On Wednesday 21 April, Leighton Buzzard Photographic Club were delighted to welcome Martin Patten DPAGB LRPS BPE*4 QPSA AFIAP over Zoom to deliver his illustrated talk “Improving Your Photography”.

More of Martin’s work can be found at https://www.cameradays.co.uk/

Martin is a “passionate photographer”, Chairman of the Chilterns Association of Camera Clubs (our parent federation), past President of Watford Camera Club, and an experienced photographic judge.  But he says he still feels like a beginner!

Martin’s talk is designed for anyone, but particularly beginners and intermediates, looking to improve their photography and/or broaden their photographic interest into different genres.  He covered the most common genres – how to approach them, what “good” looks like, and what equipment might be needed.  And he also provided quick tips and tricks for making an immediate impact.

His main aim was to get people to change their approach from “seeing and taking” images to “seeing, thinking and then taking” images.  He quoted Ansell Adams, “the single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.”  As Martin himself put it, “photography is about making decisions”.  So, to produce the best images, you need to make the right decisions.

Martin’s starting point was that a good photo should communicate with the viewer.  It should be able to tell a story through its composition, its lighting, and most importantly its subject matter.  And, as photography is both an art and a science, you need to get both aspects right to deliver the most compelling images.

His recipe for successful shooting was essentially “Aspiration, Inspiration and Perspiration”.  And the perspiration element required:

  • Planning the photograph;
  • Preparing for the shoot;
  • Knowing how to proceed during the shoot;
  • Organising the images etc after the shoot; and
  • Editing to produce the best image you can.

Martin’s shooting tips included:

  • Working the scene;
  • Watching the light; and
  • Shooting at the “critical moment”.

Moving on to the different genres of photography, Martin covered the key characteristics and the technical and equipment aspects of shooting:

  • General/Street;
  • Wildlife;
  • Scapes (of any sort);
  • Portraits;
  • Architecture; and
  • Sports.

As he summarised his talk at the end, Martin encouraged everyone to “shoot more” (with an exhortation to ”know your camera and settings and practice”!) and reminded us that “light is everything”.

Martin is a great communicator and so passionate about photography.  And his talk was full of excellent advice for photographers at all levels, fully illustrated with his own images (both the excellent and the not quite excellent) to show how improved results can be achieved through improved planning, preparation, and execution.  As he said, “the effort in equals the results out”!