North Pennines


North Pennines


We are situated in peaceful countryside near Kirkby Stephen, in the heart of the Cumbrian North Pennines and only four miles from the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Whilst our location offers a feeling of tranquil calm and remoteness, we are well serviced by the national road network and easy to get to.

LOCATION: Near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria.

GROUP SIZE: Maximum of four. All levels of experience welcome.

DURATION: 1 day (10am to 4pm)


£125 per day for one person
£160 per day for two people (i.e. £80 per person)
£210 per day for three people (i.e. (£70 per person)
£240 per day for four people (i.e. (£60 per person)


We no longer arrange speculative, pre-planned workshop dates in the hope of having sufficient numbers to fill trips. It has resulted in too many cancelled trips and disappointed clients.

This photography workshop is now arranged on a bespoke basis.

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We are not a regular B&B establishment but in order to accommodate our clients and with sufficient notice, we can make meals and accommodation available for those attending a photography workshop.

Rooms have double beds and en-suite showers and are situated where the workshops are held on the ground floor of our home in the middle of open countryside in the North Pennines. For just £10 extra, bring your non-photography partner to stay with you. There are lovely country walks to be had from our front door or they can spend the time visiting nearby villages, attractions or beauty spots.


We are not a regular B&B establishment, but to accommodate those attending photography workshops, accommodation; dinner and breakfast can be made available if arranged at the time of booking.

£75 bed and breakfast for one person
£85 bed and breakfast for two sharing
£15 dinner per person
£7 Packed lunch for non-photographers

Get in touch to discuss your needs and book.

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The exact start and end times are entirely flexible and will depend on your travelling constraints, the location, subject being photographed and the time of year.

Generally speaking the day will last for between 6-8 hours. If you are staying with us, then we can talk photography for as long as you like.


  • The workshop is designed to meet your needs and preferences. We generally start by matching your level of knowledge and experience with your aspirations for the day.

  • What do you do with your photographs? Where and how do you display them?

  • What equipment do you have or expect to have soon?

    • Like most photographers, I get a lot of fun playing with the equipment and marveling at the advances in technology. I see little to be gained, however, in exploring what you could achieve if you had more money or better equipment. I have been acquiring gear for the last forty years and could still spend thousands more. So unless you actually intend to buy some new gear we will work with what you have!

  • Depending on what you already know, we will look at design and composition in photography; and how to consistently obtain sharp and well exposed images that are interesting and capture attention.


  • The properties of light as they affect photography and what you can do to make best use of light in our photography.

  • Composition. How to raise your game and add impact to your wildlife and nature images.

  • We can appraise some of your existing photographs and look at some of my successes and failures to evaluate what works and what does not.


  • Are your images sharp enough and if not, why not?

  • Use of various autofocus options offered by your equipment.

  • Back-button focus technique; shooting in bursts etc.


  • Light metering in your camera.

  • Use of auto and manual exposure modes including use of auto-ISO; exposure compensation.

  • RAW v JPEG; Use of flash etc. etc.


It always seems a real shame not to spend at least some time and effort processing the images that you spent a lot of time and money trying to capture and yet many amateur photographers miss a trick here, using JPEGs straight from their camera.

I routinely use Adobe Lightroom and occasionally Adobe Photoshop to post-process my images. There are however, many other options, some of them completely free.

I always offer a brief overview of what post-processing has to offer. I also provide training in its use, although for beginners, this is a one-day workshop in itself.


We will spend some time in my small training room exploring the principals of photography and evaluating images.

There is nothing better, however than just going out and getting some shots. We can take some pictures while walking in the countryside or sit in a portable tent hide near the bird feeders where there is a very strong chance that the wildlife will continue to come and go.

We have the option for a small additional cost, of driving out across the open moorland and photograph whatever moves from the car window.. depending on the time of year, that might be pheasant; grouse; curlew; golden plover or oyster-catcher.

Finally, we will close the day, evaluating what we have captured and engaging in some post-processing.


What's Included in the Price?


  • Personal tuition and guidance from John Birch.

  • Packed lunch.


  • Double room with en suite shower; tea and coffee making facilities.

  • Breakfast.

  • Dinner is available if booked in advance.

NOT included:

  • Photographic equipment

  • Accommodation (unless booked at the time)

  • Personal or equipment insurance (recommended).

Terms and Conditions

All of the information on this website must be read in conjunction with our terms and conditions for workshops which can be found on the link below.


The payment of a £25 non-refundable deposit per person will secure your booking. The balance will become due 90 days prior to the workshop. Payment can be made by bank transfer, debit or credit card (no surcharges).

If you are interested in joining us on this workshop, please do not hesitate to call; email or click on one of the links below.