Just how easy would it be for a complete beginner, someone who had only used his iphone for taking pictures, to get good results out of an Olympus OMD camera? About 2 hours in the case of Alex Martin from London, my latest 1-2-1 workshop student.
We met up in London last weekend for a half day session of photographic training. I gave him my OMD EM5 to use throughout the day along with a selection of Olympus lenses. I discovered Alex had a thing about architecture so that was going to be our primary subject for the day. We sat down for 30 minutes with some coffee and ran though the camera’s functions. This really was a real ‘back to basics’ exercise, normally my students have a fundamental understanding of shutter speeds and apertures but you don’t really come across that stuff using an iphone. But Alex, a social media expert, was very bright and a quick learner and making things easy to understand is after all, what I was being paid to do. I was staying at the Andaz Hyatt Hotel in Liverpool Street, about as central as you can get, so we started with a few shots in and around the hotel itself. The hotel boasts some rather fine design details and great light, day or night, I’d recommend it for any kind of portrait shoot.
One of the main features of the OMD system, its high res electronic viewfinder, was proving to be invaluable to a complete beginner getting to grips with the concept of exposure (and more importantly, exposure compensation). We covered numerous other topics as we continued the session including composition, lens characteristics, finding the best light and when to adjust exposure for a better picture. We headed outside into the business district and it became obvious that Alex was a bit of a natural at this photography business! However, as adept as he was, I do think that his progress would not have been anywhere near as quick and his results as successful, were he using a standard digital SLR with an optical viewfinder.
So what about those results? I was somewhat gobsmacked to say the least, when I got home to Winchester and uploaded his images onto my mac. Judge for yourself, but I promise you, these shots were all taken by a complete beginner (of course he did have an excellent teacher!…:) I think these pictures are a testament to the simplicity of the OMD system and a pretty good advert for the cameras!