Why expert tuition makes a difference:


Many years ago, when I started out in photography, I was given some good advice by an experienced photographer. Years later, I looked back and realised that that advice was a defining moment in my photography. That one statement, set me thinking in a certain way about photography, that has led me to where I am today.
To borrow a very famous line from Robert Frost "Two roads diverged in the woods, and I, I took the one less travelled, and that has made all the difference."
I believe that anybody can learn to take great photos. Unfortunately most people don't reach there full potential. They don't hear what they need to hear, or if they do hear it, they hear it too late.
Don't let that happen to you; be the photographer you would like to be. Be extraordinary!
Come with us and we'll take you down a road less travelled. A road lined with wonderful images that are a joy to behold. Images you'll be proud of and that will make you the envy of all of your friends.

 

Your Instructor: (Allan Cox)


After thirty years I’m just as enthused about photography as when I first started.  Actually I’m probably more so, as I know so many more possibilities now.  I still get very excited when all the elements are falling into place and a great photo is about to be realised.

With this enthusiasm for photography, comes a love of teaching photography.  When knowledge is passed on, and students are getting excited because they are now starting to see great results, the all around buzz can get pretty trippy.
The person you chose to learn photography from needs two qualities.  They need to know their subject well and they need to be able to teach it well.  Unlike the flu, you can’t pick up photography by just hanging out with a good photographer; it does actually need to be taught. 

Being a good teacher, however, does not automatically follow on from being a good photographer.  The ability to teach is a distinctly different skill.  Feedback from students leads me to believe that I am a good teacher.  They say I’m good at breaking things down and explaining things in ways that are easy to understand.  After more than ten years of teaching photography at the School of Art at Otago Polytech I guess I’ve had lots of time to refine my lessons.  This doesn’t mean that I’m ‘resting on my laurels’.  I still constantly ask the question ‘how can I teach this better?

 

Ultimately you don’t just want to learn to take photos, you want to learn to take beautiful photos. Photography is as much an art, as it is a science.  A person can have all the technical knowledge in the world, and still take very ordinary photos.  So although you need someone who can teach you the technical aspects of photography; as importantly, you need someone who can teach the more esoteric aspects like creativity and how to ‘see a photo’.  These, after all, are the things that turn a technically good photo into a beautiful photo.

 

For such important subjects, like creativity and how to ‘see a photo, it’s surprising how often they don’t get taught at all. I think a big part of the problem is that these are not easy subjects to teach. But we choose to teach them anyway. To steal a famous line from John F. Kennedy “We choose to teach creativity; we choose to teach creativity not because it is easy . . . but because it is hard!” Okay so maybe I’ve miss-quoted him and he was actually talking about going to the moon; but I think you get the point. ☺


 

What makes us better:


  • Small class sizes:
    We want you to get the best possible learning experience, so we keep our class sizes small. As an example, our one-day workshop is restricted to just five people. Why anyone would sign up to a class with a dozen or more people per instructor and expect to get any meaningful time with that instructor is beyond us.

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  • Internationally award-winning photographer:
    I took up photography more than 30 years ago and soon after started getting photos published.  I won my first big international photo competition more that 20 years ago now. (For some examples of awarded and published work, click here). When you are being taught by me, you are being taught by someone who has been doing it long enough that they can truly claim to know what they're on about — if I can't make that claim now, then I don't know what I'd need to do before I could.  Do you really want to be taught by someone who has only taken up photography in the last couple of years?

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  • Proven track record of excellent teaching:
    I spent 10 years teaching photography at the art school at Otago Polytechnic. Over the years, I fine tuned my lessons; always asking the question “How can I teach this in a way that is clearer and easier to understand?”  Feedback from students indicated I finally got it right. ☺ Ultimately it's not how much I teach that counts, but how much you learn. 

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  • We only teach people who have a DSLR or 'Mirrorless camera'. (If you can change the lens, then probably, you have one of these!)
    I found that trying to teach a mixed class of ‘point-n-shoots’ and DSLRs, always felt like trying to run two classes at once.  To me, this felt like both sides were missing out and not getting the best lesson they could.  I'm not interested in giving you a sub-standard lesson, so now we only work with the advanced cameras.
    Also by just working with DSLR's and Mirrorless cameras, we can teach things that are beyond what a ‘point-n-shoot’ can do. You will learn to use your camera the way most professional would use it.

 

  • Yummy cheese scones:
    Scones really have nothing to do with photography, but the freshly baked cheese scones we have at morning tea time on the one-day workshop . . . . mmmmmmm  I can smell and taste them already.

Assisting Me:


As we all know it is a requirement of all ‘Game show hosts’ to have a beautiful assistant.  With this in mind I have my wife, the very lovely Kim, assisting me. 

For a chance at the 'money or the bag', is Kim, in this photo:

( a ) Praying to Mecca, or

( b ) Indulging in a bit of Macro photography.