It’s never easy to turn up at a new ‘club’ where everyone knows each other (you think…) and not feel a little awkward, a little bit of an outsider. Fight or Flight. There’s nothing like that feeling.

Joining Welshot for my first Academy Evening Event was most certainly – nothing like that feeling!

Anyone looking at the situation from the outside would never have known it was my first event, my first introduction to the people there, my first experience of Welshot Imaging.

I think I must have bored my friends (and anyone who will pretend their listening) with a blow by blow account of what turned out to be a very sociable, enjoyable evening and an excellent learning experience.

Picture this (excuse the pun!)

You gather your camera gear together and head off on your own to the Academy venue. You have no idea what is going to happen when you get there, what will be expected of you, whether your equipment will be sniggered at and you ask yourself will there be the ‘my lens is bigger than yours’ syndrome?

Film Noir Photography at the Welshot Photographic Academy Evening.
Image Credit: Jan Nowlands – Taken at her first Welshot Academy Evening

Arriving at the venue, a Holiday Inn and walking into the lounge bar, he first thing I heard was ‘ You doing the Welshot  night?  Grab a drink and come and join us..’

Within 10 minutes, I felt like I’d known them for ages. The night began with a call from the boss Lee.  She was keen to set out the plans for the evening with a Avion’s help (he is another boss) and the theme of FILM NOIR began.

Yes it was  a black and white night set in the 1940’s. Movie star, soft focus and 3 fabulous models, 2 ladies who were dressed immaculately in 40’s clothes and a chap who looked the ‘moody’ part, nonchalant and sultry -that was the look. Where else could you find a place to learn first-hand how to take that sort of portraiture photography, and lighting and all that?

I was stunned by the professionalism of the models, the relaxed, easy and very friendly expertise of the tutors and most off all by the warm encouragement from the other members.

Camera snobbery was nowhere to be found and with all this, I completely forgot everything I had learned before, my head went blank and I didn’t know my ISO from my f-stop!

I was eased back on track by the tutors’ guidance and with a sense of humour to boot.

Film Noir / Black and White Photography and 40's Themed Photo-shoot at the Welshot Photographic Academy
Image Credit: Jan Nowlands – Taken at her first Welshot Academy Evening

There were people there who clearly knew their onions but some more like me, enthusiastic but I still don’t know what I don’t know! After a round of photo shoots, we were offered supper and refreshments which was very welcome.   And off we went to begin another round of shooting photos with our models having had a costume change – still the 40’s and moodier than ever.

They were great.

The worries and concern I had disappeared almost immediately and I was amongst warm, friendly like-minded people with tutors there who genuinely couldn’t do enough to help you get the best out of your photography by engaging you with ideas and techniques I certainly would never have known how to set up. For the more experienced, they are more than capable of raising their game and some.

Film Noir at the Welshot Photographic Academy
Image Credit: Jan Nowlands – Taken at her first Welshot Academy Evening

Great learning experience, great people and a really sociable night. I thoroughly enjoyed it and went home buzzing.

I’ll be back…Thank you!

Jan Nowlands

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