DPS Camera Guide – Picking The Right Camera For Your Needs

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Buying your first camera or even upgrading to a new one  for that matter can be a bit of a mine field. This is not helped by going online to have a quick look aT options, only to be absolutely frazzled by the amount of jargon, abbreviations, techno-babble, brand fan-boys and add an healthy dose of pixel-philes, and the whole experience will leave your head spinning. Here at DPS we have decided to put together a simple list to different guides that help you put together the best camera for your needs. We have decided to leave aside brand (most brands are created equal and generally it comes down to preference) and focus on the main camera “types”, starting at the very bottom and working up in terms of functions and features.

 

Smartphone (Camera Phone)

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You won’t need too much of an introduction to smartphones, chances are, you are reading this on one right now.  So, is the camera on your phone any good? The short answer is…YES! but LIMITED! Many a seasoned photographer dimisses the camera phone as a toy, however for many this is their first introduction to the world of photography. While the iPhone, Android  or Windows smartphones are fantastic for learning and practicing composition, most photographers will quickly outgrow them and find them very limiting after a while. This is where most people will decide to upgrade or buy their first “Real” camera. In saying that, if you want to get more out of your smartphone photography have a look at our Smartphone Workshop Here.

Pros: Small, mobile, always on your person & lots of editing apps.

Cons: Limited functions, limited accessories & it is a feature of your phone, rather than the main purpose.

 

Compact Camera

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With the rise of the smartphone, the compact camera is fast becoming an endangered species. The big brands like Canon, Nikon, Sony and Olympus are producing fewer units and models each year. With most Smartphones being able to match them in terms of quality and functions in all but the most advanced compact models.

Pros: Compact, Mobile, Multiple in-camera functions, better battery than smartphones, dedicated memory card so no competing for space on phone & price

Cons: Not much improvement on Smartphone, carrying extra item & although it has more functions than a smartphone, it is still very limited.

 

Bridge Camera

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With the demise of the compact camera, most camera manufacturers have diverted the resources that they once poured into compact cameras into Bridge cameras. So what is a Bridge Camera?  To put it simply, it is  a compact camera on steroids! These cameras are a massive step up from a compact and smartphone camera, however a step down from a DSLR (we will get to that!) These cameras have a lot of the mobility of a compact camera, with some of the power of a DSLR……almost as if it was a “BRIDGE” between the two.  While bridge cameras are fine for most enthusiasts starting out, and even taking a photography course, (as most bridge cameras have manual modes and settings), they will eventually outgrow them, it will take slightly longer than if they had a phone or compact camera, but in our experience in DPS we find most students who complete our basic courses will often look to upgrade from a bridge as soon as they can.

Pros: Compact(ish), lots of features, manual modes, suited to  more “serious” photography &  price.

Cons: Limited aperture range, lens is fixed and cannot be upgraded, limited ISO range & shutter lag( slow to take picture when button is pressed).

 

DSLR (DPS RECOMMENDED)

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DSLR is an abbreviation for ‘Digital Single Lens Reflex’, in short, this means the camera does not suffer from any noticeable shutter lag. What is Shutter Lag? If using a phone, compact or bridge camera, when you press the button to take a picture, there is a delay between when you press the the button and when the camera actually takes the shot, this is known as shutter lag and can be very noticeable on some cameras and phones and may lead to missing the shot. DSLR cameras come with interchangeable lenses, meaning the lens on the camera can be taken off and switched with another one. This can be used to improve the cameras performance and the type of images the cameras will produce. DLSR cameras are often considered to be of Pro & Semi Pro standards, and although by no means is this accepted by all, they are the staple of enthusiasts and professionals alike. We recommend these and mirrorless cameras (don’t worry we will get to that too) for most of our Photography Courses and Photography Workshops.

Pros: Full of functions and features, sturdy, high image quality, interchangeable lenses, accessories, good low light performance & no shutter lag.

Cons: Bulky, can be expensive & requires semi regular cleaning.

