How to Get the Best out of Your DSLR – Withlocals Seville Photo Tour

How to Get the Best out of Your DSLR – Withlocals Seville Photo Tour


Seville is one of Spain’s most photogenic cities. If you’re visiting and want to get the best out of your DSLR, then you’ll probably enjoy a WithLocals Seville Photo Tour. Whilst I’ve got a fantastic camera that is fairly idiot-proof, there’s always room for improvement. My hubby is also a keen photographer so we were excited to get started. We booked our course via Withlocals, a clever site that enables you to have an authentic experience in 18 countries including Cambodia, France, Indonesia, Italy, Spain and Thailand. In Spain, they offer activities in Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. It’s not limited to photography – among the Seville offerings were dinner in a local home, a flamenco dance experience and a Spanish cooking workshop. As a peer-to-peer marketplace where travelers connect with locals, it fits perfectly with the trend towards experiential travel. We found the booking interface really simple to use and received regular updates which confirmed the name of our guide, his mobile number and our meeting point. You’re only billed once your experience is confirmed and payment is easy via PayPal or credit card. Our tutor Alberto had suggested a really interesting place to meet, Maria Luisa Park.

plaza-espana-boats
Seville was the final stage of our Andalucian road trip and we’d first travelled to Granada and the Alhambra, Jaen, Ubeda, Carmona and Córdoba. With only a couple of days in Seville, I’m not sure we’d have found time for the park ourselves, yet it’s absolutely stunning. It’s home to quite a few museums including the Museo Arqueológico and Museo Mudejar.

maria-luisa-park-seville
Alberto is very friendly, speaks perfect English but most importantly has excellent photography knowledge. He has his own photography company specializing in photo tours and photography workshops. Before letting us loose in the park, he patiently explained the manual settings that we needed to know. Aperture, shutter speed and ISO are the three key elements that we’d need to master in order to ace our Seville photos. Aperture or “opening of the lens” was the first We practiced taking shots of a tree trunk first with varying aperture settings or “f-stops”. Some shots came out overexposed, whilst others were underexposed, until we finally hit the right balance. This is also known as exposure compensation and is a sliding scale on your DSLR with plus and minus signs. You just need to adjust aperture until you reach 0 in the middle. These adjustments would be particularly useful in low-light conditions. We also played with the depth of field effect, taking pictures with an aperture of f/22 where all elements of the photo were in focus and others with an aperture of f/2.8 where only the tree trunk was in focus, leaving the background blurred.

Seville-photo-tour
Next we had a go at capturing fast moving objects, namely pigeons! They’re easy to find, as many people bring bird seed to feed them. Taking a shot wasn’t so simple though as they move so quickly. By selecting Aperture Priority, setting the aperture to f/8 with a high ISO, I eventually managed to get this shot. Alberto encouraged us to get down low to see things from a new perspective, and I think this would work well for many small subjects such as animals and children.

Seville-photo-tour-review
After this we headed to a picturesque, shady area with fountains. The Fountain of the Lions or Fuente de los Leones was created by Manuel Delgado Brackembury in 1913, although the lions themselves were only installed in 1928. We had a go at shooting a jet of water coming from this lion’s mouth. It’s best to use a fast shutter speed and a tripod, keeping the ISO settings fairly low too.

get-the-most-from-your-dslr
Alberto also showed us how to create a misty effect with water. These shots are easiest to achieve in the very early morning, and with a tripod as your shutter will need to stay open for a good few seconds. We used the lowest ISO setting possible and an aperture setting of f/16.

Seville-photo-workshop
By now the sun was getting lower so we walked towards the Guadalquivir river and Isabel II Bridge. It’s most often referred to as Puente de Triana as it connects the city centre to the West bank neighbourhood of Triana. A little before sunset, Alberto explained how to capture the silhouettes of people on the bridge. For these, we selected a low ISO setting and a mid-aperture of f/8, as well as using exposure compensation until we got the desired effect. It’s surprising, the level of detail that you can get – bicycles, lovers – all human life is here!

Seville_Tiana_bridge_silhouettes
As sunset fell over the bridge, it was almost the end of our workshop…

Seville-tiana-bridge-sunset
However Alberto had one final trick up his sleeve, some spectacular light trail shots…I’d admired these before on Instagram but not known how to recreate them. It turns out that all you need is an LED flashlight or a torch app on a smartphone, plus a friend to wave the light around, while you take a shot with your DSLR using long exposure.

light-trail-with-smartphone
I’d highly recommend the Withlocals experience, not only was it great to understand the workings of our DSLR better, but it was fascinating to see Seville through the eyes of an inhabitant. I’d only have one small suggestion, to give participants a cheat sheet at the end summing up what we had learnt. Alberto also runs photography sessions via the site, where he captures photos of you, rather than you taking the shots. So there’s no excuse not to bring back a great photographic momento of your time in Seville!

  • The photo of the sunset and the bridge is my favourite! So nice that you got to meet with Alberto and together photograph the beautiful place that is Seville.

    • We really enjoyed the whole tour and the silhouette shot could well be my favourite too!

  • Beautiful photos Suze, I love the idea of a photography tour!

  • Ellie Adams

    I absolutely love the idea of this Suze, I’m really into photography so doing it in somewhere as beautiful as this is perfect!

