Chester Street Photography Walk

I’ve had a great weekend – mostly because we’ve been with our lovely little granddaughter – but also because I’ve had chance to get out and about taking pictures of people in the street – and street photography is one of my favourite subjects.

Street Photography Walk Chester

There are some professional techniques that will enable you to capture simple street photography images like this - I'll be passing some of them on during our walk though the streets of Chester. Photograph Philip Dunn

Chester Street Photography Walk

Captured on a simple compact camera - I will be passing on many professional tricks of the trade during our street photography walk in Chester. They will enable you to take great pictures with any camera. Photograph Philip Dunn

I am arranging a series of Street Photography Walks this years, and one of those will be in the beautiful and interesting city of Chester – on the evening of Wednesday June 20th. So I thought I would do a quick check of the route I intend to take with the group. I did not have my DSLRs with me – just a little Canon Ixus compact camera.

It’s quite amazing what can be achieved on these compact cameras – provided you understand their limitations and work within them.

The two pictures on this page were taken on the Canon Ixus during my short walk through Chester. So I hope it gives you a taster of the sort of pictures you nay be able to capture for yourself during the group Street Photography Walk in June – it should ceratinly be a lot of fun and I hope you can join us.



Street Photography Walk – Stockport

I now have another date to add to the list of Street Photography Walks…

We shall be photographing Stockport Market – a wonderful subject.

Stockport Market Hall scene for Street Photography Walk

Stockport's Victorian indoor market hall with the Parish Church in the background. Learn how to get the most from this wonderful location on a Street Photography Walk. Photograph from Stockport Metropolitan Council website

The walk will start at 10am until 12.30pm.

These Street Photography Walks are not for complete beginners and the aim is to pass on many professional techniques in the art of gathering meaningful photographs in the street. This includes everything from candid pictures of people to buildings and architecture.

Stockport’s wonderful Victorian covered market scores on every count. Not only is it a thriving and busy market with lots of stalls and traders, but the building itself is a fabulous subject in its own right.

My thanks to the Market Manager who has been very co-operative in giving us permission to meet and photograph inside this wonderful glass hall. We will, of course, also be focusing on the outside stalls, activity and street scenes.

The cost of the walk and tuition is just £30


Street Photography Walk - Stockport Market

Stockport Market Hall, built in 1860 and recently renovated, is a wonderful place to photograp. Photograph by Peter Ashton

Photography Workshop – with Laughs

The Photography Workshop here in Kirkcudbright yesterday seemed to go well judging by the first responses from the photographers.

Photography Workshop Colin by Gemma

A beautiful portrait of shed owner Colin Saul reading his newspaper. Lighting conditions inside the shed are very difficult, but this has captured the atmosphere perfectly. Photograph by Gemma McDowall

Norene and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, but then we always do when we have a lovely group of people with us.

All but one of the photographers came from the Stranraer Camera Club – their second Photography Workshop with me.

We spent the first part of the day with a Q&A session and I offered crits and advice on the images the photographers had brought along. These ranged from ‘How do I use Exposure Compensation?’ to ‘How do I take better photographs through an aircraft window?’

By coincidence, I posted about Exposure Compensation only the other day.

Photo Location
We certainly made the right decision about our choice of locations for the afternoon, choosing to head off to the amazing shed and garden all my students love photographing so much in Kirkcudbright.

We chose the shed rather than going down to the shore. Shed owner Colin had lit a fire in the shed’s stove and on one occasion, we huddled around this as a tremendous shower of hail blasted the garden.

I have been involved with the Stranraer Camera Club for a couple of years now and I’ve watched a steady improvement in the images produced by the club members. I have not yet seen all the photographers’ work from this latest workshgop, but I did spot a really cracking picture taken by Gemma McDowall.

Photographer Gemma McDowell on Photography Workshop

Photographer Gemma McDowell - unphased by the difficult lighting conditions inside the smokey garden shed during her Photography Workshop

With just a little touch of post capture adjustment – which I did on the big screen as a demo when we all returned to our base later in the afternoon, I think this picture is outstanding. See portrait above

When the sun shines in though the clear roof of that shed, the light conditions are very difficult. Add the smoke from the stove’s chimney and you have all the ingredients for great pictures – but very tricky to deal with.

Gemma’s portrait of Colin reading his newspaper while sat in his shed overcame all the problems. It is a very fine portrait.