 

Mirrorless Cameras (DPS RECOMMENDED)

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These are often called four third cameras, but this is a bit of a misnomer these days……when these cameras where first introduced about 10 years ago, they were dismissed as a fad by a lot of photographers and at the time the technology just wasn’t up to snuff. However in recent years there has been major innovations from (for example) Fuji and Olympus in this area and they have not only come into their own, but have massively excelled. These cameras have all the power of DSLR’s but are about half the size and weight, making them super compact. However, because of the absence of the “lens reflex” the LR part in a DSLR, these cameras suffer from noticeable shutter lag, while not as bad as a phone, compact or bridge, it still isn’t as good as a DSLR, but is improving all the time. These cameras are also hard on battery life and have reduced image quality, however we feel that for travel and street photography they are unmatched. Check out our DPS Snapshot Photography Podcast, on the rise of the Mirror less camera here.

Pros: Compact, full of functions and features, sturdy,  interchangeable lenses, accessories & good low light performance.

Cons: Shutter lag, can be expensive & often only medium image quality.

 

Full Frame DSLR

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If you are just starting out in photography…forget it! Get the techniques right first, then get the technology. If you are thinking about going full frame from a DSLR, remember that everything gets bigger – the price tag on lenses, camera bodies, filters, processing power and so on. You need to do your homework if you are considering purchasing one. Your current accessories may not be compatible with your new full frame camera. Pay particular attention to your lenses as they may not be compatible. If your reaching this point in your photography, then for most it is a milestone, as most “serious photographers” will eventually move to full frame. With  photography and the whole photographic industry changing so rapidly this may not be the case in a few years time. If you plan to work professionally or semi professional then this may be the upgrade you need, depending on the genre you are working in.

 

Pros: Professional functions and features, sturdy, high image quality, interchangeable lenses, accessories, good low light performance & no shutter lag.

Cons: Bulky,  expensive, require regular cleaning & not backwards compatible.

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Check Out Some Of Our Beginners Photography Courses

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Congratulations To Grace O Reilly From All Here AT DPS – TV3 Ireland AM Christmas Photography Competition

dublin photography school - grace o reilly

Dublin Photography School are delighted to wish this years winner of the TV3 Ireland AM Christmas Photography Competition; Grace O Reilly, a massive and well deserved congratulations.

Grace’s entry bested some fierce and talented competition to come out with the number spot, with this stunning image below;

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Grace has been a familiar face with us here in DPS and has taken regular Photography workshops with us, since we open our doors back in late 2010. Grace has always had a massive passion and talent for photography since she started studying photography in Kevin’s College in 2007.

Grace is a multifaceted artist and aside from photography, We have seen her do wonderful things with painting, textiles and up cycling.

If you would like to see more of Grace’s fantastic photography or craft work you see more here

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR OVERWHELMING SUCCESS GRACE! –  From all of us here at Dublin Photography School.

dublin photography school - grace o reilly

 

 

*Special Offer* Book 2 Masterclasses & Receive a €20 Discount

camera club courses dublinSpend a full day quenching your photography thirst and combine both the composition & lighting masterclasses, & receive a €20 discount

This offer will run throughout the festive season and would make an ideal gift for the photographer in your life.

The offer will allow you to take advantage of our two masterclasses that will take place back to back in early 2018 (February 24th). The first masterclass will be held from 9.45am to 1.45 pm, and will cover the art of photographic composition in depth. This composition masterclass is perfect for photographers off all levels,

See full Composition Masterclass details here

The second masterclass of the day will take place from 2.15pm to 5.30pm and it will cover different types of lighting and how to meter and expose for them. This lighting masterclass is suitable for all photography levels.

See full Lighting Masterclass details here

These photographic classes (at present) are one off events and may not be repeated – don’t miss out and book today.

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Special Offer Book 2 Masterclasses & Receive a €20 Discount

Price €140 (price includes 23% VAT)

Click here for location

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Documentary photography courses dublin

Snapshot Podcast Part 2 Of Martin Creggs Thursday Talk – ‘An Introduction To Documentary Photography’ Online Now

 ‘An Introduction To Documentary Photography’ Part Two Online Now

Dublin Photography School recorded Martin Cregg’s ‘Thursday Talk’ and  PART TWO is available as a free podcast, ‘HERE’. Available also is  a free download of the presentation given on the  night by Martin so you can follow along.

