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Course Title: A Beginner's Guide to Digital Photography
Instructor: Ron Kness
Curriculum: 7 units, plus Syllabus and Final Exam
Time Required: 3-5 weeks
Textbooks: Suggested: The Non-Fiction Writer's Guide To Digital Photography [e-book, $9.95 – purchase]
Prerequisites: None. All students may enroll in this class
CEU Eligibility: Students who pass an exam will earn 2 CEUs
Course Fee: $20.00
Start Date: No waiting...Enroll now and start learning today!
What This Course Will Do for You

If you are ready to jump in to digital photography or you would like to increase the skills you already have, this roll-up-your-sleeves course will teach you how to start taking great pictures right away. This course reveals what you need to know to become proficient with your digital camera and take better landscape, wildlife, people, and close-up photos. Renowned photographer and course author Ron Kness shares tricks of the trade in a straightforward and down-to-earth manner. Detailed instructions walk students through the steps of how to make the most of their camera's features and how to shoot crisp images every time. From close-ups to panoramas, you'll get expert tips on how to set up your camera so you can't go wrong.

Students who participate in this workshop will use free Web space on or their own website to upload images for critique and friendly advice from instructor Ron Kness. With his guidance, you will soon be getting more satisfaction from your digital camera and the quality of your digital photos will improve from so-so to sensational!

The course will explore these major topics:

  • Digital Camera Features: Camera user manuals are notoriously cryptic and hard to understand. The course explains in plain English the common features found on digital cameras and reveals how and when to use each feature.
  • The Menu System: Camera menu systems can be confusing for beginners. Students will learn about the basic menu system on a digital camera and how to select the best settings to use for a particular photograph based on lighting, distance and other conditions.
  • The Golden Triangle: Gain insights into the meaning and importance of ISO, aperture control and shutter speed, and how to use these concepts to take the quality of your digital photography to the next level.
  • Rules of Composition: Explore the ten "rules" or elements of composition that will have the greatest impact on your images. While you might not use all of the rules for every image, knowing the concepts and when to use them will allow you to take professional digital photos of the highest quality.
  • Lenses and Filters:With so many lens and filter choices available, how does a novice photographer know which one to buy? This course will examine the differences between the various types of lenses including prime and zoom, wide-angle, telephoto and close-up, and when and how to use each option.
  • Making Money with Your Camera: Learn the nuts and bolts information needed to turn your love of photography into a profitable endeavor. The course will explain how to break in to today's photography market, how stock photography agencies work, how to get noticed on the Internet, and much more.
About the Author/Instructor

Veteran photographer and author Ron Kness has contributed images and articles to a diverse variety of print and Web magazines including Sun Country Airlines, Trailer Life, Affordable Travel,, Real Kids, and Travel Thru History. He has authored three books on photography: The No Nonsense Guide to Digital Photography, The Non-Fiction Writerís Guide to Digital Photography, and How To Improve Your Travel Photography. Kness has also ghost-written three other e-books: How to Make Money With Photography, How to Make Even More Money With Photography, and How to Make Money Selling Micro-Stock.

In addition to his online classes at KSURF, Kness teaches two digital photography courses – Beginning Digital Photography and Totally Digital – in a traditional classroom setting for an adult community education program. He has authored a photography column for Writerís Journal magazine for the past eleven years.

Lesson Plan
Syllabus: Getting Started (Course Syllabus)

Unit 1: Digital Camera Features

Unit 2: The Menu System

Unit 3: The Golden Triangle

Unit 4: The Rules of Composition

Unit 5: Lenses and Filters

Unit 6: The Road Ahead

Unit 7: Common Terminology

Unit 8: Final Exam

How to Participate in this Course

Enroll and start learning today! All course materials will be available when you start the class, so you don't have to wait for weekly lessons and you can truly learn at your own pace. You don't have to be online at any set time; study at your leisure from the comfort or your home or office.

The course curriculum will include tutorial lessons, suggested readings, and optional homework activities. If you are taking the class for enjoyment or self-enrichment, homework is optional but participation is encouraged. Students who approach online learning as an adventure and actively participate will derive the most benefit and enjoyment from online learning. Homework projects, if completed satisfactorily, will earn Extra Credit points which will be added to your Final Exam score and may increase the overall grade you earn in the course.

The Student Handbook provides useful information on how to make the most of your online learning experience at KSURF's Virtual University. Refer to this guide for helpful tips on how to access classrooms, post homework, and answers to most frequently asked questions.