ECC Course FAQ
Q. What skill level do I need to be to attend this course?
A. The course caters for a very wide range of skill levels. We have had attendees who have never used a DSLR before (some have purchased theirs just prior to starting the course) and others have been shooting for years but have only ever learned through YouTube and trial and error.
For those attending the course who have never held a DSLR before, we would recommend that you know how the basics of your camera, such as how to turn it on, how to take a photo in automatic, how to review photos and how to delete them.
While previous attendants who have been shooting for a while have found that some of the subject matter is known to them already, the course has rounded out their understanding of photographic techniques and principles. We’d encourage you to look over the Syllabus and read the testimonials from previous attendees of the course. If you are still unsure, feel free to drop an email to the course coordinator.
Q. What type of camera do I need?
As a minimum, any camera that is capable of being set to Manual and has a hot shoe to allow the connection of an external flash or flash trigger. Various parts of the course involve using this.
A Digital SLR from manufactures such as Canon, Nikon or Pentax or a Mirrorless camera such as a Sony, Fujifilm or Olympus, that has the option of interchangeable lenses is generally preferred.
Q. What other equipment do I need?
A. In addition to your camera, you will also need a tripod. If you don’t own one already, we will send you our Tripod purchasing guide once you have signed up and finalised payment. You will not need one on the first night so feel free to speak to one of our course guides on the night if you have questions. We will have a selection of tripods to view on the first night to help guide you in your decision.
You will also need to ensure:
- Your camera battery is charged and in good working order. It’s no fun if it’s going flat within 30mins.
- You have a memory card with adequate space and is preferably formatted before the first night. Considering the relatively low cost of memory cards, we would suggest you have a card you would use exclusively for the course.
- A bag with enough space for your camera and lenses. It would be worthwhile ensuring you have a bag that comes with a rain cover as some of the outings have the potential to expose you to the weather.
- You have a copy of your camera’s manual, either hardcopy or pre-loaded on a smart device, with you each night and at outings.
Q. I don’t have a camera. Which one should I buy?
A. This question is very difficult to answer. Every camera generally has pros and cons and even after weighing them against each other, it will usually come down to personal choice. There are some things to consider.
Price is the first one. To get the most out of the course, you could purchase the cheapest DSLR or Mirrorless “kit” which is essentially a camera body with one or two lenses. Most manufacturers will sell kits which include a simple wide angle zoom lens and sometimes an additional more powerful zoom lens. Purchasing a low cost kit will start you off on the right path and give you enough focal length in your lenses to get the most out of the course. While not true in all cases, it is a general rule that the more you can afford grants you better equipment. Lens quality and the amount you spend on it will generally offer more benefits then spending a lot of money on a camera body.
Size is a close second and in some cases, trumps the price question. If the camera is too large or too heavy and you are struggling to hold it, you won’t enjoy using it. Conversely, some companies offer cameras so small that ergonomically, they can be painful to manage. A mirrorless camera will often be smaller than a DSLR but the price point vs features may not necessarily be on par either. The best thing to do is to research a few models of camera that meet your price point and then head into a retailer to see how they feel. By then you would know the pros and cons of the models and then it comes down to comfort and price.
If you are at the point where you have a couple of models in mind but are still confused, feel free to contact the course coordinator or let us know if you prefer to come along to one of the club meetings to speak to someone about it.
Q. Is there anything else I need?
A. Just the right attitude and a willingness to learn.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the course is run by volunteers who are eager to share their passion of photography with you. We encourage you to ask questions as it delights us to no end to discuss everything about photography. Every volunteer has been in your position before and we respect that.
That said we can’t “learn for you”. You will get the most out of the course by being enthusiastic in learning to operate your camera and owning your own photographic journey.
Q. Do I need to attend every course night?
A. The first four weeks are the most important as they cover foundation principles and we would strongly recommend you commit to these nights. Without an understanding of the topics covered here it will make areas of the rest of the course difficult to follow.
Should you need to skip a night, please speak to the course coordinator and we will do our best to try and fill in the gaps however, it should be kept in mind that we do provide a lot of information into the 2 hours each night that would be impossible to replicate on paper.
Q. Do I need to attend the weekend outings?
A. The three outings we have which occur on a weekend aren’t mandatory but they do provide a fantastic opportunity to learn and to put into practice what we cover on the weeknights.
Q. Club membership is included with the course. What does this mean for me?
A. This means that once you have paid for the course, you are entitled to be a member of the club for that calendar year*. Being a member entitles you to participate in competitions, attend master classes as well as other activities which occur throughout the year. You can read more on our membership page.
*membership requires a vote by the current club committee. Those wishing to join must adhere by the club rules and have not been previously asked to leave.
Q. If I change my mind and no longer want to do the course, can I get a refund?
A. We would ask you to carefully consider the commitment you are making by signing up for the course prior to doing so. Make sure you read the Syllabus carefully and work out if the dates will work for you.
As places are limited, we would also encourage you to consider those who may miss out on the course once it’s full. We list the course as closed once all places have been filled so should you drop out, someone who is keen to do the course may miss out.
In the spirit of fairness to both us and yourself, we do offer the following refund policy.
We will offer a refund up to 3 weeks prior to the course commencing so long as your place can be filled. This may be achieved in the following ways.
- You may wish to find another person who wants to take your place. If you manage to find someone, contact the course coordinator prior to the course starting with the person’s details.
- The Essendon Camera Club may reopen your place and inform people who have expressed interest in attending the course after the in take has closed that a position is available. There is no guarantee that your position will be filled but if it is, we will contact you and let you know. If we cannot find a replacement then no refund is available.
From 3 weeks prior to the course commencing and once the course has started, the Essendon Camera Club will not offer a refund under any circumstances.