A level/GCSE


My Top Photography Gifts of 2018

Photography is a multi-genre course which you can study at GCSE, A Level and at University. Studying photography can be a brilliant start for students who want to work in the industry, either editorial photography, landscape, portrait and even fashion. 

During your course, you will study a syllabus that will expand your knowledge from the history of photography to how modern day photographers are influenced by art.

Why Did I Choose to Study Photography?

When it came to choosing my college courses I needed a subject that was creative.  Photography is a skill you can use for life and is highly profitable. Like many photographers, myself included, sell our work online and in local shops.

Holding up a photograph - Tips for Studying Photography

There is much more to photography then just taking photos. You’ll be analysing images and artists until you find your own style.

So here are a few tips that helped me through my Photography A Level:-

1. Take your Time to Research

If you haven’t realised it already, you’ll need to study many artists and photographers. From early painters who used camera obscure to modern day photographers who use Photoshop.

Therefore don’t just pick the first photographer you find on Google, take your time and use our 50+ Photographers to study article.

2. The Best Camera is the one you have on you

There is a common feeling amongst photographers when we miss the perfect shot only to dwell on the fact we didn’t have our DSLR camera with us. I have definitely felt like this many times. The premise behind the saying ‘The Best Camera is the one you have on you’ is true even if it is a smartphone.

Honestly, you don’t need the most expensive camera to take the best photos. Plus owning the most expensive camera in your class doesn’t automatically make you top of the class.

Just remember the main types of compositional rules and if you have the best type of light, you may have a competition winning image.

Improvise and use whatever camera you have. Why not print out your images then sketch over them. Be creative!

3. Visit Galleries

To stand out amongst your classmates, visit your local galleries or photography exhibitions. This can be a thought-provoking way to inspire your next photography shoot. Find a gallery that you have an interest in, perhaps visit with a friend. Have discussions and find ways how the photographer can inspire your own work.

Sketch, or if you’re allowed, take photographs of the exhibits and then write your thoughts and analyse their work. This will surely get you bonus marks if done correctly.

Photography Gallery - Tips for Studying Photography

4. Use Keywords

There are many terms and expressions in photography and understanding them can make a big difference when writing your coursework.

Before you write up your coursework make a list of keywords relating to the task. For example, aperture, camera obscura, double exposure and exposure compensation. Then once you’ve included them in your writing tick them off and aim to use as many as you can. This will show the exam invigilator you have a good understanding of the subject.

5. Listen to Your Teachers

This may sound like an obvious tip, however, it surprised me how many students never listened to their teachers. If your teacher mentions you should study a photographer, or even change your style, make sure you take their advice on board.

Keep in mind your teachers are the ones who mark your work, so if they recommend an artist or critique your work, even if you disagree with them, listen!

6. Be Prepared

There are many types of exams you may sit. When I sat my exam, we had two days, which included researching a photographer, creating our own portfolio and then producing our own digital sketchbook. There’s a lot of work to do and being prepared before you go into the classroom can help a great deal. So creating a checklist can really help.

Here’s an example of my to-do list:

–         Charge camera

–         Empty memory cards

–         Have a list of possible photographers

–         Figure out what equipment is needed, then clean it

Arrive early and have all your gear set up and ready, there’s nothing worse than starting your exam without a memory card.

Photography equipment - Tips for Studying Photography

7. Use your Classmates

When you’re a professional photographer, finding help for when you’re on a shoot can be difficult, plus you will most likely have to pay them. However, if you’re studying photography you need to remember everyone is in the same situation. This is a very good advantage of being in a classroom as everyone will work for free, plus if you’re on someone else’s shoot it may spark an idea for yourself.

If you’re into portraiture photography you may struggle to find a model, using your classmates is one way to combat this problem.

To summarise, when it comes to your exam make sure you are prepared and get into the creative mindset. Plus, understanding that owning the most expensive camera isn’t going to lose you marks. Visit as many galleries as you can and most importantly, be different! Being original is the only way you’re going to stand out amongst everyone else.

7 tips for studying photography


Thank you for reading this article, if you have any other ideas please leave a comment down below and I’ll add them to the list!

