Photography ArticlesThis is Bradford Photographic Society website's teaching and activities section, where you can find advice and stories from members.

Along with reports of our meetings.

We hope to eventually have a good collection of interesting and entertaining articles on different aspects of photography.

Thursday night saw the first portrait night of the year, and what a success it was. There was a large turn out of members, old and new, all with their cameras reading to either learn new or further enhance their portrait photography skills.

Paul generously provided a large array of lighting equipment for the evening, and two models bravely took to their respective stools, no doubt feeling like stars on a red carpet for a premier, in front of enough lenses to fill a generously apportioned camera emporium.

Many shots were taken, poses struck, and great portfolio photographs made. It was also great to meet a couple of people from Bradford Community Radio (BCB 106.0 fm), and we look forward to seeing how the shots work out.

Air Raid Shelter on Pickering StationFrom the 16th to the 18th of October, Pickering hosted its annual 1940s weekend, and what a fantastic event it was. It seemed as though the whole town had been transported back into 1943.

From the Friday until Sunday, there were persons dressed in various outfits varying from military (RAF, Army both Allies and Axis etc) and civilians in demob suits and ladies in some fantastic dresses from the era, to name but a few.

On Saturday, the main festivities started with the centre of town being cordoned off and a parade marching and driving through town. This was followed by various events, including singing in Pickering itself, and a re-enactment of an air raid on the station itself.

On the show ground there were other events and re-enactments, but with so much going on the in the centre of town I did not make it out to the show ground.

I would certainly recommend the weekend to anyone (dressing-up to look the part is not compulsory but does add to the experience and is therefore to be recommended), and with so many in attendance (15,000 approximately on the Saturday alone) it is a target rich environment for the photographer looking for candid shots in particular.

Kevin Cummins' book

On Sunday the 11th October, in the Roof Space at Salts Mill, a sold out auditorium was treated to a conversation with Kevin Cummins. He is a Manchester born photographer (and Manchester City fan) who is responsible for taking many iconic pictures of musicians and bands, from the late seventies to the present day.

In his book, Manchester: Looking for the Light through the Pouring Rain this story is told in his own words and those of people he worked with on the NME, and using many of the iconic pictures I have already alluded to.

I've only just started to read the book, but so far it is an enthralling read, and recommended to anyone with an interest in the Manchester music scene from the late Seventies onwards, but also in photography, for Kevin Cummins is indeed a great purveyor of the fine art.

Tonight is the first night in the syllabus where club members and any newcomers to the society are encouraged to bring in their current photographic equipment.

It gives everyone an opportunity to see any new purchases that may have been made over the summer recess, and also, if anyone has their sights on a new bag, lens or camera, the chance to chat to a past/current owner to get some hands-on experience before making a purchase themselves.

So, if you're a fan of Nikon, Canon, Sony or any other camera manufacturer, there will be somebody in attendance with something in their kit-bag that, by the end of the night, you'll have decided is a must-have!


Dave Coates - Abroad with a CameraMany thanks to Dave Coates for another interesting evening of breathtaking landscape photos, and the stories behind them. We were treated to awe-inspiring exotic and beautiful images from Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and the United States. It was great to see Velvia slides in use too - reminding us of the high quality possible from film.
Dave Coates Photography

Bempton Cliffs

Located on the East coast, along a narrow road from Bempton and just a few miles south of Filey, is the RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs. Here, dependant on the time of year, you can find a variety of wildlife from Gannets, Guillemots and Kittiwakes to Short-eared Owls and Puffins. According to the RSPB website, it is “easily the best place in England to see, hear and smell seabirds” and after a recent visit, I would have to agree.

From the car park (remember to take cash to pay if you are not a member of the RSPB, I am not and was nearly in big trouble when faced with a £3.50 charge with no cash machine in sight!) the visitor centre is next door, and helpful staff are on hand to show you the paths available to walk the cliffs.

There are boards stating which birds are likely to be seen during the time of year, and then it’s off to the coastal path and it’s various viewing points for bird spotting and more importantly, bird shooting!

I went armed with a 80-200mm lens, a longer one would have been a bonus, but still there were enough birds drifting on the wind and standing on the rocks to make the journey worthwhile, but the wind did make a lens/body with stability of some kind a distinct bonus.

For more information visit

How to Take a PhotoThe new BPS season starts on Thursday 3rd September, at 7.30pm. The programme kicks-off with a two-part series on technique. If you often find yourself wondering what goes through other photographers' heads, just before they press the shutter, then these talks are for you.