In case your looking for Part one, you can find it here

We here at Dublin Photography School were delighted to host Martin’s talk – ‘An Introduction to Documentary Photography’. Evident throughout the entire evening was his honest passion for photography, his knowledge and his expert delivery. There was a fantastic turn out on the night with over 45 people in attendance, with all levels and genres of photographers represented.

The team at DPS would like to thank Martin for the work, time and effort that he put into the talk and we look forward to bringing you more ‘Thursday Talks’ in the Future #dublinphotographyschool

 

New Photography Courses & Masterclasses For 2018 in DPS 2018

The people have spoken and they have overwhelmingly  said “we would like to see a Lightroom course & a photography composition masterclass, as well as much more “. The team at Dublin Photography School are delighted to announce a new Lightroom photography course, Photo Restoration workshop, as well as introducing our new  ‘Masterclass’ series for 2018.

 

Some of our new courses & workshops for 2018 are;lighting photography workshopdublin - learn about lighting in photography

1 Day Lightroom Course

Photo Restoration Workshop

Photography Composition Masterclass

Photography Lighting Masterclass

Photographic Portfolio Preparation Masterclass

DPS are delighted to add these workshops, courses and masterclasses to their already large selection of courses, workshops, location shoots and photography holidays.

Be sure to keep an eye on all of our social media pages for new holiday announcements and soon to be released details for upcoming ‘Thursday Talks’ for 2018.

 

 

 

DPS Bites: Black & White Photography

5 Tips For Better Black & White Photography

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Black & white photography is an art form in itself, it can be considered by many to be the pinnacle of photography, as often you have to do so much more with less. Aside from it’s own unique aesthetic, black & white, depending on how it is used, can make an image striking & hard hitting & can also be used to romanticize images, while allowing the photographer to experiment with moods & feels that are easy to communicate as they are not watered down or obstructed with colour.

Know When To Shoot Black & White:

improve your black and white photography

This is one of the more simple considerations & one that is often over-looked. Ask yourself what makes a good black & white image? A technical breakdown would see the image broken into shape, form, texture, tone, contrast & pattern,  but this can be answered very easily by any photographer looking at a scene. Next time when looking through your viewfinder & wondering if this image would look good in black &  white, ask yourself , what is the most striking thing about this view? If colour is the first word that pops into your head, then more that likely it is a black & white image.

Texture Is King:

texture in black and white photography

Have you ever noticed how anything old tends to look great in black & white? This is mainly for two reasons, the first one is, this is a stylistic choice, old things look “authentic” in an old fashioned medium, however also things that are old tend to have some city miles on them & are often covered in scratches & dust. These objects or scenes look great in black & white becuase there are ‘textures’ in the absence of colour. A strong texture will add a striking tactile quality to your image. Have a look at some black & white images online & you will see strong textures in a lot of them.

Toning:

toning in black and white photography

Very few images are what we call ‘true black & white images’. Even in the days of printing in a darkroom, there was no such thing as a truly neutral print, as the age of the paper & chemical would cause a slight colour cast. With that in mind a lot of impact can be added using toning. Adding a single colour to your image to warm or cool it, can have a dramatic impact with it’s mood and feeling. So, experiment away in lightroom, aperture,  photoshop or whatever editing software you use.

Shoot in Colour & then Convert:

black and white conversion techniques

A lot of people think they are being purists by photographing black & white in camera, however in reality they are doing themselves a terrible dis-service. This setting on your camera only records the the luminosity information & uses 256,000 shades of grey to render the image. While this sounds like a lot, it is actually a tiny amount of information, which means your black & white image with will come out more grey, dull or muddy. Shoot in color & convert in a program like photoshop or silver efex for maximum tonal range.


Shoot in RAW:

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This is not just a Black & white tip, but a photography tip in general. Every image can benefit from being shot in Raw format. There is a host of technical reasons as to why, however suffice to say it makes a massive difference to the contrast & tonal range of the image, as well as allowing maximum flexibility in processing & printing the image. You will need to have a program to convert your raw images to JPEG’s before you can print them.

