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Introduction to Digital Photography

This course is unlike any training you have taken before.  A complete three session photography course from the ground up.  And from a professional photographer with over 40 years experience and has been conducting this course for over thirteen years.  

Course Description

This Introduction to digital photography is the perfect starting point in your photography journey.  In this course you will learn all the aspects of how to get the most out of your digital camera.  You will learn what the camera settings do and how to use them to create amazing images.  You will also learn about light and how to take advantage of bad light situations.  And you will learn to see like an artist or photographer.  Why some pictures look like snapshots while others are beautiful.  And you will leave the course with the confidence to start creating your own beautiful images.  If you have learned your photography on your own up to this point this course will help shore up your photography foundation and cover aspects you may have never considered.  You will also take with you my photography digital reference book and lots of helpful handouts.  

Each student will receive as part of the class a USB Thumb Drive.  This drive is for the student to keep and is included in the cost of the class.  The drive will include all the class handouts, class text book, and will be used to save your weekly assignment to bring to class for review.  

Required by Students

Each student should have access to a Digital SLR Camera.  A SLR means a digital camera where you can change the lenses and the camera has the ability to do manual settings.   If you have any question about if your camera will work for the class please email Mike Adkins at mike@mikeadkins.info.   You should also plan to bring a notebook and paper to take notes.  A speed light or flash is helpful for the third week but not required.  The flash can be either built into the camera or external flash.  Please also charge the batteries for your camera and flash before each class.  You are welcome to bring a laptop but that is not required and no outlets for power will be provided. 

There will be a homework assignment after the first and second class week.  It is highly suggested that students do each week assignments to reinforce there classroom work.  There is no grade or test at the end of the course.  However, we do have a Photography Jeopardy Game where there will be prizes to the winners.  This game will be from information covered in class.  

Course Syllabus 

Week 1. (4 hours class time)

In week one we will start with the basics of photography by turning off all the automatic controls on your camera and covering how to adjust exposure manually using the camera light meter. This in essence is the same as you would shoot with an old film camera. We will cover ISO (the sensitivity of the camera senor) and the different settings on your camera light meter. We will be covering the use of the camera aperture and shutter speed and how the use of these settings will affect the picture. Then we will move into the use of automatic settings by introducing the use of aperture priority and shutter priority and why you would use these settings. Week one I will be introducing some of the rules of photography composition and when to use them and when it is ok to break the rules.

• Manual Camera Settings
• The Exposure Triangle and how to use it.
• Use of ISO. 
• Shooting Formats – JPEG vs RAW
• Using Live View and Digital Zoom to critical focus.
• Shutter Priority - why and when?
• Aperture Priority. - why and when?
• Exposure Compensation.
• Controlling Depth of Field.
• Controlling Camera Movement.
• Methods of Creating a Sharp Image.
• Creating Motion Blur.
• How to properly hold your camera.
• The care and upkeep of your camera.
• Rule of Thirds
• Rule of Leading Lines
• Balancing Elements
• Symmetry and Patterns
• Background
• Border Patrol.
• The three elements of a good photograph. Foreground, Middle Ground and Background.
• Homework Assignment
• Photographer to research.

Week 2. (4 hours class time)

In week 2 we review what was covered in week one and resolve issues that the students has encountered. Then we will review the student’s homework images and offer a critique only on the success of the assignment. In this week we start introducing the use of light and how and when to use the camera flash. We will cover the nature of light and how to mix ambient light with flash and how to control each light source. We will also cover how to set the white balance on your camera and how to make sure you have the best and proper white balance. We will also cover how to manually override the white balance. In this class we will also cover how to shoot sunrise and sunsets, night photography and the sweet time and why it is called the sweet time. We will also cover how to create professional portraits without breaking the bank.
• Using the Camera Timer if you do not have a shutter release.

• The nature of light.
• The color of light.
• How to shoot sharp images.
• How to reduce Red Eye and how to mix light.
• The use of your camera flash as the primary light or the fill light.
• The advantages of an off camera flash, speed lights, cold lights, hot lights, and studio flash. The advantages and disadvantages of each.
• How to get perfect white balance and perfect color.
• How to find the perfect sunrise and sunset and how to properly shoot sunrise and sunsets.
• How to set up a home studio for amazing portraits using a bed sheet and a mat board.
• We cover how to properly photograph people and animals. Focus on the near eye and do not shoot down on them. Capture the personality and tell the story.
• Homework Assignment
• Photographer to research

Week 3. (4 hours class time)

This week we pull it all together. We review the previous two weeks and answer any questions or problems the students went though. We review the student’s assignments and offer a critique. In this week we go over photographic equipment and the advantages of disadvantages of the equipment. We cover where and how to save on equipment purchases. We also cover the digital work flow. The use of post processing software with demonstrations on Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and some major plug-ins. We cover the different printing options, posting to social media, and the photographers rights. We cover the different software backup options and the advantages of each. We cover more on composition and how to resize your images for email and Facebook. We also have open discussion on photography questions. Shooting different types of photography such as portraits, sports, wildlife, weddings, family events, macro photography, and street photography. 

• Review and stump the instructor.  
• Photography Equipment – what’s in your bag?
• The photographer’s workflow.
• Photo Labs, Printing at Home, and presenting your work.
• Demonstration on Adobe Lightroom.
• Demonstration on Adobe Photoshop.
• Demonstration on various plug-ins.
• Various backup options, the cloud, external drives, and backup software.
• How to shoot various types of photography and equipment that is needed for each.
• Play Mikes Photography Photo Jeopardy - Gifts will be awarded.
• Photographer of the week.
• Final Homework Assignment – to be submitted by email for review and critique.

Pricing and Specials

The cost per student is $199.00 but if you bring a friend or significant other the second person gets a $50.00 discount. ($149.00 for second student).  

Orlando Camera Club Members Discount.
Cost per student $149.00 - Bring a non-club member or significant other and the second person gets a $50.00 discount.  ($99.00 for the second student that comes with a club member)

Payments are accepted though PayPal and Facebook Pay.  All major credit and debit cards accepted.  Checks can be mailed to 13523 Bramham Ln. Windermere Florida 34786.  Allow 7 business days for the check to arrive.  Payments cannot be accepted in the classroom.  

The primary student must pay for him or herself and the secondary guest student to qualify.

Pre-Registration and payment in full is required before the first class session.  

Refund Policy.  If you are unable to attend the class a refund will be given if you give a one week (7 day notice).  Due to class size limitations and class space reservations we are unable to provide refunds to registered students that are unable to come to class.  

Class materials may not be re-distributed or sold.  They may be re-copied, stored and used freely by the student for personal reference and information.  

Each student will be provided all class handouts, materials, manuals and other reference materials on a USB Thumb Drive.  This thumb drive will also be used to hand in weekly assignments.  


The Benefits Are Clear

Are you ready to start your photographic journey?
"I am excited to help another group of aspiring photographers on there own photographic journey.  As a 40+ year veteran of photography nothing brings me more joy than seeing my students succeed.  


Master Photographer and Instructor
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