Beginner Workshop – Introduction to Digital Photography

In this workshop, we will explore the fundamental of photography – the exposure. We will discuss the role of aperture, shutter speed and ISO in making the exposure. We will discuss how to determine the technically correct exposure and how to use this information to make creative decisions in your photography. We will discuss how to use your camera to make adjustments. We will cover the typical settings that most cameras use and how to apply them to making your creative exposure decisions. All throughout the workshop, we will try everything we learn.

I highly recommend this workshop to everyone, regardless of skill level. It is always good for even the most experienced shooters to go back and review the fundamentals of exposure and refresh your basic skills For beginners, this workshop is one that can have a huge impact immediately on the quality of the photos you take.

Here are some testimonials from previous attendees of this workshop:

“This workshop helped me get out of the frustration about how much I didn’t understand about my camera and photography in general. Matthew made it really easy for me to understand what my camera is telling me. Now that my camera and I have discovered how to talk to each other, we can get to work!! Matt is a fabulous teacher! He talks in detail about every thing related to the topic and explains things in English that humans understand :) A great workshop. This was just the nudge I needed in the right direction! Thank you!” – Anshi

“It was just what I needed. I’ve been using my DSLR for about four years but haven’t been realizing it’s full potential. This class really helped to understand the basics of light and exposure and how to adjust my camera to handle the differences.” – Shawn

“Matthew did a great job of presenting material that is typically considered “the mechanics” of photography. That type of material can be mind numbing. But the informal lecture and hands-on sessions made it much more interesting. I liked that he used real life examples of why one cares about the settings and that he didn’t just read from a text book. ” – John

“Great workshop! Highly recommend this to anyone who is new to the world of DSLRs, or those who would like to gain a more complete understanding of how they work.” – Steve


Beginner Workshop – Introduction to Lightroom

This is an introduction to the powerful image library and editing package from Adobe. In this workshop we will give you an introduction to the software in plain English. No confusing manuals and workbooks to figure out. We will take complex ideas and explain them in simple and clear ways.

You can bring your own computer or follow along on the big screen as we go step by step at a high level how the software works. We’ll work on the same files together as we go through the different sections of Lightroom and how it works.

Some of the topics we’ll cover:

Workflow for Beginners
Understanding the difference between RAW and JPG image processing
Importing & Exporting Images
Cataloging Images
Library Module Features
High Level Editing in the Develop Module
Understanding White Balance
Lens Correction
Black and White Conversion
and much, much more.
This workshop will be the foundation to the up-coming Intermediate workshop on Lightroom in which we will get into more complex operations.

Here is what past students have said about this workshop:

I found this to be an exceptional learning experience – the information was presented clearly and in a logical sequence. Even though I have been using Lightroom for almost a year, I was surprised to learn about features and tips that I had no awareness of previously. This workshop was well worth my time and money – and the payoff is immediate! – Diane

Composition and the Elements of Design

In this lecture we will look at the decisions being made from a standpoint of the composition of the image. We will review guidelines on how to make good compositional choices based on established rules so that you can then either follow or break those rules when it makes sense for your image. We go well beyond the rule of thirds and talk about the pillars of visual arts – the foundation elements of aesthetics.

We will cover the foundations and then move on to specific examples for all types of shooting situations including people, nature, sports, landscape, and more. The principles you learn can be applied to most every shooting situation you will encounter.

This will be an instructional lecture. I will provide opportunity after the workshop to experiment with applying the concepts learned in the class. This portion will be optional and will be at no additional charge. I expect this class to be about 2 hours long.

Here are what some of the past participants had to say about this class:

“Once again Matt did a great job presenting the material. I went home and started reviewing my photos!”

“Matt did a great job of reviewing the elements of composition in a well organized presentation that was interesting and interactive. “

Beginner Workshop – Introduction to Flash

In this class we will introduce the use of flash and strobe lighting. We will cover:

  • The basics of flash photography and the impact they have on your exposure.
  • The different types of lighting available including flash, strobes, hot lights, reflectors and more.
  • The fundamental controls that all lights have.
  • The different types of flash and strobe and why you might choose them.
  • The different ways that flashes & strobes can be triggered and the implications of those choices.

