I've just wrapped another round of "Shooting for the Cure," my beginner photography class that I teach 1-2 times per year. This year we raised $3,600 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I need to sit down and figure out how many classes I've taught and how much money we've raised but I am sure it is well over $10,000 by now.
This year was a lot of fun. I had a great group of students, most of whom, I didn't know. In the past, it has been a lot of friends and acquaintances but this time, I was truly meeting people for the first time the night of the first class. I took a bigger group and rented out our neighborhood clubhouse which worked out really well. It was set up perfectly to be able to speak and do live demos on the big screen. The best part was the enthusiasm everyone had while learning.
A subset of the group wanted to continue, so in March we did a Mastering Manual class to keep on going with our learning. The key to photography (as with anything in life) is to keep practicing. You can't expect to take a class and then never pick up your camera again and remember what you are doing.
We had a smaller class the second time and we decided to practice using our camera in low-light. Because one of our students was taking pictures at the "Gotta Run Kids 5k" that involved fun things like glow sticks, we decided to learn to paint light. At first, we were a total disaster but we didn't give up. We continued to tweak our camera settings until we were light painting. We were cheering and high-fiving. It was such great fun to see those "ah-ha" moments as what we've been learning on screen started to click. Here is a picture taken by one of my students who had her camera for a year but was too intimidated to use it fully. Pretty impressive don't you think?
I have a Facebook group where we share our pictures (the good, the bad, the ugly) and we ask questions or celebrate our successes. I love logging in to that group and seeing them practice and share what they've done and I wanted to share some of their pictures below (this is by no means an exhaustive list...we had many more great photos!)
These are by no means all-inclusive. I just grabbed a few great examples from our Facebook page to show what can be done when you understand your camera. Our last night together, we were so lucky to have Lochlan's (one of my students) little sister come to class and she dressed up and modeled for us. Since it was daylight savings we got to go out and practice outside and then I set up some lights in the basement to continue our lesson. One of the best parts of the night while teaching them was when they were shooting in manual and I asked them all to change their settings to auto and take the same photo again. It was like a light bulb went off. They couldn't believe how much better their photos were when they were in control rather than when the camera was in control. It was another ah-ha moment and I couldn't have had more fun seeing the light bulbs going off.
I am asked very often, "when is your next class?" The truth is, I don't always know when my next class is because I usually only do them when I am raising money for charity. I try to keep track of who asks me this but I know I always forget someone. To combat this, I am putting together a mailing list so you can be the first to know when the next class will start! Sign up below.
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