Gemma captured the photograph with her Canon EOS 550D

  • Shutter Speed: 1/80sec
  • Aperture f/5
  • ISO: 200

It was great to watch the others, too – just quietly gathering their photographs in this remarkable venue. It was particularly good to see Joe Dodgson’s enthusiasm for photography rekindled, and newcomer Jennifer McCracken snapping away so happily.

When I looked at the ‘team group’ photograph this morning, I was struck by just how much I enjoyed the pictures captured when the group was unaware the shutter was being pressed.

Norene exhibited her usual impressive camera skills by taking the group picture with me in it, but when I went over to check the picture and the group laughed a some remark, I pressed the button again.

Photography Workshop Group 1

I perfectly good picture of a happy group of photographers during their Photography Workshop - but take a look at the second shot below

Photography Workshop group laughs

Okay - there's some movement due to the slow shutter speed, but how much more fun is this photograph than the one above

I know this second picture has some blur due to the slow 1/10 sec shutter speed, but the feel of the picture is more fun than the first, more formal shot. This is very common, and just goes to confirm how important it is to keep taking more pictures, especially when the subjects think the session is over.

Facebook posting
Gemma posted on Facebook about the Photography Workshop: “Had a fantastic day! Have learned lots and come away from today with renewed excitement for taking more photos! Thanx Philip and Noreen x”

And Donald McHarrie added: “Here Here Gemma well said, thank-you Philip & Noreen for a wonderful day of photo taking!! Hope to be at another class soon.” Donald

Catherine Cambell said: “Yes had a super day and always come back with some good ideas and pictures many thanks”

Now I shall have to get around to fixing up some more dates for more Photography Workshops.

There are still some places available for the PHOTOGRAPHY WEEKEND BREAK March 30th-April 1st so don’t miss out on that.


How to use Exposure Compensation

I always encourage my students to get to grips with Manual Exposure Mode on their cameras.

However, I do stress that a photographer should never be a slave to the task of determining their own exposure settings when there are perfectly good automatic alternatives available.

Photography Holiday - no exposure compensation needed

Photographers who come on my Photography Holidays are often presented with situation like this - bright white and deep blue. In this case no exposure compensation is needed because the areas of dark and the areas of white tend to balance themselves out and give the camera's meter a pretty average exposure. Photograph by Philip Dunn

There are many occasions when the AV (Aperture Priority) or TV (Shutter Priority) Modes are more suitable for the prevailing conditions and subjects.

Using Manual Exposure Mode

When using Manual Exposure Mode, the photographer sets the correct exposure by using the exposure meter scale. In most DSLR cameras this scale is to be seen along the bottom of the viewfinder when the camera is help to the eye. There’s usually a plus (+) at one end of the scale, minus (-) at the other end. The central position – often marked with a ‘0’ – indicates where the correct exposure. A sliding pointer or a series of illuminated graduations indicate the level of over or under exposure.

When everything is centred on the ‘0’, the picture will be correctly exposed – in theory.

By using this scale, it is a very simple matter to enforce over or under exposure simply by leaving the exposure indicator either on the plus or the minus side of the central (correct exposure) ‘0’  position on the scale. This, in effect, is a manual method of Exposure Compensation.

Using Auto Exposure Mode

When using automatic exposure modes such as AV, it is easy to use the camera’s dedicated Exposure Compensation button (usually marked with a +/- sign) when you want to over or under expose a particular subject.

But why would you ever want to over or under expose a photograph?

Exposure Compensation exercise during Photography Holiday in Menorca

In this case, because there is so much white in the picture, the camera was forced to over expose by setting the Exposure Compensation to + one full value, or one full f stop. This has resulted in a correctly exposed image which has retained the whites. This is a very common situation for the photographers working in Menorca on my Photography Holidays. Photograph by Philip Dunn

Most commonly it is necessary to force over exposure of a shot when the subject contains large areas of white reflected light – white sand, snow, white walls etc.

See the photograph above.

Exposure Compensation button on Nikon DSLR

The Exposure Compensation button is marked on a Nikon DSLR by a +/- sign. By pressing this button and turning the Main Control the level of compensation can be altered

All these situations have the tendency to fool your camera’s exposure meter into under exposure. In effect, the metering system is looking at all that white brightness and saying “Hey! Cut down, it’s too bright”.

This under exposure results in sad, grey whites instead of bright, sparkling whites… dull under-exposed pictures.

