Photography courses based in Whitehaven, Cumbria


My courses have been running in West Cumbria since 2008 and have helped hundreds of people to get more out of their photography and enjoy it along the way!

Photography courses running in 2021 – at a glance

Digital Photography for BeginnersStarts Wednesday 21st April. BOOK ONLINE
Digital Photography for the Serious AmateurStarts Wednesday 9th June. BOOK ONLINE
Photographing Landscapes of the Lakes – Starts Sunday 27th June. BOOK ONLINE

Currently being planned;
Industrial Photography Next course will be later in 2021.
Hill skills and Photography To be confirmed.
Digital Photography in the studio introductionTo be confirmed.

To book a place or for more information (please book using the online link).
– TO BOOK ONLINE click here
– To enquire you can click to email or Telephone; 01946-506416


Digital Photography for Beginners is aimed towards people who own a digital camera but just want to get that something extra from it. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about your camera and how to take the photos that you want and not to leave everything to the camera to make the choices for you! You will learn how to get some great effects from easy-to-learn techniques … and no, you don’t need the latest SLR with very expensive lenses.  People with bridge cameras have successfully completed the course.
– A total of 9 sessions over 5 weeks (5 classroom-based on a weekday evening and 4 field trips on weekends)
– Full price; £121.00.  Concessions available.

Digital Photography for the Serious Amateur is aimed towards those who may know a little about their D-SLR camera already and want to learn some more advanced techniques; we go deeper into some more advanced techniques including HDR, off-camera flash and multiplicity with more use of software such as the use of layers in Photoshop and image compositing.
– A total of 11 sessions over 6 weeks (6 classroom-based on a weekday evening and 5 field trips at weekends).
– Full price; £137.50.  Concessions available.

Landscapes of the lakes will give you an appreciation for the beauty of the Cumbrian fells and mountains by giving you some necessary advice on how best to capture them with your camera.  It’s a practical course, all sessions are outdoors and we visit locations which are easy to reach, for example; Ennerdale, Ashness Bridge, Buttermere and Lattrigg.
– 4-week course
– Full price; £66.00.  Concessions available.

Getting to grips with Lightroom and Photoshop concentrates on Adobe’s produts Lightroom Classic and Photoshop CC.  This course will take you through the setup and operation of the software and we will go through some common tasks such as Workflow Management / Basic editing of Highlights, Shadows, Contrast, etc. / Making selections / Non-destructive editing / and more
– A total of 7 sessions mostly classroom-based with one field trip to capture images.
– Full price; £137.50.  Concessions available.

Industrial Photography is combining some Urban Exploration flavours with Mining History to bring you three exciting ex-mining locations; Florence, Threlkeld and Scale Force.
– 3 sessions over 3 weeks.
– Full price; £60.  Concessions available.
– Limited to 10 places.

Hill skills and Photography is a short course which will cover improving your photographic skills while also showing you how to keep safe while on the fells and mountains.
– One session
– Full price; £TBA.  Concessions available.

Introduction to Photography in the studio, over two sessions (one classroom, one practical). This course is designed to give you a hands-on introduction to using lights in studio conditions and how to shoot a live model.  You will learn how to work with a model and how to use professional studio lighting.  Even if you don’t plan to take up studio photography it’s a really fascinating introduction to how lighting works and affects the look of your photos.  For this course I do recommend that you have a camera with an external flash sync socket or a standard flash hotshoe mount.
– Two sessions (on consecutive Saturdays; one classroom based followed by practical).
– Full price; £28.50
– Limited number of places available.

Online Photography courses these new courses are delivered to you in the comfort of your own home using meeting tools such as Zoom.  Please see the online course product page where you can make a booking and pay online.


Who runs the courses?
The courses are run by Dave Wilson, a local photographer, on behalf of the Community Learning and Skills Centre.  They are regulated and inspected by Ofstead and run in a safe environment meeting effective safeguarding standards.

What happens in the courses?
Firstly and very importantly, everyone gets their fair share of help.  So don’t worry if you feel you need some extra time, we always have a mixed bag of abilities on the course which is one thing that makes it interesting.
Most of the courses have classroom sessions and field trips (where we go out and practice what we’ve been talking about).  All the courses include tips on how to improve your technique, learn some of the theory involved in the photos you are taking, what to look out for, and loads of other great stuff which will help you improve your skills.

What if I’m not good enough?
There’s no such thing.  Everyone starts as a beginner so don’t worry because you will get the help and support to see you taking better pictures than ever!  In fact every person who has attended my courses have gone on to exceed their expectations and I have seen some truly amazing pictures on social media from our learners.

What days of the week do the courses run?
Classroom sessions for the Beginners and Serious Amateur photography courses are on week-day evening and the field trips are usually at weekends, the timing of which is mutually agreed with everyone in the class in order to suit the majority.
The Landscape of the Lakes course and Studio Taster courses usually run on a Weekend to suit the most number of people.

