Mike’s Photo Class Suggestions and Money-Saving Packages

This page is very useful. After reading it, if you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can discuss your needs.

You’re reading this page because you want my expert opinion about which photography classes to take. As a professional photographer and teacher, I know what it takes to become proficient with your digital camera and, more importantly, what’s required to make great pictures. Under certain circumstances, I’m also available for private lessons.

My bottom-line recommendation is WORKSHOP PACKAGE  #5. Then add Photoshop Elements Essentials because it’s essential to the quality of your images. Read more about it here.

If you do, you’ll possess the skill and confidence to think on your feet along with a solid foundation to build upon, no matter what what type of subject matter or photography you decide to pursue. The combination of Get to Know Your Camera, Digital Photo Basics 1, and Complete Exposure will turn mystery into mastery and allow you to make technically excellent photographs, all without using any of the auto or point-and-shoot modes. Because a technically proficient image is only half the battle, you’ll also learn how to powerfully compose an image in our Make Great Pictures, Now! photo composition course. And again, I strongly suggest that you add our Photoshop Elements Essentials class. You’ll learn to maximize the information your camera captures by using Adobe Photoshop Elements to restore the life, fidelity, and truth that are inherently lacking in images that come straight out of the camera.

Sarah from Naperville, Illinois sums it up perfectly, “For anyone contemplating what combination of classes to take with Mike, consider the Workshop Package #5. For someone like me, who previously used my digital camera on all automatic settings and was fearful of the “unknowns” my camera had to offer (always afraid I might touch some mysterious button by mistake), I find myself now in this wonderful place…feeling totally at ease with my camera and having the time of my life exploring and finding my own personal style.”

Read More Student Testimonials




*ORDER presented is only a guide. Just follow the Class Prerequisites.



Get to Know Your Camera
(Prerequisites: None)
Make Great Pictures, Now!   OR  Digital Photo Basics 1
(Prerequisites: Get to Know Your Camera)
Digital Photo Basics 1  OR  Complete Exposure
(Prerequisites: Get to Know Your Camera)
Complete Exposure  OR  Digital Photo Basics 1
(Prerequisites: Get to Know Your Camera)
Photoshop Elements Essentials
(Prerequisites: Basic Computer Knowledge. Read Requirements.)
Hands-on Learning Adventures
(Prerequisites: Get to Know Your Camera or Make Great Pictures Now!)







Mike's Pick

Get to Know Your Camera
Digital Photo Basics 1
Make Great Pictures, Now!
Complete Exposure





Get to Know Your Camera
Make Great Pictures, Now!




My classes are powerful, concise, and teach you what you really need to know. I don’t assume your stupid and I don’t waste your time. I offer a convenient recurring schedule of classes to give you choices that better fit your busy schedule.

In just 9 sessions (4 classes of Workshop Package #5), you will learn more than you will by taking a year’s worth of inert college continuing education classes. If people weren’t so busy, I’d teach one 9-week class. So I break it up, only for convenience, not so you can “shop.”

When choosing classes, people usually decide based upon two domains of knowledge: “What you know” and “What you know you don’t know.” However, these domains are not sufficient because there is another domain that transcends all the others: “What you don’t know you don’t know.” Essentially, if you don’t know what you need, how can you pick what you need? This is why I’m making your life easy and advising that you to buy a money-saving workshop package instead of putzing around with a single 2-session class and hoping for a miracle. If the Karate Kid were left to his own devices, he wouldn’t have done most of Mr. Miyagi’s lessons He wouldn’t have painted Mr. Miyagi’s fence, and he’d never become the Karate Kid. Lucky for him, Mr. Miyagi knew better.

“I want you to know that it was quite a learning experience for me in your Photography classes. Like many people, I have been doing travel photography and have taken good pictures. I came to you to learn to take Great Pictures. I learned what makes good picture Great. As they say “The more you know, you find out how little you know.” Overall it was a great experience. I loved your personal email guidance to the questions as they came up.”—Umesh Sharma M.D. of Burr Ridge, Illinois

Other than the savings, there’s a big benefit for getting a Workshop Package. Being in a string of classes over an extended time will help build your confidence. That’s because you’ll feel a little safer, like you’re under my wing, even though there may be several weeks until your next class. The immersion will also help weave photography into the fabric of your everyday life. You’ll learn more quickly and more deeply, and you’ll naturally practice more often than if you just took one class or took them à la carte. Workshop Packages 5 is the closest you’re going to get to a quick fix. If you do not take them, I will NOT think less of you if you don’t. But, I will think more of you if you do. Passionate people find the time. And homework is not “homework” when you love it.

If you truly want to take control of your camera, at a minimum, you’ll need Get to Know Your Camera and Complete Exposure to help you understand how your camera works, get the correct color, and to make the correct exposure.

“Just wanted to take a moment and drop you a line to say ‘Thanks.’ I found your Exposure teaching techniques very useful; You helped me see things in a different light. (Pun intended.) I have read a half dozen books on photography, and none were able to explain the fundamentals of proper exposure like you were. I am happy to say that I’m no longer afraid to use the manual settings on my camera.”—Chris from Lisle, Illinois

The camera is merely the tool of the photographer. However, photography is not about the tool itself, it’s about using the tool to communicate a message, tell a story, or to convey an emotion. This is where the Make Great Pictures, Now! class comes in. It’s a fun and creative class that teaches you how to make great pictures by using a handful of simple rules—the same rules that I use every single day.

Then there’s Digital Photo Basics 1, which answers the most common questions that students ask after coming out of Get to Know Your Camera including crop factor, depth of field, making sharp pictures, etc. It’s an important course for anyone who will be in the market for a lens (which is everyone!).

After these classes, you’re taking technically better and well-composed pictures. But, have you ever noticed that your pictures look kind of flat, like duds? Well, if you haven’t, trust me, they are. They ALL are. That’s normal. A digitally-captured image starts out as a dud and it’s up to you to restore the truth and excitement of your experience, just like those you see published in calendars, magazines, and books. Do you think those images are “straight from the camera”? No way!

However, you can turn your duds into dramatically better images in just minutes! How? Well, there’s an inexpensive, yet powerful, program called Adobe Photoshop Elements that will give you most everything you need, well, except how to use it. In Photoshop Elements Essentials, I teach you how to drastically improve your pictures in a very short period of time. Most people are stunned to see how much better their pictures can be. Hey, that rhymed! You also learn the most important piece of information of all: how to use all of the data captured by your camera’s sensor. If you don’t understand what this means, that’s natural because you haven’t learned about exposure, yet. But when you do, it’ll blow you away and change your photography forever.

And finally, there’s getting hands-on experience in the field under my tutelage with any of my Learning Adventures with Feedback Sessions. Put what you’ve learned into action, enjoy the camaraderie of others, and get important feedback in a follow-up session where you share the pictures you made on the trip.

Conveniently Located

Creative Eye Workshops offers a variety of photography classes in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, Illinois (near Naperville, IL). Our address is 6200 Belmont Road, Downers Grove, Illinois 60516. Because we are located off the 63rd Street/Hobson Road exit of I-355 and close to main thoroughfares like Warrenville Road, Ogden Avenue, Belmont Road/Finley Road, 75th Street, Butterfield Road, and Route 53, we are quickly and immediately accessible from nearby towns like Bolingbrook, Lisle, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Oak Brook, Westmont, Woodridge, Plainfield, and Aurora. But, because of our accessibility, students come from all around to take our weekday evening photo courses, including those from Oak Park, La Grange, Orland Park, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, and the city of Chicago. Students have driven from as far as away as Indiana, McHenry County, and Evanston because they know that we offer something better and different.5