Next registration opens April 3rd /// Classes begin May 1st
Shooting in Manual


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Shooting in Manual


Next class starts May 1
Registration opens April 3
Teacher Courtney Zimmerman

Making photographs is an opportunity to say something visually, so you might as well say that something well, right? Using your camera in “auto” is like only being able to write within the confines of a template.

Sure, you can get the basic message across with a template, but you can’t exercise the full extent of your creativity or feel any sense of satisfaction and ownership over it. Complex and nuanced thoughts become overly simplified and devalued through the template’s forced order and limitations. Your message cannot become a piece of originality.

It’s time to graduate from template messages – from auto mode picture-making – and master manual mode, because learning to shoot in manual is the critical first step in mastering the craft of photography.

In this four-week class you will learn the different elements your camera uses to record pictures and how you can harness those elements to make the images you have in mind, rather than the images your camera’s computer has in mind.

Each week focuses on an individual element and offers exercises that allow for you to grow in your familiarity with it, and culminates in the final week in which you will bring those elements together to create images entirely in manual mode. The process will leave you feeling empowered and inspired to continue your journey of communicating valuable messages through photographs.

Next registration opens April 3rd at 12 PM EST

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WEEK ONE: Harnessing Light Through Aperture — How to change an image’s depth-of-field, understanding how aperture affects the overall feel of your images, and its role in guiding viewers’ understanding of your subject.

WEEK TWO: Harnessing Light Through Shutter Speed–How to effectively freeze and blur motion, understanding how shutter speed affects an image’s sense of movement, and its role in the capturing of light.

WEEK THREE: Reading Light Through ISO and Metering — How to adjust how your camera sees and utilizes light and understanding the repercussions of those adjustments.

WEEK FOUR: Bringing It All Together — How to bring all technical elements together to create images that are truer to your vision and voice.

The Schedule

All participation and interaction for this class will take place in a private online forum. (Registered students will receive instructions on how to access the forum a few days before class begins.)

On the first Monday of class, Courtney will share Lesson 1 in the forum and e-mail it to every student. She will be available during the week to answer questions and facilitate discussions in the forum as you read and work through your lessons.

Homework will be due on Sunday and personal critiques will take place the following Mondays. Each week will follow the same pattern.

The beauty of this class and every other class at DEFINE is that you can read, practice, and participate throughout the week whenever it is convenient for you- from any timezone, anywhere you have Internet access, at any time of day. Most students spend 3-5 hours per week “in class.”

If you have any questions, please feel free to email

Is this class for you?

You value well-crafted visual messages, and it’s time to give voice to your own. This class is for beginners or intermediates looking to strengthen their technical skills and learn how to shoot in manual mode. This is the perfect place to start if you find yourself fumbling with settings or you have never taken your camera off of “auto” mode.

Material(s) Needed

A DSLR camera and your camera manual


January 2017, March 2017, May 2017


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