All posts by el-el

Lightroom 4/5 Workshops for Beginners

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Dates available:  March 16 – May. 16, 2018.

All Lightroom workshop are one-on-one training with your photo instructor.

Locations: La Jolla, Mission Hills
Hours : Morning, afternoon, or evenings
Workshop Fee: 5 hours for $ 175 only , Full day workshop is $ 250
( includes free 2 hr webinar )

Lightroom is the hottest editing tool in photography. Learn from a pro.

Topics covered will include suggested program preferences, the various revised and new modules and panels and what they do, assorted tools and presets, templates,working in programs with plug-ins such as Silver Efex Pro (for black-and-white conversions), Color Efex Pro (for special effects), Photomatix and HDR Efex Pro (for processing HDR images), and Photoshop (for other tasks – stitching and content aware fill, among others).

We begin with an introductory overview of Adobe Lightroom 4.0, which describes the database components, catalog files, previews files, the metadata structure, and the steps for setting up application preferences specific to your personal digital photography workflow requirements.

The Lightroom 4 or 5 Dashboard

Topics include digital camera setup, choosing appropriate file formats for image capture, efficiently downloading images from camera or hard drive, sorting, rating, editing, global tone and color correction, critical local corrections, input and output sharpening, presenting slideshows, and printing photographic images using Adobe Lightroom 5.0 from start to finish. Our experts emphasizes using Adobe Lightroom to its fullest potential by generating time-saving keywords and metadata searches, presets, and templates.

Once images are organized and processed, participants learn how to produce slideshows and web galleries within Lightroom 4.0. We also study slide presentations and look at ways to integrate Adobe Photoshop or Elements for further image processing if desired. Elle will share his recommendations and strategies for making clear decisions based on how Lightroom benefits each participant’s personal approach and digital photography workflow needs.

Under our guidance, participants come to see why Adobe Lightroom 5.0 puts deliberate focus on the word “speed”.  Learning this program allows photographers to spend less time in front of their computers and more time behind their cameras.


Nikon DSLR Workshop in San Diego

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Welcome to my Nikon DSLR training workshop for Beginners. All skill levels welcome.

Register for this workshop

Photo Safari Dates :  March 16 -May 16, 2018 .
We meet at Old Town Living Room, 2541 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA 92110. Website here

Workshop Fee: $ 175 per person. $ 250 for 2 people.

Shooting Locations : Old Town Historic Park, Spruce St. Bridge, Balboa Park, Coronado Island. We will go to Coronado Island via the Ferry boat. It will be a fun shooting day.

Requirements : This 5 hour DSLR basics workshop is for all Nikon APS-C & FX Camera owners of D7200, D500, D700, D800, D750

Class description : This is both a technical and creative workshop. For the technical portion we will concentrate on exposure using the manual and the automatic settings ( Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, & Program Mode.
The creative portion we will focus on Rule of Thirds,Frame within a Frame, Leading Lines, and Angles. For lenses, just bring a basic kit lens, one telephoto, and one prime lens.

Final goal of this workshop : Today’s photo workshop, your photo assignment is to collect images for the San Diego Convention Bureau. That will mean you will be shooting color images in both horizontal and vertical format. You will shoot both wide angles images, medium shots, and telephoto. Subject matter is architecture, urban landscapes, people, seascapes, nature. For an idea what images you need to shoot. Visit the San Diego Convention Bureau site.

How does my Nikon photo workshop work :

I teach photography with a purpose. Even as a hobbyist or amateur photographer you have to decide first on what subject matter you want to shoot on a particular day. I have a lot of new students take my Nikon DSLR workshop to prepare themselves for a vacation to Europe or a major photo safari in Africa like Tanzania or Kenya.

So this is a rough outline of what our photo shooting day would look like.

First 2 hours – Technical lesson on the Triangle of Exposure Basics.
Creative lesson on mastering composition basics ( rule of thirds, angles, )

Next 2 hours – Shooting out on the field practicing the creative techniques. You will used both your kit lens ( or short zoom lens ), and your prime lens. You will learn more about shooting shallow depth of field shots with your prime lens ( portraits, macro etc. )

Last hour – We will talk about Lightroom basics ( importing, manipulating, and exporting images ). There will also be a critique of photos you have taken for this session.

This is a great Nikon DSLR for around $ 1,800
Nikon D750

Iphone or Android Photography Workshop

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Learn how to shoot well-composed and exposed travel photos using your new Iphone X or any model Iphone and show them on Instagram

This is a 5 hour photo workshop for beginners. This will be a fun smartphone photographer class.


Shot with a Nokia phone in San Francisco at Fort Mason Hostel

Shot with a Nokia phone in San Francisco at Fort Mason Hostel

What you need to bring :

  1. Iphone, Samsung, or any Smart Phone
  2. Notepad and pen for writing notes.
  3. External battery for Iphone. Portable battery chargers come in handy in a crisis situation when your cell phone juice runs out. Here are someportable battery chargers

Workshop Fee: Only $ 175 per person. $ 200 for 2 people. Maximum participants – 6 photographer
Dates & Location:  March 16 – April 15, 2018  All classes by appointment. Send email first.
Meeting Place : Old Town, Balboa Park, or La Jolla Cove.

I recommend these great smartphones for 2017

Apple Iphone 8

Here are the great features of the Iphone 8

While the design and display remain largely unchanged, the iPhone 8 is packing some serious cutting-edge hardware under the hood. Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip is incredibly fast. It combines two high-performance cores with four high-efficiency cores and has an Apple-designed GPU inside.

