Five things you’ll learn at a Weekend Intensive


Our Weekend Intensive program has been running strong for years, and this year we are bringing these two-day events to Missoula, Austin, Los Angeles, Leesburg, Seattle, and Denver. These events really are FULL days packed with a ton of photography knowledge, but since you might not know exactly what this weekend could give you, School Director Forest Chaput de Saintonge took a minute to write down 5 of the many topics you’ll learn from Doug and Mary at one of our Weekend Intensives. If you have any questions about whether this event might be right for you (we don’t want to waste your time), send us an email at or call us at 800-394-7677!

  1. Zone System – I think all photographers have been in that shooting situation when they have no idea what the proper exposure is. Most people will just fumble around until something looks good on the back of their camera and head home with the knowledge that they captured a usable photo. Other people will instead switch the camera into Automatic mode and take an image knowing that the camera will be able to capture a better image than they would have been able to create manually. Zone system will change that. Zone was invented by Ansel Adams and adapted to be made applicable to color digital photography. It’s a technique that allows a photographer to not only nail the perfect exposure every time, but also to pre-visualize what the image is going to look like before they actually click the shutter. This is amazing. It means that you can save so much time and frustration while shooting by being able to create beautifully exposed images every time you click the shutter. Even for advanced photographers, zone system is a game changer.
  2. Using light to accentuate your subject – In photography, light is everything. More than anything else, light can make or break an image. I always like to ask my students a simple question: Is it better to have a beautiful subject and mediocre lighting or a mediocre subject and fantastic lighting. The second option will win every time. Light takes your images from good to great. It’s so important to understand what you should be looking for when taking images, and the instructors will talk about what to look for in a variety of light sources. Learning how the position of the sun or the light affects your subject is indispensable knowledge for taking your photography to the next level.
  3. Sorting and organizing your images with Adobe Lightroom – the thing I hear the most from my students is that they wish they had a solid workflow for organizing and editing their images. Adobe Lightroom has become the industry standard for image sorting and editing. Many people get into Lightroom and flounder with all of the options and have no idea where to begin. Learn how the professionals sort, organize and edit their images in Adobe Lightroom. Follow along as the instructors pass along years of experience. They’ll help you get started – the right way – with organizing your beautiful images!
  4. Using depth of field to separate your subject from the background or achieve focus throughout the entire image – In photography there are few things that will completely ruin an image quicker than what’s in focus. In the world of landscape photography, you will learn how to use techniques such as hyperfocal focus to ensure your images are sharp from the wildflowers in the front to the jagged peaks in the background. If you prefer portraits, you will learn how to use depth of field to blur the backgrounds of your images. You’ll learn how to achieve the soft bokeh you see in great portrait images. You will also learn what the different focus modes in your camera do and how you can use them to ensure your camera focuses quickly and accurately.
  5. Composition – Creating beautiful images is more than just technical knowledge, you also need to know what works and why. Composition is the art of knowing how to arrange the elements of an image to bring your vision to life. You will learn when to use the different elements of composition and when it’s okay to break the rules and go your own way with your photography. Learning about things like rule of thirds, leading lines, groups of three, and framing can really help give your images the extra polish they need.
You will learn these skills and a lot more at one of our Weekend Intensives! If you have something in mind that you are hoping to learn, feel free to reach out to us and ask whether it will be covered during the program!