If you’re studying photography I highly recommend you check out these ebooks and posts.

Thanks again and if you enjoyed reading it please share and even pin it to your Pinterest wall!




Some of these links are affiliates which means I make a small percentage if you use my link.

Traditionally contact sheets were used as a way to show proofs of your work to your clients. It was also used a reference, showing each photograph with a name/number so the photographer knows which image the clients would like you to produce.

Now a day’s photographers and wedding photographers use contact sheets, with the file name being the image caption, as a reference tool. Instead of the photographer proofing over the images.

A contact sheet can be created within Photoshop or Windows.

Contact Sheet

Photoshop Contact Sheet:

Start by making a folder of the images that you want to be included within the contact sheet.

Now open Adobe Photoshop and press File > Automate > Contact sheet II.

Contact Sheet


Now press choose and select the folder which houses your images.

Select the pixel/cm width and height you would like and make sure you select how many thumbnails you would like in the columns and rows. I tend to have 4 columns and 5 rows.

Now Press okay.

It may take a while to render all the images but once Photoshop has produced the contact sheet you can save the contact sheets by pressing File > Save and saving them as a JPEG or whichever file you prefer.

Contact Sheet

Windows Contact Sheet:

Now this method equally as easy (if not easier) and only requires the picture folder within Windows. However, you cannot control how many thumbnails you would like along the columns and rows as this is pre-set to 5 columns and 7 rows.

To start with highlight the images by holding down the shift button, then right click on one of the images and press the print button.

Contact Sheet

Next, scroll down on the left-hand side until you find the Contact Sheet (35) button.

Now select it and untick the ‘fit picture to frame’ box, unless you want all your images to be the same size.

Finally, under the printer section at the top, select the Microsoft Print to PDF button and then press print which will allow you to save it as a PDF.

contact Sheet

how to make a contact sheet

Thank you for reading this article, feel free to leave a comment below if you have any other ideas!

If you’re studying photography I highly recommend you check out these ebooks and articles:

 Thanks again and if you enjoyed reading it please share and even pin it to your Pinterest wall!



Some of these links are affiliates which means I make a small percentage if you use my link.

When you’re a beginner in photography, there can be many terms and expressions that you may have never heard of. Or you are writing a detailed piece of photography coursework and need those extra keywords to help with your marks.

These photography related keywords can help you improve your skills and is definitely vital in becoming a better photographer.

Feel free to come back once you have read this page, especially if you’re researching a photographic technique and need to find a definition.

So these are the 50+ photographic keywords every beginner photographer should know


Aperture: Simply it is the size of the opening of the lens. This can determine the exposure of an image and is measured in f-stops.

AE: Automatic Exposure.

Ambient light: Is the light that is already present in the scene you are shooting. It can also be known as ‘natural light’ and is commonly the name for the light.

Aperture Priority Mode: Also abbreviated to A or AV on your camera, Aperture Priority Mode is the setting on your camera that will control the f-number while the camera selects a shutter speed to match the light conditions. Therefore this is a semi-automatic mode and is a mode most photographers use.

Auto-Bracketing: Is the technique where the camera takes 3 or 5 images in a row all at different exposures. Also known as bracketing, it is what photographers use for their HDR images.

B&W: Black and white.

Bokeh: Is produced by blurring the background of an image and is popular in portraits as it forces you to focus on the subject.

BULB: Normally found in the Manual Mode setting. Bulb mode means the camera will keep taking an image until you tell it to stop, usually used for long exposures. This can be by holding your finger over the button or using a remote for your camera.

Burning: Decreases the exposure of an area within your photo. This technique is used within Photoshop and darkroom prints. It’s also the opposite of dodging where it increases the exposure of the selected areas.

Camera Angle: Is the specific location at which the camera is located so it can take the shot.

Camera Obscura: Is a technique where light from a scene outside is projected onto a wall or canvas. This then allows the artist to trace the image with a high amount of accuracy.

Camera Raw: Also known as RAW, is an image file that contains a minimal amount of processed data from the scene. Many photographers favour this image format over JPEG as it allows more control at the editing stage.

