"Thank you so much, Joy, for this wonderful class. I really enjoyed the enthusiasm and interaction of the group.We inspired each other! I learned a great deal more than I expected to from an online course. Your lessons flowed so well from day to day and you provided encouraging and extremely helpful feedback to help us develop our own photographer's eye. I already had one of my blog readers ask about your course when I posted a few of my photos last Friday. I'll definitely sing your praises to others and will take another course if you offer one."
Ever wish you could take prettier, "more professional" photographs of your pets, a wild animal passing through your back yard, a child playing at the beach, a vase of flowers, your evening view, the changing seasons? Do you feel that a photography course would be too technical and full of jargon for you, but think you would enjoy one that is more creativity-focused? Would you like to create more artistic images of nature and the world around you to share with your friends and family, or just add some beauty to your life and home?
I've created a 19-day online course that will help you with all of the above goals. Perhaps even better, it will help you relax into a photographic routine, adding some meditative time outdoors for you to simply appreciate the beauty available in front of your camera lens. Whether you're a professional blogger who would like to add more attractive photographs to your posts, a "creative type" who would like to learn within a community of like-minded students, or you just want to take better pictures on your next vacation, this course will help you move forward.
"Once again, Joy, today's lesson was super helpful. This will completely change how I work with my photos. Thank you!"
-- Debi Huang
"Joy Sussman, you rock!
What an awesome photography class.
I am feeling so very much more creative, and excited about the future!"
-- Kat Denton
On all weekdays, you will receive a new lesson via email. All enrolled students will have the opportunity to share their photos, comments, and creative thoughts in a private, online "classroom" dedicated just to this course. On the weekend, you'll receive two mini-lessons, and you may catch up on any lessons you missed during the week. You will have access to the group's classroom for as long as you remain a member in it, even after the course ends, should you decide to keep in touch with your classmates. (FYI: My students from the previous sessions of this course are still posting their work and catching up with each other!)
****This session will run from Monday, October 17 through Friday, November 4, 2016.** (LAST CHANCE UNTIL 2018)
Throughout the course, I will be using some of my favorite photographs as well as visual references from art history (famous paintings and photographs) so that you can more easily grasp the learning points. In our private online classroom, I will give you creative advice on your shots and plenty of critique to guide you along, so you will be able to take meaningful steps forward with your photography.
Day 1: Starting Your Journey to Better Photographs
- The basic equation for a good photograph
- Which cameras and lenses to use?
- Suggested photography books and art history resources
Day 2: Better Composition: How to Set Up and Frame Your Shots
- Horizontals, verticals, and the Rule of Thirds
- When should you shoot subjects at the center of the frame?
- Seeking out "natural frames"
- When and how to recompose the shot in post-processing
Day 3: Better Lighting
- Using natural light
- Flash photography and editing tips for lighting
- Back-lighting, sun flares, and other challenges
Day 4: Better Focus (and Better Softening)
- How and when to sharpen or soften the focus while shooting
- Depth of Field explained in easy terms
- Experimenting with the Bokeh Effect
Day 5: Better Angles
- How and when to shoot from above and below
- "One subject, many shots"
- How to use Leading Lines for a more compelling shot
Days 6 and 7: Weekend to use for reviewing or catching up on lessons, posting photos, and interacting in our Google+ classroom. (I will still be available to you for advice and guidance on both weekend days.) I will send you a mini-lesson on both days.
Day 8: Better Close-Ups
- Macro photography in a nutshell
- How to shoot subjects up-close
- How and where to look for subjects
Day 9: A Better Final Product: Post-processing
- How to use free online tools and apps
- What to focus on when you edit
- Protecting your work
Day 10: Interview with Photographer Laura Karin: "Finding the Quiet Moment". Laura has her own photography business in New Jersey, where she shoots portraits and fine art photographs for private clients and businesses.
Day 11: Interview with Photographer Russell Rowland: "Photographing Nature in the City". Russell has his own photography business in New York City, where his portraits and landscape photos run regularly in top national publications, including The New York Times' front page, Style section, and Arts & Leisure section.
Day 12: Putting It All Together
- How to manage your digital photographs
- Social media for photographers
- Helpful ways to further develop your photography
Days 13-19: Workshop Week. Additional dedicated time in our private online classroom for you to work through all of the lessons with me and your fellow students.
What You'll Need:
- A digital camera or a smart phone (it doesn't matter what type).
- Access to a computer where you can upload your photographs.
- A free email account with Google (gmail), so you can join our private Google+ classroom, post your own photos, and give/receive feedback with the other class members.
Before the class begins, you should know how to upload photographs from your computer (or smart phone) to an online page. Never done that before? This link explains how to upload photos to Facebook (it's the same process with Google+), with step-by-step visual directions and a YouTube tutorial.
Please note: If you do not currently have a Google gmail account and do not want one, you can open an account just for this course and close it right after the course ends, if you wish. You can even set it up with a pseudonym (let me know what it is!) so the general public cannot find you on Google+ (but remember, this classroom is private and nobody outside of the class will see what you share in it).
"Your class has been very helpful. I was so happy this morning to read that our group's classroom will continue to be open. It's so wonderful to see work from all the others, especially from their different locales. There were many stunning images. Thank you for offering this course and for your patience and sympathetic
help! Looking forward to keeping in touch!"
-- Lorraine H.
