From Study Plus course to music photography for Cassie

Jake Bugg "Jake Bugg at Roundhouse (002)" by Cassie Barnard.

When Kent alumna, Cassie Barnard, signed up for Study Plus Digital Photography, she had no idea where this would lead her.

Looking to make the most out of my time at university, I decided to sign up for a Study Plus module: KE122 Digital Photography. When I signed up, I was expecting to learn something new and meet new people, outside of my degree course. I never imagined that a Study Plus module would turn out to be the foundations of my future career.

I had previously only dabbled in photography, taking photos of family and friends, and flowers in my garden. The Digital Photography course (KE122),  seemed appealing as it promised to teach me the basics of photography and how to get the most out of my DSLR camera.

It was led by wedding photographer, and former Kent student, Olly Knight. The first couple of lessons were spent getting to know each other and the basic camera settings. From there, each lesson was well-structured, and  balanced learning and practising. In the first half of the lesson, Olly would introduce a new setting or concept. It was always a joy, as Olly is friendly, knowledgeable, and made each lesson accessible for everyone. In the second half, he would let us practise what we had learnt by taking photos across campus. By the end of the module, I was able to fully operate my camera on manual mode, I had learnt key concepts, such as the rule of thirds, and I had made friends whom I otherwise would not have met. All in all, the course was informative, enjoyable, and fun, and Olly was a great teacher.

After the Digital Photography course, I wanted to pursue photography further, and I became a volunteer photographer for InQuire. While there, I was able to photograph a range of events, including Keynestock 2019. It was then that I  found the line of photography I wanted to pursue; live music photography. After graduating, I began volunteering for an online music magazine and have since been able to photograph a range of artists in venues across London, including Jake Bugg at The Roundhouse, and OneRepublic at the London Palladium.

One Republic at the London Palladium
One Republic at the London Palladium  Photo: Copyright Cassie Barnard


While the Study Plus Digital Photography course with Olly Knight seems like a lifetime ago, the lessons I learnt became the foundations of my photography career: learning how to properly apply different settings to best capture the scene, how to frame the photo, and how to be in the right place at the right time has enabled me to become a live music photographer. I am excited to continue to learn and grow as a photographer, and I cannot wait to see where live music photography takes me, but I shall never forget that it all began in a small lecture room in the Templeman Library.

To have a look at my photography work, please visit my website.

Find out more about Study Plus courses and how to sign up. They are free of charge and all registered Kent students are eligible.

All photos:  Copyright Cassie Barnard.