Step Away From The Auto Setting! Photography Adventures with Toast Of The Town

Toast of The Town 4After what felt like a lifetime of iPhone and pocket-sized (and VERY blurry) digital camera photography, I was utterly bowled over on Christmas Day last year when I unwrapped my first DSLR camera (regular readers will know that I have named her Daphne!).

Although I’m not a total stranger to taking photos – I did a semester of photography in my first year at University – I will admit that it has been a long time since I used the different functions on a camera! Put it this way: since December I have been BFFs with the Auto setting on my DSLR and it was high time to switch things up a notch!

So, when I received an invitation to attend an all-day photography workshop aimed at bloggers, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. With the class being taken by professional photographers, and the lesson being tailored to the cameras owned by the attendees, I couldn’t wait to learn what all Daphne’s different buttons and switches did. This is my chance, I thought, to finally step AWAY from the Auto setting!

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On the morning of the workshop, I popped on my headphones – Girls On Film of course! – and headed into town…

The event – named Toast Of The Town in honour of this exciting year for Glasgow – was arranged by Joe Blogs Network and held at the Millennium Hotel, which overlooks George Square. The hotel had recently undergone some refurbishments and was looking very grand indeed! I was given a very warm welcome and offered some tasty tablet muffins as some of my favourite local ladies started to arrive.

Stuart and Hamish from Dreghorn Photography kicked off the class and it was time to get to work.

I sat at the ‘Nikon side’ of the room – in a bit of an unintentional West Side Story-esque divide – so that tailored assistance could be given to the same camera users. Stuart taught us photography essentials such as Liveview vs. Viewfinder (I’m firmly in the Viewfinder camp!) and warned us of the dangers of “Nikon Nose”! I learned that not only did my camera have a polar bear setting (yup!), but it would also be compatible with a remote control. And Continuous mode? Perfect for capturing break-dancing!

One of the most interesting elements of the lesson was learning about shutter speeds and creating interesting pictures by manipulating the focus and angle – I was looking forward to putting it all into practice.

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During the morning, we also paired up and practised our portrait-taking skills (always key for blogging!). Cutie-pie Ayden snapped some pictures of me sitting by the massive sash windows of the hotel and I (of course) returned the favour.

We learned that there are no right and wrong photos, and that it’s more down to personal taste (cue a sigh of relief echoing around the room). We also practised our ability to take action shots thanks to a remote-controlled helicopter!

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Soon it was time to break for lunch, and enjoy a delicious buffet in The Brasserie, on the ground floor of the hotel which included salmon parcels, haggis bon-bons, mini sliders and posh Scottish hot dogs.

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In the afternoon it was time to go outside and test our new skills! We were faced with a photo challenge, and given very specific places to work in: George Square, Royal Exchange Square and Buchanan Street. Who doesn’t love a creative challenge?! I was excited to get out and capture Glasgow, and all its character, from my perspective.

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When the group all headed in one direction, the lovely Lori and I decided to explore the fairground at the bottom of Buchanan Street! We just adored all the bright colours and fun subjects.

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I also couldn’t resist playing mannequin in Buchanan Street – eat your heart out, Kim Cattral! On a slightly more serious note, I really like the reflection of the hustle and bustle of the city centre in the window – a typical Saturday in Glasgow, don’t you think?

After much clicking and snapping, we returned to the hotel and wrapped up the workshop with a chat and some sweet afternoon tea. I was given a prize for my tweets – and my outfit too (I just knew a silver cheerleader skirt and rhinestone bunny ears were a good choice…) and we were all gifted with a generous goodie bag. Most importantly, I left with a new set of skills and increased confidence for my future blog photography – I scribbled lots of notes while Stuart and Hamish were taking the class and plan to make good use of them.

I had a fabulous day at Toast Of The Town – the best part? Kissing the Auto setting goodbye!

Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling…

Miss West End Girl x


With a huge merci to all at Joe Blogs Network, Dreghorn Photography & Millennium Hotel 

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