Canon 60D

Canon 60D & Canon T3i DSLR Photography Lesson St. Petersburg Florida with Danny & Doug

Left to Right: Doug with Canon 60D & Danny with Canon T3i during our DSLR photography lesson in St. PetersburgFirst off, I did not pose Doug & Danny like that in the above photo!  I did show them proper DSLR camera holding technique earlier which is why their stances look so similar.  Their lesson was the companion lesson to the one their wives took at the end of May with the same cameras, a Canon 60D and a Canon T3i.  Both lessons started out the same, though most of my lessons do, but as seen in the photo above we spent more practice on photographing moving subjects which they both seemed to like doing very much.  

Our lesson started at 9am to avoid the now near full-on Florida summer heat with us meeting in downtown St. Petersburg and over the course of the lesson we passed by many local points of interest like the Museum of History.  We ended our lesson by the two large banyan trees on Beach Drive for a little flash portrait practice, concluding a jam packed 2-hour photography lesson that was a lot of fun and I hope keeps Doug and Danny using manual mode for the most part!

Canon 60D & Canon T3i DSLR Photography Lesson St. Petersburg Florida with Brooke & Liz

This kapok tree has often been a test subject during my DSLR photography lessons in downtown St. PetersburgMy DSLR Photography Lesson with Brooke and her mom, Liz, was my first 9am lesson of the year as things are just getting too hot to start at 10am anymore.  We met at the usual downtown St. Petersburg spot in front of the Museum of Fine Art where we sat and had an introductory chat on how to set the major settings on Brooke's Canon 60D and Liz's Canon T3i.  I am familiar with both DSLRs so it was not difficult to switch back and forth from one camera to the next for instruction purposes.  They also had the exact same Canon 18-135mm lens which made things even more uniform.

I emphasized proper DSLR holding technique which not only results in a more stable shots, but also better ergonomics for changing settings and focal length while one's eye remains in the viewfinder.  We practiced our first shots on the kapok tree next to the museum before moving on to how to make a shot with bokeh.  We continued with how to photograph moving subjects before concluding with tips for making flash portraits in the shade.  All in all it was a very information packed 2-hour lesson!

I enjoyed our lesson this morning and actually I will teach their husbands in an upcoming lesson, which should be pretty interesting!

Canon 60D 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida at Dali Museum with Julie

Julie with her new Canon 430 EX II Speedlight & her Canon 60D during our photography lesson at the Dali MuseumI chose the new Dali Museum as the location for the fourth of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons with Julie, who since our last lesson got a new external flash, the Canon 430 EX II Speedlite.  I was glad to hear that Julie has been regularly practicing her photography and even had a chance to make maternity portraits of two of her friends.  She told me that photographing people is hard!  I cannot disagree, but I also think photographing people is the most interesting and one of the best ways to really push yourself as a photographer.  

We started this morning's lesson with more 50mm lens practice using the great tree in the rear ground of the museum.  The tree has ribbons all tied to it with messages (see third photo from the top here).  Julie really liked the tree.  It makes for a very interesting subject both from an abstract shooting standpoint and also as a prop when making a portrait.

Then Julie attached her 430 EX II to her 60D and we went over to the Mahaffey Theater where I showed her how the angle of the light from the flash effects how portraits turn out.  Even in those outdoor conditions, although in the shade, it was very apparent that being able to bounce the light off of a side or rear wall produced the best results, as compared to pointing the flash directly at the subject.  

Julie is interested in learning off camera flash so I look forward to seeing her for another four lessons over the summer.  I will be looking forward to it!

Canon 60D 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Parag 2

Parag with his Canon 60D & Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens in downtown St. Petersburg for our 2nd photography lessonFor our second of four 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons I met Parag once again in downtown St. Petersburg this time focusing on using his Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens on his Canon 60D DSLR.  I often teach photography lessons based on just using a 50mm lens as besides being the cheapest lens one can buy, it is also one of the most fun to use because it can easily create bokeh, is good in low light, can be used for portraits and is small and light physically.

