Category Archives: photo classes

Back to Class with @ImprovePhoto

It has been awhile since I last posted about this. And for that I am truly sorry. I have been trying to adjust to working full time again. Now I think I have things were they need to be. I have been playing catch up on my photography class just trying to get back on track.

So here is where I am at so far:

I have been doing online classes from Improve Photography (sponsor). I have completed the beginner class and you can find information on those in the Photography Course tab above. For awhile I have been slowly working on the Intermediate Classes. I have learned a lot so far! I have learned about Back Button Focusing, white balance, achieving HDR with out tonemapping. I have also started playing some with in camera metering.  Here are some shots (not perfect but been having fun)

These are just some sample pictures. Last night though I learned how to use the sun to my advantage. While the pictures are not perfect I think they are a huge improvement. I will be learning more about this in my Portrait class.

Above are the two I learned using the sun for back lighting.  The originals had a bit of a hazy look to them, to warm so to speak. So in Photoshop elements I enhanced the colors, then did an auto adjust on the brightness/darkness setting. That was it! I loved how these two pictures turned out.

I am so glad that I am able to get back to my courses. I have been having a lot of fun doing these and I can not wait to learn more.

You can check out these course by visiting Also be sure to check them out on facebook for some great tips.

~I have been enrolled into those classes for free in exchange for blogging about my experience. No other form of compensation was exchanged. Regardless the above thoughts are my own and honest opinions.~

End of #Photography Course w/ @ImprovePhoto

Yay! I completed the Beginner Course from Improve Photography! I am so excited to be one step closer to my dream! This whole course has been eye opening. I have learned so much and still have a long way to go! I have learned about shutter speed, aperture and more. How the different settings affects how much light comes in and how it can affect the clarity of the picture! It has been an amazing journey. They last 3 lessons focused on shooting with depth of field, a bit about lighting, and then a bit of an overview with a look at what other classes have to offer.

The one thing I really enjoyed about this course is that you can submit photos to have them reviewed by the instructors. They will provide you with honest feedback and will give you tips to improve the image you took. For me it was nice having that feed back because I was able to improve and it helped me know that I was understanding the work. Before I ended this week I wanted to leave you with a few photos. My goal with these was to do the depth of field. I didn’t quiet get it. I still love these pictures!

A boy and his dog 
Our pup 

Walking down a country road

Once you are done with a course you get both a badge for your website and you also receive a certificate that you can print off

Now onto the next course- Intermediate Lessons. Looking over the titles of some of the lessons it looks like I will be learning about how to go through Lightroom and Photoshop, Some different DSLR Techniques, more about lighting, and much more! I can not wait to get started! 

You can learn more or sign up for classes by visiting https://photoclasses.comBe sure to check out Improve Photography’s Blog for some great tips and tricks. You can also find some on their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages! You can also see some sneak peak at the lessons in my Photography Course Tab above!  

Interested in what you see? Until Sept 13th, 2013 you can receive $10 off your class by using code glutenfree

~ I am being allowed to take these classes free of charge in exchange for writing about my experience. No other form of compensation was exchanged. Regardless the above thoughts are my own and honest opinions!~ 

#Photography Course Week 4 with @ImprovePhoto

Week 4 of my lessons from Improve Photography (sponsor) complete! This was a fun one to do! They gave you tips on how to capture certain types of pictures. I learned how to do those amazing waterfall pictures. If only there were waterfalls around us. But when all else fails- GO TO THE ZOO! Gee darn. I had to drive my kids to the zoo to practice what I learned! It was oh so horrible (please note the sarcasm!). We had a lot of fun. I also learned how to do a Dusk Cityscape, and Water Drops. The water drop I still need to do and then the cityscape one, well that is a bit hard to do when you live out in the country! I wonder if those settings will work on the sunset or sunrise! Since the waterfall was really the only one I got done I thought I would share how that photo shoot went plus a few extra fun pictures from the zoo!

First attempt pretty much everything is blurry!

A little better but still not the look I was going for

I have the clarity but not the smooth water!

Finally! The clarity and the smooth water! Now of only that twig was not in the middle!
We have a butterfly pavillion. I could stay in there all day taking pictures!

I love taking pictures of the Jelly Fish! I love their bright colors

 I am really learning a lot with these classes! I hope it shows in the photos I take! I am getting used to shooting in manual modes and not doing the automatic settings. Knowing what shutter speed and aperture to use is kind of tricky at times but I am finding that it is getting easier! This week I will be doing the last two modules in their Beginner Course. Then onto the Intermediate course

Be sure to check out Improve Photography’s Blog for some great tips and tricks. You can also find some on their Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages! To sign up for these affordable, 30 day classes visit!

Find out what I learned in the first weeks and about Improve Photography by visiting my other posts found in the Photography Course Tab!

