Basics of Photo Editing

Date: May 17
Time: 9am-4pm
Cost: $69
Location: TBA

Now that photography has become your passion, it is time to learn how to edit your images in order to improve them and to maximize the potential of digital photography.  Take advantage of your editing software’s most important features and learn the benefits of those features. We will be using Photoshop Elements, but the concepts that we discuss will apply to all editing systems including Photoshop, GIMP, and online editors. You will gain a practical overview and specific techniques of basic editing, editing terminology, workflow and image improvement and manipulation.

Topics include:

  • Adjusting exposure
  • Clarity
  • Controlling tonal curves
  • White balance
  • Vibrance
  • Color saturation
  • Converting color images to black and white
  • Advantages of shooting RAW images vs. JPGs
  • The benefits of using and understanding the Histogram.

You will also learn basic touch-up techniques such as softening skin tones, improving color and tone, increasing contrast for sharper images, cropping, and applying creative filters to make images compelling and dynamic. The workshop will also cover issues surrounding workflow and managing your images.

Attendees are welcome to bring laptops to follow along with instruction. All users will receive several handouts to assist in building your future editing skills.

Please bring 3-4 images that we can edit as a group.

Understanding Flash Photography

Date: June 14
Time: 9-4
Cost: $69
Location: TBA

Take the mystery out of flash photography, both on-camera and more importantly, off-camera, to create and manipulate light in any situation. Whether you are looking to remove harsh shadows during midday photo-shoots, fill a room with light, or photograph your subjects after dark! The workshop will cover the basics of flash photography, plus how to tweak the in-camera settings to control ambient light. Students will learn how flash position and light-modifier affect the look of an image.  In addition, techniques such as bouncing the light off-camera, to fill a room for more of a lifestyle approach, will be covered.  The workshop will engage attendees in a variety of creative light assignments which will give you the confidence you need to capture images with ease in any kind of light!

This is a hands-on workshop so please bring your DSLR camera and an off-camera flash.

Advanced DSLR Photography

Date: July 19
Time: 9-4
Location: TBA
Cost: $69

This workshop will benefit former students who have either taken our “Intro to DSLR Photography” class, who have a firm grasp of their DSLR and its capabilities. This workshop moves beyond the basics of camera settings, and we will work hands-on to explore creative DSLR techniques. Regardless of your level of skill beyond “beginner,” we are certain this workshop will help take your photography to the next level.

Course Outline

After a solid review of essential camera settings that every DSLR photographer must know intuitively, and exposure basics, the workshop will focus on exploring equipment option benefits and answer specific questions by attendees.  The workshop will then move into several aspects of the art of photography, discussing composition and image design, backgrounds, the sought after bokeh effect, lighting (including off-camera flash techniques) and color, and strategies for “working your subject.”

We will spend time reviewing work of each participant in a constructive critique session designed to help photographers gain a broader understanding of their personal vision. Please bring 3-4 images on a flash drive to share with the group. You may email images in advance to

Points covered during the workshop include:

  • Using your camera manually allows you to be more precise and creative with your camera.
  • Working with shutter speeds and apertures allows you to freeze action or control the amount of background blur in your pictures.
  • Applying exposure compensation
  • Using Auto Exposure Bracketing
  • Fixing common exposure problems
  • Photographing backlit subjects
  • Exposing for high key subjects
  • Exposing for low key subjects

Studio Lighting Essentials

Date: August 23
Time: 9-4pm
Location: La Quinta, Shaw and 99

Our studio and lighting course provide hands-on instruction on the manipulation and utilization of light for the production of professional quality images to capture contemporary styles and reflect today’s popular trends.

Student will accomplish the following:

  • Recognize and reproduce basic lighting techniques such as Rim, Rembrandt, Butterfly.
  • Understand what is meant by ‘lighting ratio’ and how to measure and choose the proper ratio for a given purpose.
  • Understand what is meant by ‘corrective lighting’ i.e. using a specific lighting pattern to model the subject in a way that minimizes unattractive features and accentuates attractive ones.
  • Understand the basics of controlling or converting various light sources into specular, point source, soft, shadowless or other forms to increase their usefulness.
  • Lean key terminology used during flash operation: automatic, manual, synchro-sun, fill, key, slave, strobe-effect, light painting, diffused, flat, bounce, recycle, color temperature, and other terms.

Please bring your DSLR camera and lenses to the workshop. We will have a live model on hand to practice the techniques learned during the workshop.

