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Hands on a Nikon Course

When Photographers Resource started it was the newsletter of Camera Images. Later it split away to become a separate operation.

Camera Images was the main training provider for advanced users and professionals using Nikon cameras.

With the recession the cost of selling courses exceeded the revenue they produced so Camera Images decided not to take on new clients, but to still provide training to it's existing customer base.

The courses mentioned in the articles below are no longer available unless you are an existing client of Camera Images.

The Hands on a Nikon training day is by far the most popular training day that Camera Images provide. Like all Camera Images training its one to one.  Being provided for the individual on this basis, while the basics of the day is the same, it varies greatly from one person to another.

As the top specialist one to one training company in the world, for users of Nikon DSLR cameras, clients come from many countries, some spend just a day while some make the most of their trip spending a number of days doing a number of courses together. Nearly all of these people start with the Hands on a Nikon day. Most of these people are professional, would be professional photographers, or senior executives or others with specific interests.

Clients from within the UK likewise usually select this day as the first to spend with Camera Images, be they a raw beginner with the camera still in the box, someone with some experience, a person with more experience moving perhaps from film, right up to top professional photographers.

A Thrush

So how come one course, you may ask, could suite so many people.

While you could not do this with a group course, with one to one we can meet the requirements of a vast array of people because they have different levels of knowledge and at the same time different expectations and needs. They are in effect travelling along the same road, but undertaking different sections at different speeds, and gaining different experiences. The beginner needs to spend far longer going over the basics, but has fewer questions on overcoming difficulties they have already experienced. The highly experienced can go over the basics very fast, but has a large number of questions as to how to overcome problems already experienced. People also have deferent interests, some more interested in family photos, some landscape and some wildlife, and while the Hands on a Nikon day is not a course developed to any one of these, the tutor can choose examples and show applications that is relevant when illustrating techniques and options.

The tutors have highly detailed outlines, specific to each camera, so they know the ground they are trying to cover, and the course material that is essential as well as peripheral information more relevant to some than others. This allows them to go off topic to answer your questions and in some cases take a topic out of turn, while at the same time being able to get back to the core elements and cover the entire ground. They know where they should have reached at several times throughout the day, and can where necessary drop peripheral information to get back on target. However more days than not, do overrun, and if you need to get away at a set time you should let the tutor know, and they can then prune detail harder where necessary to complete on time while still answering your questions and making sure you understand the ground covered. In many ways it's far more important that you understand what is covered fully than you cover peripheral general interest items that you are unlikely to use.

Lets look at a typical day, of course they all vary slightly, but most have a similar pattern.

When you book you provide a small amount of information, this allows the tutor to know the camera being covered, usually the principle areas of interest that you have and possibly a bit more bedsides. Before you arrive the tutor will have got ready and got out quite a lot of equipment. More will be out than you will use, but its easier to have it available in case questions come up than have to keep going off to find additional items.

When you arrive you sit down with the tutor, who introduces themselves and tells you a brief history of their photographic experience, before looking at what experience you have to date, the equipment you have and your major areas of interest.  At this point they will also discover other factors like if you are shooting in Raw or Jpg and specific items that you want to cover.

Moving into the training room, the basics of digital photography are covered, going over the ground as fast as possible while making sure that you understand everything fully. They have a range of nearly complete A4 flip charts, and these are drawn upon as you progress, to illustrate all the ground covered. Other ring binders, photographs and items are used to show other information and a camera is handled, with you looking through a wide range of lenses from extremely wide angle to very long telephotos and then macro lenses and a macro with tubes on.

The basic areas of photography we cover starts with the simple pinhole camera, moving on to cameras, covering depth of field, Hyperfocal distance, f numbers on lenses and what the numbers actually mean, formats, crop factors, circle of confusion. We take another look at depth of field now considering many variables and looking at depth of field tables, lenses, lens lengths, looking through many, vibration reduction,  perspective, exposure, stops, EV, and EV tables, exposure metering methods and how to set exposures without an exposure meter, why we select specific apertures, speed and ISO, photographing moving items and when to stop motion, various ways to photograph water, panoramas and more. Along the way we also see lenses, 90 degree viewfinder attachments, close up lenses, tubes and bellows, and sometimes far more.

