Get To Know Your Camera


Beginner Digital Photography Course in Chicago Area

Conveniently Located in Downers Grove



mother and child looking at a camera display screen

This digital camera class will help you learn to photograph what you love.

Requirements: Digital Interchangeable Lens Camera (DSLR or EVF/mirrorless) with spot or partial metering and lens, along with a Willingness to Learn   (View Course Requirements)

For: Beginning Photographers (and a prerequisite to Complete Exposure and other technical courses)

Prerequisites: None

Note: This class teaches you how to use your digital camera to better photograph your favorite things.

This Chicago-area camera class is about taking control of your digital camera, setting you free to photograph the things you love most. We give you a fundamental understanding of how your digital camera works, enabling you to think for yourself. Our goal is to build your confidence and knowledge so you’re ready to photograph your favorite subject, no matter what that is. Ultimately, we give you the tools and guidance to get you started, whether you just want to take better pictures of your kids or have thoughts of pursuing a professional photography career. Either way, you have to learn the same basic things.

Stop Being Frustrated!

Do your pictures often turn out too light or too dark? Do your photos have a yellow or blue color cast? Are you wondering what all those buttons and settings are for? Are you afraid to press those buttons? It should reassure you to know that these are common problems that people have and we we directly address these topics in this beginning digital camera class—the first course in a series of technical photography classes that we offer.  (Gift Cards for this class are available.)

Here’s an interesting paradox: Your fancy digital camera is very complicated, but actually kind of dumb. I mean, you’ve already seen the trouble it has with color, exposure, focusing, and so forth. But what if we were to combine the meager brain of your digital camera with your vastly superior one? Now, that would solve the problem! And that’s where out classes come in.

Lose Your Fear & Think for Yourself!

In this 2-session beginning photography class, we help you shed your fear and take control of your camera, resulting in better pictures and more predicable results. You’ll learn the fundamentals of photography, how your digital camera works, which buttons and controls are most important, why you need them, and how to use them. Unlike many photography classes, we don’t teach dozens of topics. That just confuses people, not only because there’s too much information, but because students don’t know where to begin. Instead, we concentrate on the information you need right now. As you grow, we offer other photography classes that keep pace with your growing understanding and confidence.

“Mike was personable, easy-going and made everyone feel good about their level of knowledge and ability to learn the techniques. Great and energetic instructor.” — Nicole / South Barrington, IL

You’ll learn a lot in this beginning digital camera class and you’ll feel much more confident with your camera. You’ll even learn how to get better exposures and adjust them if it’s not right. However, that may be too late. So, to solve the “too light/too dark” issue before it occurs, we offer our elegant and decisive Complete Exposure class.

Comprehensive Handouts & Supplemental Materials

To make your learning experience easier, we provide a thick comprehensive handout of the PowerPoint presentation. We do this so that you don’t have to take notes in class and to use as a guide for when you go home to do your assignment. It’s also a valuable resource to fall back on in the future. But, the biggest reason is that we want you to be engaged, attentive, and able to participate in the class, where we’ve developed dozens of instructive animations and graphics, designed to help you better understand and visualize the material. You’ll, also, receive supplemental emails containing additional instruction that further clarifies or summarizes the material presented during the previous session(s).

The class teaches you about the follow camera functions:

  • ISO
  • F-Stop
  • Shutter Speed
  • Introduction to Lenses
  • Introduction to Exposure
  • Introduction to Digital Data
  • Manual Exposure Mode
  • Aperture Priority Exposure Mode
  • Spot, Partial, and Multi-Zone Metering
  • Taking a Spot Meter Reading
  • Tonal Compensation
  • Histogram
  • White Balance
  • Depth of Field
  • Manual and Auto Focus
  • Adjusting Camera to Your Vision
  • and more!
  • Then build on this knowledge with our Digital Photo Basics 1 and Complete Exposure classes.

After the session, you’ll be ready to move onto our other technical photograph classes. It is mandatory that you have a digital interchangeable lens camera with Manual Exposure Mode. Please see the Course Requirements.


Both sessions takes place at Mike’s home studio in Downers Grove, Illinois, each lasting from 3 to 3.5 hours.

During the first session, you will learn how a camera works and the fundamental principles. You will be taught which buttons are important and why you need them. Then, you will be sent home with your handout and an important homework assignment, which must be completed: to find and familiarize yourself with the different buttons and dials you learned about.

When you return for the last session, you’ll be using those buttons and controls in a powerful hands-on exercise along with other valuable information that is designed to wean you off of the automatic controls and free you from the shackles of the AUTO and PROGRAM modes.

“I appreciate your attention to detail and making sure you explained things very thoroughly. I know my photography has improved and I look forward to continuing to practice. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”— Karen / Justice, IL

Normally, this class is limited to 12 students, depending on the experience level of the participants, but during snow season the maximum may be limited to the 7, which is the number of on-site parking spots. So, please register quickly to ensure a spot.

If you have further questions about Mike MacDonald photography workshops just email or phone 630-852-8448.