My New Found Respect for Sports Photographers

Photo: Neil LeiferI’ve never been really interested in sports photography. I mean, I can definitely appreciate a great shot…Ali standing victoriously over Liston, Jordan gliding from the foul line with tongue extended, Bolt breaking the tape…but as a general, I’ve had a hard time coming to a true appreciation, so I never really bothered with it (other than my Boxing series, which was really more about the social aspects than the sport itself) but lately, through happenstance, I’ve been in a position to take a shot at it.

New Respect for Sports Photographers!

I’m finding it surprisingly difficult. Even with a grasp on shutter speed and how it freezes and blurs motion, I’ve found it really tough to get any really compelling shots. I just can’t seem to keep up with the speed, and have yet to be able to capture any sense of drama. Perhaps I need to take more shots, but I shudder at the thought of managing hundreds and hundreds of shots in post.

SOOOOOO…perhaps just to frustrate myself, I’ve been looking into great sports photos…here are two really amazing collects I came across.

The first is 100 Greatest Sports Photos of All Time from SI…Some real gems…historic shots that I’ve never seen before, but that are really amazing…

The second is What a shot! 30 Amazing Sports Photos from

I’ll keep trying and will share what I get in the coming months…

Photo: Neil Leifer/SI

Boxing Day, Fresno style…

Heroes can raise and fall in the ring. A man can go from nothing to national hero in the span of a single bout.

[ visit the gallery of images here ]

Boxing Day, Fresno style...I started this project a few years ago and stumbled across it just last week…It’s great to slow down and revisit your past work…you may find something that you missed, or you may find your interpretation and viewpoint has shifted, giving the images a new meaning.

Before beginning this project, I had not watched a boxing match since 1982. That year, I watched Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini defeat Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim. It was a brutal match and I found out several days later that Kim died from the beating he took in the ring that day. I vowed I would never watch another boxing match from that day forward. As far as I was concerned, boxing was a barbaric sport, one in which I would never allow my own children to participate. So, when I began working on this series, I was forced to come face-to-face with my own prejudice against the sport and it’s participants.

It was a chance passing of a boxing gym in Mexico that sparked my interest in boxing as a photographic topic. The building was literally overflowing with young kids, many of whom could not have been older than 7 or 8 years old! I could almost feel the excitement bursting out of the front doors. I was unable to stop and look around, but upon returning to Fresno, I immediately began looking for a gym to visit. Living in Southeast Fresno, a largely Hispanic area, I had no trouble finding exactly what I was looking for. Frank Aleman, the owner, graciously allowed me to spend a few days wandering around with my camera.

Approaching my first visit, I fully expected to find scared kids, pushed into boxing by their overly-macho fathers…perhaps re-living their own failed accomplishments and attempting to recapture their own youth through their sons. What I found, however, were caring, attentive parents who want the same for their kids as all parents want for their children: self-confidence, self-esteem, a healthy lifestyle, a sense of camaraderie, and, as is often the case in rough and tumble neighborhoods, a distraction from the gangs, drugs and trouble that plague most large cities. Indeed, these are all the things I wished for my own kids when I enrolled them in soccer, dance and piano classes. I met fathers who are former gang members and others who have turned to religion as they’ve grown older. All were good, caring parents.

It became immediately clear to me that the kids (mostly boys, but a few girls) were there of their own free will. They workout between 4-5 days each week, working hard on punching bags, jumping rope and sparring. The boxers showed no discomfort with the camera. They were  quite proud of their affiliation with the boxing club and were the most self-assured kids I had ever met. Many may think of this as a way out of a difficult situation. Like many young athletes, many of these kids believe they will someday turn pro and becoming the next big thing…though statistics say otherwise. But clearly there are benefits that will stay with them for a lifetime.

This project was one of those gems that helped the photographer grow as a person and to widen his understanding of the world around. It has afforded me a better understanding of working constructively with my own prejudices. I hope to take this understanding with me into future documentary projects.

Jonathan, March 9, 2014

visit the gallery of images here ]


Man…ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of images available to us today? Every now and then its nice to remember a simpler photo-time…black and white film was all the rage! When you spend your day looking at images captured on a sensor, this is a welcomed change of pace. Check out this great collection of classics from LIFE Magazine….I’m partial to the Eugene Smith images myself…and I love the juxtaposition of the Paul Schutzer and J.R. Eyerman images (22 and 23).

See the collection here.