You should bring your camera with you. If you have a flash for your camera, feel free to bring it along, but it is not required. Lighting and triggering methods will be provided.

This is a beginner class and there is a lot of theory, so hands-on time is lower in this class. The intermediate class will have significantly more hands-on as we go beyond the fundamentals into more complex topics.

Students should have basic understanding of the exposure controls: how to set your camera to manual mode and how to adjust shutter speed, aperture and ISO. If you are unsure, please bring your camera’s manual with you to class.

Here is what past attendees have said about this workshop:

Good information, reinforced what I knew & added more to my brain (now to keep it in there) – Michael L.

I’ve never worked with flash or strobes, so the foundation information this class provided was great. I really liked the info on multiple flashes and lighting scenes (key, fill, rim, etc). – John P.


Intermediate Workshop – How to Create a Home Studio

I taught this workshop in October for the Professional Photographers of America Super Monday workshop series. It was so popular that I will be teaching it again in May. I also would like to open it up to all of you!
Home studios are a fantastic option to renting commercial space. There are lots of benefits to the home studio but also some unique considerations. We will cover the ins and outs for setting up a home studio.

Some of the topics we will cover:

  • What spaces to use in and around the home.
  • Lighting portraits in smaller spaces.
  • Selecting the equipment that will help you in the home.
  • Getting the most out of small amounts of space.
  • Common pitfalls of the home based business.
  • The business side of a home studio.
  • and much more…

Cameras are optional, but you can bring yours and test out some of the lighting as we review it if there is time.

Items to Bring: Notepad and paper.

Intermediate Workshop – Lighting the Portrait

Whether you shoot on location, in a home studio, or in a retail studio, this workshop is a great place to learn hands-on on how to light a portrait using flash and strobe. Not only will you gain knowledge, but you will also gain confidence as you will be doing everything we are learning yourselves. You will work hands on with the lighting, the modifiers and the models to achieve images you not only created, but you designed yourself.

This will be a great workshop with lots of shooting. At the end of this workshop you will not only have a good understanding of how to light a portrait, but you will have added to your portfolio with some great images. While there will be lots of education in this workshop, it will be done mostly with the equipment rather than with slides.

You’ll be learning how to light a studio portrait using speedlights/strobes as well as reflectors and other modifiers. We will expand upon the use of light modifiers and their role in getting very specific lighting results.

I will bring in one or more models depending on the number of photographers so that we can try different lighting for different results. We will have at least two outfit changes so we have a variety of images and looks. We will also get them altogether to work on group lighting.

I estimate this would be about a 4 hour workshop and at the end you would have not just a good understanding of advanced portrait lighting, but also you would have many examples ready to be added to your portfolio. Model releases will be obtained so that you can use the images captured in your marketing efforts if you choose.

In order for us to cover the detailed information required in a 4 hour time block, there are some pre-requisites that students attending should try to meet. If you are unsure about any of these, feel free to contact me before the workshop.


  • Understand how to use your camera in manual mode and adjust ISO, shutter speed and aperture.
  • Understand the concepts of metering for flash and strobe lighting.
  • Understanding of how to adjust the output of flashes.
  • Understand the methods of triggering flashes/strobes.
  • Understand the basics of lighting ratios.
  • Understand the types of lighting modifiers and their effects on the light.
  • As I confirm models, I will update this description. After 3 registrations, I will add additional models.

Here is what previous attendees are saying about this workshop:

Great session – great to learn both lighting and posing at the same time. – Jon

Great meetup. Fun and very informative. Lots of useful information.
Missy is a great model and Matt is very easy to listen to. – Rick

This meetup had a very laid back atmosphere. Questions were encouraged and answered. Missy was great with us photographers who are relatively new to shooting models. The workshop covered a wide variety of material. It was a great learning experience for me. – Allen