Advanced Digital Photography – Class 1


Before I get into my photography class post, I wanted to let everyone know that I made some changes to the template to my blog design. I am going to be making some changes as the days goes on because there are lots of things I want to move around and do differently, but I would love your thoughts or opinions!

Let me know what you think!


Last night, Sabrina and I went on an adventure! We both signed up for an Advanced Digital Photography Class with the Mt. Airy Learning Tree a few weeks ago, and last night was our first class!

I have been really wanting to take a photography class for some time now. Obviously, I take A LOT of pictures on a daily basis for the blog.

I love taking pictures, it is a passion of mine and I want to be able to use my camera to the best of my (and it’s!) abilities.

Here is the course synopsis: This class will explore the functions of the digital SLR. Students will learn how and when to use all of the functions of the camera, from the most basic to the most advanced to find the best ways to store and output your images. Students will also have the opportunity to bring in their own images for critique and guidance.”

I was very excited to get back to the basics and learn more about my camera from the inside out!


All sorts of people came out for this class, which was full! People who thought of photography as their hobby, people who needed to take better pictures for work and people who wanted to learn how to take pictures of their kids running around. It was full of lots of different people of all ages and experience levels.

But everyone had the same goal – we wanted to learn how to use our cameras and take even better pictures!


Side Note – My little Nikon D40 was easily the oldest camera in class.

First in class we learned about image quality, specifically Jpeg (which is what I have always used) vs. Raw. Our teacher introduced me to the wonders of Raw and she suggested this as her recommended shooting mode.

Apparently Raw images are easier to make adjustments in later and you can do more with the pictures, but it takes up SOOO much more memory than Jpeg files do. Ex. I went from 800 images in Jpeg to 200 in Raw.



Here are some images that I took messing around with the Raw mode. It is a little hard to understand, and I am having issues figuring out how to upload and edit the images in Raw (this was as big and as clear that I could get them!)


DSC_0249 DSC_0250

I took lots of notes to share with everyone during my class because I hope any other DSLR users who read my blog out there, might benefit from me taking this class too!


I also learned about the manual settings on the camera –

  • P – Semi-automatic, camera chooses the shutter and aperture, but you have options with the flash
  • S – Shutter is the priority in this mode user chooses speed , camera chooses aperture
  • A – Aperture is the priority in this mode, camera chooses shutter
  • M –Fully manual mode


There are 3 Elements of Exposure, which is when the meters read the amount of light coming into the camera.

  • Shutter Speed – How long the shutter is open
  • Aperture – The hole in the end of the camera that is built into the lens and lets light in
  • ISO – Sensitivity to light , which affects image quality– ISO relates to how shutter speed and aperture work together. A higher ISO is good in low light situation, but the images will be a little nosier. Noise levels in the images increase as the ISO increases. Keep the ISO low for a better image (400 and below). If you are outside and its sunny think 200/100 – inside and dark think around 800


We spent most of our first class in the Shoot Menu part of our camera. This is where you can make the most changes to your camera in the manual modes.


We also explored the Custom Setting Menu as well.


We also learned about depth of field, which is the area of image in focus and the range of focus you are able to work with. The smaller aperture = greater depth of field. This is when you take a picture of something up close and its clear and the background is blurry (I LOVE these pictures!). Depth of field is influenced by the type of zoom lens and the distance to the subject.


We also learned how to adjust aperture and shutter speed in manual, which is mostly affected by metering. To change these settings, you would use the +/- button in the picture above (under where it says On), and the wheel below.


To use a metering method, you want the exposure to be a “0”

-2 | | –1 | | 0 | | 1 | | 2

The negative numbers are under exposed and the positive numbers are over exposed, so you want to keep it somewhere in the middle. This meter can be seen when looking through the camera on the bottom or in the main screen.


The main thing I am going to have to focus on is PRACTICE! The more and more I mess around with the settings, the more and more I feel a little overwhelmed, but I have to practice to get better at it.

I do have to remember what I change though, so I can change it back if I don’t like it, which can be hard! Ha!

The best way to get comfortable with your camera, is to use it a lot, which is what I do. I love taking pictures and I really believe that my camera takes amazing pictures on its own. I signed up for this class to better understand all the settings of the camera so I can have more options for picture taking!


So those were just a few things we learned about last night that I wanted to share with you. It was so interesting to have a better understanding of my camera that I already love so much.

Stay tuned for next week’s class – We are starting with White Balance!


Have you ever taken a photography class? What’s your favorite setting or thing about your camera?

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  • Reply Lys ~ Cooking In Stilettos October 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Now this sounds like a class I seriously need to take (tho – a beginner's one might be helpful for this gal). Love this post!

  • Reply kilax October 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    I am so happy you posted this! I think we are getting my husband's mom's DSLR and we cannot wait to play with it! I love the pics with the blurry backgrounds too 🙂

  • Reply gardoski12 October 22, 2010 at 12:06 am

    I've always wanted to take a photography class like this to get more out of my DSLR. Great post!

  • Reply lee October 22, 2010 at 2:55 am

    I took a class too and really enjoyed it.

    Right now, I like shooting on manual and using a bounce flash. I have very bad natural light in my house and the bounce flash makes a ton of difference.

  • Reply Sam's Minions (aka parents- Angie and Brian) October 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    I'm a huge fan of the Aperture setting. I like having some things in focus and others blurry.

  • Reply ladypurpl October 24, 2010 at 11:59 am

    So excited that you are taking this class. I know it has been a goal of yours. Great informative post for 35mm camera users! It's taking me a little while to get used to your new post setting, but it's great!

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