Basic Photography Lessons

Basics of Photography Lesson Plan
San Diego, California based portrait photographer, Chris Keeney is now offering private lessons on the basic principles of photography teaching about lens aperture, shutter speed, digital sensor or film sensitivity, developing/processing and printing.

I shoot on auto mode a lot but it’s always good to know how to use the manual settings on your camera. How to properly set them to get the best results photographically. I try and work with people in a fun way so that each topic we’re talking about has an interesting result. Instead of me talking the whole time, I try to keep in mind that it’s best for people to try out what I spoke about. I feel there’s is something memorable about learning by doing. I also will discuss the importance of making sure your images are rich with meta data when posting online, etc. Getting the most of social media outlets by creating photos that people would be interested in seeing. Discussing what I think is the best way to title, name or tag your images so they can rank better with search engines online.

Getting to know someone first before jumping straight into things I feel is important way to start and new endeavor. I like to take a few minutes to hear about people got into photography and what they hope to learn and do with it in the future. By knowing more about the people I work with helps me better tailor each lesson to the needs of each individual person. I’ve always felt that if you make the process of learning fun, people are more likely to get excited about staying at it and doing something with their new found knowledge.

Since the art and study of photography is all about recording light and the absence of it, Aperture really is one of the most important things to talk about. We will be setting your camera function dial to “A” and talking about the best ways to take advantage of each aperture on your camera. Why do lenses cost more if they have low F stop numbers printed on them. What are the benefits of shooting at low apertures like, f/1.0, 1.2, 1.4, 1.8, 2.8, etc. When should you stop down your photos and why.

Shutter Speed
I think most people are familiar with what the sound of a camera shutter going off sounds like. Although now-a-days companies are coming out with mirrorless DSLR cameras with fancy new features. Shutter speed is just as important as your aperture setting and we will talk about why that is. When do you want a slow shutter speed and why. And what are the advantages of a fast shutter and what type of photography requires that. Why is a tripod so important to have on some shoots. When do you use cable releases and why are they important.

Sensor Sensitivity & ISO Ratings
When I was first learning photography there was lots of talk about ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and ASA (American Standards Association) ratings. Honestly, I was always confused by it and it seemed I never knew what was the best ISO film to buy and use. With time and experience I learned there were a few films that tended to work best for me and the type of photography i did. But now that we live in the age of digital photography, ISO and ASA seem to be a thing of the past. Now cameras come with the ability to raise the ISO (sensitivity of the sensor) to numbers like 3200 and up.

Camera Body Menus and Functionality
I work with Canon (full frame) camera bodies and lenses but find that whatever platform you use, the basis are all the same. If I’m not familiar with your camera, I won’t charge you for the time it takes me to get up to speed with it. If you still have the user manual, that always helps if when we need to refer to a function of the camera you are not familiar with. If you don’t currently have a camera or are in the market to buy one, we can use my gear until you figure out what camera set-up works best for you. I can offer suggestions for camera that might match your level of expertise and that also fit within your budget. Regardless of what camera we use I promise you will walk away with knowledge that will help you take better picture in the future.

Prime and Zoom Lenses
I’ve always told people when shopping for a new camera make sure you look closely at the quality of the lens or lenses that camera system has to offer. Invest in good glass (lenses) over camera bodies that offer a multitude of menu items and functions. I will talk about the benefits of prime lenses over zooms and the other way around. Sometimes it’s nice to have one lens that can zoom from wide angle all the way to large telephoto number. What do you lose by using a zoom lens over a prime and what are the advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re interested in post processing and working with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, we can always add those aspects to this lesson plan.

OK, Chris, what’s all this going to cost me?
I find that by placing a number on something often discourages people from moving forward. The only reason why I post it for my professional work is because most business people don’t want to have to contact you to find out your day rate. So before you click away, please consider contacting me via email or text/call me at 619-988-1705. I think you’ll find that I’m reasonable and easy to talk with. We can discuss what you already know about photography and what it is you hope to learn in the future. I promise I will do my best to give you a price that is fair and works for everyone involved. If you want to take a lesson with your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, that’s fine with me… since I will charge you by the hour, time is time.