It was a cold foggy day as I walked over to the CAIA Center, one would imagine that such weather was unpleasant, however the light layer of fog added softness and a calm to the London morning. Had I seen it several hours later, I could have captured it. Thanks to a wonderful session with photographer Vahagn Gulakian, I can now record and remember such beautiful moments. The session, which concentrated on the basic photographic formula of (Exposure=Aperture +Shutter Speed+ISO) provided an in depth, clearly explained breakdown of how each aspect of the formula affected the quality and effect of the photograph. The class was filled with raised eyebrows of confusion, followed by the immediate smiles of understanding as Vahagn individually helped the participants understand and explore the workings of their camera. The session aimed at helping volunteers gain the skills and knowledge which could be used to photograph documentary shoots, recording the memories and stories of people whose families have been affected by WW1.

Quick tips:

Composition is key! Place your subject on the right or left corner of the frame, allowing space for their surrounding and a notion of a continuous story.

Keep the camera settings at a low F # (around 3.5) this will create greater focus on the portrait and the person who is the subject of the interview.

AV= Aperture Priority (Still images, portraits, landscapes, events)

TV= Time Priority (High speed events, moving objects)

Keep your Shutter speed at 1/60 for good quality if possible.

Keep your ISO between 400-800 for good quality if possible.

Low F # is for one focal point- High F # is to focus all subjects in the frame (Depth of Field)

Documentary photography is our way of recording history, sharing emotional knowledge and insight and offering inspiration for change.

To see more of Vahagn Gulakian’s work visit his website:

 To see more information on documentary photography visit these links:

The post was written by one of the UK Armenians & WW1 project volunteers