Many of you will remember how much I was looking forward to attending a Makelight Level Two course back in September, just before my infamous accident with a dog and my knee! Sadly I was unable to make the journey from Suffolk to West Dulwich back then and thought I would have to miss out on the course. Not only did I expect to lose my course fee, but I was also very disappointed to be letting down my daughter who was going on the course with me. When I emailed Emily, who runs the Makelight courses, and explained my problem she simply suggested moving both our bookings to her next course in January – a truly lovely and reassuring response to what felt like a crisis at the time.
Hence last Friday finally saw me on a train to London, looking forward to meeting up with my eldest daughter. We started our mini break with a little shopping on Oxford Street followed by dinner and then a night at the ballet (a treat from my lovely daughter). The next morning we were up bright and early to head across London to the Makelight studio in West Dulwich.
For those of you who have not come across her yet, Emily Quinton is a photographer, instagrammer, blogger, crafter and author (as well as mother to 4 small children – how does she do it all?) who takes stunning floral images which she posts daily on her Instagram feed. Her Makelight website is full of floral inspiration and has details of all her courses. I attended a Makelight Level One a couple of years ago and have been planning to follow up with Level Two for some time now. Whilst Level One was very practical, Level Two was a relaxed day of inspirations, questions, guidance and chat shared with a lovely group of ladies all eager to benefit from Emily’s vast experience.
Emily’s studio is a delight to behold! We all felt a touch like Alice In Wonderland as we entered a room that we seen featured regularly in her photos and youtube videos – it felt quite surreal to be in a completely new place and yet to recognise everything in the room!
Having settled in and got to know each other Emily set us off taking photos so that we could make the most of the beautiful light in her studio before the January day started to draw in. She gave us permission to play around with all her props, moving things about and creating our own vignettes from her vast collection of beautiful treasures. The only person I know who has perhaps more props than Emily must be Cathy at Rambling In The Garden!
Whilst we were oohing and ahhing over all the lovely things and enjoying the beautiful spring flowers Emily took the time to talk to each of us individually to answer questions and sort out problems.
One of the big questions of the day revolved around how to use the new Olympus Pen camera.
For anyone who has not seen one of these so far, this exceedingly pretty camera has taken the blogging world by storm with at least 4 members of the course owning one. Initially I was quite sceptical that this was a camera selling on its looks, but having bought my daughter one and seeing what it is capable of I am a convert. This is an extremely lightweight small and portable camera with a great movable touch screen and an internal wi fi facility to send your photos straight to your iPhone, iPad etc. Like a DSLR it has a range of lens and camera options. Do not be misled by its portability though – this is not a point and shoot camera – you do need to learn how to use it and Emily provided a lot of guidance to the new owners.
One of my photographic goals for this year is to learn how to use a tripod when photographing my flowers. Whilst I will always take most of my photos whilst holding my camera (I love to be able to move around when taking close ups), there are times when I would like to shoot hands free. In bad light for example or when I want to take a photo that includes my hands so that I can illustrate how to do something. I have always been a bit afraid of tripods (aren’t they just for professionals?), so Emily showed me all I needed to know and had the perfect tripod for me in her studio.
Not only is this a good sturdy tripod – it also has an ingenious attachable arm which allows you to shoot straight down. I am now an excited new owner just waiting for a quiet afternoon to get my own one out of the box and play. This tripod is a Walimex WAL-6702 Pro Tripod for anyone interested in these matters.
We all spent a lovely few hours playing with the many props and sharing stories and experiences whilst Emily moved between us answering the long list of questions we had compiled at the start of the day.
As the light faded we returned to the table for tea and cake and yet more photographic talk. In particular we were all keen to learn about the sources Emily uses for her beautiful prints – I intend to try these out as another of my resolutions is make real life copies of many of my favourite photos – I will report back on this as the prints arrive.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the inspiring setting of Emily’s lovely studio. It was uplifting to meet other like minded creatives and to share experiences and problems. Emily is an excellent teacher and exceptionally generous with her wealth of knowledge – no question is out of bounds and I came away with new ideas and plans, as well as quite a shopping list!
I would like to say big thank you to Emily and all the other lovely ladies who made the day so memorable – I will include all their instagram links so that you can pop over and see what they get up too.
You can find out more about Emily on her website or at Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
The Instagram accounts of the other ladies are: thevintagehousethatcould, live_and_bloom, hellopartyinsta, eyre_apparent, xxbirdhouse, lou_weezie1, wanderforawhile, everandava1 and my own lovely daughter butterfly.becca. Mine is peoniesandposies and is always available on my sidebar. I try to post there daily and include a little update on what I am up to.
Are you on Instagram – if you are please do leave your link below so that we can see what you are up to there! If not why don’t you pop over to Instagram, set yourself up an account and join in the fun. Posting photos is quick and easy and can be done straight from your phone. It really is a very supportive and welcoming community and a great way to enjoy lots of floral inspiration (as well as anything else you might be interested in).