Down News Launches Digital Photography Bootcamp

One day photography training is just a click away at Down News ©

Jim Masson, editor at Down News, has launched a one-day, digital photography bootcamp for budding photographers from absolute beginners to those who want to consolidate the skills and move up the next level.

This intensive course lasts six hours 30 approximately and covers the key, essential concepts and skills in getting the best out of your Digital SLR.

Many people use SMART phones to good effect which take great photos and this course too can help you master some of the techniques needed to capture those photos you’ve always dreamed about!

“But the main emphasis is on working with Digital SLR cameras. There will be many different makes such as Canon, Nikon, Sony etc and different models. So bring along your camera’s manual too which might help to drill down to solving some issues.

“There will be a brief session of use of flash and light, but the key aim is to get you shooting with confidence.”

Down News Digital Photography Bootcamp: An AI generated image by Jim Masson. Photography has moved on a lot in the past 100 years!

Jim added: “I’ve been a press photographer for almost 24 years and I took photos for many years before.

“When I was 10 years old my mum got be a Kodak camera for my birthday and before long I had grasped the basic concepts of what aperture and shutter speed was.

“But working in digital is a more complex business and it is essential to develop the key skills to get the best out of your camera and kit.

“I worked for the former Down Democrat from 2000 to 2008 becoming the lead photographer, and I have run my own media business as editor since 2009, Down News, a digital newspaper.

” It was the first in the North to integrate social media apps with a news website.

“Over the years I have gathered the essential skills of a press photographer, and as a long-standing member of the National Union of Journalists I have taken in many training sessions in journalism skills as well as photography.

“Through the heyday of print media in those days I had photos published in many top regional and national titles across the island of Ireland and some in the UK.

“Now with the media embracing the digital revolution, it is in principle easier to become a press photographer, but the competition is fierce and the financial returns are only a shadow of what they were 10-20 years ago. So don’t give up your day job… not just yet!

“But, I should say, this course is a general photography bootcamp and not designed specifically for news work as such, but the skills are closely linked (and are transferrable).

“And it can be much more satisfying as an amateur photographer to work digitally. After your initial outlay in equipment, photography is then relatively low cost unless you are printing off a significant amount of your photos.”

Jim Masson also has a NEBOSH Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety and the course will include an additional brief module on ‘Keeping Safe in Photography’ ensuring that you are working safely and not causing risk to anyone. Public liability insurance will also be discussed (for press work for freelances but advisable for any keen amateur – accidents do happen!))

And there’s more… Jim has completed two one-to-one 60-hour training programmes in both photography and videography at SERC.

Jim Masson, editor and Down News, launches Digital Photography Bootcamp… a short, low-cost course to get everyone up and running with their key photography skills. Contact Jim at 07855545873 for further information.

Digital Photography Boootcamp is basically a six hour course covering all the essentials you need to know to become proficient with a DSLR camera (or SMART phone.)

The maximum number of participants in a session will be four to ensure everyone is getting full benefit from the short course.

There will be a 30 minute break for a sandwich lunch and to stretch legs, but you can bring your own sustenance if you wish. And tea and coffee and biscuits are available throughout.

So what does the one session photography course cover ?

Basically it covers theory and practice in digital photography. You’ll get notes and demonstrations and plenty of good (and not so good) images to consider covering the essential skills for digital photography.

And there will be a 30-minute photo assignment towards the end (weather permitting) to help consolidate and reinforce the various skills learned.

Each part of the modular course has a set of learning outcomes which help the participant to assimilate the various skills and concepts required to be a competent photographer:

  • Introduction to course, housekeeping info.
  • Keeping safe in photography.
  • Getting to grips with basic camera handling, camera components, cleaning lens and sensor.
  • Understanding buttons and controls, navigating the menu, shooting modes.
  • Understanding exposure, shutter speed and ISO.
  • Understanding different types of light and how to shoot.
  • Composing images: some devices such as rule of thirds.
  • Creative perspectives and shooting.
  • Specialisms: eg portraiture, street, environmental and macro photography, weddings, landscapes.
  • Participant showcase and constructive feedback.
  • Certificate of competency.
  • Conclusion of course and feedback.

Times for delivery of course: The bootcamp will run initially two Sundays per month – the second and fourth Sundays. More days will be arranged on demand.

And the short course can be delivered on a bespoke basis also (details on request).

Course Dates: The one-day complete courses runs on Sundays between 9.30am to 4pm on:

  • 26th May 2024.
  • 23rd June 2024
  • 21st July 2024.

Further dates will be announced shortly. Bookings are now open!

Course Inquiries to:

email: Jim Masson at

or phone 028 44 615690 or 07855545873.

Check out the photography services offered by Jim Masson at Down News.

Venue for Course: the course will be delivered at Down News at:

Office 1, Knowledge House, Down Business Centre, 46 Belfast Road, BT30 9UP.

See link to map for directions to the Down Business Centre below.

Booking is essential: Classes are limited to 4 persons persons per session. A participant under 17 (minimum age 12) will need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian (no extra charge for this). 50% deposit or full payment is required to complete the booking.

Cost: The cost of the session is £99 (no vat) for May June and July. So take advantage of the summer special offer!

On completion of the 6-hour course the participant will receive a certificate of competence from Down News.

The training room (the Down News office) is on the ground floor with a kitchen adjacent. It is fully accessible and there is also a wheelchair-friendly disabled toilet in close proximity to the training room.

Participants can bring a small selection of their photos on a memory stick / card) or print format if they wish for the closing session evaluation session for feedback.

Gift Vouchers are also available on request which will be valid for one year from the date of purchase – ideal for birthdays and special recognition, and a general hint that it’s time to step up your photography skills and join the bootcamp.

And there is a built-in bonus for participants. You will get advice and back-up going forward from Jim Masson so you have a mentor at the other end of the phone!

So if you want to get aboard a training session by an experienced and competent (press) photographer, and you want to skill up in the Digital Photography Bootcamp, then give Jim Masson a call and book in for a session.

So, you may have spent a lot of money on a camera(s), lenses, a tripod, a version of Photoshop and other expensive items of equipment, now the is the time coming up to the summer to step up and boost your skill level and make that camera really work for you !

And lastly, if anyone is considering going on to study photography at a higher level, this course could just be right for you to create a firm foundation with its blend of theory and practice.

Get out of the first gear and drive your photography to the next level !

It’s a no-brainer!

Jim at Down News Digital Photography Bootcamp is just a call or a click away.

So take the next step and give Jim a call on 028 44 615690 or 07855545873.