We spent most of our time in the interior of downtown St. Petersburg looking for abstract patterns to photograph, as well as motorcycles and lights for bokeh.  In between we stopped to practice making natural light portraits using the 50mm lens.  I stressed to Parag that when using large apertures like f/2.8 and even f/2 that it is important not to set the focus on the eyes and recompose, but rather first frame the shot as you like then move the focus point in the frame to fall upon the subject's eyes.  It is an extra step to take in making a shot, but an important one in order to insure maximum sharpness of the portrait subject's eyes.  

I had another very good time talking with Parag on subjects beyond photography too.  I discovered we both share a great enthusiasm for the E46 M3!  Hopefully he will get one soon so we can photograph it in one of our two remaining lessons!  

Canon 60D 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Parag

Parag willing to get dirty to get the best angle for a photograph in Vinoy Park St. Petersburg FloridaI first met Parag and his wife, Supna, at a networking event a few months ago.  We talked about photography some then and he expressed interest in taking some of my 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lessons.  Then around Christmas time Supna contacted me wanted to help kick start Parag's photography in 2012 so she bought him a 4-pack of lessons via a Jason Collin Photography gift certificate (available year round).  We had our first of four lessons on a beautiful St. Petersburg mid-morning.

Parag has a good amount of photography knowledge already, and even a hardcover photo book to prove it.  What he wanted to learn from the lessons was to better tie together how to get the best possible exposure in more challenging situations where manually setting aperture and shutter speed may be necessary.  The harsh sunlight of any Florida day provided all the challenge we needed.  

I had a very good time during the lesson with Parag and I was impressed with his willingness to do whatever it took to make a shot (see photo above).  I also got to meet his very energetic chocolate lab puppy when Supna came by to pick him up at the end of the lesson.

Canon 60D DSLR Photography Lesson 50mm lens St. Petersburg Florida

Julie with her Canon 60D and new Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens during our second photography lesson in St. Petersburg FloridaSince our first DSLR Photography Lesson Julie has invested in the absolute best value in photography, a 50mm f/1.8 lens.  It is the cheapest lens to produce for manufacturers (around $110), but is a lens that is in every photographer's camera bag.  Among my photography students who started out with just the kit lenses (18-55mm, 55-200mm), by far the most common next purchase was a 50mm lens.  

Julie and I met in the usual downtown St. Petersburg spot.  We both were traveling light with just the 50mm lenses.  That is another benefit of the lens, it is very light and portable.  Since covering a lot of the nuts and bolts of how to just get a correct exposure and focus during our first lesson, for this 50mm lesson we discussed composition much more, in particular with the 50mm producing the best bokeh and DoF possible.  Much of this comes down to framing the shot with a complementary background trying to include objects that will result in pleasing bokeh and setting the focus on the subject in a way to maximize DoF.

When dealing with a DoF of a centimeter or two at most, setting the focus and recomposing will result in a lack of sharpness on the intended subject.  Therefore, one needs to frame the shot as desired, and then using a single focus point, manually in the viewfinder select the focus point to fall upon the intended subject.  Some DSLRs make this much easier to do than others (hint, Nikon D300 makes it easy).

I look forward to seeing Julie's shots of Gasparilla and the portraits she makes with her new 50mm lens.

Canon 60D DSLR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg Florida with Julie

Julie with her great new Christmas present a Canon 60D during our first DLSR Photography Lesson in St. Petersburg, FloridaMy first DSLR Photography Lesson of the new year was with Julie who just got a new Canon 60D as a Christmas present.  She chose my 4-pack of lessons so I will have the opportunity to really help her get going with her photography hobby.  Today happened to be the coldest day of the season, by far, but as always the sun was still out and shining making it a fine afternoon for a lesson.

Julie claimed to not really have any previous DSLR photography knowledge, but thanks to her great memory and some tips on aperture from someone she recently talked to at a wedding, she already had a working knowledge of aperture, to which I added ISO, WB and focus mode information.  I was impressed by how quickly she started to demonstrate skill in adjusting the necessary settings for the variety of types of shot we practiced.  

I often give advice to my students as they always want to know what photographer gear they should get next.  For those who already have lenses that cover from 18mm to 200mm, I suggest getting a 50mm f/1.8 lens and also an external flash as both are very useful and are in the camera bags of pretty much every serious photographer in the world.  

I am looking forward to the next three lessons with Julie and helping her get the most out of her Canon 60D.