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DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY LESSONS, PRIVATE CAMERA TUTORINGS AND ADOBE LIGHTROOM INSTRUCTION

Palo Alto, CA 94306 (and nearby)


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>>> Why not get lessons on Digital Photography and how to use that new camera to make beautiful images

>>> Learn to use Adobe Lightroom

>>> Private, one-on-one, in person, Camera, Photography, and Lightroom Tutoring in Palo Alto, CA 94306

>>> Groups up to 3 people for same price as 1 person


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DSLR Camera camera class, lessons, or tutoring

You’ve been taking snapshots for years with various point-and-shoot cameras or (shudder) even your cell phone. But now you have a great DSLR camera with all the bells and whistles and have no clue what to do with it. Or, you’ve had your DSLR for awhile and are less than satisfied with the results. You know how to set the dial to “Automatic” and push the button – just like you did with your point and shoot but that’s about it. Now what?

Reading the 200 page camera manual is of no help. It tells you what the buttons do, but not why you would want to do that or what benefits or detriments come along with those settings. It tells you how to display the menu, but not the meaning of the 80+ items in 3 levels of options or when one would want to use those options.

It doesn't matter if you have a Canon Camera, a Nikon Camera, or a Sony Camera, you want to move from just “Taking Pictures” to “Making Photographs” – which is why you got that camera in the first place. In other words you want to learn Digital Photography and how to use your camera.

I’m an award winning photographer with great teaching skills who can teach you how to “Escape the Green Box” (get off of the Auto setting) and really use your DSLR. My one-on-one lessons are tailored to your camera and your skill level. These are the highest quality. professional and in depth, lessons and should not be confused with quickie 2 hour overviews. I don't just tell you to "push that button" or "turn that dial", I teach you how the various camera settings impact your images. I give you the understanding required to fully understand, control and utilize your camera to make beautiful images matching your artistic vision.

If you take my structured course format I also provide, free of charge, PDF copies of the class presentation material (over 150 PowerPoint slides) we use during the class, including my instructor notes so you can refer back to them later. After you have finished my course, you should feel free to send me emails with questions, issues or problems that may come up or ask me to look over a few of your photos to offer suggestions - all at no charge.

I give my lessons at my place in Palo Alto (near San Antonio and El Camino) but can come to your place in nearby cities for a small extra travel reimbursement fee depending on distance.

I tailor the Material to your needs based on how deep you want to go and even what things you want to concentrate on.

Adobe Lightroom Tutoring, lessons, class


Having problems with Adobe Lightroom? I can help you out. Lightroom is a very powerful image management and editing tool that more and more professional as well as amateur, photographers, are using as their primary image tool. There is a vast amount you can do with it and I can show you how.

I can also help with untangle your catalogs and image storage and offer suggestions on best practices.

Learn how to manage and organize your images with the Library Module and how to improve the look of your images in the Develop Module. We can also talk about the Map, Print, Slideshow, and Web modules if those are the areas that interest you.


My Rate is $50/hr of instruction and you can bring up to 2 friends at no additonal cost. If, after the first hour you are not completely satisfied, we can stop there and there will be no charge. Call or email for info on specials and discounts.

Lessons can be arranged in sessions of 1 to 3 hours duration each (2 hr minimum on first lesson). As a guide, for a novice covering all material to an in-depth level, will take about 6 to 8 total hours. However a light once over of the key points can be covered in 3 to 4 hours

Click on "Guestbook Entries" in upper right corner of this screen for student reviews of my lessons. Most of these can also be found on Yelp.

BELOW IS A LIST OF TOPICS WHICH ARE INCLUDED IN THE DSLR LESSONS.

General overview of Photography Basics
The Light Path from light source to memory card and what controls you have to shape it along the way:


  • Light sources and Color Temperature
  • Subject reflectivity
  • Camera lens and what it does
  • Camera shutter and what it does
  • Camera Sensor and what it does
  • Camera Processor and what it does
  • The memory card

Your Camera controls:
  • Picture Mode or Main Dial
  • Other Wheels, dials and buttons
  • How to control your, Shutter Speed, Aperture, Focus Pattern, ISO, WB, ISO,
  • Metering Mode, Exposure Compensation, Exposure Shift, Drive Mode and Storage format


The things you have control over and when/why you should control them (rather than let the camera decide)
  • Flash – When to use it and when to turn it off.
  • White Balance – What it is, how to control it.
  • ISO – What it does and what to watch out for (noise)
  • Drive Mode – how to increase your odds of “getting the shot”
  • Auto Focus – the various Auto Focus modes and situations where you would choose one over another – or even turn it off
  • Focus point – Why is the fence in focus but Grandma is all blurry?
  • Metering Mode – How the camera evaluates the scene and helping it choose the right method
  • Jpg vs RAW – Overcome your fear of RAW. Learn what it is and why it is your friend.
  • Other settings and terms explained (Color space, Contrast, Vibrance/Saturation, Sharpness, Etc)


The In’s and Out’s of exposure
  • Exposure explained
  • How your camera sensor deals with light and the “Gotcha” of the dynamic range limit of your sensor as well as how to over come it.
  • 18% gray and why it may be the most important thing to know about your camera that most people don’t know
  • Controlling exposure
  • The trade off’s of your settings. What you get and lose as you make adjustments to

