Review: Darter Photography Workshop for Beginners

My love for photography dates back to my college days. In fact, before joining an engineering college, I was attracted to an event in the daily newspaper which said, ’Photography Workshop’. I vividly remember pointing that to my mom and she said, ‘NO! After engineering’. Had I attended it, maybe my course of life would have been different. But that didn’t deter my interest in photography. With the advent of smartphones, my creativity and interest in taking pictures got a breeding ground. But my first DSLR was bought after marriage before we went on this amazing road trip from Bangalore to Rajasthan. Read more about that here.

Though I always wanted to attend a photography workshop, I didn’t make a conscious attempt to attend one. Google was my first guru in photography like it is for many. But, when I got a chance to attend Darter photography’s Workshop for beginners, I didn’t let go of it and how glad I attended it!

So, let me share my experiences on attending the ‘Darter Photography Workshop for Beginners’.

This is a two day workshop where on Day 1, we had a one-to-one session with our mentor. On this day, we learnt basics of photography and got to know more about the controls in our camera. But what is a lesson without practical class? So, on Day 2, we had an outdoor session where we get a chance to apply what we learnt the previous day. On this day, we shall got the valuable feedback from our mentor on the photos we took during the outdoor session.

I attended this workshop in Bangalore and my mentor was the very talented Mr. M.V.Shreeram who has won many accolades and is a well-known name in the industry. Though he has many feathers on his cap, he was down to earth and was open to questions and was ever ready to answer even silliest of our queries with a smile.

Day 1:

Day 1 was full of knowledge and it was time to absorb as much knowledge as I could. We learnt about exposure, aperture and focal length. How to play around with these 3 as they are interconnected. Histograms were new to me and was very helpful in understanding where my image stood in terms of perfection. Another aspect I loved learning was about how light plays a major role in photography and how sensor quality and not mega pixels are what which matters the most. ISO and shutter speed are also equally important topics which makes or breaks a photo. Apart from the technical details, the most important and visually appealing concept is composition. This is stressed upon and explained in detail with relevant examples of real photos taken by the mentors.

What I liked the most in the workshop is that – every concept is thought in a way that it is easy to remember and can’t be easily forgotten. Wake me up in the mid night, I shall tell you the exact concept in theory! That’s how easy and simple it’s made.

Day 2:

On Day 2, we were told to assemble at Lalbagh entrance and once everyone arrived, we were briefed on the task for the hour. So it was like a practical session of what we learned in the class the previous day. It was time to channel our creativity and put our memory to test. I personally loved this session and was eagerly looking forward to get feedback from my mentor. After a quick breakfast, we sprinted back to our hotel to finish rest of the session left for the day.

We were told to select 5 of our best pics from the day and there were comments and feedback given for every pic which we selected. This was particularly helpful in identifying our fall backs and areas of improvement. Also, we shall get to see pictures of our friends in the workshop. This is good for understanding and respecting individual creativity and to draw inspiration.

After the last Q and A session, it was time to bid goodbye to our mentor and friends from workshop. But the lessons and learnings remained with me forever. I am still friends with many people I met in the workshop. And Mr. M.V. Shreeram deserves a special mention here. Even after many days into the workshop, I’ve asked him umpteen questions about equipment and he has always made it a point to respond in spite of his busy schedule. A school is always characterized by its teachers, right?

Some pointers:

  • Apart from the usefulness of the workshop, it’s a good place to make like-minded friends.
  • The food is on the house and is included in the price of the workshop. The food was yum!
  • If you have just bought your new camera and haven’t played it with at all, then I suggest that you take a few days and figure out some basic controls like the shutter down and menu button at least, before attending this workshop. Because, that is when you can make more sense of what is being told than wondering which button is where. Saying this from my experience as there were some such people in the workshop. Whereas the ones that knew the controls and the lingo were asking very good questions which are very valuable for learning and that went unnoticed for the novices.

Some pictures:

Unfortunately, due to an issue in my hard disk, I lost all the pics I’d taken during the workshop. But, just after a few days into my workshop, I’d been on a Euro tour and could apply much of what I’d learnt to use. For e.g. – this was a handheld shot, the shutter speed was low to give water the silky effect.

During the session, I asked Mr. Shreeram that I won’t be having enough space to carry a tripod for silky shots of waterfall, he said that it isn’t necessary. ‘Just hold your breath and click and stay still until the shutter releases’, he said. Applied that and got these amazing pics.




By the way, these were taken in Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. Read more about it here – Perfect guide to explore Plitvice Lakes

Another in Dubrovnik showing an image depicting frame within a frame.

You can follow Darter Photography’s page here on Facebook and check out their website to book a photography workshop with them. Apart from the beginner level workshops, they have advanced workshops and various photography tours. What’s the best part? They are affordable compared to their competitors. Check the tours and prices here.

Hope this write-up was of some use to you in inspiring you to take your photography to a notch higher from the mundane Auto mode!

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