Books · Daytripping · Out and about · Reviews

Dickensian Photography Workshop and Walk review


Just before Christmas, I found myself on the lookout for interesting photography workshops that I could get for my husband’s Christmas present. When looking on the Charles Dickens Museum website for upcoming events (for a separate reason – we just got an Art Pass and it is a participating institution), I struck gold when I found their Dickensian Photography Workshop and Walk.

Reading further into the details I discovered that it was a half-day session, which would cost £20 per person and included entrance to the museum, a short workshop with a professional photographer and a guided walk around Dickensian London where you would learn more about the city and tips and tricks for using your camera on its manual settings. It sounded absolutely perfect, particularly as my husband and I love all things bookish. I immediately emailed to ask if they thought it would be appropriate for me and my husband to attend with our digital cameras (which have lots of settings but aren’t bridge/DSLR’s) and they advised that as long as you can set some settings manually it would be fine. After this I booked us straight onto the course, ordered train tickets and waited for Christmas Day to roll around when Nial would open his present…

Sadly there was some disappointment prior to the Workshop with an email advising that we would be unable to visit the museum on the day because of private tours taking place all morning. This was a shame as that’s what we were planning to do prior to the workshop but the museum advised that we could use our tickets to visit at any other time which was helpful. We’re planning to use these the next time we’re in London.

On the day…

We attended the workshop on Saturday 17 January and it more than lived up to expectations. We arrived at the Charles Dickens Museum a little before the start time of 12.30 and after handing over our tickets in the gift shop, we were directed towards a meeting room upstairs. We passed by some people sitting in the cafe downstairs and made a mental note to include time for tea and cake when we come back to visit the museum.

When we entered the room upstairs we discovered we were the first to arrive but the photographer who would be leading our session, Andrea Artz was already there. We had a lovely chat about Dickens and photography and she helped us to set some of the manual settings on our cameras. When the rest of the budding photographers-to-be arrived (there were nine of us in all), Andrea spoke a bit more about the day and gave out booklets which contained hints and tips on camera settings, composition and Dickens’ London related facts. We would work through this throughout the walk and we had a copy to consult in future. Once Andrea had worked her way around the group helping out with camera settings we were ready for the off…

I really needn’t have worried about our cameras as some people were there just with iPhones and Andrea was happy to advise on composition and using these. In fact, when my camera battery died about half-way round I had to resort to using my iPhone anyway! The photographs shown on this page were taken with my iPhone as I haven’t had chance to upload the files from my camera yet.

We then had about a three hour walk around the back streets of London learning more about Dickens’ inspiration and the City itself. I found it fascinating to see the back alleys and courtyards which I probably wouldn’t have discovered myself. We came across Dr Johnson’s House and I have made a note to return to look round this soon.

Andrea would lead us through the streets stopping now and again to point out some interesting architecture, share some interesting history or set us off on an exercise. This would be related to changing the settings on our cameras or thinking about composition – orientation, perspective, use of colour, rule of thirds etc. These practical exercises were really interesting and Andrea would pop by everyone to see how they were getting on or to suggest new angles to try. Andrea’s comments were only ever encouraging rather than critical.

Everyone involved in the workshop was really friendly and we all agreed just over half-way that it was really cold and that we would all benefit from a ‘educational’ break at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub. Nial and I had visited this pub just before Christmas so were very happy with this decision! The Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is Grade II listed and was rebuilt in 1667. Made up of what seems like an endless number of rooms and corridors, the pub counts Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, P.G. Wodehouse and Mark Twain amongst its (historic) patrons.

Following our short refreshment break we continued up Fleet Street eventually finishing up in Covent Garden. We really enjoyed our time on the workshop and couldn’t believe the value for money for £20 each. I really would recommend it for those interested in photography, Charles Dickens or walks around London. It’s a literary London walking tour and photography workshop rolled into one!

Now I just need to go back and visit the museum…

6 thoughts on “Dickensian Photography Workshop and Walk review

  1. Hi Emilia,

    that is a really lovely review! Thanks so much! I am so glad you enjoyed it! Would it be OK to quote something on the Dicken’s museums website? I also put a link up on my page to your blog.
    Let me know if this is OK ?

    All the best, Andrea

      1. Hi Emilia,

        thanks that is great! And please keep me on your newsletter. I love to hear from your projects. And good luck with photography. I will let you know when I develop a new workshop with different Dickens locations.

        best wishes, Andrea

  2. Hi Emilia, that is a great review! I am so glad you enjoyed the workshop! I have posted a link to your blog on my website and hope that is OK? Also can we use a quote from your review for the Dicken’s museums website?

    All the best, Andrea

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