Photoclub Creative in Tunbridge Wells and now in London!


Smoke & Mirrors © Andrew Newson

I run a lot of different photography courses but my longest running course is Photoclub Creative. I wanted to do an introduction to this course for those who might be considering joining but know very little about it.

Photoclub Creative is a creative photography course that I run from the pub! The course is run over a 6 month period with the next season about to start in August 2017.

The cost is £199 per person for the 6 months.
Some of the things you will get for your money are as follows.

  • 6x4 inch prints of photo submissions
  • Video screencast feedback on photos
  • Access to private a Facebook group
  • Free 1 day workshop
  • 10% discount on 121 training.

Booking can be done here.

We now run this course in two locations, in Tunbridge Wells and in London.

The Nevil Crest & Gun
Eridge Rd, Eridge,
Tunbridge Wells TN3 9JR

The Mudlark
Montague Cl,
London SE1 9DA

How does it work?

The format is pretty straight forward, every month you will receive a new creative assignment which is written by myself (5 in total over the whole 6 month course). I will elaborate more later about what these assignments might be.

The assignment comes to you in the form of a link to my website with a password to access it. This means you can access the assignment anytime throughout the month on whatever device you happened to be using, be it a mobile phone, tablet or computer.

We meet once a month in a pub to discuss the assignment and to show a slideshow of images from the previous month's assignment. The meetings are relaxed and a nice way to socialise, inspire each other, ask questions and generally start thinking about how you will approach the creative assignment.

After the meeting you have approximately 1 month to complete the assignment. Each member will have access to a shared Dropbox folder to place 5 or their best images that were taken for the theme.

I will receive the submissions and then proceed to give a critique and feedback on those images. I do this by importing the images in to Adobe Lightroom and doing a screencast recording of me talking over the images and offering advice. I like to think I'm pretty positive with the feedback, I do think that encouragement when things are going right is a good way to help push you forward, but of course I will offer my opinion and advice if I believe there are ways you could improve on what you have done. Lots of people tell me that the feedback is really useful to them.

We meet the following month in the pub we do two things. We do a slideshow of all Photoclub Creative members' images. This is great just to see what everyone else has come up with for the same assignment. I do also create an online gallery on my website so you can share these great photos with friends and family. Of course we also discuss the next Creative Assignment and try to encourage and inspire people to get started with the next assignment.

Who is it for?

This is an important one, because sometimes it can be an assumption that it's just for advanced photographers with expensive cameras. I don't actually think it matters too much what camera you use, but I think it's useful to have a little bit of knowledge about how it works so you can get the results you are aiming for. If you're shooting in Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and you know how to use Exposure Compensation then this is probably all the knowledge you need. Some idea of what aperture, shutter speeds and ISO is might be useful too.

Ultimately this course is about being creative, we sometimes delve in to art themes even. You do need to be a little open minded and try types of photography that perhaps you hadn't considered before, we have had people do this and find out they really like it. We will discuss more about what these assignments might be below.

What will the assignments be?

As I just mentioned, these will be creative assignments that be even on occasion delve in to art themes. You probably won't find any assignments such as Macro Flowers or Autumn Colours for example, we want to go beyond that.

Some past assignments that we have done and possibly will re run are...

White Paper

To photography 1 piece of white paper as a subject in front of a plain white background. Sounds boring but how to can you transform that in to something really visually appealing by folding the paper, rolling the paper, using light to create light and shadow, using coloured lights to introduce colour to the white paper.
Images copyright (left to right): © Liz Cottingham, © Lorraine Pinkerton, © Lorraine Pinkerton, © Steve White

Street Photography

In my mind Street Photography is mainly about photographing people on the streets in a candid way. We will be looking for more than just photos of people going about their business though, we want something interesting, perhaps something that says something about those people or their relationships with others.
Images copyright (left to right): © Angelo Gifford, © Angelo Gifford, © Anna Waterhouse, © Sarah Rajabalee, © Steve McCabe

Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke & Mirrors can be achieved in a number of ways, you could choose to photograph smoke and/or mirrors to create some visually interesting images or read it more as a metaphor and try to create some conceptual images that somehow deceive or manipulate what we think is real.
Images copyright: © Andrew Newson

Film Stills

This one was to create a set of images as if they were stills taken from a film. You could write your own story or use an existing one, just as long as your photos look like film stills.
Images copyright (left to right): © Anna Waterhouse, © Dette Barton, © John Parker, © Sara Revell

Stranger Portraits

Portraits with permission of strangers you meet on the street. This has become a genre in it's own right and is a really rewarding type of photography to try.
Images copyright (left to right): © Angelo Gifford, © Dette Barton, © Jenny Batty, © John Parker


Lots of people have done Photoclub Creative with me over the years and some of them are kind enough to leave a testimonial on my website. Here are some thoughts on the course from people who have done it previously...

Daniel K

Being a keen but inexperienced point and clicker I’d wanted to do a photography course for a while but had been consistently put off by the thought of sitting in a classroom at the end of a hard day in the office. Photoclub Creative run in the pub was bought for me as a present, but it was everything I’d been looking for.

Despite concentrating on exploring your creative side the course gave me plenty of opportunity to learn more technical aspects of photography too. With a month for each assignment, there was plenty of time to practice and experiment; I learned more and more each time I picked up my camera and the quality of my shots improved with each assignment. I was never alone either, as Andy was always available to provide support and guidance through emails or texts, and the feedback was always invaluable to take into the next project.

With a different assignment each month the course also gave plenty of scope for delving into subject matters you might not normally photograph. I found myself really getting into things I’d never previously thought about photographing. This course has inspired me to undertake a number of other projects already, 5 stars just doesn’t do it justice!

Liz B

Having always "dabbled" with snapping pictures but wanting to achieve more. First came a 1-2-1 with Andy where he took me on a short walk near my home and showed me how to use my camera properly...always a help! Then I joined the Photoclub Creative Course which met in a pub (great fun!). Here Andy helps any level of photographer to find their inner artist, and immediately I was creating pictures I never thought possible. Through Andy's help...whether online or in person, I have graduated from a bridge camera to a "proper" one, have learned how to use different lenses, edit my pictures to produce great pictures, and given me the confidence to take my camera wherever I go...even to go with him and others to the Lakes - a great feet for me.
If you want to learn how to become a great photographer, then look no further than Andrew Newson.
I am about to sign up for more courses!

Bex C

You will not find a more patient, creative and inspiring photography teacher than Andy.

Approaching my 30th birthday (knowing nothing in particular about the technical side of photography) I decided that I wanted to be a professional photographer. I stumbled across Andy's Photoclub Creative course & that is truly where my journey began - through photoclub Andy inspired creativity and completely taught me the technical side of photography.

I have also had some 1-2-1 teaching with Andy, during which we covered the more frustrating elements of digital development, as well as how to keep a really tidy and efficient workspace - this is how I know that his patience, honestly, knows no bounds...!

Lastly, I went to a wedding workshop run by Andy where I picked up so many invaluable tips and tricks - it took so much of the stress out of the first wedding I shot & I used everything I'd learned during the workshop.

I am now approaching the end of my first full year as a professional photographer - I definitely wouldn't be here without Andy. If you're thinking about enrolling on one of his courses - or training sessions - stop thinking & sign up!!

Amanda C

Coupled with getting a new camera for Christmas, I also received a Photo club in the Pub course. I must admit I initially thought I would be in the pub surrounded by camera geeks!  I was completely wrong, a mix of capabilities and a really lovely bunch of people. This course has been great for learning my way around the new camera and experimenting with images I wouldn't have even thought of taking, or would be interested in. I would recommend this course for anyone wishing to get thinking and shoot something different.  I now have some great pictures up on the walls of my daughter's playroom as a result of the still life assignment. Thanks again Andy, I will definitely be signing up for more.