Open Day at Aspire Photography Training

Finding Out More: Open Day at Aspire Photography Training

During the Easter break, back at the start of the month, I had a mini review of my goals for 2016 and decided that I really needed to get on with booking another photography workshop.  My aim is to try and do a workshop every year to help improve my skills and last year, I attended a 'Lighting Principles & Intermediate Camera Functions' workshop at Myerscough college that introduced me to studio lighting techniques and working with light and dark backgrounds.  It was a great little workshop that went over some of the basics, but also taught me some new skills.  

This year, I am determined to improve my portrait photography and with this in mind, I spent a good deal of time over the Easter break looking for a suitable workshop, which proved to be harder than I thought!  For a start, there aren't that many places outside of London, that offer a 'natural light' portrait workshop.  The majority that do offer portrait workshops focus on expensive studio lighting, which really isn't what I wanted.  After, almost giving up hope, I came across Aspire Photography Training based in Cumbria, offering just the right amount of style and substance!

The workshops on offer at Aspire really are not cheap and their courses are an investment, however, as I browsed through the different options, I came across details of their free Open Day on April 1st (conveniently I was off work on that date) and knew that I had to go and find out more...

...And I'm really glad I did!  The Open Day gave me the opportunity to visit the Aspire team at the beautiful Stable Yard, part of Dalton Hall in Cumbria.  It's actually not that far away from the wholesaler in Milnthorpe I use to source my wedding flowers.  

The day started with a talk from Catherine Connor (Inspirational Leader) about all that Aspire Photography Training can offer you as a photographer. Everyone introduced themselves and we got to meet members of the Aspire team as well as other attendees.  There was a wide variety of people from professional photographers, a Doctor, husband and wife couples, a lovely lady called Amy who had just graduated and a few aspiring hobbyists like me.  

We were asked to fill in a mini questionnaire to help us pinpoint our next steps in our photographic training.  Ailish (Training Co-ordinator {& Catherine's step-daughter}) took these forms off us to explore in more detail as we all headed into the stable yard for two mini photo-shoots and this was the most fun part of the day!  

We split into two groups; one group photographing the beautiful calligraphy styled by Aspire's in-house stylist - Yasmin - and the other group, photographing first-time model Abbie as a mini portrait shoot set-up by in-house photography trainer - Jen.  It was lovely to meet more members of the Aspire team and I loved the mini photo-shoots, especially working with Abbie who did a great job on her first shoot!

After the shoots, we headed back into the training room for some warming soup and home-made bread (Catherine's husband is an Artisan baker!).  The potato and leek soup was gluten-free and really yummy.  The lunchtime break also gave us the chance to chat with people before wrapping up for the day.

After soup bowls were cleared away, we all got together again to go through our questionnaires from before lunch where Ailish recommended three workshops for each attendee.  For me, Ailish recommended Fine Art Portraits, Lightroom Essentials and Childhood Styled Shoot.  Considering, I was initially interested in the Wedding Styled Shoot, it was good to broaden my horizons a little to consider other possibilities.

I was really impressed by Aspire Photography Training and in the end, I treated myself by booking on to their Fine Art Portraits workshop in September using the 20% discount we were offered for attending an Open Day.  I can't wait!

{ PS - I did not get paid by Aspire Photography Training for writing this post! }