Friday, 7 December 2012


Many people have taken my Digital Photography for Beginners course to overcome their reluctance to take their camera out of Auto mode and take control of exposure and depth of field.

For those who are starting to feel comfortable with their camera's creative modes and now want to take portraits or product shots aided by low cost lighting equipment, this 3-hour course should fit the bill.

Dubbed 'Lighting for the Beginner Photographer', the course provides plenty of hands-on practice using equipment the student may not yet own. All that is required is to bring along a digital SLR and to have an understanding of the basic concepts in the Digital Photography for Beginners course. You can also bring a hot-shoe flash if you have one.This is taught in my home in London, Ontario.

To register for the course, please visit

Here is an outline of the course (subject to change):

1.       The Camera’s Creative Modes

a.       Review of Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Program and Manual Modes

b.      When to use these modes in available light

c.       When to use these modes with fill flash (built in to the camera or external)

d.      Taking control of light and depth of field in the studio with Manual mode

e.      Flash sync and its relationship to maximum shutter speed

PRACTICE: Using fill flash in various creative modes. Observing shutter speed limitations with flash.

2.       Light Sources and Exposure

a.       The meaning of colour temperature and its relationship to outdoor and artificial light

b.      Selecting white balance for the light source (outdoor light/flash/indoor lighting)

                                                               i.      Preset vs. auto white balance

                                                             ii.      Custom white balance: when to use and how to set it

c.       The hot-shoe flash vs. the built-in flash

d.      Strobes (optional)

e.      Continuous (hot) lights

f.        Guide Numbers and Watt-Seconds

g.       Use of the light/flash meter (optional)

h.      Camera metering modes

i.         The histogram as an exposure tool and the meaning of 18% grey

PRACTICE: Experimenting with White Balance presets. Setting a custom white balance. Shooting without flash using various metering modes and comparing results in the histograms.

3.       Remote Triggering of Flash/Strobe

a.       Radio triggers and adapters for flash mounted on light stand

b.      Optical triggering

c.       Controlling the flash in manual mode

d.      Controlling the strobe output (optional)

PRACTICE: Setting remote flash output. Triggering from camera with radio trigger or optically from camera’s flash.

4.       Introduction to Light Diffusers and Reflectors

a.       Umbrellas

b.      Soft Boxes for strobes and hot-shoe flash

c.       Reflectors and Absorbers: outdoors with/without flash; in the studio

d.      Diffusers for harsh daylight

PRACTICE: Take a portrait shot/object shot with remote flash, with and without umbrella Repeat using available light and reflector, then diffuser.

5.       Basic Portraiture Methods

a.       Background stands

b.      Choice of material and colour for the type of shoot (including green screen)

c.       The role of depth of field and lens choice

d.      Using natural light

e.      The single light setup

f.        The two light setup

g.       Balancing sources for intensity

h.      Mixed light sources and the importance of custom white balance


-          Portraiture/object shoot using window light and choice of background (try black then white)

-          Portraiture/object shoot using window light, reflector and/or absorber and choice of background

-          Portraiture/object shoot using window light and single hair light (custom white balance)

-          Portraiture/object shoot using single light in studio setting (custom white balance)

-          Portraiture/object shoot using two lights with umbrellas/soft boxes in studio setting (custom white balance)

-          Experiments with other combinations