Ashbourne Community School photography tutor Michael Keane shares his story and provides top tips for aspiring photographersRead Now
Exploring digital photography is a wonderful opportunity to be creative, particularly today when cameras on mobile phones mean that you need never miss a chance to capture that memory. And, yet, we can always take a better photo, which is where digital photography classes come in.
Michael Keane took the scenic route to his digital photography night class, in part because of redundancy from his full-time job. “I worked in Waterford Crystal as a master glass blower for 25 years,” says Michael. When Waterford Crystal closed, he moved into garden furniture, opened a garden centre, and did landscape garden design.
“I realised that in the garden-related work, I was relying on the weather. So, one night, I made a list of things I wanted to do – driving instructor was first on the list, followed by photography. So, I bought a camera, and enrolled on a digital photography night class in Ashbourne Community School – and that led on to more studies. I did QQI Level 5 and 6 in photography and then went on to Dublin Institute of Technology to do a degree in photography.
“A lot of the projects I completed were around social issues, including one entitled ‘Fragments’, which examined the aftermath of road accidents. Other projects featured children with autism, nursing homes, the National Rehabilitation Unit in Dun Laoghaire. Later, I opened my own studio and training centre, teaching photography and working on wedding and landscape photography.
“Now, I’m involved in efforts to open a new creative centre, an artists’ co-op, in Ashbourne, Co. Meath, and in the Ashbourne Community Initiative and with the Tidy Towns working on the Broadmeadow River Trust.”
And the student has turned into a tutor – Michael tutors the Digital Photography night class in Ashbourne Community School. “I gear the class towards what people want and I email out weekly exercises and interesting sites and videos. It’s all about encouraging students to use the manual settings and to take a shot of the same object using the different settings, so that they can get an understanding of what their camera can do.”
So, what tips does the master photographer have for the snap happy among us?
Slow down. When you buy a roll of 35mm film, you have a finite number of images. So, slow down and become aware of possible images. Look at colours, textures, lines and become more aware of your surroundings. That will help towards taking better images.
Don’t shoot loads of images. Michael gets his students to produce six images, two each in different settings, so that they can appreciate the differences in the end photograph. Less is more!
Look at the lighting available to you. Everything you shoot is affected by the light, so look at the lighting available to you as that will determine what settings you need to use.
In the meantime, if you’d like to get better photographs from your mobile phone or DSLR camera, consider a digital photography night class. It could change your life!