Where are the courses run?
– The Beginners and Serious Amateur photography courses classroom sessions are at the new Whitehaven Campus (St. Benedicts School) and the field trips are mostly around the Whitehaven Marina area with some field trips reaching to the likes of Eskdale and Calder Bridge.
– The Industrial Photography courses have visited historic areas such as Force Crag Mine, Threlkeld Quarry and Museum, Florence Mine and we will be looking for the same or other areas to visit.
– The Landscape of the Lakes course will visit locations such as Ashness Bridge, Derwent Water, Ennerdale, Latrigg.

– The Studio taster course will be run at Whitehaven Campus.
Wherever we venture outdoors we use locations which are fairly easy to reach and we don’t do any long walks or climbing.

What equipment do I need?
For the Beginners and Serious Amateur photography courses you need a camera (DSLR or Mirrorless are ideal although people have completed the courses successfully with Bridge or Compact cameras but bear in mind you will be limited with what you can achieve. You will also require a tripod for some of the field trips, although the tutor has spare tripods to loan out in limited supply. An ND (Neutral Density) filter is recommended, these can be quite cheap – recommendations to fit your particular lens can be given out in the classroom sessions.
For the Studio taster course you may be able to use your own camera or alternatively you can use the tutors equipment.
For other courses like the Landscape of the Lakes you can bring what you like but you need to be able to carry it.

What if I can’t make a session?
That’s no problem, everyone has other things on, simply let the tutor know. However we would like you to get value for money so if you know you would miss a chunk of the course because of holidays etc. then we recommend considering an alternative date.

How often do the courses run?
The courses repeat at various points in the year although for the courses where a classroom is used we avoid school holidays.

How do I book on to the course?
Please email your details to copelandclas@cumbria.gov.uk or call 01946-506416. If you would like to attend any of the courses then please do get in touch because we can only run these courses if people book on to them.

What is the cost of the courses?
Current costs, along with a lot more detail, can be found on the Community Skills and Learning website; https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/learningandskills/communitylearning/centres/copeland/copeland.asp

Can I talk to someone?
If you have any specific questions you can email copelandclas@cumbria.gov.uk or call 01946-506416.


“This course … will inspire me to go out and take my time with a hobby I always wanted to do – thanks Dave!”
E.Pullin

“Informative course in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere”
B.Laurie

“Dave is a great tutor with endless patience who has made learning easy. A friendly, interesting course that I have enjoyed and would recommend”
R.Knowles

“I’m glad I came, learnt so much more that I thought I would”.
C.Horton

“Fantastic course, great technical knowledge & teaching, a definite must, the man knows his stuff!”
A.Walkingshaw

“Would recommend the course for anyone wanting to improve their photography”
J.Paterson

“I did both of the courses, all in all a very enjoyable 12 weeks!”
S.Waldron

“I enjoyed it from start to finish. The course was delivered in a very friendly relaxed and easy manner. I will recommend this course to anyone who wants to progress their photography skills.”
M.Regan

“The course was very informative and adaptable to topics we were interested in. Also the field trips were fun and gave us the opportunity to put the learned skills to practice.”
R.Powe

“I learned a lot in an easy-going atmosphere and met a group of really nice people with a common interest.”
P.Mauger

“Now using my digital SLR more to its potential compared to before the course.”
I.Rhodes

“I wanted to feel more confident using my camera and now I do!”
M.Lancaster

“I have a much better knowledge of what the camera features do and now have the confidence to try them out.”
P.McKenzie

“Excellent course and extremely informative. Field trips provided practical examples of course content.”
G.Rhodes

“Very good course, would recommend!”
P.McCurrie

“I’m surprised at how well my knowledge has improved. I feel that I have the confidence to move away from the auto mode. A worthwhile course that has fired up my enthusiasm to continue to learn.”
J.Topping

“Really enjoyed the course, great tutor whose informal approach and genuine enthusiasm for photography is infectious! Great stuff Dave, thankyou! You have taught me something I wish I had learned years ago.”
J.Pennington

“Learned a lot in an easy & understandable way that Dave taught.”
E.Robinson

“I have a much better understanding of how the camera works and how to get better pictures.”
S.Farquhar

“Enjoyed the course and now feel very confident.”
J.Bowler

“I have a much better understanding of aperture, shutter speed and ISO and how they all work together. Excellent course, I am much more confident using my camera.”
J.Todhunter

“Dave is a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic ‘snapper’. Seems to enjoy passing on tips and techniques. He always ensures the whole class understands the concepts and is happy to answer even the simplest question. Thoroughly enjoyed the course, thanks Dave”
S.Kenwright

“More confident to use other features on camera not just ‘auto’ all the time. Better able to handle camera & use more facilities on it … have learnt more in general about photography”
L.Townson

“In the first 2 weeks I doubted that I would be able to understand, remember and be able to put into practice what I was learning but I have!”
J.McQuire

“Dave is a very good tutor, has the time and patience to show you how to learn and explains everything very well
V.Walker

“Dave has been a good tutor, he has inspired me to try things out and helped when I’ve gone wrong. Thoroughly enjoyed the field trips”
D.Whelan

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