Mentoring Photography Enthusiasts

Four black and white portraits of senior citizens, photographed by Caro Telfer.

A group of photography enthusiasts have formed the Darkan Photography Group, which has been meeting monthly since February. I am happy to be able to mentor the photographers in the group, by sharing some of the knowledge I have acquired over many years of taking photos.

Each month we cover a different topic, and so far we have covered themes such as capturing movement, portraits, and design principles in photography. During our meetings we view and discuss photos submitted by members of the group, and we also have a look at some award-winning photographs and talk about the aspects of the photos which make them prize-worthy.

Last weekend some of the beginner photographers gathered in my photography studio in Darkan and practised taking portraits in the studio. We only used one broad lighting setup, and worked at making a connection with the sitter to capture an authentic and engaging portrait.  We were lucky to have several different local “volunteers” who agreed to have their portrait photo taken. 

Photo of a group of photographers taking a photo
Photography enthusiasts in the studio

During the workshop I got to be a sitter, and I must admit it is much more comfortable for me to be behind the camera! I got very fidgety being a sitter and having my portrait taken. I was out of my comfort zone. 

My favourite photo of myself is this one, which cut off my double chin! And I’m not smiling (I’m not a huge fan of smiles in portraits.)

Black and white portrait of Caro Telfer, Photographer
My favourite photo of me, captured by one of the mentees at the studio workshop

Some of the workshop participants said that they felt out of their comfort zone, getting up so close and personal and taking photos of other people. Others felt that working in the studio was outside of their comfort zone.  Just the fact that they felt uncomfortable made me realise that they were experiencing something that they would not normally do, although it is something that I do regularly. They are at the start of their learning journey, and there is so much to learn!

It is one thing to love taking photos, but it is another to actually excel at the task – I’m still working on it after more than thirty years!