Garden photography – autumn colour and close-ups with Kevin Dutton

Ref: SWE13266

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About this course

Whatever your camera, learn new photographic skills to create plant portraits, garden landscape compositions and close-ups in West Dean's beautiful gardens. Ideally, you device will have some manual controls.

Course Description

This course provides a perfect opportunity to build on your photographic skills by learning how to take well-composed garden pictures in the grounds and gardens at West Dean with plenty of opportunities for wide, mid and close-up compositions. The weekend is all about understanding light and autumnal colour. The majority of the time will be spent in the gardens with your camera, but you will also be able to download, edit, discuss and retouch your images on desktop computers in the College’s computer suite. It is suitable for those with any type of camera or picture-taking device, but ideally a camera with manual controls which offers greater creative possibilities, e.g. a DSLR, mirrorless, CSC (compact systems camera) or advanced compact digital camera.

The aims of the course are:

Learn and improve skills in all aspects of garden photography

Gain a greater understanding of how to frame subjects in the garden

Make the most of available light and weather conditions in autumn

Enjoy photography and discussion with fellow students

As it is primarily a practical course, most of the time will be spent photographing in West Dean Gardens, working on technical and aesthetic aspects of photography:

General landscape garden composition

Colour temperature and balance

Plant portraits and close-up work

Depth of field and focus

Using a tripod in the garden

Shutter speed and sharpness

There will be ample time for discussion and this flexible course will, to a degree, be tailored to students’ individual interests.

Please note that weather and temperature may vary in October. A certain amount of walking is involved on this course carrying your camera equipment, so please come prepared for this.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Camera or picture-taking device e.g. DSLR, mirrorless, CSC (compact systems camera) or advanced compact digital camera or smartphone.
  • Lenses and tripod (optional)
  • Charged batteries (plus spare and your battery charger),
  • USB lead (camera/device to computer connection)
  • Laptop computer (optional)
  • Camera's manual (best option is to download the manual PDF to a mobile device)
  • USB memory stick to save your images to at the end of the course
  • Be prepared to work outdoors, so bring appropriate clothing, footwear, rucksack etc.
  • A note of your Adobe ID login, if you have one

Additional information

Please note that while the tutor will give instruction on getting to grips with Adobe Lightroom CC software, basic computer skills will be assumed. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear (no open toes).


Kevin Dutton

Kevin Dutton studied at Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire and has over 20 years' experience as a professional photographer. He has worked in the UK and abroad for a variety of editorial, design and business clients including the RHS, The Sunday Times, BBC, HarperCollins and as a tutor at the Victoria and Albert Museum.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.