In my recent post about my favourite photographs I told you that I've recently enrolled on the professional photography course at the London Institute of Photography. This is kind of like a condensed photography degree but not academic with any tests etc - It's all taught by industry professionals.

I will try and review every section of the full course as and when I do it. What's great about the professional photography course is that you study every one of their individual courses, which range from fashion photography to photoshop and more.

Last week I completed the week long Street & Documentary course.

This was a good challenge for me to start the course with as typically I really like studio type shots, or at least images that have been staged to some extent. I also have specific looks I like with lighting. I really like harsh lighting and living in London means that it's often cloudy or overcast which doesn't really create the aesthetic I like! 

Being on the street shooting people and things is a challenge for me because I can't control it. Rather than having an idea in advance It's all about letting an idea come to you as you look around at what is happening.

Throughout the week we learnt how to:

  • Tell stories through images, by learning how to create & structure a photo story or essay
  • Consider the framework of a story or essay, from an historical, contextual & conceptual perspective
  • Capture the spontaneity of street life in our own artistic style
  • Edit images to create coherence
  • Have an understanding of the cultural and legal scope of our work


Every day we were taught a couple of new tactics to add to our repertoire. On the first day we looked at different lighting conditions. I managed to create this really interesting series of shots of people crossing the street and their shadows. I loved that even though you couldn't see people's faces you still got a really interesting idea of who they were. I think I may continue this series and then edit it down to a few of the very best as I actually really liked how this was starting to go. 

We also went to Covent Garden to see what we could find there in terms of a series. I decided to shoot a series of BFFs. This was my favourite shot. 



On day 2 we were asked to go out into Liverpool street and get an opening shot. Something that you would expect to see at the start of an article that alluded to what was contained in the story without giving everything away. I ended up with two contenders. What do you think my story was going to be about?


On day three it was all about shooting portraits. We had to go out in Camden and go up to people in the street and ask to take their photograph. CRINGE! This was a good challenge for me though because I'm not one who typically likes to chat with strangers so it was good to be pushed outside of my comfort zone.

I Found the talking to people actually easier than I thought and I met some great people! However I didn't like how my images turned out. I decided I wanted to use flash photography to try and control the look and feel of the images a bit more, but it was my first time so I was struggling with getting the settings right AND only having a moment or two with my model. Oh and I decided I wanted to try and get pictures of people wearing my glasses, so I made it pretty difficult for myself LOL! 

This is what the images looked like unedited.

I decided afterwards that I should have shot these portrait instead of landscape so I went back and did some post production which brought them to something I was more happy with. Still in my eyes pretty average though.


On the last day we were tasked with spending half of the day shooting our own project using any of the styles / techniques we had learnt throughout the week. This was AWESOME! I loved being able to decide what I wanted to shoot and why.

I decided to ask Not Another Salon if I could come and hang out at their salon and take pictures of the team working. I loved the aesthetic of the salon and the people working there so it seemed like the perfect fit. 

It was quite scary turning up and shooting pictures of people working, after all they are trying to get on with their day and I'm there flashing a camera in their face, but everyone was sooo sweet and readily happy to pose for pics for me. It's such a great salon, the staff are incredible and so talented. Everyone's hair was perfection. I may have gotten slightly distracted with wondering if I should dye my hair UV green... 


I loved this course. Debbie, the tutor was really vibrant and fun and made everything really easy to understand. I definitely got outside of my comfort zone, which is pretty much my priority in personal growth. Every time we did a shoot we also reviewed the images on the big screen back at base and got feedback from the tutor and other students which is incredibly useful. Probably almost where you learn the most. I also got a few shots that I'm really proud of, so all in all I'd really recommend this course, even if you don't think you want to go into street or documentary style photography as it will really challenge you to see the world and photo opportunities differently.

If you want to book an individual course at the LIoP you can use my discount code SarahAkwisombe20P which will get you 20% off before the end of the year!

Stay tuned for my review on their still life course coming next. 

S x