The Fine Arts Center Camera Class is geared toward those with all types of cameras who want to learn more about photography and cameras. The class is staffed by professional photographers who are as eager to share their knowledge as the class is to learn. Currently the class meets occasionally and features specific topics such as portraits, landscapes, macro photography, etc.
This page is a collection of our resources and class information.
Post your pictures and comments, and share ideas with others on photography on our Camera Class Facebook page.
A collection of online resources for photographers.
- Portrait Photography Basics
- Instructor: Xavier Goins
- Portrait Photography Basics (pdf)
Many thanks to Xavier Goins for an exceptionally helpful introduction to taking portraits. Both the instruction and hands-on experience provided a great platform for further exploring this topic. We covered settings, gear, lighting, location, posing, and composition in enough depth to help us think through our next portrait photo shoots. You can page through his presentation (pdf) and pick up or reveiw his helpful tips.
- Light: Setting ISO, WB & Exposure Compensation
- Instructor: Wally Reardon
- ISO and White Balance (pdf)
Our first class got off to a great start, thanks to Wally and his enthusiastic and enlightening (yes, a pun!) discussion of light, the perfect place to begin our inquiry into photography. Light is the very first thing we must consider when we set up our cameras and a crucial aspect of every photograph.
As a result of our class, we should now be moving away from the “auto” and to the “program” (“P”) setting on our cameras. When we set our cameras to P, the camera takes care of aperture & shutter speed; we get to play with ISO, WB & Exposure Compensation based on the lighting of our subject and our goals for the photo shoot. We should also be considering ways to make a photo sharper when shooting in low light or needing to reduce camera shake: shoot from a tripod, use a remote cord. And we could consider using filters to enhance or even change the light we are shooting in.
One of the many essential points Wally taught was this: use your camera manual. Yes, we’ve all heard this one. But do we really use it? Or even know where it is? Perhaps we should tuck this into our camera bags and, as Wally suggested, highlight and note things in our manual for quicker access.
No, we didn’t learn everything we needed or wanted to in one class. That would be impossible, especially on the subject of exposure, which is the overall topic we have jumped into. However, we can deepen our inquiry. Now we can practice using ISO, WB & Exposure Compensation, post results to our dedicated Camera Class Facebook Page, discuss our progress and each others’ photos, and ponder our online resources regarding these aspects of photography.
- Composing Images: Basic Terms and Strategies
- Instructor: Stacey Walton
- Guidelines for Composition (pdf)
Many thanks to Stacey Walton for an excellent presentation on our topic for this class: Composing Images: Basic Terms and Strategies, and for a fun photo-shoot workshop. Learning to compose better images, and train our photographer’s eye, is a life-long ambition. Our class in composition guidelines and strategies gave us much to ponder and practice. We learned guidelines such as the rule of thirds, simplifying backgrounds, using leading lines, framing focal points, using diagonals, changing our angle of view, considering balance, and avoiding mergers. We applied these guidelines, plus lessons from our first class, in our photo shoot.
You can see the PowerPoint presentation for this class to review the topics covered. And you can explore composition in more depth by checking our resources page. After practicing some of these strategies, you can post noteworthy results on our dedicated Facebook page in the folder for “Composition.” Here’s our challenge: everyone post at least one photo for group consideration.
Our next class returns to the topic of exposure basics, specifically understanding depth of field (DoF) and aperture.
- Tips and Tricks: Take Your Photography to the Next Level
- Instructor: Stacey Walton
- Tips and Tricks (PDF)
Stacey Walton again provided excellent instruction in her class Tips and Tricks, skills to take your photography to the next level. She reviewed composition guidelines; led us through a camera scavenger hunt, where we learned better how to use our cameras; provided an introduction to our next camera class topic, aperture control and depth of field; and concluded with selected tips to up our photography game. We learned much and had a wonderful time doing so. See her Power Point presentation (pdf, left) for the lessons covered as well as useful online resources on the “tips and tricks” topic.
- Exposure: Aperture Priority and Depth of Field
- Instructor: Kimberly Rossiter
- Aperture Priority and Depth of Field (pdf)
In our first course on manual exposure, Kimberly Rossiter did an excellent job uncovering the mysteries of using the aperture priority setting to control depth of field. The aperture, a circular structure, contracts or expands to allow light to pass through its center. The focal length of the lens combines with the aperture to create f-stops, such as f/4 or f/22. Differently sized lenses allow different f-stops. Low numbered f-stops create shallow depth of field, high numbered f-stops, greater depth of field. Depth of field refers to the area in focus in a photograph. In a photo with shallow depth of field, the subject is in focus and the background is blurred. This method emphasizes the subject, the crucial part of any photo. In a photo with greater depth of field, both subject and background are in focus. This method is often used for landscape images.
In her presentation, Kim also suggested we might follow favourite photographers to learn more about photography. And she provided a very helpful PowerPoint presentation to augment our study of aperture priority and depth of field. For further study, check out links to this topic on our Resources for Photographers page.