Bonus Tip:

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Why not come along to a Black & White Photography Workshop  with DPS. While it is not exactly a tip, it will teach you all the skills you need to know to kick your black & white photography to the next level!

 

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Romania & Transylvania Photography Holiday Highlights

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In September 2017, the DPS team  set out with 22 other photographers of all levels to one of the most remote, untouched and unique areas of Europe, Romania. Landing in Bucharest as the sun was setting, we quickly grab our luggage and board a bus to one of the most  beautiful places in the world. Through the coach window we see jagged cliffs and the outline of slopping wooden tiled houses as we are whisked to our destination. Up and up we travel, corkscrewing our way through small mountain villages until we reach the Transylvanian plateau, which is our base for the next four nights, the old Saxon stronghold town of Brasov.

Settling in for the night our advice is very simple, “have your memory cards empty and your batteries full, as we will hit the ground running in the morning”.

We wake to a stunning sunrise where the weather is still fantastic in September in Romania, 25 degrees  and that is the coolest day! Our day starts with a short tour Brasov. The city is located at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains steeped in history and old world charm with fascinating scenery. The tour takes in the old town hall square, St. Nicholas Church ( the oldest Romanian Orthodox church in the country) and the first Romanian school of Schei, which dates back to 1495, and the Gothic Black Church. We firstly stop at Biserica Sfântul Nicolae a stunning orthadox church and  in a secluded area in the back of the grounds we have our first outdoor lesson.

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For 30 minutes we make sure that everyone is up to speed by covering some basic settings and composition skills.

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Once in Brasov old town square, we break up into smaller groups and the DPS team spend some time with each group and give advice, feedback and direction.

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Don’t Miss Out!

Transylvania Holiday October 11th- 15th 2017

*** Only 3 Places Remaining ***

photography trips to TransylvaniaCome travel with us to Romania the largest of the Balkan nations. It is a land of stunning mountain scenery, unspoiled countryside and historic towns, making it a fantastic holiday destination for anyone looking to develop their documentary, street and landscape photography skills. Based in the charming, historic town of Brasov for four nights, you will have the opportunity to photograph the remarkable landscapes of the Transylvania region as you travel high into the Carpathian Mountains, taking in impressive vistas and lake views. You will also visit the picturesque medieval town of Viscri, famous for its traditional houses and Saxon fortified church, and Sighisoara, with its impeccably preserved hilltop citadel. Of course, no stay in Transylvania would be complete without a visit to the imposing fortress of Dracula’s Castle.

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We spend the first half of the day working some basic skills before breaking for lunch and then regrouping before we head up into the beautiful Tampa Mountains where we have amazing panoramic views or the entire city of Brasov.

 romanian photography holidays with DPS & Travel Department

 

We spend the next few hours exploring the infamous Castle Bran, ( castle is mentioned in Bram Strokers Dracula ) taking tight stair wells and losing ourselves in rooms from another time,  a time that seems to step right out of a fairy tale. Romania is dotted with these Germanic style Gothic revival castles.

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The group then regroups 30 minutes before sunset to photograph Castle Bran under the velvet blue veil of night.

After a long day we arrive back in Brasov, some of the group rest up and some head into Brasov to experience the local night life.

 

Day three takes us on another adventure but before  we travel out  along one of the most spectacular mountain roads in the world, the Transfagarasan Road and into the impressive Fagaras Mountains (commonly known as The Transylvanian Alps), we make a short stop at the Fagaras Fortress and the beautifully impressive gold domed Orthodox cathedral to capture some of it’s beauty.  When back on the road, we navigate up twisting winding roads of sheer drops and stunning heights, expertly handled by our driver. We stop along the way to take in some of the most stunning vistas. Before reaching our destination and our highest point,  Lake Balea, a glacier lake which is situated within the Fagaras Mountains at 2042metres above the sea level, our group breaks for lunch. After we are fed and watered we head out to our chosen location to get some of the best shots that Balea Lake has to offer. Here we give detailed tuition on filters, tripods, remote, settings, exposure and composition. The group then have some free time to seek out their own shots and compositions.  Before returning back to Brasov as the sun is setting, stop once again to photograph the impressive winding roads of the Transfagarasan. The remainder of the evening was spent at leisure, a most welcome break after  a busy day.