~I am taking these courses free of charge in exchange for blogging about my experience. There is no other form of compensation. Regardless the above thoughts are my own and honest opinions. The photos in these posts may NOT be used with out the written consent of the photographer (me).~

#Photography Course Week 3 with @ImprovePhoto

First, I owe you all a huge apology for not posting anything lately. We went on our trip, then with in a week moved. Things are now settling down and I am trying my hardest to get caught up!

This weeks lesson was a bit easier. It was more learning about the technicalities of the camera and memory card. You learn about how to properly clean your camera, about the different type of memory cards and proper storage, and a little look at some of the different editing programs.

One of the lessons was about shooting in RAW vs JPG. So I switched my settings and attempted away. I honestly didn’t notice much of a difference with my camera. The difference I noticed was with my computer. I have Windows 7 and Photoshop Elements 10. I could not view a .cr2 (RAW) file at all! I was in panic mode! I had taken some cool photos of my cousin and her horse, and of a fire we had going. I thought they were all gone! I tried numerous converter programs but since I am broke I could not pay for a decent one and they all did not work! Finally my aunt suggested a link that updated my Windows Picture Viewer. SAVED! All my pictures are fine and I was able to convert them to JPG so I could edit on Photoshop Elements!  Since this week didn’t really require photo taking I thought I would share some randomness that I have taken practicing with exposure, shutter speed and aperture.

I see you! Mr Toad was trying to hide!

Meet Diver. He belongs to my cousin

Fire taken with a faster shutter speed

Fire with a slower shutter speed

My Jen With her flower

Sunflowers are everywhere here!

This next week I will be learning more picture taking tips, like the waterfall shoot, cityscape at dusk, and more!

To learn more or to sign up for courses be sure to visit! You can also find Improve Photography on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest!

~I am receiving the access to these courses for free in exchange for sharing my experience and journey of learning more about photography. No other form of compensation was exchanged. Regardless these are my own and honest opinions! ~

#Photography Course Week 2 with @ImprovePhoto

Vacation time is over and now it is back to the course I am working on with Improve Photography. I was hoping to finish week 2 before I left, however, I ran out of time.

This week focused on, well being focused! They talked about things that can make a picture blurry and where to focus. This one was a lot easier to “grasp” then the whole aperture and shutter speed thing! And, I got a 100% on my quiz this time!

The week started with introducing the cause of a blurry photo. There are things from the focal point, to camera shake to even the lens, that can ruin a good shot. Then it explained them starting with the focus- one thing I learned was- to focus on the eyes! This was a really cool lesson because I also learned how to change the focal point on my camera. Some other things I learned was about Panning, Motion Blur, and Freeze Motion. Here are some photos attempting to do what they did :

This was my attempt at those really cool water pics that you see where it is almost like the water was painted. 

My attempt at panning. The people are suppose to be blurred. I don’t think I did it right

Motion Freeze- I actually love this picture!

Creative Blur- One of these days I will master this so I can do those cool pictures where people are writing with sparklers.

These pictures are more my forte. I have always been able to do random shots so this was a bit easier for me to do. It was really hard for me to not just say forget it and put the settings on the automatic one. Although (confession time) I did end up doing that with some of the battles at Gettysburg.

This next series I will be learning more about the Digital Photography side of things (RAW vs JPG, Lightroom vs Photoshop type things). I can’t wait to continue learning. This has been amazing so far!

Interested in learning more? Visit to see the class line up and what they have to offer. These classes are very affordable and you can do them at your own pace!

~I am receiving the access to these classes for free in exchange for writing about the company and my experience. No other form of compensation was exchanged!~

My Photography Course- End of Week 1

Well I am through the first week of lessons. All I got to say is I have a whole new form of respect for the professionals out there! I have always been told I was good at my pictures with my standard point and shoot using the automatic settings type pictures. But now that I have been trying to step away from the automatic settings I am feeling a bit discouraged. I wonder if I will ever “get it”.

So far in this course I felt like everything I knew about photography I was wrong on. There is so much information in this course and I am glad it is just the Beginner Course! Earlier I showed you some pictures I took when learning about Aperture and Shutter Speed. Well I learned a bit about exposure during the rest of the week. You know that number scale I mentioned I didn’t know what it was. Just came across it by chance? Well that is your exposure setting, it can help adjust the lighting when necessary. Here are some photos I took when experimenting with it:

With the clouds I learned that really the best setting in this case was 0 . 

The sunset was fun to try to figure out and to see where the different settings took me. 

It is amazing how the quickly the exposure can either ruin or improve a photo with in 2 numbers! So I really need to get used to that and when to use it and when not to use it. Out of the last few lessons though this has got to be my favorite picture:

My goal is to practice with these settings every day. I am not going to cave and go back to my old habits of the automatic settings. That would defeat the purpose of this class. I just hope I pick up on it sooner then later! Now onto the next Module!

Want to learn more about photography or Shutter Speed and Aperture? Then visit for more information! You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter and on Jim’s Blog!

