Have you ever tried to ‘shoot the moon?’ How about trying to capture fireworks? Are you frustrated that you keep missing that perfect shot of your newborn?
Foto WeekDC is coming to town next week and there will be plenty of opportunities to see works by the ‘best of the best’ and get tips on how to hone those photography skills.
Running November 9 through November 18, there will be events throughout the Washington, DC area. Several local artists, photographers and studios are participating as partners . The Torpedo Factory Art Center and Northern Virginia Community Center, Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Workhouse Art Center are just a few of the participating partners.
Another partner is Capital Photography Center, which will be holding workshops throughout the week – everything from how to shoot weddings to taking photos with the iPhone to working with pinhole cameras.
The instructors at Capital Photography Center have been helping amateur photographers perfect their skills for years. The business was the brainchild of Marie Joabar, who used to schedule classes for Penn Camera. When Penn filed for bankruptcy, Joabar, took the best photography instructors with her and put together a robust program of classes. The instructors teach all levels of photographers – from beginners to very advanced. Not only do they have traditional classroom training, but they have a variety of classes held on location – on the National Mall, at Meadowlark Gardens, in Georgetown and The National Zoo.
Eliot Cohen is one of the instructors. The former Program Head for Photography at Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) Loudoun Campus, he was also faculty member at the Corcoran School of Art. He has been teaching classes for Capital Photography Center since its inception. His workshops during FotoWeek DC include: Barren Places.
“Some photographers believe that they should be able to create perfect pictures in the camera,” said Cohen. While this is hopefully true as far as composition, it’s seldom the case for tone, color, sharpness, and selective emphasis. This is the role of software such as Lightroom or Photoshop Elements.
“Mother Nature often provides us with lighting that is either flat or harsh. The ability to modify this globally or selectively is very important in rendering details and preserving a sense of light in one’s photograph. Additionally the ability to create emphasis on one aspect or another of a photo will help lead a viewer to the important details while minimizing the role of other areas. The role of good software is not to alter or change a scene, but to render it effectively in the way that it was perceived by the photographer on scene.
“We teach programs such as Photoshop Elements and Lightroom in a logical, step by step, manner that is easily followed, understood, and repeated on one’s own. No experience is necessary because we start at the very beginning. Once a student gains a little comfort with how to use them, they will be able to produce far better work than by simply accepting what the camera offers.”
In addition to his classes in the Washington area for the Smithsonian, Photoworks at Glen Echo Park and Capital Photography Center, Cohen leads exciting photography workshops nationally and internationally.
In Cohen’s acclaimed classes he provides clear steps to help each participant make the best use of their digital camera or editing software. These tools often seem very complex, but Cohen makes it all logical and systematic. His extensive experience teaching all facets of digital photography allows him to clearly answer questions at any level from basic to advanced.
Another instructor, Tim Cooper, began his career as a commercial and assignment photographer working with clients such as The North Face, The Ritz Carlton, Vasque boots, 3M, Blue Note Records, and The International Heart Institute. His editorial and commercial photographs have appeared in Travel & Leisure, New York Times Magazine, Outdoor Photographer, Fly Rod & Reel, Northern Lights, Modern Luxury and Private Clubs as covers, advertising, art and editorial illustration.
“I really enjoy teaching the technical side of things,” said Cooper. “Many people have a stumbling block with some the mechanics and it is a pleasure to help them over this hurdle. When people are excited to learn, it makes learning easier.”
“Taking classes is important to get a base foundation in photography. It is possible to learn much from reading magazines and websites but this process usually leaves gaps in the knowledge. It is difficult to learn in a vacuum. Classes have the ability to tie everything together for the student.”
Cooper said that he is most inspired by “the beauty of the western landscape.”
He enjoys working with Capital Photography because of the quality of the teachers and scope of material covered.
“Marie [Joabar, director] has done a great job in creating a diverse curriculum.”
“I really enjoy knowing that a student has grasped a concept,” said Cooper. Seeing that light bulb go on is very satisfying.”
One of Cooper’s students, Victor Fishman, said, “I would have to say that while Tim refers to his class on composition as a lecture, I would have to say that from my perspective it was a transformational experience.
I am pretty good technically with my digital SLR, but I have struggled mightily with composition. I read books and articles, and have listened to lots of other photographers and always try to apply it all every time I shoot. With all of this, I was getting luckier more often than before.
“Tim’s class gave me practical tools, not just rules, that I was able to put to use on my next outing that allowed me to immediately see the shortcomings in my composition and take the necessary steps (sometimes it actually was a question of a couple of steps) to get images that were really satisfying and worth sharing.
“It will probably take me several months to put into action and become proficient with all that Tim shared in this two-hour class. However, given his easy but clear and concise approach to sharing his lessons-learned, I have every confidence that I will be able to acquire these skills.
“Tim’s class has done much more to help me achieve my objectives in photography, sharing with others the beauty that I see, than I ever thought it would!”