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Day four takes us north to Sighisoara, a beautifully preserved medieval town set in rolling countryside and a UNESCO World Heritage site steeped in legend, and the birth place of Vlad the Impaler (the warlord that Bram Strokers  character Dracula is based on). We start with a short  walking tour through the cobbled streets viewing many highlights including the Church on the Hill and the impressive Clock Tower, which dates back to the 13th century. Each day a different wooden figure emerges from the belfry on the stroke of midnight and a drummer strikes every hour. This location is a little different in terms of tuition, here we introduce some ideas around setting themes and conventions, as well  reading and communicating an image. The guys are both delighted and challenged as this gives them a way of seeing things with a different twist. After a review during our exploration of the town, everybody excels and produces a fantastic array of images.

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We reboard the bus  and travel onwards to the traditional Saxon village of Viscri. Viscri  is  an amazing site that seems to almost have stepped out of time, with handcrafts and traditional agriculture that has not changed in generations. It is home to a stunning fortified church. We split up and wander this unique and fascinating town, that is full of friendly faces and detailed crafts, before re-boarding the bus back to Brasov.

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It is our last evening in Romania so many of us experience the night life and have a well earned local dinner. We depart early the next morning  with out take away breakfast in hand, and just as we think our adventure is over, we make one more stop. We head for Peles Castle on route to the airport and find it lit up in the amazing misty sunrise.

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DPS Bites: Night Photography

5 Tips For Better Night Photographs

night photography courses dublinNight photography is a massive genre & can cover a huge range of subjects from astro photography & light painting, to landscapes taken under moonlight, traffic light trails & everything in between. Each one of these specific styles has it’s own rules & techniques that are popular among there practitioners, however this article is aimed at the beginner venturing out at night to photograph things like cityscapes with light & traffic trails. So, if you have just managed to get you head around ISO, F-stops & Shutter Speeds, then you will be well on your way to nailing down traffic trails & night cityscapes.

Use A Tripod:night photography dublin

Like any good landacape shoot, night photography starts with a tripod. When using a tripod you are able to keep your camera steady & can use much longer shutter speeds without camera shake. The longer your shutter is open, the more chance you will have of creating traffic trails & turning any movement into ghosting.  Tripods range in price & quality &  finding the right one for you may requirs some decent research. Two tripods that Dublin Photography School recommend are, the  Hahnel Triad Lite 60 Tripod & Manfrotto Compact Action Tripod . You can order them here (cheeky plug). When looking for a tripod it should satisfy a very simple requirement ….it has to be stable enough to keep your camera steady, after that, material, style, height, head & brand are a matter of personal preference.

Use A Low ISO:

Something that surprises many newbie photographers is using a low ISO….they have learned that a high ISO is used in dark & low light conditions & yes that is generally true (if you are shooting hand held at night), however since you went to all the hassle of dragging your tripod into town, you might as well achieve the best reuslts by using a low ISO. Your image will have less noise & less grain, & by creating longer shutter speeds you will add more creativity to your shot.

White Balance:

awb night photography

Most cameras by default are set to AWB (automatic white balance) & while this does a good job for about 99% of scenes, it will struggle to get colours correct at night, as the scene will be lit by multiple light sources, for example headlights, neon lights, traffic lights & street lights. This can easily confuse any camera system. The solution is simple however, you can change the white balance in your camera to match the scene. Try setting your camera to ‘Incandescent or Tungsten’ to eliminate that strong orange colour in your night images. Make sure to set it back to AWB when you are finished night shooting.

Try Using Manual Focus:

Many cameras will struggle to achieve focus in low light situations & how much it will struggle will depend on a couple of things. Firstly, how well lit up the scene is & the second is the camera model itself. To get around this & to make sure you have full control of your image, try turning on your camera’s manual focus & adjust the focus to the most prominent subject of interest in your scene. If you are not sure, simply focus one third of your scene as this will put a large amount of your scene into clear focus. Again remember to turn back on your ‘auto focus’ when finished, as it may result in all your images being out of focus when photographing later if you don’t.