We found the iPhone 8 to be slick and speedy in navigation, apps, and games. Nothing we threw at it made a dent, whether it was an incoming call during a game of Asphalt 8: Airborne, which it handled gracefully, or jumping out of Netflix to read an email, the iPhone 8 took everything in its stride. Make no mistake, this is a powerful device.


You can book this workshop through my Cloud 9  Account.
Look for San Diego Photo Safari

Creative Camera Composition Workshop

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My  Creative Camera Composition Workshop is a fun and creative photography workshop for everybody. This is a  5 hour class . 

Dates : March 18 – May 18,2018 . All workshops by appointment.
Workshop Fee : $ 175.00 per person, $ 250 for 2 people, $ 350 for 3 people

Orientation Location : Meet at Newbreak Cafe

We will be shooting around Ocean Beach and Sunset Cliffs
Subject Matter : Architecture, Still Life, Urban Scenes

Learn how to use the composition tool to shoot rule of thirds
Learn cool composition techniques with focal lengths and camera angles.
How to shoot cool filter effects with your Iphone 6
All creative techniques can be used with a Smart Phone like Iphone 6 or Android Phones

Shooting Locations : Sunset Cliffs/ Ocean Beach –
Subject Matter : People, Beach Scenes, Actions
Learn how to shoot fast action and capture motion with your DSLR.
You can capture also fast action with Iphone 6

shot with an iphone 4s

Composition Exercise- Shooting vertical & horizontals subject matter
such as surfers using wide angle, Iphone has zom feature.
6:00 Pm – Snack break at Ocean Beach..Review & critique pics
Sunset Time – 730 Pm at Sunset Cliffs…

Time : 8:830 pm – Hopefully there will be enough time…
Night photoshoot of San Diego Trolley at Sta Fe Depot. Tripod required

840pm – Drop off Elle at Sta Fe Amtrak Station
900pm – Surfliner 595 leaves for LA



Check out these cool links

Composition Exercises

San Diego Gaslamp Photo Night Photography Workshop

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Attend my fun night photography workshop in San Diego

Workshop Dates in San Diego : March 17 – May 17, 2018
Schedule: 5-10 pm
Workshop Fee : $ 175 per person. $ 200 for 2 people, $ 300 for 3 people
Please reserved by Paypal before attending.
Meeting Place : Caffe Italia, 1704 India St.
What to bring : Any DSLR with short zoom lens, a 50mm 18 or prime lens, and a tripod.


Theme of the class: Shooting a travel assignment for an Asian travel magazine. We will shoot pics to depict the lifestyle and nightlife in San Diego.

Creative focus on this night class – Composition techniques such as rule of thirds, leading lines,
and frame within a frame is what I would like to see use in everyone of your images. Also shooting high, low,and eye level camera angles. shooting very wide and long focal lengths. We will start shooting around sunset.

For the night shooting we will be shooting handheld techniques using high ISO ( 1600 and up )
and fast lenses ( 2.8 min aperture ) and also tripod method using ISO 100 and apertures of F11-16
and long exposures ( 30 secs and longer ).

For night photography I recommend these Canon or Nikon cameras.

Canon 80D

Nikon D800

Holiday Gift Certificates of Photography for your colleague, a loved one or a friend.

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Hliday Day Gift Certificates Available Now.

Half-day photo safari certificates are now available FOR SALE. These beginner DSLR workshops are 4 hours long and can be taken in the afternoon or in the evening  ( night photo class ).They’re also available for Photoshop for Beginners or Lightroom Basics workshops as well.

Here are a few ideas for a photography class to give to your loved one.

4-Hour Basic Digital Camera Basics for Beginners
4-Hour Photoshop/Lightroom Workshop for Beginners
4-Hour Night Photography Photo Tour of San Diego
4-Hour Iphone/Android Photo Tour in Balboa Park


Cost of gift certificates are only $ 175. Valid for 90 day use. Buy now.
Valerie La Jolla Cove Pelicans



Master your DSLR Camera – Great beginners class in Old Town

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Master your DSLR Crash Course for Beginners

Dates available :  October 5 – November 5 , 2017
All classes by reservations only. Reserve for yourself or for a group. Go from zero knowledge in digital photography to beginner basics in a few hours. Master your new Nikon or Canon DSLR complicated functions & learn from a working professional photographer
Meeting Place: Old Town. Meet at Living Room Cade Time: 1- 6pm
Cost per student – $ 175 – Limited to 4 students max.
Reserved your space by paying with Paypal. Email us on this link:


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Triangle of Exposure

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Exposure is fundamental to making photographs. Understanding the concept of exposure triangle will make you a better photographer. This simple concept has been talked about a lot of times but rarely do you find a photographer, experimenting and analyzing results based on this triangle.

There are three main elements that exists on any DSLR camera, Aperture, Shutter, and ISO. Understanding how these work and using them together will allow you to be more creative that using the standard “auto” setting on your camera.

shutter speed principle

The Aperture controls the size of the opening in your lens and is denoted as f/2.8, f/4 and so on. The higher the number, the smaller the opening and thus less light is let in.


Each full stop of the aperture either doubles or halves the size of the lens opening (depending which direction you’re adjusting). In order to get the same exposure, the shutter needs to adjust for the lens opening. The table below illustrates the aperture and shutter combinations to achieve the same exposure. Think of it this way, if you double the size of the opening (each f/stop to the left on the table), the shutter speed has to double as well.

Aperture f/2.8  f/4   f/5.6   f/8   f/11   f/16   f/22   f/32
Shutter  1/250  1/125   1/60   1/30   1/15   1/8   1/4   1/8


Remember, the smaller f-number represents a wider opening in the lens and thus more light is let in. The way to counteract it is to increase the shutter speed or increase the ISO. Each element is codependent on the other.