#toastofthetown with Millennium Hotel Glasgow and Dreghorn Photography Studios

When I was first contacted by Joe Blogs Network about a blogger event, I knew it was an invitation I couldn’t refuse. The workshop was hosted by the Millennium Hotel in Glasgow in conjunction with Stuart Greghorn and Hamish from Dreghorn Photography Studio to celebrate the launch of Millennium Hotels and Resorts across the UK as part of their #toastofthetown campaign.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts are hosting events in various cities across the UK to celebrate the architecture, history and individuality of each of its hotel and resort locations, the first of which was a cocktail mixing event in Manchester. What does it mean for us bloggers in or close to Glasgow? Invite to a free photography workshop on how to better work our cameras, whether they be point-and-shoots or DSLRs.

The first lesson learned: stop using Auto mode!

There was a good mix of about 30 or so bloggers from Glasgow and Edinburgh areas at the workshop from a variety of interests like lifestyle, food, fashion and beauty, sewing and jewellery (me), children and cats. Everyone was split according to the type of cameras they brought: Nikon, Canon or everything else (I was the only Sony to which I heard Hamish say ‘Oh, I haven’t seen one of those in a while!’ Thanks, Hamish!). Everyone pretty much bonded over what kind of cameras we brought with us and the type of blog we wrote and it was exciting for some bloggers to finally meet others in person. We were all there for the same purpose which also helped us get to know one another: to learn how to use the different functions on our cameras to take better photos, out of an interest in photography and to take better photos for our blogs.

Stuart (professional photographer) and Hamish (photography assistant) were great at explaining why Auto mode isn’t that great (flash comes up automatically in every situation where it deems there’s not enough light) and leaves a big spot of spooky light in a part of the photo that doesn’t really compliment anyone’s photography skills.

Photo on Auto mode

Surprisingly, my photo didn’t turn out too bad, but you know the kind I’m talking about; where a camera close to someone’s face ends up overexposed and ghostly with a bright white, almost-fluorescent face?

We were shown how to use the P (or Programme Auto) mode where you can change the settings to suit your needs. In comparison, there’s less exposure in the photo and is of a better quality when you’ve got the two photos (A and P) side by side:

See the difference between the brightness of the two photos?

We were also shown how to work the grid in the viewfinder to set the focus of the lens on your subject of choice, so you don’t end up with a blurry portrait with a crystal clear background:

The thumb portrait

We then partnered up to experiment with the skills we were taught about focus, lighting and taking photos from unusual angles.

My attempt at a good portrait in the room we were using with Craig from The Usual Saucepans

During the workshop, we also learned about adjusting ISO (depending on natural brightness, you may need to turn this up, especially if you’re indoors and lighting is poor, but this means you get more noise in your photos. If you’re outdoors and it’s sunny, you can use a lower ISO) and shutter speed (a good example, if you want to capture a sprinter in motion, turn up the shutter speed. To capture the speed of the sprinter, make the shutter speed slightly higher but not by much. To make a snail look like it’s sprinting, reduce your shutter speed to 30 seconds).

Higher ISO with higher shutter speed

Lower ISO With lower shutter speed to capture the speed and movement of the rotor blades of the remote helicopter

Sorry, no photos of speedy snails just yet!

In just 4 hours with a break for lunch, we were taught all about the different modes (Programme auto, Shutter, Single Shot Autofocus, Continuous Shot, Self-Timed and Remote). We were then given the task of taking photos around Glasgow to capture the city’s history, architecture and beauty. Our themes (and locations) were:

  • George Square
  • Royal Exchange Square (with the infamous Wellington statue with the cone hat)
  • Buchanan Street, and
  • a street photo with someone who forms part of what Glasgow is

View of George Square from the meeting rooms

Millennium Hotel in Glasgow

George Square

Wellington statue, Royal Exchange Square

Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square

Buchanan Street

Once again, I’d like to thank Joe Blogs Network, Lisa at Millennium Hotel in Glasgow as well as Stuart and Hamish from Dreghorn Photography Studio for a very informative and interesting workshop. I definitely feel more confident in using the different settings on my DSLR and look forward to experimenting more with it!

Also a big wave to some of the bloggers I met on the day: Cheryl from The Glasgow Scullery, Gillian of Elevator Musik, Kathryn of Liquid Grain, Craig of The Usual Saucepans, Michelle of Ananyah, Mairi of The Weegie Kitchen and Alison of Alley Hope. Looking forward to reading everyone’s blog posts!


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