A Single Red Rose

Next we run around the camera looking in turn at every control, and what we can do with each, including combinations, what these settings are, how they show up, the effects they have and when we would use them. We look at each mode the camera will run in and why we would use each, at varying exposure and flash and the two in combination, at entering, exposure, focus, and all the options in each case. We look at settings on lenses, and how flash is set up using the internal flash and an add on flash unit, we look briefly at the full range of flash options including the SB800, SB600, SB200 and the R1C1 macro flash kit. We also look at the SU800 commander, the commander on the SB800 and the in camera commander if you camera has one. We also look at other attachments that may be relevant to you, which might include tripods, stabilisers, monopods, filters, grads in two sizes, flash leads, and much more.  We take a good look at colour, the concepts of colour management to get quality out of your printer, white balance setting Pre in several ways, grey and other targets and more.

We take a look at the commonly used Nikon software, ViewNX and Nikon transfer and have a quick overview look at Capture NX, and may discuss briefly Photoshop Elements and CS3, and the differences between these and these and Capture NX. We may also take a quick look at other software if it is particularly relevant to you.

Usually we also go through all the menu settings on the camera, looking at what each do and when it would be used, as well as looking at what general settings we might use.

Throughout the day we are talking throughout about applications, handling cameras, and accessories, and you are asking as many questions as you like as we go, you will be amazed at just how much we can cover in a day and at a level where you understand it all. Because its done practically as well as theoretically, you actually change camera settings and look at when they might be used, where necessary looking at photographs and other illustrations, and we demonstrate software, and the creative lighting system, it will all make perfect sense.

In most cases we also look at dust, how to know if its present, how to remove it and other solutions.

If you are a professional photographer or someone with a lot of experience, you will know probably over half of the initial material covered, and run through this at a very fast rate, but probably have questions outside the central area covered, all of which will be answered, It may be that you have a particular interest, there is no limit to what you can raise, and ultimately the only limit is that eventually we will run out of time. Our priority however is always to answer the questions that you have and solve your needs, even if it means we need to crop other material that we thought you might find interesting.

Interesting items outside the core above will vary from person to person, we may look at printing in more detail, at 3D photography, at copying art or other images, at coping with the need for extra depth of field in macro photography, or a vast number of other areas.

Damselfly Mating

We have never had anyone who has not been able to understand the information or been happy when they have left here. We have had people who have spent several days on other courses and felt they did not understand it, and then with a day with us have been completely confident. We have had very elderly people who feared it might be beyond them who have understood it all.

We offer a variety of day lengths, most select the Gold day that is 7 hours long, this is just about ideal if we overrun by an hour its not too long yet it has the potential to allow you to work at a reasonable rate. With shorter days we can achieve it, by trimming bits out. Quite often we drop the look through the menus as this is something that you can get by reading the manual having done the rest first. It is of course preferable if we can go through it, even if quickly as it allows you to clarify things as we go. A small number select a longer day either just to make it less rushed but more often because that have already a long list of questions they want to ask.

Photographers we have trained have gone to every corner of this planet, to both the arctic and Antarctic, on a wide range of safaris and wildlife experience trips and many who use photography in some way within their work. Many of these we have seen again coming back to learn editing or take on new areas of photography, all have produced exhibition quality work after spending just that first day with us on the Hands on a Nikon day.

Beyond the Hands on a Nikon day, we have much more to offer, again all one to one, allowing you to make very rapid progress. We have a lot of course suggestions but you can also make up your own day or combination day.

Having done this day you are not on your own, if you have a question you can call us or email us.

In addition as you will appreciate we have developed this photographers resource, that includes a weekly newsletter and more, that has short articles empowering you to take on more or reminding you of some ground covered as well as a diary of events to photograph, locations and a vast amount of reference material. Originally we had an occasional post out newsletter, then a monthly one. This website however is unique, if you combine this with training, you will find that you can develop your photography skills to be within the worlds top 1% of photographers.


Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire

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By: Keith Park Section: Training Key:
Page Ref: HNK Topic: Camera Images Training  Last Updated: 03/2010

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