Clicks Gone Wild offers two exciting options to learn how to get the most out of your digital camera. We have our popular
Clicks in Your Home Program or One-on-One instruction of our beginner, intermediate and advanced level courses which are taught throughout Arnprior, Renfrew and the surrounding area. More information about us and our courses can be found in the links above. Send us an e-mail at clicksgonewild (at) gmail (dot) com to book your course with Clicks.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hungry for better photos?

Last week was Pancake Tuesday and there’s nothing I love better than a day which dictates what we will eat for one of our meals!  As I stood in my kitchen mixing together the pancakes I was amazed at the similarities between pancakes and photography.  

Yes ma’am (or sir), there are many similarities between fluffy flapjacks and fabulous photography skills!!

Let’s start at the beginning.  Auto Mode – isn’t that just your basic ‘Just Add Water’ box of pancake mix??  Basically all you can control is how much of the mix you’re going to make, the size you make them and how long you cook them for (trying not to burn any, of course!).  With Auto Mode you can only control what it is you’re going to shoot, the orientation (a portrait or landscape presentation) and when you’re going to hit the shutter button.  Sure, you can form some in the shape of hearts or stars, but most turn out boring, roundish-shaped and hopefully, golden brown.  Very few stand out as a work of art.

Just add a squirt of Aunt You-Know-Who and breakfast is served!

Beginner Level
The reality is that we know many of you have a hankering for something more – the out-of-the-box variety satisfies you in the moment, but an hour later you’re back in the kitchen looking for something else to eat.  That’s why we have revamped our program to introduce the new Focus on the Features and Focus on the Frame.  They both give you more control over the ingredients that you’re fueling your body with, and usually yield more appetizing results that you will be talking about for the rest of the day!  “Oh my, Gemma’s pancakes were the best I’ve ever tasted!!!”  (Or something to that effect.)  ;)

These introductory courses give you each and every ingredient so you don't have to settle for the box: basic operational information, illustrations of the presets, composition tips, good lighting techniques and thorough explanations of each adjustable setting.  These tools allow you to confidently make the switch from Auto Mode and play in the presets or understand why and when to tweak some of the semi-manual settings on your digital camera.  We’re giving you all of the essential tools – the whisk, spatula and frying pan – the necessities for a decent pancake breakfast (or lunch, dinner, whatever meal time you choose!).  And we’re right there to tell you on what shelf you’ll find baking powder (more on baking powder later…)! 

Intermediate Level
Our newest addition to the course schedule is Step it Up, Shutterbug!  This is what all of you pancake lovers will want to take if you’ve perfected your concoction of flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, butter, eggs and milk.  You’ll venture out and add a new flavours, perhaps some applesauce and cinnamon, blueberries, or ripened, mashed bananas, if you will.  J  We may even whip up a crepe or waffle along the way!!  You’re also upgrading to an electric griddle so you can cook three or four at a time, not just the one-at-a-time variety in the frying pan on your stove.  (Mmmmm… my tummy is rumbling!) 

Imagine how happy your family will feel when they can sit down at the table and enjoy breakfast with you – the amazing cook??  You won’t be frustrated any longer since you can now provide nutritious flapjacks made from scratch in no time at all.

Advanced Level
Now if you really want to up the ante as you pursue your passion for photography, we have developed The Magic of Manual Mode - for those who won't settle for anything less than the best.  You want to make your pancakes from scratch and cover them in pure maple syrup made from the trees in your own backyard. Living in the Ottawa Valley, we all know it’s a time-honoured tradition that requires patience, perfect timing and work, a lot of hard work.  Yet you can ask anyone - the delectable results can’t be beat.  We even add a heap of fresh raspberries and sprinkle of icing sugar to the top of the stack.  Yum, yum!

Alrighty, here’s my little confession… sometimes (not often) the pancakes on my family's plates came from a box.  It’s usually when we’re camping and I don’t want to lug all of the ingredients and equipment to make perfect pancakes.  And that’s okay.  It's just like when I don’t want to think about the light, composition or my settings on my camera.  At the end of the day, I’m still a photographer and I’m still a decent pancake maker.  J

As a special treat, here’s my family’s favourite breakfast:

Want to know another secret?  I’ve perfected my recipe over many years of practice.  Plus, all of the ingredients on their own aren’t nearly as delicious as when they’re all together, stirred with love, and the more you do it the better cook you become!

Truthfully, I don't even look at the recipe any more - I intuitively know how much flour/wheat bran/milk is needed to make the batter just right.  That's because I make them at least once a week (I have some serious pancake connoisseurs in my house!).  Similarly, when the camera is in my hands, I don't have to think about the settings like I did when I was starting out; it all comes naturally to me.  There's one big factor in my recipe to photographic success: I don't leave my camera packed up in the bag and stored in the closet; it's always in a convenient location, loaded with room on the memory card and lots of battery power.  This simple tip makes it a pleasure to pick up the camera, since no time is wasted and I'm more apt to practice when my gear is ready and waiting for me to play.

I recently learned the key ingredient to good pancakes is the baking powder – without that they’re just panpucks, flopjacks.  You'd better load the family and head to the nearest Pancake House, that's for sure.  (I learned that lesson the hard way.)  The baking powder is essentially the educational component in your desire to take better photographs.  You can have all of the other ingredients in the bowl, but if you omit the baking powder you will never get your usual, much sought-after pancakes of yumminess.  

