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Brook Studio - Photography Course

Mark_C 15 24
19 Sep 2006 10:30PM
Hi there

Just wondering if anyone has attended one of the courses at Brook's Studio??


I've been looking for a decent 'all encompassing' course for a little while now and have found this via one of the ads in the back of 'Practical Photography'.

Any comments or alternate suggestions would be appreciated.
I've tried the local college (C&G 6932 became very boring and unsatisfying very quickly) and the local evening classes are very basic. I've thought and looked in to a distance learning course such as the OCA, but I'm more of a hands on interactive person?

Any thoughts anyone.


njsmith 16 85 United Kingdom
21 Sep 2006 9:57AM

Though I can't give you any information on the courses being held at Brook Studios, I am attening one of the courses on the 28th and 29th of this month in Poole so I'll try and update you after I've attended the course.

Bristol U.K.
Mark_C 15 24
30 Sep 2006 3:27PM
Thanks Nick. Any help would be appreciated.
emmaS 15 41 United Kingdom
30 Sep 2006 6:25PM
Hi Mark

I don't know about the Brookstudio course but I have done a distance learning one from the OCA. The course info they provided was excellent but I really struggled with to keep the momentum and motivation going with the distance learning.

By the time I got my assessments back I'd already moved on to other things so much of the benefit was lost. I'm sure distance learning is great for some people but personally I think I'd rather spend the money on a hands on course where you can get instant feedback in time to have another go at getting the shot you wanted.


Dave1709 15 5
2 Oct 2006 7:57AM
Hi Mark,

Just wondered if you were still looking for a course? I've just completed the week long Brook Studio course and could give you some feedback if you like?

Let me know.

3 Oct 2006 6:27PM

Like EmmaS, I enrolled on a an OCA course year before last and ended up deferring not long after starting. I couldn't get motivated teaching myself, mainly because I work from home and have to motivate myself for work every day!

Then I enrolled on the first module level 2 City & Guilds course and found it to be excellent. I was lucky enough to meet some great people and I've learnt a lot from the course and from them.

It depends what you want though I guess. I wanted to focus my skills instead of playing around at being a photographer. You may be more experienced and want that final push into "pro-dom" in which case you could try the level 3 C*G courses. You don't necessarily have to have done the previous levels if you can prove your worth.

Mark_C 15 24
3 Oct 2006 8:47PM
Thanks for the comments everyone,I'm always glad for responses.

Dave...I'd really welcome some feedback regarding the Brook Studios course. I too am looking at the week long course, so if you've got some first hand experience I would really appreciate any and all info you can pass on.

Emma, thanks for the info regarding the OCA...not my kind of thing really..a little like you, I reserve most of my self motivation for work and so would probably find it difficult also...rightly or wrongly, I'm much more of an interactive person and so the thought of distance learning really is quite alien to me. I will certainly have a look around for the level 2 and 3 C&G though to see if there is a local college that covers it. Thanks

Thanks again for all you help.

Kind regards

barker 15 10
5 Oct 2006 7:35AM

I am very interested in attending the week long Brook Studio course.
Please can you give me any feedback?

thanks Richard
Dave1709 15 5
9 Oct 2006 8:26AM
Hi Richard,

Sorry for the delay!

Ok, I found the course excellent I would strongly recommend that you go for the full week though. There were four of us who went for the week, (Independently, we didn't know each other beforehand) and all shared the same view but I suppose this is down to how much you know already?

We had a three people join at various points throughout the week and they enjoyed the course too, personally I felt that I got so much more from 5 days than I would have done with just 1 2 or 3.

It's a very relaxed atmosphere, Paul does of course instruct you but does not force his methods on you, so if you wish to try something a bit different from the rest of the group, there's plenty of time and assistance to do so.

It covered everything that I wanted, setting up a studio on the first day, for low key work and learning how to use light, flash heads, soft boxes, ND filters, reflectors, barn doors etc etc.

This moved on to High Key shots of models, parents and children right up to two days of Wedding photography, with bride and groom models, different on each day, shooting indoors, outside and beauty spot and in and outside a church.

I found that learning how to ask a model to pose invaluable, yeah, it sounds easy but most of us didn't have much of an idea at the start of the week. On the last day or so, Paul instructs the model not to move unless the main photographer, (you take it in turns) asks them to do so. This is good because it creates more of a real life feel.

Taking turns is also very good as others are still able to take some candid shots, of which I took many that I am very pleased with, they'll definitely be in my portfolio!

I have always been of the view that any kind of training and courses etc, need to be carefully selected to make sure you get something out of them. However, I don't see how anyone would fail to get a great deal out of this course, (and no I'm not on his payroll!)