Cloning: Is a digital processing tool that allows you to copy part of an image to another part. This means you can remove part of an image that is unwanted.

Composition: Is the placement of relative subjects and elements within an image or scene to create a pleasing feel. 

Contact Sheet: Used primarily in film cameras, is a sheet of all the frames and is used as a proof print. However, it is now also used with digital images to showcase work to a client from the shoot.

Contrast: Is the difference between the light and dark areas within your images. High contrast means the blacks are darker and whites are brighter, vice versa.

Cropping: When you make an image smaller by removing the outer parts it is referred to as cropping.

Depth of Field: Abbreviated to DOF, is the distance between the closest and farthest subjects in a scene that look noticeably sharp in an image.

Double-Exposure: Superimposing two or more images on top of each other creating a unique image. 

DSLR: Digital Single-Lens Reflex

Exposure: Is the amount of light entering the camera’s sensor. Too much light and the image is overexposed and not enough light and it’s underexposed.

Exposure Compensation: Normally the +/- button on the camera and is where the photographer can control whether you want the image over or underexposed. This can help with sunsets or photographing snow where you want to underexpose and overexpose respectively.

f-Stop: Or f-number is the aperture size or aperture stop in a number that controls the size of the lens opening. Therefore controlling the amount of light entering the camera.

Feathering: A digital editing technique, blurring and smoothing out edges within the image.

Focal Point: Is a way to describe the main part of the image or a point of interest within the image.

Glass: Refers to a camera lens.

Golden Hour: The hour during sunrise and sunset where you get the best light for your image.

Graduated Filter: Normally known as a graduated neutral-density filter, it is a dark filter which is split halfway allowing the sky and ground to be exposed the same.

Histogram: Is a graph that shows the tonal values within the image, allowing the photographer to pick out which areas are too dark and too bright.

ISO: The sensitivity of a camera sensor is determined by the cameras ISO setting. Lower ISO settings are usually used for bright settings and higher ISO’s are used in darker surroundings.

JPEG: An image format (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and is the most common default setting for cameras and phones.

Macro: Photographing objects that are extremely small. Normally macro photographers would use a lens with a 1:1 ratio, which is the size of the subject on the sensor.

Midtone: Or middle tone, describes the middle tones between two colours. For example, grey is the midtone of black and white.

Monochrome: Is defined as an image that is made up of one hue or colour. Most black and white images are made up of black, white and grey.

ND: Neutral Density.

Panning: Moving the camera, usually on a tripod, with a long shutter speed to blur the background.

Rule of Thirds: A compositional technique where you place the main subject or horizon off from the centre. If you imagine a 3×3 grid placed over the image you can place the subjects on the intersecting points which create a more pleasing image. Check out this post for more compositional techniques.

Saturation: Can provide a colour boost to your image by allowing you to change selective colours within the image. Monochrome images are 100% desaturated as there is no colour.

Sharpening: Sharpening defines the edges within an image and can be used to correct the blur within the image.

Shutter Priority: Sometimes S or SV on your camera dial is the mode for which you can change the shutter speed, as the camera matches the correct aperture for the right exposure.

Shutter Speed: The length of time the camera shutter is open for, therefore controlling the amount of time light is entering the camera’s sensor. Long exposures use longer shutter speeds and sport/action photographers use quick shutter speeds to freeze the subject.

Telephoto Lens: Long lenses, typically used by wildlife and sports photographers.

Time Lapse Photography: Is a type of photography where a camera captures many images over a set amount of time, to create a video where time is moving faster.

Ultraviolet filter: Protects your camera lens from UV light and scratches.

Viewfinder: The photographer looks through the camera’s viewfinder to focus and frame the shot.

Vignetting: Is common in camera lenses and means the darkening of the image corners compared to the centre.

VR: Vibration Reduction, image stabilization technology used within lenses.

Warm Colours: Normally associated with sunsets and is the reds and yellows within the image.

Watermark: Is typically the photographer’s logo or name imprinted onto an image to protect the photographer’s image.

White Balance: (WB) is used to regulate colours to match the actual light in the scene from fluorescent lighting, sunlight and bulbs and takes into account the colour temperature within the image.

