Photography and digital image manipulation

Digital photography – developing creative vision with Benjamin Graham

Ref: SLW09516


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About this course

Learn to identify opportunities in light, subjects, patterns, tones and forms. Enhance your graphic awareness and grasp key compositional principles to stimulate your personal vision in photography. For DSLR users.

Course Description

Learn to see creatively by identifying the opportunities that light, subjects, patterns, tones and forms present to you as a photographer. This introductory course for DSLR camera users will raise your graphic awareness and encourage you to understand and fully exploit the essential compositional and lighting principles that will stimulate your personal vision and advance your portfolio.

In our technology dominated 21st century, we can all too easily become seduced into believing that without much forethought or input from us, our incredibly sophisticated digital imaging equipment will do all the hard work and produce photography competition winners for us. Whilst it is true that with recent advances in capture technology, producing well-focused, well-exposed images has become much easier (and understanding these technical matters is an essential part of photography) none of it is as crucial as being able to see creatively in the first place.

Creative vision is so much more than merely noticing a good view, identifying good light or spotting a good subject. Without a fundamental understanding of compositional principles, as well as knowing the advantages and limitations of your equipment and the images it can (or cannot) produce, these elements will not necessarily, effortlessly or routinely convert into successful photos.

Personal vision and the previsualisation abilities that accompany it are what make each of us unique as photographers. This course will encourage you to identify, enhance and refine these aspects of your skillset so you can consistently identify and produce compelling shots.

Part of seeing creatively is developing the expertise to combine all the best visual elements of a scene and mastering the skills to produce an effective graphic conversion from a three-dimensional view into a convincing and flattering two-dimensional final image.

The tutor aims to make best use of the weather and light conditions on this weekend, if the opportunity arises, and subject to group approval, we may make an early excursion out of the College to the coast, with a early start on Saturday morning (at pre-5am).

Throughout the course, you will strengthen and augment your photographs by learning how to:

•Recognise compositional structure

•Exploit rules of composition

•Use lines, forms and patterns

•Identify the right light

•Create visual balance

•Minimise distraction

•Generate positive tension

•Choose the right focal lengths

And by taking control of:



•Depth of Field

•Field of view

•Point of view

•Focal length

•Compression and expansion

•Inclusion and exclusion

Once mastered, seeing creatively becomes an instinctive, natural part of the way you routinely process visual information and mentally convert it into graphic opportunity. You will start seeing the world differently as you develop your personal vision; your photographer's eye will evolve and, as time passes, will become a continuous and mutable source of inspiration.

The course will combine demonstration, presentation and practical tasks on location with the use of Adobe image interpretation software in the digital photography studio, where we will apply apposite enhancements to the images that you acquire during the course.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please submit your current favourite image to your course tutor by emailing: at least two weeks before the course starts. Please ensure you include your name as well as your tutor's name, course title, and dates. These images will form part of a group discussion after dinner on the first day of the course.
  • Please bring:
  • Your DSLR camera, with clear memory card and lenses, together with any filters you may have
  • A tripod if you have one
  • Fresh batteries or charger and the camera to computer leads
  • Camera instruction manual (if available)
  • A notebook and pen
  • A USB memory stick/portable hard drive via which images can be transferred to your own computer at the end of the course or for saving work in progress. (Also available to buy at The College Shop, which opens daily from 8.30am-2pm.)
  • Outdoor clothing and walking boots/plus wellington boots- be prepared for reasonable walking
  • Please note: While you will be allocated a PC workstation some of the other equipment provided in the studio is shared amongst the group.

You need to be familiar with using a computer. A core understanding of Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom is preferable, but not essential. A note of your Adobe ID login, may be useful.

Student Reviews

"Quality of the course, its planning and execuition by Benjamin Graham, choice of locations"

Graham 2019

"Using new equipment, and being given the opportunity to experiment"

Joan 2019

"I am finding it difficult to isolate any one aspect of my experience at West Dean. The whole experience was great and very rewarding"

Anthony 2019


Benjamin Graham

Benjamin Graham is an internationally published landscape photographer with over thirty-five years' photography experience. He has been a category finalist several times in the Outdoor Photographer of the Year and, with a local image of West Wittering beach, was awarded the prestigious title of Overall Winner of the UK Landscape Photographer of the Year in 2017. 


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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