Turn Off VR, IS, OS or SS:

night photography tripod

Image stabilization systems are designed for producing sharper handheld shots by utilizing tiny motors that cancel handshake & barrel vibration. This works fantastically & should always be left on when shooting handheld, however when used with a tripod, these motors  can actually cause the image to be slightly softened & look unsharp. So, remember switch it off while you have it on a tripod & then turn it back on once you have finished shooting.

Bonus Tip:

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Why not  join the 7 week Beginners Course  at Dublin photography School. It includes two on location night shoots.

 

Documentary photography courses dublin

Thursday Talk by Martin Cregg – ‘An Introduction To Documentary Photography’

In Case You Missed It!

Dublin Photography School recorded Martin Cregg’s ‘Thursday Talk’ and  it is now available as a free podcast, ‘HERE’. Available also is  a free download of the presentation given on the  night by Matin so you can follow along.

We here at Dublin Photography School were delighted to host Martin’s talk – ‘An Introduction to Documentary Photography’. Evident throughout the entire evening was his honest passion for photography, his knowledge and his expert delivery. There was a fantastic turn out on the night with over 45 people in attendance, with all levels and genres of photographers represented.

The team at DPS would like to thank Martin for the work, time and effort that he put into the talk and we look forward to bringing you more ‘Thursday Talks’ in the Future #dublinphotographyschool

 

Martin Cregg Martin Cregg is a documentary photographer and lecturer living in Dublin. He has exhibited in Ireland and also internationally. Martin specializes in contemporary documentary photography practice and will give a lecture around an ‘introduction to documentary ideas and different practices of documentary photography’.

Time: 7.30pm
Date: September 28th 2017
Venue: The Carmelite Centre, 56 Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

Martin has exhibited in Ireland and Internationally – recently at ‘Heillandi’ Switzerland (2016), ‘Gazebook’ Sicily (2016), ‘Illuminations’ NUIM (2014), PhotoIreland (2013) Les Rencontres d’Arles (July 2012), the Natural History Museum in Leeuwarden (July 2012) and in Shanghai as part of the ‘Postcards from The Celtic Tiger’  Group show. In 2011 his ‘Photo Course’ project was shortlisted for the FOAM Talent Call. Cregg’s work has been published in a variety of magazines and books including ‘Ireland and Photography’ and Magazines such as Source and Irish Arts Review,

R.S.V.P by emailing info@dublinphotographyschool.ie to secure your  place
Please book early as places are limited & it will fill up fast

Martin Cregg

DPS Thursday Talk presented by Martin Cregg – ‘An Introduction To Documentary Photography’

FREE THURSDAY TALK WITH DUBLIN PHOTOGRAPHY SCHOOL

We are delighted to bring you an evening presented by Martin Cregg – ‘An Introduction To Documentary Photography’
Martin Cregg Martin Cregg is a documentary photographer and lecturer living in Dublin. He has exhibited in Ireland and also internationally. Martin specializes in contemporary documentary photography practice and will give a lecture around an ‘introduction to documentary ideas and different practices of documentary photography’.

Time: 7.30pm
Date: September 28th 2017
Venue: The Carmelite Centre, 56 Aungier Street, Dublin 2.

Martin has exhibited in Ireland and Internationally – recently at ‘Heillandi’ Switzerland (2016), ‘Gazebook’ Sicily (2016), ‘Illuminations’ NUIM (2014), PhotoIreland (2013) Les Rencontres d’Arles (July 2012), the Natural History Museum in Leeuwarden (July 2012) and in Shanghai as part of the ‘Postcards from The Celtic Tiger’  Group show. In 2011 his ‘Photo Course’ project was shortlisted for the FOAM Talent Call. Cregg’s work has been published in a variety of magazines and books including ‘Ireland and Photography’ and Magazines such as Source and Irish Arts Review,

R.S.V.P by emailing info@dublinphotographyschool.ie to secure your  place
Please book early as places are limited & it will fill up fast