If you fancy learning how to make distinctive studio portraits, using models and professional studio lights then this workshop is for you.

The photographic workshop will be tailored towards beginners and enthusiasts. We will look at the rules of portraiture composition, how to direct and pose your models. You will learn about soft and hard lighting techniques to change the mood and effect of a portrait, learn what a main lights function is, and how to use fill lights, back lights and hair lights; and be shown how they affect the final image.

Val specialises in teaching in a fun, jargon free practical way. Val has been awarded the internationally respected Distinction Associate of the Royal Photography Society (ARPS) which recognises a high standard of both technical and creative skills in photography.


Price: £150 (no VAT). Payment in full is due at the time of booking. NB Payment includes the cost of the room hire, model hire and use of studio lights, soft boxes and beauty dish.

Group Size: Small. Maximum 6 people. NB 1:1 sessions are also available on request.

Location: Boston Spa Village Hall, 199 High Street, Boston Spa, Near Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS23 6AA. NB Other locations are available.

Timing:  10am-4pm. Please note that the six hours does include a break for lunch.

Facilities: There is a cafe open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (if you are not booked on one of these days please bring a packed lunch) and toilets at the Village Hall, plus parking facilities.

Equipment: A standard-sized SD memory card and cash for lunch. NB A high quality camera and portrait lens will be available for you to use on the day.

Dates: Contact Val on 07968 558795 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details of available dates for group and 1:1 sessions.

How to book: Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (07968 558795) to book your place. 


  • Kind Words

    "I have just completed a practical workshop on Black and White photography with Val in York station and around the town. Val is a very calm and careful teacher who intuitively seems to recognise what you need to know. There are many things which I thought I knew but had not fully digested or understood or learnt how to apply fully. She knows how to deepen your understanding in a practical way and gave me many useful tips and advice. After just sculling in the shallows, I now feel ready to embark on my Black and White voyage."

    - Doug Johnson

  • Kind Words

    "Val is an amazing photography tutor and has succeeded in teaching me where others have failed. She has a flexible and adaptable approach to lessons, which suits me perfectly, and we have a giggle to boot! Her patient and thoughtful nature has really helped me progress, with her picking projects that suit my objectives as well as challenge my skills. I am very much looking forward to continuing my photography journey with her. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Val is the best photography tutor I have had the pleasure of being taught by and I would highly recommend her!

    - Mayu Amin"

  • Kind Words

    "Does exactly what it says on the tin! Highly enjoyable and commended. I now know what it means to come off Auto!"

    - Roger Taylor attending a Level 1 Photography Workshop

  • Kind Words

    "A very useful and informative day. Demystified moving off Auto. I feel a lot more confident in getting creative with my camera. The practical exercises and manual playing cards were really useful".

    - Alastair How

  • Kind Words

    "Val broke down the basics into a language all could understand, and she gave plenty of chance for practical moments to cement the theory. Her workshop made me feel very confident to remove the “auto” button".

    - E Womersley

  • Kind Words

    "A really thorough grounding on how to use my camera on manual settings, thanks. I now feel confident to practice myself. It was brilliant to have things simplified and explained in great detail. Good to have practicals to put things together". 

    - Sally How

  • Kind Words

    "Very clear guidance to understanding the 3 elements of the exposure triangle, with lots of opportunities for practice. The quiz and manual playing cards were great".

    - G Fisher

  • Kind Words

    "Done in a really good structure which made bringing things together easier. I enjoyed the practical exercises".

    - Rosie Hester

  • Kind Words

    "Thoroughly enjoyed the course and can now understand the basics of using a camera not on Auto Mode."

    - A Swift

  • "I had a photo session with Valerie for some new images of myself for my website and various media publications. Valerie had a natural instinct for the style and quality of the photographs needed for my business and took time and patience to get the right setting and positions. The images captured me naturally but with a professional focus and I am delighted with them." -Jacquie Cole Bakewell Travel
  • "We came into contact with Val when we wanted to organise a family photograph for our 40th wedding anniversary. Val was wonderful to work with, she made sure everyone looked great, was very good with the grandkids, we had a lot of fun, and you can really see that come through in the end results" -Nora Thrush
  • "I thoroughly enjoyed my photo shoot with Valerie . Her sense of humour and attention to detail resulted in the perfect images for my fashion blog and social media accounts . They not only captured the clothes , but also something of my personality - in my experience a rare feat. I could not be more pleased"

    - Katherine M

Covid19 message response

Message from Valerie Mather

"The safety and well-being of all my workshop participants have and always will be my priority. Due to the UK government lockdown restrictions of non-essential movement of people I have postponed all 1-day workshops and 1:1 sessions up to the end of May 2020. I am reviewing future workshop information on a daily basis and will update it here when necessary and in accordance with government policy.

Please be assured that if you have paid a deposit or full payment for a workshop or a 1:1 session during this period you will not lose it. Your payment will be 100% credited towards a future workshop or 1:1 session booked to start before 30th May 2021."

Book with confidence

If you would like to be a part of any of the workshops or you are interested in 1:1 sessions from June 2020 below please get in touch at any time to make a booking. Please be assured that your deposit will be safe and if the workshop has to be postponed due to government restrictions over Covid-19 you will not lose your money. It may simply be transferred to a future workshop of your choice to start before 30th May 2021, so please book with confidence to secure your place.

Please stay safe!

New Book: Yorkshire Born & Bred

Val's new book, Yorkshire Born & Bred has recently been published find out more here >>>