"This is way too much fun. House-cleaning is going on the back burner!"
-- Jerri DeCarolis
Frequently Asked Questions
What level photographer is this course intended for?
Whether you're a beginner or you have some years of experience behind the lens, this course will help you find the art within the frame, and to enjoy the meditative moments available to you when you photograph nature and the world around you. It also will help you connect to a community of people who love photography and want to learn more about it.
Will there be any assignments?
Each weekday will have an "assignment", but you are under no obligation or schedule to complete it. The assignments are merely suggestions to improve your experience in the class and get constructive, positive feedback from me and your classmates. Do as much as you wish, but please know that the more you participate, the more you will get out of the course.
What if I miss a daily lesson?
No worries. There is no set time for you to be "in class." You will be sent an email with the password-protected site each day, and you can check it at your leisure. If you miss a day or two of reviewing lessons and posting, it's absolutely fine. Catch up and post to our online classroom when you can. The weekend between the lessons is an ideal time for catching up on anything you might have missed, and we'll also have a "workshop week" after all the lessons have been sent.
What if I have a full-time job?
That's fine! And it's one of the best parts of participating in an online course instead of a traditional course in a classroom. If you miss a day or two of lessons due to a heavy work schedule, just catch up when you can. This is basically a self-paced course, so you will get out of it what you can put into it.
Do lessons arrive on weekends, too?
Yes, you'll receive a mini-lesson on the first Saturday and Sunday, and you can use the weekend days to catch up on any lessons you missed during the week.
How do I pay for this course?
You can securely pay with PayPal at the bottom of this page when enrollment is open. Click the yellow "Buy Now" button. (If you don't have a PayPal account, it's free to open one and easy to sign up.)
The one-time $145 fee for the course covers all of the following:
- 10 weekdays of in-depth lessons and 2 weekend days of mini-lessons. Each weekday lesson is two to four pages, and then we meet in our private "Google classroom" to work through the lessons via your photographs. (I will give you positive, constructive advice to improve your work, instead of just saying, "Nice shot!")
- Workshop Week. Seven extra days of dedicated time in our private online classroom for you to work through the lessons with me and your fellow students.
- A downloadable book (PDF file) of all the lessons.
- Lifetime access to our private online classroom where you can post your photographs and discuss them with your fellow students and with me.
- Ongoing advice and guidance from me about your photographs during the course and beyond. (Just because the class ends doesn't mean your development as a photographer ends, so I regularly check in with my previous students in our classrooms.)
What if I'm not located in the United States?
I'm happy to welcome students from around the world, and since it's an online course, there is no specific time for you to be "in class." Previous sessions have included students from the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia.
PayPal will convert any foreign currency to U.S. dollars.
Do I need to buy anything?
No. Suggested texts will be recommended to you, but you can find them at the library (which I fully recommend) or preview their contents online when available through Amazon. In addition, I will recommend some cameras and lenses that I personally use, but you don't need to buy anything at all, aside from the course itself. I will be suggesting free online editing applications and free apps for smart phones.
Will refunds be offered?
(I'm including this just for legal reasons--nobody's ever wanted a refund. In fact, quite the opposite: I've been told by a few students that the course was worth more than the price they paid for it!) Due to the digital nature of this course and the already-low price, I cannot offer refunds, so please ask me any questions or let me know any of your concerns before you register, by emailing me at JoyfullyGreen.firstname.lastname@example.org. Depending on your own background and personal experience with photography, there may be certain days when you might already know some of the information being shared in the lesson. However, you still will be able to connect to the group, enjoy the class community, and share your images and experiences with photography.
"I stumbled onto your Facebook page and as I love to find lovely images, it led me to your website where I learned of your class. I got excited about it, and it was a doable price range. It's been well worth it! I feel like I got more than I expected! I'm really glad I took your class. Just sayin' it again..."
-- Phyllis June 'Miller' Johnson
In 2015, I was one of seven Honorees for the Photo of the Year from BlogHer. (Here's the announcement: Notes on Being Selected as a BlogHer Photos of the Year Honoree.)
Since July 2012, I've been the sole photographer at the blog JoyfullyGreen.com. If you are unfamiliar with my blog, I encourage you to take a look through the archives at my photographs, as well as the collection of my favorites available for purchase at society6.com/JoyfullyGreen.
My specialty is nature and art-inspired images. Most of the comments I've received since I started my blog have been about my photographs. In fact, one of the commenters said, "You take insanely gorgeous photographs!" (I thought about calling this course "How to Take Insanely Gorgeous Photographs" but in the end, I decided to take a slightly lower-key approach!)
I've been taking photos for about four decades, ever since I was a little girl and received my first Kodak Instamatic camera for a Christmas present at the age of 7. Before my senior year at Vassar College (where I majored in Art History), I was a photography counselor at Wesleyan University's Center for Creative Youth in Middletown, CT, where I helped instruct high school students in photography (including darkroom development--anybody remember those days?). I have taken traditional courses in Black and White Photography, Landscape Photography, and Digital Photography in Philadelphia, as well as Visual Art and Design courses at Parsons School of Design in New York.
I've been teaching online photography courses (including this one) several times per year since March 2014, with uniformly positive feedback.
In other words...I'm ready to guide you on your photographic journey, so let's get started!
THIS COURSE IS CURRENTLY CLOSED.
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