Training day with Clifton & Co Estate agents, Kent / by Dawn Webb

I was asked to conduct a training day with a local well established estate agents nearby in Hartley, Kent.


Clifton Button the owner of Clifton & Co had identified that the standard of photography across the brand need an uplift and approached me to come in and do some low level teaching for the day.  The company had recently purchased a new set of cameras complete with wide angle lenses and tripods but lacked the full knowledge on how to set everything up to get the best out of the kit.  Breaking the day down into two segments across two locations I embarked on a theory lesson in a live house.  Previously the estate agents had been shooting interiors without the use of a tripod, and relying solely on the use of direct flash from the top of their Nikon D3200 cameras whilst set in AUTO mode - Not good!  I demonstrated a simple manual mode setup using the tripod and putting flash to one side and letting them see what we can get with just ambient light and bracketing exposures.  To say they were astonished is an understatement.

I then covered the basics of exposure, apertures, shutter speeds and ISO along with white balance - all of the estate agents grasped the concept fairly quickly.  Initially an AUTO exposure on auto ISO was giving them an exposure of 1600ISO, F4 at 1/6o absolute disaster when it comes to interior photography!

With my setup we were getting 100ISO, F22, 3"full seconds exposure and of course the camera mounted on the tripod.  Using tungsten lighting with the rooms to provide warm and inviting and light and then anything supplied by various windows.


I also spoke to the picture editor, Jo taylor with regards to image stacking to compensate for blown out window exposures etc

VOILA instant improvement across the board. We then spoke about verticals, white balance and dressing the scene to make the best possible image.

I had a great day and hope the photography across the board now improves and I look forward to walking past the various branches in Dartford, Hartley and Belvedere to see their work.


Whilst at the various branches I also updated staff portraits, this time with my trusty X-Pro1 and 35mm F1.4.  I used ambient light for the windows only.  I felt their last set of portraits were too formal, staged lacking character and poorly lit.  The key to success in an environment like this is to shoot fast, but keep the flow going and make it fun for all involved.  It is always fun for me to infuse others in the art of photography and to pass on my knowledge and watch them progress.


Here is what we got working together and I hope you will agree they look very natural and show the staff in a great friendly light.