    Elle
    http://www.theellenextdoor.com
    xx

  • Love your pics. The low angle tip is good from personal experience. My husband and I are always basically on the ground trying to get pics. We’re weird, but it workds! 😉

  • Your photos are gorgeous – especially those action pics!

    • I took so many, eventually I got a few I was happy with! I guess that’s the secret 😉

  • This seems like it’d be so much fun! I definitely need to learn how to use my camera better so thanks for sharing this girl 🙂

    Georgia | The Weekend Attic – Personal Style, Beauty and Lifestyle

  • I absolutely love Seville! These are great photos, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Those birds are so cool! Great photos
    xo
    http://www.laurajaneatelier.com

  • I always love your photos.
    Great tips Suze.
    I need to keep it in my mind.

    Have a great day!

    http://www.thebandwagonchic.com/

  • Lovely photos, it’s such a great idea to combine travel with learning new skills. I’m dying to visit Seville after going to Cordoba two years ago and falling a bit in love with the old town there.

    Lisa | Not Quite Enough

    • We also went to Cordoba, I’ll be writing a bit about that later – would have loved to spend more time there

  • Frank Thomae

    Nice post, beautiful pics. I have a friend in Sevilla and she had a good experience dining with locals using Withlocals. We tried the same with a competitor (Eatwith) in Budapest and were disappointed both by the price and value. We’re planning to spend time later this year in Sevilla so we might give them a chance, I’m always trying to get out of cooking 🙂 Photography something we like as well but we don’t use a DSLR.

    Frank (bbqboy)

    • Yes I’d rather let others do the cooking 😉 You can get pretty good shots on a mobile phone these days, maybe they should offer a class on that too!

  • I’ve found myself becoming more and more interested in photography over the past few years and so this post was fantastic to read through. I can absolutely imagine how incredible this photo tour was, both with regard to learning new ways of making the most of your camera, as well as being in the beauty city of Seville!

    Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice | Twitter | Instagram x

    • I love your photos, Gabrielle – great backdrops and a fantastic sense of style

      • Oh thank you, you’ve absolutely made my day! 🙂

  • Elena Dal Maso

    What a wonderful city, I wish I could visit it… Great pictures 🙂

    xoxo
    http://www.bellezzefelici.blogspot.com

  • Such a wonderful idea! As a huge fan of photography and traveling, this workshop is the perfect solution for both of them! I still don’t know how to shoot moving objects, so this course would be very helpful. And entertaining in the same time!

    Sun and Sany – Bulgarian travel and leisure blog

    • I think the pigeons were probably the biggest challenge of the day! I just needed to arm myself with patience and plenty of time though

  • Great photography tips, lady- your shots are always so gorgeous!

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

    • That’s really kind, Ashley! I was a bit nervous here as Alberto was such a pro!

  • Wow, these are such amazing tips! Withlocals sounds great – my family live in Cambodia, so will definitely have to check it out next time I’m there!

    Erin xxx
    islandbell.co.uk

    • I’d love to visit Cambodia, it must be so amazing. Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine, Erin

  • Thanks for sharing these tips, I’ll have to try playing around with the settings on my camera to try these out! Have a great day 🙂

    Eden | Mint Notion

    • Yes I went quite tecchie with the details as I figured that some people might want to give it a go!

  • Beautiful images! Great idea to go on a photo tour with a local.

    • The flamenco and food experiences sounded fun too but I’m very glad we chose this

  • What gorgeous pictures! I’ve heard such wonderful things about Seville.

  • Love your pictures! I really need to take a photography class soon because I love taking pictures but I’d love to actually know what I’m doing haha

    http://thecourtneydiaries.com

    • I’m still learning but this was a good overview and it makes a difference when the sun is shining as you can linger to get the right shot!

  • I spent 5 days in Seville last Spring and it’s such a beautiful city. I’ve never heard of Withlocals before but I’m very keen to take a photography course and combining it with travel really is ideal! Will look them up for my trip to Thailand later this summer 🙂

    • One of the things I liked best about Withlocals was the insider tips for Seville from a local, so definitely worth trying! I’m hoping to visit Thailand later this year too

  • This is the perfect souvenir to take home!

    • You’re right Emma, an experience can be much more rewarding than a physical souvenir

  • the italian glam

    Seville has always been on my bucket list and now that I’ve read your post I know I must go..
    impressive shots, stunning place

    • I’m sure you’ll have a brilliant time, there’s so much to see – I recommend at least 3 days if you can

  • Eppie Shepherd

    I love that sunset shot! Really great photo tips and such a lovely city to practice in!

    eppie.me.uk

  • Very groovy blog. Thanks for the great tips. I love the photos, especially the doves. So gorgeous. Hope you have a great weekend.
    Elise Xx
    http://www.thewaterwanderer.com

  • Lucy

    Learning about the genuine treasures of a country really appeals it sounds perfect. Having a local guide to get all the best bits. Beautiful pics Lucy x

  • Lucy

    Very early on in blogging I took a photography one day course around london, it was great fun but sadly didn’t reap the benefits as hadn’t used the camera enough myself. This sounds wonderful and perfectly time to build on what you have already learnt and know. Love the pics Lucy x