Wonderful Spring Minneapolis Photography Class

You know those times in life when you want something so badly to go well that you get nervous, you fret about all the details and you work hard to make it happen. If you are a bit of a worrier like me, then your mind goes through all the possible things that could go wrong. Then after it happen, you’re so happy that things went better than you could have ever imagined!  Well, the recent Minneapolis photography class was exactly such a case.

Setting Up the Minneapolis Photography Class and Photo Walk

Lisa Bodkin and the great folks from New Hope Church in none other than New Hope, Minnesota, contacted me, I believe it was last fall, to see if we could set up a class for the creative folks at New Hope Church and other community members.

Minneapolis Photography Class Guthrie Theater Yellow Room

Minneapolis Photography Class – Lisa Bodkin – Creative Director New Hope Church

I believe she had heard about the class I taught with Great Commission Artists last summer in Minneapolis at the Central Library and the format would have been perfect for NHC also.

We decided to make the format of this class to be two hours of classroom training, which included two separate topics and lots of question and answer time and some hands-on time.  Then we took a mini bus downtown Minneapolis for an adventurous photo walk, where we could really get our hands dirty by practicing what we had just learned.

Minneapolis Photography Class Mill City Museum

Minneapolis Photography Class Mill City Museum

The scary part of a photo walk in early April is the questionable Minnesota weather. We always seem to have to deal with uncertainty this early in the spring.  Thank God on this day, we were blessed with an incredibly beautiful day with temperatures in the mid-seventies, beautiful skies and light wind.  Yes, perfect in every way!

Classroom Topics

The two topics we discussed in class room were “how to use your camera” and “the art of composition”.

How To User Your Camera

The vast majority of new photographers shoot in totally automatic mode.  Many of the local photography classes try to move students to shooting in fully manual mode.  I find that to be way too big of a jump for the vast majority of new students, so I try to show students how to shoot in aperture priority mode (AV) which gives them control of the depth of field (DOF).

Minneapolis Photography Class Guthrie Theater

Minneapolis Photography Class – Guthrie Theater – How to Use Your Camera

Controlling DOF in your photography is what quickly jumps you from a beginner to an artist.

The Art of Composition

After we covered DOF then we covered the basic concepts of The Art of Composition.  This included concepts of makes images more interesting, what makes a compelling composition, standard rules of composition, use of color or black-and-white, etc.  Discussing these general art concepts help people to see more artistically and that helps people to create more aesthetically pleasing images. Creating aesthetically pleasing images is what moves people emotionally and I believe that is our purpose as artists.

Be a Phone Photographer Artist

One of the topics that actually got the most discussion is that many of the settings that you can set up on your DSLR or your more complex camera; you can also make many of those exact same setting changes on your phone camera.  What we discovered is that a standard Samsung phone gives you all kinds of settings that you can change but by default an Apple phone camera locks most of those down so you need a special app to actually change the settings. They’re still all changeable but Apple makes it slightly more challenging. And anything I can do to stoke the phone religious wars I’m there!  🙂

There is nothing more fun or rewarding as a teacher to hear “aaaaaaahhhh, now I get it!”  And on this particular day, I seemed to hear that more than ever before.  The students were fully engaged trying many of the things I was talking about and recommending.  The mental light bulbs were going on again and again.

Lunch Break

Lisa and her team provided a wonderful lunch so that we could actually save time by eating and talking on the bus in route to Minneapolis! This was a perfect way to keep the team fueled and happy, save time and take a break to mentally chew on what everyone was learning.

Minneapolis Photo Walk

If you know me at all or know my areas of interest in Minneapolis, you know we would of course have to go to the Mill City Museum area or the Stone Arch Bridge area of Minneapolis as part of a photography Walkabout tour.

The Guthrie Theater Photography Tour

We started our trip at the Guthrie Theater for two reasons. The Guthrie Theater is an incredibly interesting building right on the Mississippi River and they are also very photographer friendly.

Minneapolis Photography Class Guthrie Theater Yellow Room

Minneapolis Photography Class Guthrie Theater Yellow Room

The place is open and accessible for anyone who wants to go in. It is indeed a Minneapolis treasure.  The place is so interesting and amazing that I believe you could stay there all day long exploring and photographing just the building and the views from the building.  We of course had somewhat limited time, so we had to focus on a few of the key areas.  The two parts I love to show first are the Guthrie Theater Endless Bridge and the amazing Yellow Room.

Guthrie Theater Endless Bridge

The endless bridge is so important because first of all it’s an architectural Marvel but secondly it gives you such an amazing view of the whole Mill City area and the Mississippi River.  It allows me to point out all kinds of key areas of the River Region for students to explore on their own.

The Guthrie Theater Yellow Room

Minneapolis Photography Class Guthrie Theater Yellow Room

Minneapolis Photography Class – Guthrie Theater – Yellow Room

Then secondly the yellow room is so interesting because of

  1. The Yellow color
  2. The view
  3. The brushed metal walls
  4. The window that looks straight down and scares the heck out of people

Minneapolis Photography Class Guthrie Theater Great Views

Minneapolis Photography Class – Guthrie Theater – Great Views

It’s just an amazingly fun place. If you haven’t been there you must go.

Minneapolis Mill City Museum

Then we went to the Mill City Museum. Everyone tells me the Museum tour is fantastic. I’ve actually never taken the tour.  I generally go there just to see the place and explore on my own.  The history of the place is wonderful, it is great for portraits and again it’s very open to the public.

Minneapolis Photography Class Mill City Museum

Minneapolis Photography Class Mill City Museum

I remember on one excursion to Downtown Minneapolis, we are walking behind the Mill City Museum on the path on the side of the Mississippi River.  There was a play going on that appeared to be a revolutionary war-era theater production. The audience was seated inside the Mill City Museum on a perfectly glorious summer evening.  Wow, The place is so interesting and it can be used for many different events.

Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

We then ventured onto the historic Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge. You might know that is one of my favorite places in Minneapolis where some of my most popular images have been taken and frankly I just love being in that area.  When I walk the bridge by myself, I often times see tourist viewing Minneapolis from that perspective on the bridge and I often times strike up a conversation with the tourists, giving them a bit of the history of this city and help them see the view in a new way.

Minneapolis Photography Class Minneapolis Stone Arch Bridge

Minneapolis Photography Class at the Stone Arch Bridge

By the time we were exploring the Stone Arch Bridge, time was starting to run out already so we had to hurry just a little bit to see as much of that area as we could.    The view during the day is wonderful but the view at twilight is spectacular!  Grab a group of your photographer friends and get down there at twilight for one of the best views of the entire city and maybe even state!

What did we learn

What were the takeaways from the day of classroom time and the city adventure?

  • I love teaching photography!
  • We live in an incredible city.
  • The best way to learn is by hands-on doing.

Conclusion

So, I hope we have another one of these classes soon! They are a great way to learn and connect with other photographers.  Connecting with other photographers often times help you to learn more quickly as you discover things together, share with one another and encourage one another in artistic growth.

Some of you learn better in an one-on-one environment.  I offer one-on-one courses so that you can learn in the way that is more comfortable for you.   Feel free to contact me to schedule a one-on-one photography learning session.

And until next time, get out and capture the adventure.

 

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Written by Wayne Moran - Visit Website
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