~This series is sponsored by ImprovePhoto. I am taking their classes in exchange for these posts. Regardless the above thoughts are my own and honest opinions!~

My #Photography Course Journey- Week One! @ImprovePhoto

Wow! I am only 3 days into this and am amazed at the amount of information! I have a feeling I am going to be loving this!

I started with the Beginner Photography Course. I normally just point and shoot and let the camera determine everything. But now that I have a nice camera I want to understand all the functions. My goal is to slowly be more comfortable with the manual settings and not rely on the automatic settings so much.

Right now I am going through the first Module titled Nail the Exposure. This is where you learn about lighting and shutter speed and aperture and more. I have only done the first 3 days (Overview was the first) which discuss Shutter Speed and Aperture.

First- Shutter Speed. The shutter helps you control the blur factor. So I learned for dim lighting (ie: indoors, sunset, ect) you will want a longer shutter speed. If it is brighter, then you will want a shorter shutter speed. You can adjust these on the TV mode on your camera. The way you figure out what speed you want to capture is take 1/focal point. So it is 1/the length of the lens (ie: if I am using a 50mm lens I will want a 1/50). Here are some photos I took playing with the shutter speed:

I just kept adjusting the shutter speed while my daughter was moving until I reached the correct speed (the lower right photo).

The other thing I have learned so far is about Aperture. I kind of knew some about this because of my hubby. He learned something brief about this because of having to take accident scene pictures in the dark. But hearing it explained the way Jim did made a lot more sense. The Aperture can help you with your depth of field as well. In other words those really cool photos where the person is focused but everything around them blurry was done by adjusting the aperture. You can adjust this by using the AV (or A) field on your camera.

So above are my first attempts. Mental note- it helps to not keep auto focus on! I have to remember to switch my lens to manual focus! There was some scale I haven’t learned about (it went -5,-4,-3,…0-1-2-ect) which lead to me discovering that by moving it will make the picture lighter or darker.

I finally got it! Ok so once I realized that I didn’t have my lens in manual mode I tried it one more time. The photo on the left was taken using a smaller aperture. I was zoomed in with my lens, adjusted the aperture, focused and got it! The main object was in focus and the stuff around was blurred! Then I adjusted the aperture to 16 (stayed zoomed in) and the things surrounding the object were in focus as well! Now if only I can do this with people. Must practice that! Here are some of my favorite photos from trying to get a grasp on the two.

Playing with the aperture- slowly getting the hang of this!
Our second admin really liked this photo of Jen. The more I look at it the more I like the “glow” this was done by playing with that scale I told you about

My son posing. This was before I figured out I needed to switch to MF. 

Like I said above- so far I am loving these classes! They come in the form of a video then it gives a brief recap at the bottom with a photo challange. So it is nice to be able to practice what you have learned! Now onto the next lessons!

Want to learn more about photography or Shutter Speed and Aperture? Then visit for more information! You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter and on Jim’s Blog!

~This series is sponsored by ImprovePhoto. I am taking their classes in exchange for these posts. Regardless the above thoughts are my own and honest opinions!~

An Exciting New Adventure with @ImprovePhoto!

It is official! I am one step closer to my dream. I have a passion for photography and my family has always encouraged me to embrace that. Now that I got the camera I knew it was time to learn how to properly use it. But where to start?

After doing some research I found Improve Photography. Started by two photographers, Improve Photography is your source to take courses from beginner to business and everything in between! Each course is 30 days and there are 7 courses total! The best part is: it is at your own pace! You can do more then one lesson a day if you would like or you can just follow the day by day outline. It is up to you!

So who are the people behind  Improve Photography? First there is Jim Harmer. He started to learn about photography in school but a lot of his knowledge comes from being self taught. He started teaching small workshops and community education classes in Florida which lead to the founding of (his photography blog). The members of the Improve community enjoy his laid back teaching style. His photographs have even been purchase by large corporations and well respected organizations such as Readers Digest and Nikon USA.

There is also Dustin Olsen. Dustin is a proffesional photographer in Idaho and is the co-host for the Improve Photography Pod Cast. Not only has he taught online courses on here, but he has taught college level photography classes in a traditional setting as well. Before coming over to join in on the teaching Dustin also ran a small portrait business doing weddings, senior pictures and families.

Between these two guys they truly have a lot to offer and I can not wait to get started on learning from them! During the next several weeks I will be sharing my journey and my experience with their courses. I will even try to share some photos from my lessons (when applicable). I will be going through all 7 courses so there is lots to do!

 I am really excited to be starting this. This honestly is the most exciting thing that has happened to me since my hubby became an LEO. I started calling my family the minute I heard about these classes and that I will be doing them! I can not wait to share it with you as well!

You can learn more about the courses and about the two men behind the courses at  Also be sure to check out the blog His photos are amazing! You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and tutorials an their podcast on YouTube!

Now- Lets get started!

~This series is being done in exchange for me being able to take their courses. Regardless the thoughts in the opinions in this post and any future posts are my own and honest opinions. ~