Being a person who writes for a living I’d like to think of myself as somewhat of a creative person but when it comes to taking great photos I’m a total dunce. I’ve always wanted to have incredible (or at least half decent) photos to pair with my writing but after a while I realised that struggling along on my own and reading up on the subject just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to do something practical and learn from someone who actually knows what they’re doing. Which is why, when I heard that Cape Town photographer Abigail K was running a blog photography workshop for everyone and anyone who wants to learn to take better photos without a fancy-pants camera I jumped at the chance to take part. I attended the one-day workshop and left the Abigail K Photography studio a much better photographer than when I arrived. Here’s how I learned to take better photos using nothing but my smartphone – you can follow my progress along with the photographs in this post.
Is this workshop for me?
So first things first, I feel like I need to stress that this photography workshop isn’t JUST for bloggers. I attended the course with 5 other ladies all of whom had a different reason for being there. From bloggers wanting to learn to take better photos for their websites to entrepreneurs wanting to learn how to photograph their products and clients for social media, we all had a different purpose for wanting to learn from Abigail K. I would strongly recommend this course for anyone who is running a social media account for their own business or a client as it just helps you to get a better understanding of how powerful images can be and gives you the knowledge you need to run a better Facebook or Instagram account.
The workshop I attended was run on a Friday from 09:00 – 15:00 and included breaks for snacks and tea. We were asked to bring a selection of our own props and products along to photograph throughout the day. The brief called for the products to be relevant to our own blogs or business because at the end of the day Abigail wanted us to leave with photographs we could use for an upcoming blog post or social media campaign. I took some beauty products I was currently reviewing as well as some props from my jewelry drawer. Knowing that you have a goal in mind throughout the workshop is a great motivator and really makes you focus on taking the best photographs you can during the workshop.
The workshop follows a pretty basic schedule and I loved that we got the chance to learn the basic theory behind photography and then jump right in to put it into practice there and then. We got the run of the Abigail K studio and were allowed to play with all sorts of props from Abigail’s collection. From bits of material, wrapping paper, and faux grass to fake flowers, moss, fruit and more, there was something for everyone to experiment with. The way Abigail runs the workshop is super clever as she gives you small bits of information to absorb at a time, breaking between each ‘bite-sized’ theory session to allow you the opportunity to put that piece of theory into practice. Doing it this way helps you to remember almost everything you learn and if you happen to forget you have a photo to go back to as a reference for each bit of theory – brilliant!
I’ll hold your hand
I also loved that Abigail was right there throughout the day to give us guidance. No question was too silly or too small and Abigail would check on each student during the practical sessions to see what they had come up with and give them pointers on how they could improve. From understanding how lighting works to basic shoot styling, composition, angles and colours Abigail gave us the basic tools we needed to take excellent photographs with our smartphones and basic point-and-shoot cameras. At the end of the day students are given 25 minutes to style their final shot and take between 3 and 5 final shots to use for their blog post, social media teasers and or a full social media campaign. We also got the opportunity to pick our favourite shot of the day and have it critiqued by the group – a super helpful step!
Here are some of the final photos I took for the day. I will be using these for an upcoming beauty review and social media posts. I absolutely loved my final shots, but I know I also have lots of work and practice to do before they are exactly how I want them to be. I feel so much more empowered and inspired to keep trying now that I have the knowledge from the workshop.
Final photograph option 1: I love the elegance in this shot and the fact that the products stand out or ‘pop’. In addition to this shot, I left with another 2 options for my review post which I was thrilled about.
Social media pictures: I also had two social media pictures that I could use for teasing my readers before reading the review on the website.
How do I sign up?
The next Abigail K Blog Photography Workshop takes place on Saturday 25 July 2015 from 09:00 – 15:00 at the Abigail K Photography Studio in Observatory, Cape Town. The workshop is R750 per person and includes snacks and tea on the day. Signing up for the next workshop is easy – just click here to visit the Abigail K website and register for the next course date.
For those not in Cape Town Abigail will also be launching an online workshop soon – click here for more information and to pre-register for the online course.
After years of working as an Editor and writer for popular websites like Joburg’s Darling, Cape Town’s Darling and Joburg.co.za, Crystal left her sanity and an established career in lifestyle journalism behind to follow her dream of creating a website for the intellectual and discerning woman. Today she spends her time chasing the thrill of being the first to know about ‘the next big thing’. She’ll try anything once and has been known to put her body, hair and health on the line – all in the name of research.