If you answer NO to any of these questions, you would benefit by Introductory Photography.

(NB: These questions also give you a pretty good idea of some of the course topics.)

  • Are you comfortable and confident when using your camera when it’s NOT in Auto mode?
  • Do you know how to create a picture that has the main subject sharp and the background blurry?
  • Can you use your knowledge of shutter speed to create an image that implies motion?
  • If you were shooting outdoors and then brought your camera indoors to shoot, do you know what adjustments to make with your ISO?
  • Do you understand and regularly use these concepts: exposure compensation? spot metering? depth of field preview?
  • Are you able to assess the natural light in a situation and use it to your advantage?
  • Can you identify several compositional principles that will help you create a compelling image?

If you answer NO to any of these questions, you would benefit by Intermediate Photography.

  • Can you use flash on your camera so that no one can tell? (You know flash has been used if you see red eye, harsh shadows and exposure problems)
  • Are you comfortable shooting with your camera set in manual mode?
  • Have you experienced the joy and surprise of photography in the dark? That is, do you understand how to make successful images at night? And do you know when is the best time for night shots?
  • Do you have strategies to kickstart your own creativity and develop your personal vision?
  • Do you have a toolkit of strategies to use, both in-camera and in post-processing, to add an extra dimension of interest and uniqueness to your images?
  • When photographing people, can you identify three important considerations to strengthen your image?

There are three main components to Introductory and Intermediate Photography. 

1. Eight weekly lessons, each focusing on one specific aspect. The lessons include explanations, images and videos to demonstrate. And, each lesson has a homework assignment.

2. A private Facebook group which keeps us connected during the week. The weekly lessons are posted here along with announcements. As well, this is where you upload your images from the weekly assignments. You’ll receive feedback on your images, usually the same day. This is also the place to ask any questions.

3. A weekly Zoom call takes place one week after you receive a lesson. This is your chance to review the main concepts of the lesson together, ask any questions and review a selection of the images posted to Facebook that week. If you can’t make the Zoom call, they are recorded so you can listen in later.

You can still keep in touch via the Facebook group and you can watch a recorded version of the Zoom class at your convenience.

Each class has a maximum of 20 people with three instructors.

Introductory and Intermediate have a combination of online and in-person sessions.

Introductory photography has 8 weekly Zoom classes plus two Saturday outings that are in-person.

Intermediate photograph has 8 weekly sessions. Five of them are online, 3 are in-person.

Lightroom Classic is 100% online.

Although the classes are very much hands-on, the best practice is outside in a real photography situation. Saturday outings are included in Introductory and Intermediate courses to practice the skills taught in class with direct supervision and suggestions. Many students often mention these as one of the most valuable aspects of the course. 

For Introductory photography, your camera and basic lens is enough. Recommended accessories are a polarizing filter and a tripod. Recommendations for these are made during the course and discounts may be available at local retailers.

For Intermediate Photography, a tripod is essential as well as a speedlight flash that fits on your camera hotshoe. See below for flash recommendations. 

Can I take the course with a Point & Shoot camera? Yes, you can definitely benefit from the course with a point & shoot camera and some people have. The cameras operate in the same way. The difference is in the purpose of the camera. With a DSLR, the controls are designed to be quickly accessible and under your thumb or finger tips. With a point & shoot camera, the designers assume that most users will operate in Auto mode and therefore, the essential camera controls are in the menu system, making them harder to locate and adjust.  If you are just starting out, definitely use the point & shoot and, if you plan to move to a DSLR, you will learn a lot about what to look for in a camera. Alternatively, a used DSLR camera can be a very effective and inexpensive camera to learn with. Also, many people today are moving to mirrorless cameras. These cameras are small and lightweight and many have outstanding image quality with all of the features of a DSLR. I have both Nikon DSLRs and Fuji mirrorless cameras. 

A flash unit must have the ability to rotate the head so it can be pointed 90º to the left and 90º to the right as well as behind you (180º). This is very important. Also, ensure your flash has TTL (Through the Lens) capability. This means that the flash automatically calculates the strength of the flash output for each situation. Camera manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon make excellent flash units that work well with your camera. 

However, there are very effective and much less expensive options from other sources. 

I personally use Godox speedlight flash units. I have four of these. The cost is less than half the price of a similar Nikon or Canon flash. You can save even more if you choose the model that uses AA batteries. But after years of recharging those, I prefer the version with the larger lithium battery. It holds its charge almost forever and has a very fast recycle time. Not sure which one you need? My recommendation is the V860iii (the letter C, N, F or S refers to Canon, Nikon, Fuji or Sony, etc.).

The Godox system is fully compatible with your camera and, very importantly, is expandable. In the future, if you choose to do studio work, you can add flashes and controllers easily that work seamlessly.

I purchase my flash units from Strobepro, a Calgary company. Service, prices, support and delivery are all excellent. And, no PST!

That’s a tough question because there are so many factors, with budget usually being the biggest one. In general, the newer the camera, the better it will be because the technology continues to advance. Also, keep in mind that you are buying into a system when you choose a camera. That means that if your first camera is a Nikon, then you’ll probably have 2-3 lenses before long. Then, when it comes time to update your camera, you’ll stick with the Nikon system because you already have the lenses.

Another point is that many people end up buying two cameras within the first year or two. Why? Because they try to economize on their first camera, not realizing what all the features are and what the important ones are. They become disappointed with it and then buy, with more knowledge, a camera they’ll be happy with for a longer period. So, choose wisely on your first one. I strongly recommend doing lots of research and using a local camera specialty store rather than a big box retailer or online stores. The local specialty shop has knowledgeable staff who can help you make these hard decisions. After your purchase, they’ll be there to help with your questions and offer support if anything goes wrong. You just don’t get knowledgeable, supportive service from the big box stores. A local specialty camera store such as Kerrisdale Cameras want you as a repeat customer and they do that by providing knowledgeable service at competitive prices. 

 My advice for beginners who need a camera … Buy or borrow a used one. Yes, a used camera. As you can read above, many beginners buy a second camera soon after realizing their first camera was not a great match. So, make your first camera one that is inexpensive. Even better, borrow one. Through the course, you’ll learn a great deal about the features of a camera that are important to you and by the time the course is over, you’ll know what you need. Then, you can buy one with confidence. There, I just saved you several hundred dollars! 

Glad you asked!

I teach photography to share my passion with others. It is so worthwhile when students get turned on and excited about making pictures. I’m proud of the many students who have developed successful photography careers after starting out with me.

To read what former students think, check out what they say on Google.