Improve Your Image-Making Through Personalized Instruction & In-Depth Courses

I hold occasional classes and workshops on various aspects of DSLR Photography, including a “Basics of DSLR Photography 101 Course” which helps you get started with a very solid understanding of shooting in manual mode.

For more seasoned photographers who already know how to use their camera in manual, I occasionally conduct Intermediate & Higher Level 201 & 301 COURSES which go into more advanced levels of using DSLR cameras. Classes are also held on using industry leading ADOBE software programs such as LIGHTROOM CC, Photoshop CC, as well as Premiere Pro CC for those who want to edit video.


Whatever camera you have is okay for this course.


Take creative control of your image-making by learning how to get off Auto Mode and into Manual Mode!

This fundamentals course is extremely comprehensive in scope, because there is so much to know when getting started with a DSLR camera. But don’t let that deter you! This course is geared to present the information to you in easy to understand chunks, and I’m right there to answer your questions.


1. Get you shooting in manual mode so you can truly begin to take control of your camera and more consistently capture the quality of shots that auto-mode will never give you.

2. Provide you with a great understanding of all of the core fundamentals you need to be aware of to be successful in DSLR photography.

CLASS STRUCTURE & COST: Classes are usually conducted in four 2-hour modules, held one evening a week for four consecutive weeks. Print handouts, demonstrations using the equipment, and slides or illustrations (including tethered camera, live shooting demo’s) using a large screen are part of the teaching. I’ve found that the week between lessons helps students to practice what they learned in a module with their own camera, think about and review their notes, and may contact me if they have any questions or problems during the week. This process and “time to let the material marinate” is then built upon during the following week’s lesson. Class times are from 6pm to 8pm. Cost is $125 per person. Email me or contact me on social media if you want on a class’s contact list.  


What is DSLR photography? [With a brief discussion on Mirrorless and Cell Phone cameras]

How the camera works, its major parts, and why it matters to know this [Getting to know your camera]

The “Exposure Triangle” – ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture [In-Depth Focus]

The “Creative Triangle” – Image Quality (Grain/Noise); Depth of Field, and Blurring/Freezing Motion 

Your Reflective Light Meter in your viewfinder, and what a “Stop” is

Brief intro and guidance on White Balance; Auto Focus; and Exposure Modes

Shooting in Manual Mode & getting off of “Only Auto Mode” & what Aperture & Shutter Priority modes are 

Camera menus, dials and knobs [knowing where your major settings are]

The 6 Elements needed for a photograph [Very good information to know!]

Proper camera holding and posture [and how it affects the quality of your shot]

The 3 Stages of Image-Making [the more you put in, the more you get out in quality of images]

Compositional basics [such as the “Rule of 3rds” and “Leading Lines”]

Intro to Genres [such as Landscape, Event, Portraiture, Still Life, Street, etc…]

SD Cards, File types & settings, and exporting your work 

What software is available for editing [a brief look into Adobe Lightroom CC]

Workflow and how to set-up an effective and thorough process [critical information!]

Lens Basics [how to choose lenses for the kind of shots you want]

Equipment such as tripods, cases, hoods and straps [Got my camera, what do I get next?]

Photography terms and industry lingo that’s useful to know

Great apps and websites to further your understanding and help you take great images



Once the fundamentals are grasped, it’s time to get more in-depth with all three phases of making an image: pre-production, production and post-production. In this range of intermediate and advanced level classes, I cover the understanding and learning of more sophisticated techniques and skill sets such as HDR, time-lapse, panoramas, bracketing, astrophotography, and so forth.

Some of the course offerings focus upon post-production editing and retouching using Adobe apps such as Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, and Premiere Pro CC, with as-needed sections on the Wacom Intuos tablet. 300 Level Classes on very advanced editing techniques such as focus-stacking, frequency separation, luminosity masks, and alpha channels will soon be available.

