yesterday. It was great to meet everyone and get stuck into the nuts and bolts of photography.  I had some great feedback from everyone and inspite of the freezing cold weather I think it was a great success! I was so excited that I forgot to take many photos, so there's only a few to share with you!

It was great to see everyone getting to grips with their cameras. I love seeing the results of the practical sessions - there was so much creativity in the composition tasks, lots of great ideas. I love seeing what everyone comes up with and think it's great that we can share that creativity together in a group setting.

The workshop is 4 hours long and includes two practical sessions to practise what has been learnt. We covered the technical aspects of photography, including aperture and shutter speed as well as looking at light and composition.

Here's what the participants had to say about their experience:

"Brilliant course, venue great, looking forward to going away and putting the skills learned into practise." Natalie

"Explained everything well and all the content was relevant." Rhian

"Excellent starter. Good friendly and encouraging atmosphere to give confidence." Janet

"Very enjoyable 4 hours, thank you." Kim

"Substance of the course was spot on." David

If you're interested in joining me for the next Beginners Photography Workshop in March, you can book a place directly through the website. I also offer a workshop for teenagers. It is a little shorter with less emphasis on the technical aspects and focusses more on the creative side of photography. The February workshop is sold out but there are still places available on the March workshop. You can book a place on the Young Photographers Workshop directly through my website.

Beginners Photography Workshop January 2018Beginners Photography Workshop January 2018Beginners Photography Workshop January 2018Beginners Photography Workshop January 2018Beginners Photography Workshop January 2018