Here I answer frequent email questions concerning photography and the camera course.
- What is the best way to contact you for a one-to-one class?
Please text me at: 661-303-9210 (preferred) or email me using: email@example.com for an appointment. On my WordPress site, some emails do not pass through.
- How long have you been teaching photography?
Over ten years. I started at Henley’s Photography in downtown Bakersfield. I taught An Introduction to the Digital Camera monthly for seven years. The business is presently closed.
- How long is a class?
I can get you started quite completely during a four to five hour class. This isn’t a jet fighter, its a camera. Class cost $200…you get what you pay for. Please pay when we meet. This resolves the issue.
- Can I bring my mother-in-law to class?
Of course, I love all mother-in-laws.
- Who are your typical clients?
Students, married couples, people, Doctors, layers, professionals, artists, advertising agencies, real-estate agents, and enthusiastic amateurs wanting to turn pro or get professional results. I have given classes to professional photographers also! My classes are %100 confidential.
- Do you have a philosophy regarding photography?
Have fun! Also, photography can be divided into two camps, those who receive income from the craft and those who simply enjoy taking pictures. Arguably, the photo market is flooded with those who attempt or succeed in making some income from photography. Those who succeed in this venue work real hard. I know people who were quickly successful in photography. They had that certain savoir-faire which distinguished them as innately talented in a very apparent way. For example, when you look at one of their photographs, you are instantly transformed into the scene or the message is strikingly clear.
As for myself, I keep my options open. I find many aspects of photography enjoyable. To me, a camera is a scientific instrument for capturing light and shadow and post-production software is a photo tinkerer’s dream come true. I think I would encourage someone who intends to become a photo professional to find a career path and learn as much as they can in that area. If you want to become successful in any art form, you must cultivate a singular style. Oh, by the way, the moment you start making agreements to exchange your talent for cash have a “Hold Harmless Agreement” and a pen available. There is a lot of information concerning this online.
- What have you observed that you find disturbing?
I occasionally observe professionals who are so committed to a certain set of ideas that it stifles the creativity of others. We are right when we believe we may be wrong.
- What is a “good” camera?
A good camera is the one you are using right now. I have taught classes to those who enjoy a point and shoot camera and those who buy a flagship model, such as the Nikon Z9, as their first camera and need my help to find the shutter button. I don’t make any assumptions or judgements. But I will say that, at some point, you may find the camera and or lens you own isn’t providing you with the results you want. That is the time to research a new model. This can be a daunting task. In fact, there are so many new lenses and camera models that it is almost impossible to be conversant in all of them. I have found both Nikon and Canon to be of high quality from personal experience. I have known people who adore the Nikon DX (half-frame) Z 50 mated with the Z 14-30mm lens as a travel or first professional level camera.
- What do you use for post-production?
I have a Photoshop CC subscription and use DxO PhotoLab Elite as my primary Raw converter. I also like ON1.
- Do you recommend shooting Raw?
Yes, Raw allows greater flexibility in post-production as you are using the “Raw” data from the camera’s sensor unprocessed (sort of) by the camera’s engine or processor. Raw files start out very dark so cameras add some gamma correction. The image you see in a camera’s LCD is a JPEG thumbnail of the Raw file. This is an important consideration as the actual Raw file has much greater potential than is implied by a thumbnail.
- If you could offer one insight into photography, what would it be?
Think of your image in terms of tones. That is Blacks, Shadows, Midtones, Highlights, and Whites. How do these add or detract from the photo’s subject of interest. Will changing your location change the tones in the image? This continues in post-production where we evaluate tones with a critical eye.
- Do you prefer a zoom or prime lens?
Both, depending upon the goal. I like the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens as a “walking around lens” but admire the sharpness and light gathering power of the Z 50mm f/1.8 S lens. A prime lens “forces” the photographer to think while a zoom lens does not exercise the mind or body as much. If I could keep only one lens it would be the Z 24-70mm, it is a fantastic lens.
- What do you see in camera class that is “interesting.”
I find that some of my students cannot visualize the aperture within a lens and its functions. The aperture controls the amount of light passing through a lens and also determines the depth of field (range of stuff in focus) in our photograph. Additionally, there is a “reciprocity” relationship between aperture and shutter speed. As one goes up, the other goes down. Sometimes, I encounter a student who cannot make the connection. Simply cannot, ain’t gonna happen. I smile and put them in AUTO mode. I knew one such student and their compositions were almost frighteningly unique and appealing. Go figure!
- Will cell phones make the dedicated digital camera obsolete?
No. Digital cameras will continue to evolve just as cell phones. In fifty years there will still be both. However, I see a day when you can use the camera as a cell phone! How about that!!
- Has COVID and online instruction cut into your teaching business?
Yes, there are some very good instructional videos online. But avoid those that begin with “Ah, um.” My classes have value in that I can answer questions in real time. Obviously, COVID has driven more person to person business to online sources.
- What are the five most important things in photography? First, location. Like the realtors say, location, location, location. And this does not just refer to being in Paris vs. the local landfill, looking at any scene and judging the proper location for the shoot is essential. Second, is lighting, oil painters start with a white canvas not a black canvas. Light makes the photo in many instances but the way the photographer uses the light is quite important. Third is composition. Composition is the art of telling a story with shapes, lighting, location, and that gift of perception that is part talent and part experience. Skill in composition guides the photographer to make the very best of choice of camera settings and location. Fourth is gear. A quality camera, lens, and tripod make life easier and are great partners in creativity. Lastly, post-production. Sure there are many who do everything in the camera but, realistically, even genius needs an occasional horizon to be straightened, a blob to be removed from the background, or a distracting color to be desaturated.
Photography can be fun, profitable, creative, and technically superior at the same time. Contact me for a custom one-to-one camera class in Bakersfield, California. Please text me at: 661-303-9210 (preferred) or email me using: firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
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