When to use Exposure Compensation

The photographers who come on my Photography Holidays in Menorca know all about bright whites – there’s a lot of it about in sunny Menorca.

In fact we visit one particular village where almost all the houses are painted white – this can be a great challenge and presents us with an excellent opportunity to practice Exposure Compensation techniques.

Exposure Compensation setting on Nikon DSLR

Press the +/- Exposure Compensation button and on this Nikon DSLR the amount of compensation appears in the LCD. This picture indicates that the image will be over exposed by one full value or f stop

An understanding of when you need to use Exposure Compensation comes, like all other techniques in photography, more easily with practice. With digital photography all you really need do is check the image immediately after you have captured it and adjust accordingly. But the more you use the technique the more often you’ll get things right first time.

Exposure Compensation is just one of the countless camera techniques covered during our Photography Holidays in Menorca – it’s the perfect training ground for any photographer wanting to improve his or her photography.


The May Photography Holiday is FULLY BOOKED, but there are still places available for the holiday in September. It’s fun and you will learn loads.


NEW- Street Photography Walks

I’ve been promising to get some more Photography Workshops and perhaps some Street Photography Walks arranged for some time now.

Well, the first three dates are now arranged… more will follow.

We will start in York with an evening Street Photography Walk on Tuesday 12th June before I move on to the small Yorkshire town of Hebden Bridge. The following week I will be in Chester for a walk around the City Walls.

Street Photography Walks

Boys in a town street - photographed by Philip Dunn for The Sunday Times

The idea is to meet at 6.30pm and to work undil 9pm gathering photographs in the town centre.

Street Photography Philip Dunn

Silent couple - a street photograph by Philip Dunn for The Sunday Times

First-hand Photography Tution

I will be giving first-hand tuition during the evening and you will have the opportunity to gather images in the safety and comfort of a small group of like-minded photographers. This is a great way to build your confidence and learn more about the art of Street Photography.

These Street Photography Walks are NOT for complete beginners, so you will have to know already how to handle your camera. I will pass on a great many professional tricks-of-the-trade that will enable you to create great photographs.

More dates and fixtures are being arranged and I will post these when things are fixed. To get things moving, the cost for the evening will be just £30 – places will be limited, so please do book early if you want to join us.




Human Courage Behind the Photograph

Take a look at the photograph below – just three happy children enjoying a day out at Carlisle Cathedral – but the story behind the picture is one of extraordinary courage.

One of the wonderful thing about photographing people is that these chance encounters – often with complete strangers – can uncover some amazing insights into other people’s lives.

Sometimes these insights can be deeply moving and reveal the most amazing courage.

None more so that that of little Olivia Story.

Olivia Story with her brother & sister at Carlisle Cathedral

Olivia Story (left) with her brother and sister. I took this picture during our Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral - only afterwards did I learn about Olivia's amazing story of courage. Photograph by Philip Dunn

I met Olivia when I spotted her and her brother and sister at Carlisle Cathedral last week during our Photography Workshop there. The three children were looking into a mirror which saves people from a crick in the neck when they view the ceiling of the cathedral. It was obviously going to make a lovely photograph of the three kids, so I asked their Dad if I might take a picture.

Dad was happy to give permission.

I had absolutely no idea that any of the children was in any way unusual – they were just three lovely lively kids. Only when her father Mike emailed me was Olivia’s extraordinary story revealed.

At the age of two, Olivia contracted meningitis. Serious complications set in resulting in the loss of both Olivia’s legs and one arm. Olivia is now eight – and a very active young lady who gets through around 4 prosthetic pairs of legs and two arms a year.

You can find out more about Olivia Story – and how you can help raise money for a new ‘bionic’ hand – by visiting her website at

Great News about Norene

It is now just four months since Norene’s extraordinary heart operation, and today she has been undergoing tests at the hospital before seeing the consultant.

The results are – and I quote the consultant – “Fantastic”.

The consultant does not want to see her again for another year.

Tonight is cause for celebration and we will be raising a glass to the wonderful people at The Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, Glasgow.

Thank you all.

Photo Workshop Pictures on Flickr

It’s great to encourage the photographers who come on my Photography Holidays, Courses and Workshops to show their pictures to as wide an audience as possible.

So once again I have set up a small group on Flickr for the those who came to the Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral at the weekend. It’s a good way of building confidence and getting unbiased feedback.