E. David Luria is a professional photographer based in Washington, DC and specializes in architecture, events, art/still life, restaurant, commercial, and landmark photography since 1995. His workshops during FotoWeek DC include: Washington DC: A Photographer’s Paradise.
A member of the Association of Independent Architectural Photographers and the American Society of Media Photographers, Mr. Luria has had his images appear in over 100 publications. He is also a Contributing Photographer to WHERE-Washington Magazine, and he has done over, 2,500 property shoots for the Washington Post’s Apartment Showcase Magazine.
Luria is also a frequent speaker and competition judge at local camera clubs in the DC area, including the National Press Club. He has done photography work for the National Cherry Blossom Festival and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, has photographed over 200 restaurants in the DC area and has done event and portrait photography for many corporate and non-profit organizations.
Luria is also a teacher of photography. A member of the Society of Photographic Educators, he is founder and director of the popular Washington Photo Safari (www.WashingtonPhotoSafari.com), through which he and his team of 12 instructors have trained over 26,000 amateur photographers since 1999 in travel, architectural, portrait, wedding, nature, nighttime, museum, story-telling and pet photography.
“I most enjoy those classes that involve people who are new to photography, because it helps them discover the joy of photography by learning how to use their cameras to full advantage,” said Luria.
“Having taught photography for almost 14 years to 26,000+ amateur photographers, I have lots of students in whom I take great pride. One woman, who has been on 58 of our safaris, has become a first-class nature photographer. Another student, a man who has been on 31 of our safaris, has turned into a professional dance, sports and theatre performance photographer. And there is a woman in Bethesda who started out with little point and shoots many years ago and has now been featured in several art exhibits in Montgomery County.”
Luria believes that photography is a learned skill, and like any other skill, takes training and practice, practice, practice.
“I cannot tell you how many times I have heard clients say, ‘Oh! I wish I had done this class before our vacation trip last year!’
“Our teaching approach has been hands-on instruction, guiding our clients as they are taking the photos in the field, rather than just lecturing to them in a classroom setting. Many of our clients have indicated that they greatly prefer this approach because they tend to forget what they hear in a class.”
Luria got his start in photography many years ago when he took a picture of his eight-year old daughter’s best friend
“Her father liked it so much, he cried,” said Luria. “So I figured that would be a good way to make a living, and it has been.
“However, 14 years ago I saw the handwriting on the wall – so many people are buying digital cameras now that they don’t hire photographers as much as they did before. I figured since I can’t fight that, might as well join them! So now I make my living teaching other people how to use their own cameras.
“I most enjoy helping people find that aha! moment with their camera, discovering a technique they did not have before. It might be the “whoa!” they shout on turning their circular polarizing filter for the first timer, or the “man! That alone is worth the price of the class!” that we often hear when showing them how to use the exposure lock button on the back of the camera.
“I also greatly enjoy learning about the lives and the professions of our clients. We meet the most interesting people – it could be a man who buys nuclear submarines for the Defense Department; a chicken plucker from Australia; a Walmart warehouse stocking clerk; a jellybean color quality control officer or an Air Force nurse. I also teach hundreds of ‘photographer moms’ as well as the woman who brought a multi-year lawsuit against Augusta National Golf Club to get them to admit women.
Luria enjoys teaching for Capital Photography Center, and said, “Marie Joabar, the president of Capital Photography Center, works very hard to devise a calendar of unique photo teaching experiences. She has recruited first-class professional instructors to teach them, and she goes out of her way to address the needs of her clients.”
Karen Messick loves working with students in the field and on location. Her workshop during FotoWeekDC includes: Creative Captures with the Iphone.
I help them understand how to use their camera, and equipment while crafting interesting compositions,” said Messick. “A good photography student has a desire to learn, patience, and a growing passion for photography. (as well as having their camera manual with them in the field).
“Taking photography classes speeds up the learning curve. There is so much to know in the digital world of photography from in-the-field skills, using your camera, getting a good exposure, crafting a compelling composition with an interesting subject, to processing skills fine tuning the final image.
“As a photographer, I am most inspired by talented artists and photographers. Looking at and learning from other photographers and artists constantly pushes my work in new directions. I also enjoy reading online tutorials regarding processing images, looking for new and unique ways to enhance my image.
“Working with students is satisfying when you see the light bulb come on. I enjoy the aha moment students have, when a concept or idea or just navigating a camera suddenly makes sense.”
Messick also believes that Capital Photography Center has the best instructors that are sensitive to the students’ needs with years of experience in the field and in the classroom.
Enjoy a photography class from these and many other instructors at Capital Photography Center. Visit their website to browse their offerings @ www.capitalphotographycenter.com. Sign up for their newsletter full of interesting tips, useful links and helpful photography articles. http://bit.ly/PlZ7A2.
For more information on FotoWeek DC visit https://www.DCFotoWeek.org/index.php.