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Lisa Devlin’s photography fundamentals

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Whether you fancy yourself as the next Rankin or you just like taking a few snaps on your weekend adventures, it’s important to get the basics right in order to get the outcomes that you’re after.

So, we thought we’d draft in British Journal of Photography Award winner, Founder of Photography Farm, and creative wedding photographer extraordinaire, Lisa Devlin to guide us through some photography fundamentals.


Setting up Photography Farm in 2011, Lisa decided to create residential photography workshops after her inbox started to overflow with emails from fellow wedding photographers looking for hints and tips.

As well as a supportive environment, offering advice and tips to photographers looking to work in the more alternative and creative end of the wedding market, it’s an opportunity to socialise in what can sometimes be in isolating industry. There’s also a hired chef, housekeeper, pool, hot tub and tennis court on site, so it’s a pretty swanky experience!

We caught up with Lisa as she prepared to take Photography Farm on the road to Brighton and Glasgow at the end of this month (24th/29th March), to get the photography tips we should all bear in mind before we point and shoot.

Lisa Devlin’s Photography Fundamentals

Learn the mechanics of your camera

Think of it like learning to drive. To begin with nothing flows and you have to think about every individual aspect. Then suddenly you get to a point where it all just clicks into place and you can drive without having to think each part through.

When you know all the mechanics of your camera, you shoot with that same automatic knowledge and all your conscious thinking goes into creating the shot instead of worrying about the set up.

Learn how to read light

Without light there is no photo, so do all that you can to understand light and how to accurately record it.


Treat your camera as a light meter

The manufacturers have built it into your camera, so treat it like we used to use a hand held light meter. This means using it up close to read light on skin. Standing back and taking light readings from where you want to take a shot most often means that you are taking an ambient light reading, which is often why you end up being way out to begin with.

Learn the rules of composition

Consciously study these because it’s often the composition that elevates an image from ordinary to extraordinary.

Shoot with the viewfinder grid on

This simple tool is there to help you with the above.


Shoot with the beep off

This is one of the worst additions to modern cameras. BEEP I’M TAKING A PHOTO NOW!!! That will never result in a natural image.

Stand like a tripod

This is one for the girls. My natural instinct is to stand with one hip tilted down. It’s like I’m an Edwardian lady about to ride side-saddle. Anyway, it results in me having to straighten my images all the damn time. So I make a conscious effort to stand more like a tripod. Straight body, legs out and boom! Lines are straight.

Get it right in camera

No photo is ever made great because it was ‘fixed in post’ and if you do all of the above, your chances are higher at nailing it in camera.


Shoot every day

 Don’t just shoot when it’s a special occasion. Shoot your everyday life, shoot for fun.

Print your photos

 It’s so easy in the digital age to end up with terrific images that never leave your hard drive. Get them printed and framed up on your walls or in albums that can be looked at for years.

Find out more about Lisa’s upcoming workshops and the Photography Farm here.


Photo’s by Lisa Jane.

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