Paul Wilkinson delivering his Available Light workshop in Oxford to a group of delegates.

Taking the next step: A Photographer’s Journey

It’s no secret that I’m a self-taught photographer. I’ve had a “proper” SLR camera since I was 7 years old, and have completed a lot of online training courses over the years, mostly to fill in gaps as I needed to learn new skills. 

I’ve learned and grown along the way, and, after 9 years in business, I think it’s safe to say I’m pretty nifty at waving a camera about. 

But I was left with the feeling: where do I go from here?

All the online courses I’ve found are aimed at photographers earlier on in their journey than me, and in reality, as instructive and helpful as the courses I’ve done are (and all the subsequent practice), I realised there’s only so far that kind of training can get me.

A couple stand in front of coloured doors, looking away from each other. Image taken by Adèle Williams, SuperFunkyPenguin Photo + Video as part of a photography workshop she attended.

A Chance Meeting

I recently joined the Societies of Photographers, and attended their conference in London in January. One of the masterclasses I attended was run by Master Photographer Paul Wilkinson. He delivered an incredibly engaging and insightful practical demonstration on the day, and then a few days later provided the best post-training material I have ever seen to all the delegates who attended.

I was sold.

When the opportunity came up to book an in-person workshop on available light in Oxford, I couldn’t book on fast enough.  

Photo of Paul Wilkinson demonstrating a photography technique on his Available Light masterclass - Image taken by Adèle Williams, SuperFunkyPenguin Photo + Video as part of a photography workshop she attended.

Learning from a Master

Paul’s work is absolutely phenomenal, and to have a chance to see him at work, how he looks at light and how he works with his subjects, his general thought processes and how he pushes the scene to try new things was really inspiring. 

There were 6 of us on the day-long workshop, all in different stages of our journeys, from someone who’d never shown anyone their photos, to a seasoned pro who had been in the industry for over 30 years. There was something for everyone.

A beautiful young lady rests her chin on her folded arms, and looks straight at the camera. Image taken by Adèle Williams, SuperFunkyPenguin Photo + Video as part of a photography workshop she attended.

No Copy-Cat Photos

In terms of practical photography experience, the day was fantastic. Paul showed us what to look for in a scene, gave us heaps of hints, advice and tips. What he didn’t do was tell us how to set up our cameras, what numbers to use, where and how to stand. We were given free rein to capture the images in our own unique ways.

A couple embrace in front of a blue door, the lady is looking away while the man kisses her neck. Image taken by Adèle Williams, SuperFunkyPenguin Photo + Video as part of a photography workshop she attended.

A Bit of a Hitch

When I share these photos from the day, it’s a little bittersweet. When walking to the meeting spot from the train in the morning, the stitching in my camera bag snapped and my bag fell to the floor.  I managed to buy a replacement bag in Oxford, but unfortunately my 70-200mm lens (the big one I use for nearly all my portraits) got damaged. Fortunately I had my wide-angled 35mm as a backup, but I hadn’t planned to use that lens at all.

This means that the types of shots I had planned to take, I couldn’t. It also meant I had to think on my feet and approach each location far more creatively that I probably otherwise would have! 

Realistically, I’m just glad this didn’t happen on a client shoot.

Young lady rests her head agains a shop window. Her reflection is visible in the glass. Image taken by Adèle Williams, SuperFunkyPenguin Photo + Video as part of a photography workshop she attended.

What I enjoyed most

It was exhilarating to be able to shoot for fun. I rarely use my proper camera for my family any more (way to stressful), and although I can’t stress enough how much I love working with clients, I’m invariably working off a brief we’ve planned together. During the workshop I was free to just play and learn!

The other aspect of the workshop was the insightful, helpful and inspiring conversations I had with Paul. There was time throughout the day and at the pub afterwards to ask all the burning questions I had, which was absolutely invaluable.

Young man stands in front of a blue door . Image taken by Adèle Williams, SuperFunkyPenguin Photo + Video as part of a photography workshop she attended.

“Continued Professional Development”

It’s a buzz-word (phrase!), and one that used to make my blood run cold when I worked in the corporate world. It usually meant I was going to be sent on a training course for something my boss deemed I was not very good at. Since setting up my own business, I’ve realised the joy in keeping moving forwards and developing my skills in areas that I do have a flare for.

Just imagine if educational establishments and businesses focussed on what each individual’s strengths are, instead of what they struggle at…

What will your next step be?

If you like what you see here, check out my portfolio of work with my clients. 

The next step starts with a chat. If you’re planning on a brand refresh or updating your website, or know that you are done with struggling to find the right image to use on social media, then book a call with me and let’s see how I can help.

Like what you’ve read here and want more? Join my mailing list here and receive a free download to help you SHINE online!

I’m Adèle Williams, and I founded SuperFunkyPenguin Photography in 2015.

I specialise in taking natural photos that genuinely gives prospective clients a real feel for what it’s like to work with you, creating that initial connection.

We work together to plan and design your brand photoshoot to be as effective as possible. Your portfolio of images from the shoot will be carefully crafted to align to your brand values, and includes everything you need to help you easily craft social media content and refresh your website.

Curious to know more?  Book a cuppa-and-chat by clicking here!

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