If you look further up this post, you'll see a username of njsmith, who states that he may attend the course. Well Nick did attend the same week as myself; he joined for the two day wedding course. I'm pretty sure he enjoyed it too, so you could maybe send him a PM and ask him to post his comments?

Well I could go on but perhaps that's enough for now? Anything else you wish to know just let me know.

barker 15 10
9 Oct 2006 10:23AM

fantastic news thanks.

Can I ask what experience you had prior to the course?
Also do you now feel comfortable in starting to offer your services in this field?
Will you now apply for grading?

I am a keen amatuer who is fairly new to photography.
Would this be enough?

Just moved onto a slr camera, the pixs below were taken with a compact.
Mark_C 15 24
9 Oct 2006 7:52PM
Hi Dave...

Thanks for getting back to myself and Richard about the course, fantastic info, very useful.

I think I'd put myself in the same backet as Richard, Keen amateur, fairly new to the scene, and so I too would be interested in hearing your thoughts on Richards questions.

I've just taken delivery of a Canon 50mm lens to go with the rest of my kit, which leads me to ask what kind of kit you took with you / needed to get the most from the course?

Also, on the website for Brook it talks about residential and Non residential options...which one did you go for, and where there many of the evening shoots that it mentions (additional to the course itself).

Also, and I suppose this links in with Richards question above....was it worth the money?? I guess that if you can start earning some money on the back of the course then of course, it is... Was this your intention when booking the course, and was that the feel from the other attendees.

Wow, I better slow down on the questions..

Thanks again for all the great info.

Kind regards

barker 15 10
10 Oct 2006 5:30AM
Hi Mark, couldn't have put it better myself.

It's really difficult to know just how experienced you need to be to attend these courses.
You don't want to waste your money with useless info, but at the same time you don't want to be the one holding everyone back with basic questions.

The course really sounds great, I need to gain technical knowledge in a structured manner. Trial and error can be fun but somewhat frustrating.

I have spoken to Paul at the studio about cameras. He told me that several people had used a Canon 350D but if I preferred iI could borrow borrow one from him.

Well good luck, if I book it will be asap so I might see you there.
Dave1709 15 5
10 Oct 2006 2:39PM
Hi Guys,

Ok, well I'll try to answer your questions in order,

Experience b4 the course, well have played around a couple of time with my one flash head and soft box and taken some photos of family and friends, quiet pleased with result but was a bit down to trial and error.

I do not think that you should be worried about your level of knowledge as they'll probably be a mix of people on the course and I don't think that you'd hold anyone back.

One of the guys on the course had only just purchased his camera and was still getting used to it. He had the same fear on day one but after we started, he never mentioned it again, neither was he left behind.

Yes, feel a lot more comfortable offering services for money, (photogrpahy of course, LOL!)

Yes going to apply to RPS

I would say that this course would certainley be more than enough Richard.

Kit - You'll ony need your SLR and a zoom lens. 18 or 28-70 something like that. I use the Nikon 18-200VR lens which is great and give you more flexibility.

50mm lens if its a 1.4 or 1.8 is also great, and well worth the money. Lets you achieve a few good creative shot where you need a large Fstop. Used mine on the course a few times.

You'll also need a flash gun, I would suggest the best one you can afford but there are many good dedicated flash guns at pretty good prices these days.

I would say it definately worth the money, I did not go residential because I am local, however the other 3 guys who went for the full week did.

It was my intention to get a LRPS qualification by submitting the best shots to the RPS and I do intend to run this as a business, although this will be on a part time and hopefully growing basis as I do have a full time job besides.

There was a spread of different cameras from a 350D, D200 and D2x on the course, Paul lent one canon user a D70 for her to compare the two.

Thinks that's most of them??

Let me know if not?

barker 15 10
10 Oct 2006 2:59PM

Brilliant, thank you.
Best of luck.
Mark_C 15 24
10 Oct 2006 7:52PM

Thanks again....superb answers (not that I was going to grade you!!)

Everything that I wanted to hear...I like Richard didn't want to be the one holding the group back. but from your answeres, I don't think that will be an issue.

I've concentrated on general photography so far, and I'm really keen to get more seriously in to things (god knows I've spent enough on the kit) and finding a good course I think is a vital part of getting me on to the next rung..

Well I can feel myself reaching for the phone to book...

Thanks once again for all your help and support, and let me take the opportunity to wish you the best of luck for the future....

I'll keep the thread running and will post back to let you know how things are going... never know we might end up on the same course...let me know.

Thanks again..


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