Wide-Angle Lens: The focal length of a lens which is classically smaller than a normal lens, it is normally used by landscape photographers to capture wide scenes.

photography definitions and keywords

Thank you for reading this article, feel free to print this out for your own use or as a glossary for photography terms you come across.

If you have any other ideas for keywords please leave them in the comments below and I’ll add them in the future.

Plus, if you’re studying photography I highly recommend you check out these ebooks and posts.

Thanks again and if you enjoyed reading it please share and even pin it to your Pinterest wall!

Some of these links are affiliates which means I make a small percentage if you use my link.

Is photography your passion? Or want to take better photos? Sometimes taking a course in photography is the way to go as it can teach you all the skills you need.

However if you’re already an established photographer sometimes it might be hard to decide if you need a qualification in it. Plus deciding whether or not you want to study photography at college or University can be a tough one. You need to decide which method best suits the way you can learn a new skill.

6 Reasons Why You Should Study Photography

To help you decide here are some reasons why you should maybe consider studying photography!

1. To Learn the Skills Used in the Industry

One of the main reasons people take up a photography course is for the contacts! Many photographers are self-employed and if you’re starting a business with no help it can be hard. So while you study make sure you network to help further your career.


2. Qualifications Help

Yes, quite a few established photographers are self-taught but loads of photographers have qualifications on their CV. Plus when applying for jobs some ask for qualifications as a requirement.


3. To Be Creative and add to Your Portfolio

Being on a course will force you to take images in a certain style, even if you’ve never attempted that style before. During most courses they will make you research a particular photographer to see how they take their images. You will then have to take your own images in their style, pushing you to create more!    


4. Earn Some Side Money

Some freelance photographers can earn between £20,000 to £30,000 a year! So learning becoming a photographer on the side may increase your income. There are many ways to make money as a photographer from Stock Photography to selling prints.

Not only that, but your teachers will understand the current ways people are making money through photography. Like starting up your own website or creating workshops in your local area.


5. Interaction with Other Photographers

One definite way to improve your photography is by meeting other like-minded people. Therefore if you join a photography class you’ll make friends and all help each other improve your skills.


6. Learning Different Styles

Meeting all these photographers and researching leading photographers can only help you find out which style of photography suits you. You might research photographers such as Martin Parr and find a passion for documentary photography!


However studying photography might not be a viable option for everyone. Cost definitely can come into play when learning photography as it’s an expensive hobby! Nevertheless if you have a passion for pursuing photography there are loads of great books and EBooks you should check out!

Thank you for reading this article, if you have any other ideas please leave a comment down below and I’ll add them to the list!

If you’re studying photography I highly recommend you check out these ebooks and articles:

Thanks again and if you enjoyed reading it please share and even pin it to your Pinterest wall!



Some of these links are affiliates which means I make a small percentage if you use my link.

Analysing images can help your photography massively as it will teach you the strategies and techniques other top photographers are using in their portfolios. Therefore understanding this important skill will allow you to expand your knowledge of how other photographers work.

These are some rules and ideas you can use to analyse other photographs.

Make sure you use some photographic keywords when analysing an image.



Close your eyes and then open them and make a note of where they look first. This is the focal point and where the viewer’s eyes draw into first.

Have any rules been used? Like the Rule of Thirds or the Golden Rule?

Is there anything singled out or is there more than one subject in the photo? What are the subjects?

Has the Photographer purposely used a technique to compose the image?

What are the main colours the photographer has used? Have they used colour to compose the subject?


What is the image of?

Where was it taken? Outside, Inside, underwater, in a studio?

Why was it taken? To document, personal work?

When was the image taken?



Where is the light coming from? Behind the camera, to the side or is it the camera pointing into it like a silhouette?

Is it natural light or has the photographer used flash?

Are there harsh shadows or soft light/shadows

Is the image over exposed or underexposed? What could this give the impression of?

What time of day was the image taken in? If it was taken outside is it sunrise, midday, sunset or at night?


Techniques the Photographer Used

Was it a quick shutter speed or a long exposure?

