By Emily Clingman-Johnson
Digital cameras have revolutionized modern photography. Their afforda-bility and the emergence of photo editing software programs like Adobe Photoshop© makes it possible for just about anyone to turn an ordinary photo into something artistic and professional. That is, if you know how to use them.
“There has never been a better time to start photography,” says Josh Hardin, owner of Viewfinder Media. “Digital allows us to get immediate feedback on our photos. No more waiting in a lab to see if your photos ‘came out.’”
Hardin says people like to document their life experiences and share them with others. That’s why we’re seeing such an explosion of images on the Internet appearing on sites like Facebook or Flickr. This wouldn’t be possible without the availability of affordable digital cameras. The problem is that many people, though they may have highly technical cameras, aren’t necessarily getting the “good” shots they set out to capture.
Hardin says some photography is all about being in the right place at the right time, but he adds that you certainly have to know what to do with your camera once you find yourself at the right place at the right time or you’re still not going to get the shot.
The Fort Collins Digital Workshop, which teaches an array of software training courses familiarizing students with Adobe and Microsoft programs (to name a few), recently introduced a series of classes to aspiring photographers. The classes are designed for those who want to feel more comfortable with their camera’s settings and also want to learn how digital editing software programs can artistically enhance their pictures.
“Interest in digital photography is peaking,” says Stu Crair, owner and lead trainer of The Fort Collins Digital Workshop. “People have these great new cameras, but [they often] have no idea what they’re doing.”
Crair’s background is in information systems and business. He’s been teaching computer training classes at local colleges, corporations and The Workshop for years. Adding classes at The Workshop related to digital photography made sense to Crair but it’s one area he’s not an expert in – so he collaborated with local professionals to create an in-depth training series for others who aren’t experts either.
Josh Hardin is one of the class instructors.
“I think [the classes] are perfect for those who are just starting out in digital photography or for those who learn best in a relaxed atmosphere alongside like-minded adult learners,” he says. “We’re going to have a lot of fun in our courses. These courses are going to be places where photographers of any skill level can meet new friends, ask questions about their cameras and gain a wealth of knowledge about a wide variety of photography topics, quickly.”
The classes are geared for beginners but can be beneficial to those with experience as well, as they are set up for individual attention to students, with no more than eight people per class. All of the classes are designed for students to receive affordable, detailed instruction in a certain technological area, including computer and camera use and software programs.
Harden also advises to those who have dabbled in film photography before not be afraid to try digital. The basics of how to create a photograph – exposure settings, composition guidelines, recognizing different types of light, etc. – haven’t changed at all. The few changes where digital techniques differ from film really aren’t as scary as they may seem, says Harden, since those with previous photography knowledge can apply everything they already know.
“I would encourage anyone who has made an investment of hundreds or thousands of dollars in camera equipment to at least make a modest investment in increasing their photography knowled-ge too,” Hardin says. “I guarantee it will be money well spent.”
Some of the courses offered this month:
• 06/14 – Introduction to Portrait Photography – Instructor: Josh Hardin
• 06/16 – Introduction to HDR Techniques using Photoshop© – Instructor: Darren Mahuron, Owner, Summit Studios
• 06/18 – Portrait Enhancement using Photoshop© – Instructor: Darren Mahuron, 2-5pm
• 06/21 – Capturing Scenic / Nature Photography – Instructor: Josh Hardin
• 06/22 – Getting Started with Adobe Camera RAW© – Instructor: Bill Guy
• 06/29 – Telling A Story with Photography – Instructor: Josh Hardin
Every class is 6-9pm (unless otherwise noted). Prices range from $69-$79.
For more information, to sign up and to see a full list of classes available at the Fort Collins Digital Workshop, go to: fcdigitalworkshop.com or call (970) 980-8091.