THE 201 range of COURSES (there are many variations) FOCUS ON SEPARATE AREAS. One particular class may focus upon several of the following topics, and another class a separate grouping. Examples of  topics include:

In-Depth look at shooting in low light

Sports photography (with high shutter speeds & choosing the amount of freeze or blur you want)

On and off camera flash (speedlites and studio monobloc strobes)

Posing techniques and shooting portraits (including group shots)

HDR Photography and photo-merging

Shooting fireworks, the Moon, and stars

Shooting in continuous drive modes (and issues such as buffer speed)

Choosing focus modes and focus points for various situations

Incident Light Meters and their advantage over Reflective Metering

White Balance and how to choose a Kelvin Temperature when you need to (and why)

Filters: such as Polarizing, Neutral Density and Graduated Neutral Density 

How to shoot and edit Time-Lapse videos 

Shooting panoramas effectively (plus tips and tricks)

Adobe Lightroom CC – learning the Library and Develop Modules in-depth

Adobe Photoshop – learning compositing, layering, layers & adjustment masks, and blend modes

Using Plug-ins and Presets in editing

and so much more … the possible topics are endless!


I also offer individualized one-on-one tutoring sessions by appointment and special arrangement according to your schedule and mine. I’ve found that many people prefer a “hands-on” approach to learning with someone right there beside them, that helps them get past sometimes frustrating roadblocks that can occur in learning image making with a DSLR in manual mode. If this is something you’d like and are interested, click on the “Contact” page and call, text, email me, or simply message me on social media and we can set something up; or if you prefer a Course with others, I can put you on a Course’s contact list to give you a heads up when it is scheduled.


“Even though I already understood the fundamentals of my camera and know how to shoot in manual mode, your class has given me a deeper understanding of the essentials of DSLR photography…and in a very easy to understand format. I appreciate your willingness to answer any and all questions during the class and demonstrating the key concepts with simple, yet informative examples. I always left the class learning something new and ready to put it into action as soon as I got the chance. As an instructor, you always go the extra mile to ensure that I understand the material, even making yourself available after the class for emails, Facebook messages, and feedback on my photos. Can’t wait to take the next class!”

Pam McGee Swayze

Educator, Catahoula Parish School Board

“I took Mike’s DSLR photography 101 class earlier this year and really enjoyed it. Mike is an excellent teacher. He takes time to make sure everyone is “getting it” and provides plenty of time for questions and practice. His lectures were lively and entertaining. He put his lesson up on a big video screen where everyone could see it well. His handouts were detailed and descriptive. He brought different types of cameras and camera equipment as props. His class was very thorough and I feel like I finally have the basic skills to take my DSLR out of auto mode and really use it like it is meant to be used. A great basic DSLR photography class you don’t want to miss.”

Danielle Saxon

Registered Nurse, Oschner Health System

“As we concluded our last Photography Basics 101 Class last night I would like to say “THANK YOU”. I must say I have a greater understanding of my camera, lighting, composition, and basic photography. I have taken two other photography classes in the past, but after completing your class I no longer feel intimidated by my camera. You have me seeing things in a whole different light. Thanks again, and I can’t wait to begin 201!”

Phyllis Paul Beach

R.N. and Medical Administrator


  • 8 Hours of instruction during the run of the Course

  • 1 hour of additional 1-on-1 time just with you (must be scheduled), in the field or in studio

  • Demonstrations using the gear

  • Print handouts that you can take home and study

  • Online courses are great, but you have me to ask your own specific questions & show you how to’s 

  • Access to an online secret Facebook page where students can ask additional questions and post photos

  • Access to my video instructions on certain “difficult” sections so you can watch at your own pace


The tools and toys in my tool box.

In the “Art versus Tech” debate over what it takes to consistently make a great photo, I fall squarely in the middle. The “it’s just about the art & composition and your gear doesn’t matter” crowd can sometimes get quite emotional in insisting that they are right. But, they aren’t. I’ve hit limitations with my gear (still do) that prevents me from getting a quality photograph simply because my camera isn’t good enough, or I haven’t a fast enough lens, or whatever. Likewise, you cannot simply go out and purchase a Hasselblad with Zeiss lenses and expect that by pressing the shutter, your images will be awesome. That’s nonsense. The truth? It simply takes both. It is art and science, beauty and technology in a marriage to consistently produce great images. It is not “either – or” … but “both – and.”


