View Full Version : Teaching a beginners class

07-11-2007, 10:04 PM
A number of people who have purchased digital SLR's asked if I would teach a beginner's photography class.
I am at a loss as to where to begin or how to even set up a lesson plan.
Thoughts that I have had include, composition, aperature and f/stop combinations. The use of aperature and shutter priority, and how to shoot in manual mode.
Any help would be appreciated.

07-11-2007, 10:15 PM
Choice of ISO
Choice of lens length
use of focus points
selective focusing
Fill flash
Off camera flash
Use of available light
Using a tripod
Dragging the shutter
Man this could be a looooong class. :)

Love the avatar Frank!

07-11-2007, 10:53 PM
I've done this before and it completely 100% depends on how much time you have. Since there was a really wide variety of camera types (DSLRs, point-n-shoots, etc.), I opted to completely stay away from how "your" camera works (ie, read the manual) - and focused on
- composition using the rule of thirds
- avoiding "grandma at the grand canyon" shots - trying to keep your subject the focus of attention (ie, grandma is the subject, grand canyon is not)
- using available light - don't face your subjects into the sun!!
etc, etc.
- when to use AV and when to use TV modes (like you mentioned)

I used lots and lots and lots of examples (done as a powerpoint presentation) that showed what I was talking about, as well as what to avoid.

If you can get a good idea of where these folks are in their knowledge of photography, you can get a much better sense of where to start with a lesson plan. There are also a ton of resources out there with that kind of information - Canon, for example, has great beginner info on their website, which would help you outline the class without recreating the wheel.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!


07-11-2007, 10:55 PM
Oh, and also showed a slideshow at the beginning of the class... as I've seen in countless seminars and workshops :-)

07-11-2007, 10:55 PM
Thanks for the feedback. It gives me some idea where to start. It might end up being more than one class.
I'm glad you like the avatar. That is my magic promo shot. Done with LucisArt.
I'm still working on a photographic self portrait.

07-11-2007, 10:57 PM
Those are great suggestions. I will keep you informed as to how the classes turn out.

07-12-2007, 01:20 AM
Okay, I'm going to sound really dumb, but what is AV/TV mode?

07-12-2007, 02:21 AM
Aperture Priority/Shutter Priority. Two distinct settings.

07-12-2007, 02:25 AM
A/V = Aperature Value
T/V = Time value
Thus A/V means, what f-stop (for depth of field)
and T/V means, what shutter speed (for stop action or ambient light)
Both can be used creatively but from what I'm hearing about CS3 you don't really need to know.:D

07-12-2007, 03:15 AM
Oh! Duh. Okay, I'm a ditz. I've never heard them referred to that way. I've always referred to them as Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority.

07-12-2007, 03:15 AM
Btw, Mark, I like your new avatar. wink wink.

07-12-2007, 12:51 PM

That's what 30 seconds with Jeff Dachowski produces. :) "I'm gonna take a test shot. Click. Ok turn a little more. Click click click. Ok, I can keep shooting, but I think we're good." "um, yeah, that works." :)

On topic. I think you want to approach this as if someone bought a camera, and decided they'd take a class to learn how to use it. So in this way I'd differ slightly from Heather. Give them the basics of camera operation. So here's a potential course outline.

So you bought a DSLR...

Welcome to your camera
* aperture
* shutter speed
* exposure modes
* white balance
* interpreting the histogram
* recording modes (RAW, jpeg)
* batteries and media
* lenses
* flash

* achieving correct exposure in P, Av, Tv, M modes (a long section!)
* how to determine an appropriate ISO
* autofocus
* holding the camera steady
* composition
* light as an artistic component/element of composition

After the exposure
* downloading images
* backup
* image adjustments (tonal, saturation, etc)
* cropping
* targeting for output
* sharpening

This should keep them occupied for awhile

07-13-2007, 03:55 PM
Thanks for the great tips. I should be able to put a good lesson plan together.
All the best,