David Speight Photography

Yorkshire Coast

Yorkshire Coast


The historic fishing port of Whitby on the east coast of Yorkshire has masses to offer photographically. There is the Olde Worlde charm of the whitewashed cottages with their red pantiled rooftops which give the ‘Old Town’ its distinctive character. On the clifftop above the town itself there is the imposing presence of Whitby Abbey, and of course there are the iconic and instantly recognisable east & west piers which mark the entrance to Whitby Harbour. Travel no more than a stones throw up or down the east coast from this most picturesque of Yorkshire Coastal towns, and you have the expansive beach at Sandsend to the north with it's battered sea defences, and the fantastic geology, cliffs and sea stacks of Saltwick Bay to the south. With so much photographic potential available, Whitby and the east coast of Yorkshire are the perfect area to learn all aspects of landscape photography whatever your ability level.


Staithes, about twenty five minutes drive north of Whitby on the Yorkshire Coast has been a centre for generations of artists both past and present and it’s not difficult to see why. The villages' traditional whitewashed stone cottages are built on to a steeply sloping hillside. The village itself has a timeless feel to it with its old cobbled streets, and the close proximity of the cottages to each other. The houses are rumoured to have been built this way so that smuggled goods could easily be passed from one end of the village to the other without being detected. Then there's the ancient looking harbour complete with it's own traditionally hand painted fishing boats or Cobles as they're known here in Yorkshire.

Robin Hoods Bay

Robin Hoods bay or Baytown as it’s known just south of Whitby on The North Yorkshire Coast is an idyllic fishing village which faces out to the North Sea. Similar again in character to Staithes, the traditional whitewashed stone cottages of Robin Hoods Bay, with red tiled rooftops and steeply sloping narrow cobbled streets have the appearance of being left over from some long forgotten era. Similarly to Staithes again, the village is synonymous with smugglers and smuggling. Robin Hoods Bay is said to have had the busiest smuggling community on The Yorkshire Coast. It was also said that goods could travel from the bottom of the town to the top without ever leaving the houses via a series of underground tunnels.

Other Locations

The locations above are just three of many areas that we can possibly visit over our two days on the Yorkshire Coast photography workshop. In keeping with the way I work myself when photographing the landscape, we won't aim to have a rigid location/shoot plan. We will keep our options open and aim to work with the prevailing conditions in an effort to get the absolute most from the two days, and also the best possible images. Other locations that we can possibly visit will include; Scarborough; Saltburn, Runswick Bay, Kettleness, Port Mulgrave, Boggle Hole and Ravenscar.

What will you learn?

Firstly all tuition is tailored exactly to individual requirement by way of a short questionnaire. This allows me to get an idea of the camera equipment you are using, your ability level and also any ambitions or goals you may wish to achieve over the course of the workshop.

The Yorkshire Coast Photography Workshop is suitable for all levels of photographer including complete beginners and new DSLR users. Depending on your ability level and experience, I can start with the basics of showing you how to best set up your camera to photograph landscape if necessary. I can go through the basic techniques needed to achieve professional standard, ultra sharp, perfectly exposed images, such as aperture selection and manual focusing for maximum depth of field (Hyperfocal focusing), the advantages of shooting in raw format and full manual mode. Clients tend to pick up the technical aspects of using the camera very quickly, and within an hour or two are comfortable shooting fully manual. All the different stages of setting up and shooting manually are backed up with friendly step by step, easy to understand explanations.

We will almost definitely work with various types of filter. These can include filters used to create an effect such as standard ND filters and Polarisers or exposure balancing filters such as Neutral Density Graduated or ND grads. I have a couple of sets of Lee Filters kits plus the Pro Glass, Big and Little Stopper NDs that I can loan out to clients so you can try these out for yourselves without the initial cost.

A large part of the day is spent discussing and experimenting with different types of composition, and also the whole process of seeing what makes a dramatic or interesting landscape image. We look at the different photographic rules of composition and it certainly pays to learn these. I can't tell you when you should break these rules, but I can show you instances from my own work where I thought using compositional guides were successful, and also examples of work where I felt a different approach worked better or made for a more successful image.

I have also been asked in the past to provide tuition on more advanced aspects of photography such as; shooting and processing panoramic images, using tilt and shift lenses, exposure blending using luminosity masks/selections etc. If time permits, I also demonstrate some of the basic steps used to process images using Photoshop/Lightroom. This is usually over dinner, and will also give us the chance to review the images we've already captured.

Meeting Times

A typical day lasts around ten hours from start to finish and will include a sunrise, a sunset or both. The exact format of the Yorkshire Coast photography workshop will depend upon the time of year. In the summer months the workshop will start with us meeting around midday, and conclude with us putting all the different techniques from throughout the two days into practice by photographing the sunset. With the shorter days of the Winter months the two days will begin with us meeting before sunrise and see us working right through until sunset. We will take a break for food at some point on both days and this is usally at a cafe or restaurant etc.

Please see below a selection of previous client testimonials.

"Hi David. A big thank you for the one-to-one course held on the East Coast on Wednesday. You started with really basic help on manual shooting and helped me understand what my micro four-thirds is capable of. Much more than I thought, and I can't wait to keep practicing non-automatic images!! We had amazing weather, but your knowledge of the tides and the timing of the sunset set me up for some beautiful sunset shots that I didn't think I would be able to do. You have really fired my imagination with your references to patterns and lines, and I can't wait to get the tripod out again in Scotland next week. Thank you very much. Sue"

Sue S

"Hi David. Thanks very much for the two day North Yorkshire Coast workshop last weekend. I absolutely loved the weekend. With your help, advice and knowledge, I have hopefully moved on now from someone who only shot photographs in automatic, to someone who is now beginning to understand and explore the real potential of my camera. The photographs I took are stunning and by far and away the best I have ever taken.

I now need to practice further all I learnt from you, but recognising there is still more to learn, I will be considering booking another course with you, just waiting for slightly warmer weather!"

Nigel R

  • Available

  • 04th - 05th January, 2019

  • £295.00 / £50.00

    • two full days tuition

    • Transport to the Yorkshire Coast

    • Food/Drink

    • Personal/equipment insurance

  • Low - Average - No long walks

  • Two full days

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