[Photo credit: © The National Gallery, London]

The ‘interactive’ 40-minute sessions, due to take place during September and October, will show visitors how photography has shaped the Gallery and the history of Western European painting.

‘We will also be offering advice and lessons on how to capture the pictures in our collection,’ added a National Gallery spokesperson.

In March, the National Gallery made headlines when it outlawed visitors’ use of selfie sticks. Neither does the Gallery permit use of tripods or monopods.

A spokesperson said today: ‘The lectures will be focusing on different areas of photography such as the history, how photography influenced painters and looking at various lighting techniques.

‘The use of smartphones with Wi-Fi access will be encouraged as photos will be shared online and with the group who can then offer advice for improvement/different techniques etc.’

The first of the lunchtime talks will take place on 2 September (from 1pm-1.40pm), entitled ‘Looking machines: Cameras before photography’.

Others in the series include a session called ‘The pencil of nature: Photography as the tool of science’ (16 September) and ‘Hold that pose: What photography taught painters’ (30 September).

Participants are urged to bring a smartphone or tablet with a built-in camera and internet access. Following a practical brief, they will be encouraged to share their images on Instagram.

The Gallery’s photo restrictions include the use of flash. In a statement, issued in March, it said: ‘Photography is allowed for personal, non-commercial purposes at the National Gallery – however, there are a few exceptions in order to protect paintings, copyright of loans, individual privacy and the overall visitor experience.

‘Therefore, the use of flash and tripods is not permitted.’

The Gallery said its visitor-facing staff are ‘fully briefed and instructed to ensure we are striking the correct balance between visitor experience and the security and safety of works on display’.

Its March statement added: ‘Therefore, they will use their discretion on a case-by-case basis in preventing photography that puts the safety of the collection at risk or obstructs other visitors.’

For details of all the talks in the series visit