Creative Courses

Creatively re-set your photography with Colin and Adam

Our short, residential photography courses on Easdale island in 2024:

On Assignment

24 – 27 August 2024
28 – 31 August 2024

Three-nights accommodation, two full days practical, hands-on, supported photography tuition – and delicious, home-prepared food in a unique island environment.

Watch our short promotional film about Easdale island and the course.

Relax, unwind and be creative on our unique photography courses on Easdale island, a place like no other.

For the last eight years, professional photographers Colin McPherson and Adam Lee have welcomed participants on to two distinctive and rewarding residential courses which are unlike any others you will find in this country. The courses give you the opportunity to visit our island, enjoy stunning scenery, comfortable accommodation and delicious home-cooked food, whilst working with us creatively to enhance your photography skills.

Inspired by Easdale island, formerly the centre of Scotland’s slate-quarrying, we will guide and encourage you to create our own visual story using this historic environment as your backdrop.

If you would love to take your photography to a new level, we will help you explore what makes a great image and how to take one. Our aim is to share our knowledge and experience with you, to spark your creativity and to give you the confidence to test new ways of seeing and making photographs. The courses are run over two full days (you’ll spend three nights on the island), which allows plenty of time and space for us to explore this beautiful, car-free island. You will be given one-to-one support and the opportunity to share and discuss your work. There will be a maximum of six participants on each course and you will stay in one of our delightful and spacious cottages where each of you will be accommodated in your own private bedroom. We eat our lunches and dinner together allowing us time for conversation and spend our days on a mix of individual and group activities which look at how to use the best of landscape and portrait photography and photojournalism and reportage in visual storytelling.

On Assignment

In 2023, we launched On Assignment, a new course which takes the form of a magazine or commercial commission that gives you the opportunity to be personally guided and led to produce a range of dynamic, professional-standard photographs to illustrate life on Easdale Island today. The two-day masterclass takes the shape of an assignment where we will assist you to produce a wide variety of pictures which tell a story about island life.

It will be hands-on and led by both Colin and Adam, who will demonstrate techniques and skills and help, guide and instruct you in various aspects of image making, including how to photograph people in the landscape, workplace or home (we will have subjects on hand to act as your models) where you can practice getting the best out of different opportunities. We will show you how to maximise the potential of situations to produce creative, engaging images. We’ll look at using lighting, both natural and portable studio and finally editing, where we will help to shape your final selection of photographs into a fully-formed feature.

Key aspects of the course include:

  • Selecting your subject: We will suggest what to photograph and how to be inspired by what you see and find.
  • Shapes and sizes: What is the best format to photograph your subject? We look at when you should take landscape or portrait photographs, or which camera formats might produce better results.
  • Portraiture: How to photograph people in the landscape, workplace or home. We will have subjects on hand to act as your models, where you can practice getting the best out of different opportunities. We will show you how to maximise the potential of situations to produce creative, engaging images.
  • Lighting: We’ll advise and guide on basic use of flash and portable studio lighting and how to use these efficiently and creatively both for photographing people and locations.
  • Editing: We’ll help you choose, caption and edit a selection of photographs which you could present to a picture editor, designer or creative director which will sell the story you are telling.

Over the course of two days, both Colin and Adam will accompany you to locations on the island, give you all the practical strategies you need and show you how they might approach being On Assignment.

Please get in touch for a more detailed description of what we can offer on each respective course and how to book on.

We are delighted to offer places on the courses for an all-inclusive fee of £495.00 (further details below). All we require is an initial small deposit to secure your place, with the balance due three months prior to the commencement of your course.

We look forward to hearing from you. If you have any questions, wish to know more about the island, the course or the teachers, please get in touch via the enquiry form below.

Payment can be made by bank transfer, credit/debit card or PayPal.

“I’m so happy I attended the weekend photography course on Easdale island. In addition to their wealth of technical experience both Colin and Adam are patient and supportive instructors. They made sure everyone felt comfortable regardless of their experience level.” 

AE, Edinburgh

The course is hosted and run by Colin McPherson and Adam Lee, both of whom have distinguished careers and a wealth of experience in teaching and running practical photography workshops. We welcome anyone on to the course who has an interest in taking photographs, even if your chosen camera is a Smartphone. From guiding you through many of the basic rules of image making to advanced ideas about what you can do to perfect your photography, we will help you create a powerful and personal set of pictures.

“I just wanted to say again how much I enjoyed the course, a truly inspiring experience… I’ve been doing lots of reflecting about what we covered and trying to put it into practice!”

