Have you ever looked at all of the buttons and dials on your digital camera and thought, "If only I knew what these things are supposed to do!" Or maybe you try to ignore them altogether, just pointing-and-shooting and hoping for the best. If you're a creative person, grasping the technical side of taking pictures can seem a little daunting, as if you need another college degree just to get through your camera's user manual.
Although I'm a professional photographer now, I can remember when I first began to really get into photography many years ago, and feeling utterly confused at the mere sight of f-stops. As somebody who's always been very good at art but very bad at math, I was baffled with trying to figure out the fractions of a second for a "perfect" exposure.
But here's the thing: I learned the "tech-y" stuff, and you can, too.
Here's the other thing: It takes some dedicated time and practice, practice, practice!
I've put together a 14-day online course that will teach you all of the basics you need to know to get out of Auto Mode and start taking more creative control of your shots. It will also give you "that little nudge" you might need to practice what you learn, with an online classroom of students from around the world.
If you've taken other photography courses with me, then you already know one of my mantras to my students: "Be an artist, not just a witness." Well, learning to move off Auto Mode will give you many more tools and options to create art with your camera. 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.
Day 1: Let's Get Started
- The nitty-gritty technical things you need to know (and the tech stuff you can skip!)
- The Photographic Triangle
- Which lenses are best for the subjects you want to shoot?
- White Balance
- Shooting in RAW versus jpeg
- Tripods and Image Stabilizers
- Good resources for further study
- Practice in the Classroom: Shooting in Program (P) Mode
Day 2: ISO in Detail
- Defining ISO
- Different scenarios, different ISOs
- Practice in the Classroom: Shooting with different ISO settings
Day 3: Aperture and Depth of Field
- Defining Aperture
- Shallow versus deep depth of field
- Figuring out f-stops once and for all
- The Photography Greats: Aperture Heroes
- Practice in the Classroom: Shooting with different aperture settings (f-stops) in Aperture Priority Mode (A/Av)
Day 4: Shutter Speed and Movement
- Defining Shutter Speed
- Blurring or freezing action
- Figuring out your shutter speed fractions once and for all
- The Photography Greats: Shutter Speed Heroes
- Practice in the Classroom: Shooting with different shutter speeds in Shutter Priority Mode (S/T/Tv)
Day 5: Trouble-shooting the Tough Shots
- Action (from sports to toddlers!)
- Different speeds within one shot
- Low light and night shots
- Bright light
- Practice in the Classroom: Pick a trouble shot and work it!
Day 6: True Manual Mode
Let's take it beyond Aperture Mode and Shutter Priority Mode and dabble in Manual Mode (M)
- What are the key points to remember when shooting in Manual Mode?
- Practice in the Classroom: Getting more experimental and taking the most control of your shots.
Day 7: Review and Self-Testing
Let's make sure you really know how to use your camera now! Review the past week's lessons and take the comprehensive quiz to track your progress.
Days 8-14: Workshop Week
Workshop Week is dedicated classroom time for you to catch up on any lessons you missed, further explore any lessons that you don't have nailed down yet, or share the photographic masterpieces you've taken as a result of the lessons. I'll be right there with you, checking in frequently, to help you along!
What You'll Need for This Course
- A DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera or a mirrorless digital camera that lets you switch off Auto Mode and control the shots yourself.
- 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.
In addition, an inexpensive tripod is highly recommended, but not mandatory.
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).
Frequently Asked Questions
What level photographer is this course intended for?
This course would be perfect for anybody who owns a DSLR camera or mirrorless camera and is NOT confident using it off Auto Mode. Even if you're amazingly creative with your DSLR camera on Auto Mode, this course will help you get more comfortable with the technical side of digital photography (while still having a lot of creative fun with your camera).
When is this course running?
This course will run from Monday, November 28, 2016 through Sunday, December 11, 2016.
When are you planning to run the course again?
I haven't scheduled another session yet. I like to work through the current session of a course before scheduling the next one.
What if I miss a few days of lessons due to vacation, work, illness, or a busy life in general?
There is no set time for you to be "in class." You will be sent an email with the password-protected site each morning, and you can check it at your leisure. If you miss a few days of lessons and posting your work, don't worry. Catch up and post to the online classroom whenever you can. No pressure!
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.
Will there be any assignments?
For seven days, you will be emailed a lesson which includes a "Practice in the Classroom" activity to help you put the lesson to use with your camera, but you are under no obligation or schedule to complete it. The lessons are merely suggestions to improve your experience in the class and get constructive, positive feedback from me and your classmates. After the seven days of lessons, we will have a "Workshop Week" for catching up and further putting your new skills to use. Do as much as you wish, but please know that the more you participate, the more you will get out of the course.
How do I pay for this course?
You can securely pay with PayPal (which accepts credit cards) at the bottom of this page. If you don't have a PayPal account, it's free to open one and easy to sign up.
The fee for this course is $135 and includes all of the following components:
- Seven days of in-depth lessons. Each written lesson is two to four pages, and then we meet in our private, online "classroom" to work through the lessons via your photographs. (I will give you positive, constructive advice to guide you along and improve your work, instead of just saying, "Nice shot!")
- Seven days of additional classroom workshop time to complete or further explore lessons with me and your classmates.
- Lifetime access to our online classroom where you can post your photographs and discuss them with your fellow students and with me.
- A downloadable book (PDF file) of all lessons, to keep and refer to whenever you like.
- 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 online 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 of my photography e-courses 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.
Will refunds be offered?
(I'm including this just for legal reasons--nobody's ever wanted a refund for any of my photography courses. In fact, quite the opposite: I've been told that the courses were worth more than the prices paid.) Due to the digital nature of this course, 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.email@example.com. 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.
Any other questions? Just let me know at JoyfullyGreen.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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 How to Take Better Photos of Nature and the World Around You, The Art of Photography: How to Take Your Pictures to the Next Level, and The Charm of Children: How to Take Better Photos of Babies & Kids) several times per year since March 2014, with uniformly positive feedback.
Kind words from students about my online courses
"I love your teaching style and the way you put together your courses." -- Tracy from California
"I have taken two of Joy's photography courses and learned SO much. I highly recommend her courses--you can see how beautiful the results are." -- Eliza from Australia
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P.S. Another other questions? Drop me a line at JoyfullyGreen.email@example.com