DSLR Camera Basics


The purpose of this class is to teach you the essential skills to create a terrific photograph. With consistent practice, four weeks from now you will be able to pick up your camera and shoot with confidence without relying on awful automatic settings. We are not going to go into detailed descriptions of how the camera works or anything else that isn't directly related to you becoming more proficient at taking photos. I am going to teach you how I learned, which was (and still is) through practical experience. While essential vocabulary is important, we are not going to dwell on 'textbook' terms.


Week 1: 


Overview of the three main components of photography, ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed

Light Meter

Pro Tip of the Week; Focusing

Gear Tip of the Week; Lenses and Focal Lengths

Camera Basics; Av and Tv modes

Assignment 1 


Week 2: Aperture

Explanation of 'F Stops'

Calculation of Lens Opening

Available Light and Creative Depth of Field

Pro Tip of the Week; Zoom Focus

Gear Tip of the Week; Crop Sensors vs Full Frame 

Assignment 2


Week 3: Shutter Speed

Creative Uses of Shutter Speed 

Freezing or Emphasizing Motion

Pro Tip of the Week; Shooting Creatively, angle, composition, etc.

Gear Tip of the Week; Camera Mounted Flash

Assignment 3


Week 4: Digital Workflow

JPEG and Raw

White Balance

Importing into Lightroom

Saving for Facebook and Email from Lightroom and Photoshop

Keep it simple:

A camera is simply a light capturing device. As a photographer, you're capturing light in a way that you see compelling.


With our camera, we have three main ways of controlling the amount of light we capture.


3 variables related to exposure:


Shutter Speed



Shooting  food and products are similar and share many similar aspects as far as the lighting and techniques and editing. For the most part I will be talking about food, but I'll show examples of each. Food photography is more challenging than it appears at first glance. Of course before getting too deep, you'll want a thorough understanding of the basics.

Since I'm typically shooting food on location, I keep my set up as simple as possible. Also, I'll be talking about shooting real food- not the tricks that many national campaigns employ (lard replacing ice cream, etc). The most important thing to keep in mind when shooting food is that you want it good, yummy, tasty. This sounds obvious, but I've seen so many food photos that don't convey this basic need.