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Digital Photography: From Camera to Composition

Do you have a passion for photography and an interest in taking your skills to a new level?  Explore how to get more out of your camera, from savvy camera handling to creative settings. Learn the principles of composition and when to apply them — and when not to. This workshop will include lots of opportunities to take photographs and share your results. We’ll focus on how to design photographs that capture the story you want to tell with impact, arranging all the elements in the frame with an attention to detail. We'll also discuss the pursuit of photography in high school, college or even as a career. 

You’ll need a digital camera and its instruction manual every day. Your camera can be a point-and-shoot, DSLR or mirrorless. You can also use your phone camera, but only as a second camera. Bring two of your photographs to the first class  to share as part of your introduction.

Who It’s For

This course is for incoming ninth to 12th graders. 


Ray Pfortner loves photography and teaching, especially to teens. He's been doing both for over 20 years in New York City, California and Seattle. He’s worked in photography as an educator, stock agent, editor, consultant and photographer. He was the publishing liaison for the Seattle nature photographer Art Wolfe, completing 16 books; the stock agent for eight National Geographic photographers; and a partner in the stock photo agency Peter Arnold in New York, specializing in science, medicine and natural history. Ray has a bachelor's in biology from Yale and a master's in environmental management from Duke. He’s been a fellow of the North American Nature Photography Association since 2003. His photography is represented by Getty Images.

More Information

This remote course will use a learning management system like Canvas and Zoom video conferencing. To participate, students should have access to a computer with speakers and a microphone and an internet connection. A headset and a webcam is also highly recommended.

See the Policies section for details about registration policies and more.


Jul 20–Jul 31, 2020

1 p.m.–4 p.m.
Refund Deadline
May 20 (100%)