What aperture could the photographer have used, is it a high or low depth of field? What does this imply?

Have they purposely overexposed or underexposed the image?

Is the camera still or moving with the image?

Are there any other artists that could have inspired them?

Study the photographer’s history on their website and see who has inspired them and are they using the same techniques?



Could this be a digital photo or from a film camera? Therefore how could they have edited the image?

Have they printed the photo and then manually edited it by applying other elements to it?


Write your opinions on the image

Is the image successful? Why?

Do you like their work? Why?

Is the meaning clear? Why?



How to analyse a photograph Infographic

How to analyse a photograph

Thank you for reading this article, if you have any other ideas please leave a comment down below and I’ll add them to the list!

If you’re studying photography I highly recommend you check out these ebooks and articles:

Thanks again and if you enjoyed reading it please share and even pin it to your Pinterest wall!



Some of these links are affiliates which means I make a small percentage if you use my link.



My Top Photography Gifts of 2018

This is a list of photographers from a wide range of disciplines all achieving high standards in their craft.  Everyone who has a passion for taking great photos should try and study these world class photographers. Even if you’re a complete beginner, these artists will inspire you to further your photography knowledge. If you are looking for photographers to study slowly go through this list and pick the one that suits best. Comment below if you have any more suggestions to add to the list.

Landscape and Wildlife Photographers:

Ansel Adams:

Charlie Waite:

Antony Spencer:

Art Wolfe:

Andreas Gursky:

Lois Conner:

Michael Kenna:

Max Rive:

Kilian Schönberger:

Vincent Favre:

Lars van de Goor:

Ray Collins:


Fashion and Portrait Photographers:

Irving Penn:

Man Ray:

Philippe Halsman:

Anne Geddes:

Brian Duffy:

David Bailey:

Richard Avedon:

Patrick Demarchelier:

Annie Leibovitz:

Bill Cunningham:

Mario Testino:

Kait Robinson:

Diane Arbus:

Yousuf Karsh:

David LaChapelle:

Alfred Stieglitz:


Documentary and Photojournalism Photographers:

Mario Giacomelli:

Martin Parr:

Steve McCurry:

Dorothea Lange:

Elliott Erwitt:

William Eggleston:

Robert Doisneau:

Bill Brandt:

Christian Aslund:

Henri Cartier-Bresson:

Robert Capa:

Robert Frank:

Alfred Eisenstaedt:

Margaret Bourke-White:

W. Eugene Smith:

Paul Strand:

James Nachtwey:


Still Life and Motion Picture:

Edward Weston:

Timothy Hogan:

Bas Meeuws:

Vladimir Shipulin:

Linus Lohoff:

Eadweard Muybridge:

Thank you for reading this article, if you have any other ideas please leave a comment down below and I’ll add them to the list!

If you’re studying photography I highly recommend you check out these ebooks and articles:

Thanks again and if you enjoyed reading it please share and even pin it to your Pinterest wall!



Some of these links are affiliates which means I make a small percentage if you use my link.

Being creative in the world of photography is hard and in order to stand out you need to be unique. Forcing yourself to stick to a style of photography will compel you to make creative images.

Here is a list of various styles of photography which should get your creative ideas flowing. Why not combine some of the techniques in to one photograph!

1. Long Exposure Photography – Water

(Harvey woods –

While using a tripod in low light you can change the look of moving subjects, creating a very unique image. Water is perfect for this and can create a misty, moody image.

2. Long Exposure Photography – Lights/Light Trails

(Pexels –

Using a tripod and long exposure (between 10-30 seconds) you can turn moving cars into light trails. 


3. Long Exposure Photography – Star Trails

mountain Long Exposure
(Unsplash –

A much longer exposure of around 30 minutes you can track the movement of the stars within your scene. Focusing on different parts of the sky can create different effects, such as pinpointing the northern star can create a circle of stars rather then lines.


4. Long Exposure Photography – Zooming in

Long Exposure Car Wheel
(tookapic –

Shorter shutter speeds of around 1/3 sec, while zooming in/out with the camera lens, can produce very artistic images like the one above.