SM, Argyll

Each participant will have plenty of time each day to put what they have learned into practice. Adam and Colin will always be on hand to offer advice, guidance and cups of tea. We’ll talk about what inspires us to take photographs, how we can turn ideas into stories and how to undertake and complete projects. There will also be plenty of down time – an opportunity to socialise and share stories and experiences – and to ask lots of questions. You can even bring your costume and swim in the crystal clear waters of the famous flooded slate quarries on the island. You will have the chance to have your portfolio reviewed by both Adam and Colin, so please bring some examples of your work with you if you wish.

What is included:

All teaching, guidance and encouragement to take great photographs. We have a large communal lounge with big screen for looking at and reviewing work. Theory and practice will take place both inside and outside, so come prepared to be on the move.

Your accommodation. There will be a maximum of six participants on the courses and you will be accommodated in one of two traditionally designed, modern cottages (Chattan and An Rubha) which look out over the Firth of Lorne to the neighbouring island of Mull. Each participant will have her/his own separate bedroom. Each cottage has its own well-equipped kitchen, generously-sized shared bathroom and communal area for socialising. Both cottages have gardens, with Chattan also having a patio to the rear.

All your meals. The following will be offered as part of the course fee: self-service continental breakfasts on the three mornings of your stay, including day of departure. A freshly-prepared lunch, consisting of soup and salad and Scottish cheeses on each of two full days of the course. Home cooked evening meals, which will be served in one of the cottages to allow everyone to eat together. Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided.  On the last evening, we recommend the short trip to the island’s award-winning Puffer restaurant to sample some of the finest local seafood and other produce from Argyll. This will be at your discretion but it’s well worth it and we encourage all the participants to join us for the meal. We can cater for special diets if notified in advanced. We can arrange free travel to-and-from Oban, the nearest major town to Easdale island (15 miles by road). Oban has railway and bus stations and is a two-and-a-half hours drive from Glasgow airport.

What is not included:

Travel to and from Easdale island. You will be asked to make your own way to either Oban or down to the island and to time your arrival for the late afternoon before the day the course commences.

Cameras and other equipment for your use. We recommend you bring your own camera, with a small selection of lenses if appropriate and suitable clothing for all weathers, including robust footwear. A laptop for editing is desirable and and external hard-drive to store images is recommended.

Your personal insurance. Easdale Experiences, who are facilitating the courses, have all the necessary insurance policies in place for your protection, however, we recommend you have your own travel and personal insurance in the event that you are unable to attend the course after booking, are delayed in your arrival/departure or that your equipment becomes faulty or damaged or lost.

“Thank you for organising such an enjoyable and stimulating trip, and for all the patient teaching and encouragement that you and Adam offered.” 

MD, Manchester

“This was a fantastically engaging course which I couldn’t recommend enough for a person of any level of experience to do. Colin and Adam were excellent hosts and teachers.” 

EC, East Lothian

Meet the tutors…

Born in Edinburgh, Colin McPherson has been photographing at home and abroad for a three decades. He undertakes long-term projects alongside commissions and assignments for a number of newspapers and magazines and is represented by the Getty agency. He was a major contributor to the The Independent and was the official photographer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay. In 2012, he was a founder member of the Document Scotland photography collective. His work is published internationally and held in archives and collections such as the Scottish national photographic archive. His photography has been featured in more than 30 solo and group exhibitions including at the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh and Impressions Gallery, Bradford. His latest exhibition of work made on Easdale island was shown at five venues across Scotland and England from 2019-2022. Like fellow tutor Adam Lee, he is a member of the SixBySix photography collective, based on Merseyside.

Adam is a freelance photographer and photography facilitator based in Liverpool. His work has been published in a number of national newspapers including the Observer, the Independent on Sunday as well as commissions for other magazines such as Aeon and Earthlines and clients such as Granta. Aside from commissioned work, Adam also undertakes personal projects, which have been exhibited across the North West of England. As a facilitator Adam works with a wide range of groups including adult and young people. His clients include Blackpool Museum, Liverpool City Council, Preston City Council, The Library of Birmingham, Redeye the Photography Network, Halton Borough Council and Halton CGG amongst others. Much of this work involve teaching photography skills to groups so that they can tell their own stories and advocate for the issues that affect them. Adam has received Art Council England funding for a number of these projects. Recently, Adam has started undertaking long distance walks, which included walking 600 miles along the Pamir Highway in Central Asia. During 2018, he walked the length of Britain with his companion, Martin the Donkey. Adam has written extensively about his adventures.

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Participant portfolios

Check out some of the work made on our courses

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