Part One explores the different ways of seeing a potential photo, composing the image, and setting your camera for the best results. In Part Two, the audience is asked to provide recent images — taken since Part One, if possible — to demonstrate how these techniques work. Everyone will be invited to comment on the merits of each photograph, and, where appropriate, suggest improvements which could have been made at the time of capture, or can be made in post-processing.

Whatever your level of expertise, there will hopefully be something for you. You may even be able to pass on a gem of wisdom yourself.

  • Do you have a definitive attitude to your photography?
  • Do you really try and take your time in setting up the perfect composition, for what is available, to make the perfect image?
  • Do you consider using Aperture or Shutter priority, rather than Auto Program?
  • Do you consider if exposure compensation will help to improve the final outcome?
  • Are you sure the White Balance on your camera is set for the current conditions?
  • Should you shoot in Raw or Jpeg or Tiff?
  • Would Landscape or Portrait format suit the composition better?
  • Would changing the ISO help, or cause unnecessary noise, or improve a given effect situation?
  • Would it be better to wait for the light/darkness to arrive just get the perfect image?
  • Have you checked the settings on your camera since last time you used it?

I am sure everybody at sometime have considered some of the above points prior to pressing the shutter button. Perhaps some of us suffer from the machine gun effect, assuming that if we take enough, some images will come out good.

  • Do we take the image and believe that it will look better after some post-processing in Photoshop?
  • Do we shoot an image to suit a title, or think of a title afterwards?

I think the answers to some of these questions are very simple. Photography should be enjoyable, no matter what standard of ability you are at, and no matter what equipment you use. It is an activity which can never be completely learnt in any one lifetime, no matter what age you start at. Technology is like moving sand, it constantly changes and we go to the next level. However, it is this constantly changing battle that keeps our interest going, If there was not a challenge, where would the fun be? Photography is a media for all, no matter what your gender, age, abled or disabled. Photographers come from every walk of life. So why continue making these decisions by yourself?

Join the Bradford Photographic Society and be involved with like-minded people, and share the satisfaction that only Photography can give.

Paul Richards (President), BPS

StopGAP Dance CompanyThe BPS was invited to photograph dress rehearsals of the StopGAP Dance Company last week. StopGAP is an integrated professional contemporary dance company, which has dancers with and without disabilities.

Ten BPS members were present, & they photographed the dress rehearsal for an hour, before the company's Barnsley Civic Theatre performance on Saturday 9th May.


West Yorkshire PoliceNine members of the Bradford Photographic Society were made welcome by a representative of the West Yorkshire Police Imaging Unit headquarters last night. They were given a tour of the facilities, and they were given an insight into the life of a police photographer and how cameras, video equipment and computers are used against crime.

The BPS wishes to thank those concerned for their time and hospitality. The tour was very interesting and enlightening, especially the insights and stories provided by the host, who was very receptive, frank and open with his guests.

Inter-ClubThe fourth and final round of the 2008/9 Inter-Club Competition took place on Saturday 14th March. Twelve photographic societies took part in the competition, submitting a total of 240 photographs, which were critiqued and marked by guest judges over four rounds.

Bradford Photographic Society won the first round with a clear lead, which narrowed with every successive round. By the time of the last round, nerves were frayed as other clubs scored impressive marks. Eventually, after a long tense pause, it was announced that BPS had won by 1 point, narrowly beating Leeds Photographic Society to the finishing line.

The Inter-Club Cup (held by Huddersfield for five years) was presented to BPS President, Graeme Mitchell, after a good polish. You can see the winning photographs in our new Inter-Club Winners gallery.

Bradford Industrial Museum45 of our prints will be on display in the café of the Bradford Industrial Museum until Sunday 11th January 2009. Admission free.

Bradford Industrial Museum, Moorside Road, Eccleshill, Bradford BD2 3HP. Tel. 01274.435900
Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm; Sunday 12 noon - 5pm (café closes at 4pm)
Closed: Mondays (Except Bank Holidays), Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Good Friday

The reports of the meetings held by Bradford Photographic Society

Reports of BPS Exhibitions and talks held by others

Articles on the history of Bradford Photographic Society

Reports about Bradford Photographic Society photowalks and shoots

Articles on how to improve photographic techniques

Other articles about Bradford Photographic Society or photography in general

Reports on the various competitions in which BPS is involved

These are emails received into BPS from persons/companies offering photography related courses, competitions, exhibitions, etc.