5. Long Exposure Photography – Panning Up

Long Exposure Forrest
Harvey Woods (

Moving the camera upwards while using an exposure of around ½ a second can create unique lines during the exposure. Make sure you use a tripod to keep the straight lines.


 6. Bokeh

bicycle BOKEH
(Pexels –

Selecting a large aperture can create a pleasing blurry background and is ideal for portraits.


7. Hold up Old Photos to Match them up with the Background

photograph on top of image
Harvey Woods (

Finding old and new photographs is a great way of telling a story by holding them up against a scene. Check out the website ‘’ for some amazing examples.


 8. Overlap Photos

Image on top of image
Harvey Woods (

If you photograph a scene but each image overlaps the other by a 1/4, once printed you can place them over the other to show a panoramic. 


9. Underwater Photography

(Stocksnap –

Using an underwater camera or waterproof housing you can create some fascinating images of wildlife underwater. There are various courses that can teach you the basics of underwater photography, which is recommended before you try it yourself.  

10. Use Shadows

shadows Dancing
(Loggawiggler –

Shadow art is very common amongst street photographers and can be very creative as not every image will be the same. 


11. Make A collage

Bear College
Harvey Woods (

 Capturing a series, of images of a moving subject, can tell a story if you print them as a college. 


12. Macro Photography

Macro Frog
Harvey Woods (

Macro photography is photographing objects that are extremely small. Normally macro photographers would use a lens with a 1:1 ratio, which is the size of the subject on the sensor.


13. Panorama

Old Rotting Boats
Harvey Woods (

Panoramas are perfect for those situations where the beautiful view won’t fully fit in your lens. This technique allows you to capture these scenes with a few photos and some editing.

14. Double Exposures

Double Exposure
(Rakazt –

Double exposures can be done in camera or post editing. Combining two images can make very creative silhouettes if done correctly.

15. Create Frames within an Image

Harvey woods (

Framing an image acts as a leading line towards the focal point and is a very clever way to compose your image.

 16. Street Photography

Streek Photograph
Harvey Woods (

if you’re patient and want a way to show of your surroundings, street photography is definitely for you. 

17. Film Noir

film noir
Harvey Woods (

Film Noir is topic photography students typically study, and can definitely be linked to street photography as it’s a way to add drama using dim lighting.  

18. Photograph in the rain

StockSnap (

Not one for the faint-hearted as capturing photos in the rain could possibly damage your gear. However if you’re willing to buy the correct equipment you can achieve very dramatic images.

19.  Weather Photography

Lightning Strike Photo
Harvey (

Similar to photographing in the rain, weather photography is very unpredictable and can be highly dangerous. However, this also means it’s very rewarding.

20. HDR

HDR photo
(Skitterphoto –

A technique popular with landscape photographers, is where you take 3 or more images with different exposures and then edit them together creating a balanced image.  

21. Time Lapse

Time lapse photo
Harvey (

Capturing a series of images, with a quick shutter speed, can show a story of how objects move (like above), or how clouds move across the sky.  

22. Black and White

Black and White Image
Harvey (

One of the most popular forms of photography and a technique some of the most famous photographers use themselves. Working in black and white will force you to think about your composition more carefully, and will therefore help you improve your skills.

23. Food

food photo
(Oldmermaid –

Images of colourful fruits and creatives coffee designs are all very popular and is a route many professional photographers go down. Just think about how many cookery books there are out there!

24. Sport

Bike Slow Motion Photo
(Unsplash –

This genre of photography is fairly self explanatory but like food photography it can also be big business! Sport photography is all about quick shutter speeds at the right moment and can take you to some extreme places around the world.

This collection of photography ideas will be ongoing as there are hundreds of photography ideas out there. If you have any yourself, or would like to submit your work to the board, feel free to drop us a message.20+ Photography Ideas

Thank you for reading this article, if you have any other ideas please leave a comment down below and I’ll add them to the list!

If you’re studying photography I highly recommend you check out these ebooks and articles:

Thanks again and if you enjoyed reading it please share and even pin it to your Pinterest wall!



Some of these links are affiliates which means I make a small percentage if you use my link.


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