To me, the critical issues in reaching a master’s level of photography involves the amount of proficiency one wishes to attain in the consistent production of high-quality images, as well as how consistent one wants to be in their ability to produce them on demand, in all kinds of conditions. Accept it or not, gear (and knowing how to use it very well) plays an extremely important role in both of those. You simply cannot take a Nikon D3300 or a Canon T5i with an 18-55mm kit lens and no tripod and expect to get amazing moon shots. You can however, get some stunning shots in many other situations with those cameras. The point is, gear plays a significant role in what is available to you.


My goal is to strive diligently to improve in my artistic skill, my composition, my framing, color, light, and gesture. My portfolio (hopefully) shows that. I’m equally dedicated to improving the tools I use. It’s perhaps an extensive one because of who I am – it’s simply “me” to shoot a wide number of genres in both consumer and commercial photography, and also make videos, design websites, and create graphics. That tends to lengthen the list. In no way however, do I have equipment that is considered top of the line. This is simply where I am at this stage. So, this section is about the gear and tools that I utilize to plan, produce, edit, and display my visuals, as well as market my art and business. I provide it as perhaps a way to help you ask questions and learn just as I continue to do so with peers in the field.


DSLR Cameras: Nikon, Canon, (fx & dx)

Primary: Nikon D810

Action Mount Camera: GoPro Hero 3+ Black

Camcorder: Canon VIXIA HF G20

Lens Kit: Various Nikon, Canon, Sigma; LensBaby: from 16mm f/2.8 fisheye to 400mm f/4 telephoto

Cine Lenses: Rokinon Cine (Various)

Support: Gitzo; Really Right Stuff; Manfrotto; Benro; Impact; Gorilla Pod

Motion-Control: Camera Motion Research; Varizoom; iFootage, Syrp (Genie)

Monobloc Strobes: Paul C. Buff; Elinchrom

Continuous LED Lights: Alzo Digital 3000s for Video

Speedlites: Nikon SB910s

Modifier Brands: Westcott; Rotolux; PC Buff; MagMod; Rogue; Alzo; Impact, Parapop

Main Modifier Types: Octaboxes; Softboxes; Reflectors; Deep-Throws; Strip-Banks: Snoots; Grids

Radio Triggers / Transfer Device: Pocket Wizard; Eyefi

Incident Light Meter: Sekonic

Batteries – On Location Packs: PC Buff Vagabond Lithium Extreme

Batteries – Rechargeable: Eneloop Pro

Computers: Apple Mac

Cards: SanDisk SD & CF Extreme Pro

Mobile: iPhone; iPad

Post-Processing: Adobe CC Suite (Lightroom; Photoshop; Premiere Pro, InDesign; After Effects … )

Retouching Tools: Wacom Intuos Pro Medium; Magic Mouse

Cloud Services: Adobe Creative Cloud; Dropbox (Pro)

Favorite Apps: Easy Release; The Photographer’s Ephemeris; Star Walk 2; Sky Live

Video Media & Channel: Vimeo (Plus)

Licensed Music: The Music Box (Pro)

Website CMS: WordPress with Divi by Elegant Themes

Website Hosting Service: SiteGround

Website Designer & Builder: Me 🙂

Business Cards by: MOO

Favorite Social Media for Creativity & Artistry: Behance, Ello

Favorite Author: J.R.R. Tolkien

Favorite Online Training Sites I Use:; CreativeLive; KelbyOne

My Mentors in Image Making: Charles Ross; Don Giannatti

Favorite (Contemporary) Photographers: Gregory Heisler, Frank Ockenfels; Anita Anti, Frank Doorhof, Brooke Shaden, Joey L.

Looking For Unique, Quality Visuals? Look No Further.

My Work