Aperture
Shutter Speed
ISO

Using your Camera’s Manual controls:
  • What the main dial settings on your camera mean and when to use them
  • When and why you should use exposure compensation and/or exposure shift
  • Bracketing
  • Your histogram – Understand what it is telling you and read it with confidence. Use it in the field while you still have a chance to shoot again.
  • Depth of Field (DOF) and Hyper Focal Distance (Hyper Focal Point)
  • How to convey a sense of motion in your images. Motion Blur or Motion Freezing.
  • How different lighting and subject situations fool your camera and what to do about it
  • Flash Exposure Compensation (including Fill Flash)

Artistic – Composition:
  • What is it?
  • Rule of thirds
  • Balance
  • Leading Lines
  • Single Subject
  • The Story
  • Selective Focus
  • Subject Separation
  • Shooting for HDR or PANORAMA processing
  • 10 deadly sins of composition

Putting it all together
  • 6 steps to use in the field.


Give me a try. If you’re not completely satisfied after the first hour, there will be no charge (except for travel fee if I come to your location).

Thanks – Dan
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Guestbook for Digital Photography Lessons
19.J.K. San Francisco(non-registered)
[Copied from Yelp, 9/30/2014]

Would highly recommend Dan's course! After 4 lessons I have an entirely new understanding of my camera and image composition. The lessons are clear and organized. He encourages questions and is always available for advice via email. Am looking forward to using my new knowledge on an upcoming trip. Absolutely take this course if you want to use your camera on any setting other than auto!
18.G. M.(non-registered)
[Copied from Yelp, 7/15/2014 - DH]

Dan Hartford is a dream come true to anyone, like me, who loves photography but knows nothing about how to REALLY use the camera (other than the AUTO setting). My 2 friends and I booked a 2 hour class with him 2x/week. He has opened our eyes to everything our camera can do. There is A LOT to learn and, normally, would be overwhelming but he presents it in a very organized way and gives us simple homework drills to help us retain what we went over in class.

I am excited to continue on to a new course with Dan about photography software, once we are finished with the camera part of it.

I also agree with what many of his students say. He is a great price for the gift he gives us as a teacher. You can see that he does it for the love of photography and he wants to share it. This is the kind of teacher any student could ever ask for!

I found him through YELP and so thankful for this site because all the great comments that Dan gets are 100% accurate! I will definitely use YELP more often!
17.Toby S.(non-registered)
Copied from Yelp Review 4/7/2014

Short version: Dan Hartford is a great teacher, and the lessons are a total bargain at what he is charging for them. We will definitely be back!

Longer version: My girlfriend has an amazing eye for photography, and takes some stunning images, but agreed that there was so much going on with her camera, that it would be nice to talk to an experienced long time Canon shooter (he seems to know Nikon very well too, just prefers Canon) to help her learn which features of her camera are just fluff features and which features are the most important. She knew most of the basics, but also wanted to learn all the neat little shortcuts that years of experience affords you. Enter Dan Hartford. I emailed him early on a Saturday morning a few weeks ago, and he responded very quickly. He sounded like exactly what we were looking for, and let us decide between doing a lesson plan of his choosing or just filling in the gaps with questions of our own at our own pace. We opted for the latter. The class was mainly for my girlfriend, but I went with and sat in on the class (no additional charge) so that I could help her retain the massive amounts of information he bestowed upon her. He had note pads and pens out, ready for us to take notes, along with some of his gear so he could show us how his camera was setup, since one of his cameras is the same camera she shoots. In interest of not taking business from him, I cannot disclose all the things he told us, but it will definitely be worth it to go find out for yourself. She can't wait to take what he taught her and apply it in the field first hand. As I said before, once she gets 100% with everything she just learned, we will certainly head back down for more classes. He also does classes on the Adobe Lightroom program, in case that's what you're looking for.

It's also worth mentioning that he was BEYOND professional when I completely put our class time and date in my calendar wrong (totally my fault), and we literally missed our class. He was completely understanding, and offered us his next available slot for no additional charge, which in my book is a class act. He had every right to charge us a full hour or full value of the class since we took money out of his pocket, but rather than charge us he wanted us to reschedule and just pay the normal fee.

All around great experience. Thanks Dan!
16.Brittany N. (Dublin, CA)(non-registered)
(Copied from Yelp review, 2/25/2014)
I highly recommended Dan to anyone looking to improve their skill level with a DSLR camera. I had very little knowledge coming in and need some help with basic camera functions, let alone capturing the best photo possible.

Dan was incredibly knowledgeable and very reasonably priced. He was also flexible with days, times, and locations. We did several structured sessions (he regularly verified the pace was good for me), as well as one less structured class. All the sessions went great, and I feel much more confident using the Cannon 60D on the job. He made sure that I was getting my money's worth.

I will be sure recommend him to friends or co-workers who are looking to delve further into photography.
15.Rohith P. (San Jose, CA)(non-registered)
(Copied from Yelp Review, 1/25/2014)

Just completed two two hour sessions with Dan to understand how I could take better pictures with my DSLRr and post process them using Lightroom. Dan's structured course work with catchy real world examples made the content very effective. I learned quite a bit and am now implementing them with good results already, I highly recommend Dan's photography lessons for anyone looking to make their photographs look stunning!
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