The Flickr Group can be found here. Photo Workshop Group Carlisle Cathedral

So far a couple of the snappers have posted their favourite images from the day, and I have added a few comments and crits, which I hope will help them.

Photography Workshop Carlisle Cathedral

John Smith practicing new-found skills with his camera in Carlisle Cathedral. Photograph Philip Dunn

One of the photographers who has posted is John Smith, who confided to the group that he loved taking pictures purely as memories – he just wanted to create better pictures of those memories.

John wrote a lovely email after the Photography Workshop:

“Thank you for a splendid day at Carlisle – I really enjoyed myself. No wonder the Sunday Times today quoted Carlisle as the happiest town in England!

Your style really was ideal for me: calm, unassuming and so persuasive. Add to that your experience and that lovely way you have of sharing your personal opinion without denigrating that of others, how I wish I had met you years ago. I could have learned a lot from you, as well as a bit about photography too.

Please pass my thanks to Norene for her presence throughout the day too. Not only was she a reassuring anchor if you weren’t about, but her friendliness was contagious for us all.

Kind regards, and yes, I hope that I have the chance to come on a weekend course before too long.”

Thank you John – we look forward to seeing you on a future Photography Course.

Meanwhile I thought I would share the photograph below. One of the staff at the cathedral said to me during the day: “It’s amazing the positions some of these photographers can get into.”

The photograph below proves her point…

Photography courses Carlisle Cathedral

So why not get comfortable while taking your pictures? The stone floor may be a little hard for Jane, but it's a good position for reducing camera shake. Photography by Philip Dunn

I will be fixing a date for the next Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral very soon. If you would like me to keep you informed about updates, please just send me your email address in the box at bottom left of the Home Page


Photography in a nice warm Cathedral

Snow – what snow? We had none of that nasty stuff yesterday for our Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral.

Warm photographer in Carlisle Cathedral

It was cold outside but inside Carlisle Cathedral it was nice and warm for our Photography Workshop. Still, Dallas Carter was taking no chances

Photographers came from all over the UK, from Aberdeen, Perthshire, Berwick and London – only the London photographer had problems getting home last night, and that was because he couldn’t get across the city once he arrived.

It was a smaller group than usual, but that was because of cancellations due to the alarmist weather forecasts for this area.

We had a great day of photography and once again I was astonished at the widely differing ways people see things.

The aim of all the photographers was to learn how to use their cameras more effectively and also to take home some great pictures. I think we succeeded on both counts judging from the comments at the end of the day.

Obviously I spend most of my time helping and teaching the photographers during these Photography Workshops, but I do get chance to snap the photographers themselves while they are hard at work.

Dallas Carter (pictured), wearing her brightly-coloured woolly hat and scarf was a perfect subject.

The full group of eight photographers can be seen below. This picture was taken in the Fratry, a superb meeting room in the Friars Tower in the Cathedral grounds. We use this room, overlooking the cathedral itself as our base and for our initial talks.

Carlisle Cathedral Photography Workshop, Feb 2012

Our splendid meeting room in the Friars Tower at Carlisle Cathedral overlooks the cathedral itself and is the perfect base for our Photography Workshops. Photograph by Norene Dunn

My thanks to the cathedral staff, and photographers who came on the workshop yesterday – they all helped made the day a great success.

I will be fixing a date for the next Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral very soon.

Join us tomorrow – Carlisle Cathedral

It’s still not too late to join us tomorrow morning for the Photography Workshop at Carlisle Cathedral.

There are two places still available if you want a great day of photography and photo tuition.

There are photographers coming up from London and down from Edinburgh.

The cost is just £60 and we have our own conference room in the cathedral grounds for the day as a base. This is a splendid meeting room and somewhere we can leave our coats and spare gear while we are taking pictures inside and around the cathedral.

Photography Workshop Carlisle Cathedral

Photographers at work with their tripods in Carlisle Cathedral - come and join them tomorrow and have a great day of photography

Worried about the weather – – the forecast in Carlisle tomorrow, Saturday 4th Feb is for wintry showers with some snow on high hills. We can concentrate of our indoor photography and perfect our pictures of the stained glass windows – and much more.

These are just some of the benefits you can enjoy, so come and join us.

  • Full tuition with professional photographer Philip Dunn
  • Use of the Prior’s Study conference room for talks
  • Permission to use tripods in the cathedral between 3 – 4pm
  • Permission to photograph in the cathedral grounds and in the cathedral all day without tripods
Come and join us in Carlisle Cathedral