Whether it be through courses or your own self-directed learning, you need to know all of the options and limitations of your camera.  And you can’t be disappointed if you’re leaving the baking powder out and expecting a brunch fit for a king.  Sure, you may get lucky every once in a while and have a few tasty keepers in the batch, but the only way to ensure beautiful results every time is to keep the baking powder handy.  ;)

Isn't it time to feed your desire for capturing moments that you can be proud to share with your family and friends?

We know you can start by bypassing the Just Add Water boxes filled with ingredients you can't pronounce and empty calories, and begin stocking your cart with wholesome ingredients for a change.  (Warning: Once you start, you may come back for seconds!!)  And when you're good and ready, we've got a few Maple trees out back - grab your sap buckets and we'll help you boil it all down to sweet perfection.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Spring Course Dates Posted!

Spring around the corner.
Spring in your step.
Spring into action and learn how to use that
nifty digital camera of yours!!

The new Spring course dates are now posted.  Registration is first come, first serve, so don't delay and register today.  :)  To register for any Clicks course, send your request to clicksgonewild@gmail.com and we will send you a note letting you know how to pay to secure your spot.  See you this Spring!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Manual Mode - We Can Teach You!!

You imagine it.  You want it.  You can have it.  Beautiful images aren't easy to capture, but here's the great news - they are achievable with knowledge and work!!  And we can teach you.

Our next session of The Magic of Manual Mode is on March 24 starting at 10:30 am at the Arnprior Public Library.  This course is 5 hours in length, with a quick break for lunch.  

We teach you how to expose your pictures properly in Manual Mode, as well as basic editing tips.  You will have the option to submit your images post-course for feedback from both of us.  This course is getting rave reviews.  We teach these concepts in a very clear and logical manner, through a slide presentation and a lot of hands-on instruction, and you walk away with a very comprehensive package of notes, support, and a ton of new knowledge!

Registration for this course begins on March 1st.

Say goodbye to pointing and praying.  Who's the boss - your camera or YOU?  Take full control in Manual Mode....

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

When you talk, we listen!

With a full year of teaching photography classes to our fabulous new Clicks friends under our belt, we have been brainstorming and have come up with some exciting changes and additions to our Clicks Course line-up.

At the end of each class we always encourage our participants to provide us a bit of feedback and we welcome all suggestions.  The most common message from our wonderful students is that they are so excited by the wealth of information that we give them, but they would also love more hands-on practice; time to dig into their menus and find how to turn off and on certain settings as we suggest them and then having a few moments to play with their camera after each adjustment.  So behind the scenes we've been working hard to make sure every course is still jam-packed with information and providing a bit of time to try out things as we go along.  The final result was adding an entire new class to our beginner/intermediate series of courses.  All of these courses flow logically from one topic to the next, building a solid foundation for all of our students to walk away and click confidently in their day-to-day photo-taking activities. We've also made sure to keep each session around the two-hour mark, and to teach some extra concepts in the intermediate course.  These are all suitable for anyone with a little point and shoot camera or a dSLR.  We love these improvements and we know you will too!  The more we teach, the better these courses become!  :)

You'll get the same enthusiastic vibe in each class, plenty of photographic illustrations throughout our presentation, Rhonda's awesome teaching style and Gemma's expertise with the cameras.  Plus, you'll have time to play with your camera so you can get excited about all of the concepts as you learn them!  So here it is, the all-new Clicks Gone Wild course options:

Focus on the Features
The changes to our former Mastering the Basics, Part 1 course will certainly benefit even the most novice of camera owners.  We've added a few more starter tips on basic camera operation.  We provide ample photo illustrations of the preset modes and will give a strong case for utilizing the hidden powers of your camera and harnessing available light.  This beginner class, now called Focus on the Features, is perfect for anyone who wants to learn about the buttons and do-dads on their camera and is stuck on Auto Mode (the green box).  A full list of topics covered can be found under Course Options.

Focus on the Frame
Much of the creative aspects of our former Mastering the Basics, Part 1 is in this new class, with a few of the elements from the former Mastering the Basics, Part 2.  This is where we show our students how to improve the composition of their images.  We'll talk about the artistry of photography and some additional tricks on your camera that will truly give you flexibility when shooting.  We've included more in-depth natural lighting techniques and share how we get those sought-after blurry backgrounds.

Step it Up, Shutterbug!
Sounds fun, doesn't it?  We promise, it will be!!  Rhonda and I are thrilled to introduce a new intermediate-level course to our roster.  This is where we take our students to the next level and really delve into some serious photography tricks of the trade.  Most of the topics from the former Part 2 are now included in this course, as well as more advanced tips.  We talk about how to get proper colours and move that dial into your semi-manual settings in Aperture Priority and Shutter Speed Priority Modes.  These modes are available on all dSLR cameras and most point and shoot cameras, but we suggest participants have those options available to benefit from the entire session.

For a complete listing of the topics covered in each of these classes and our more about our advance course, The Magic of Manual Mode, check out the Course Options page link above.

And anyone who has taken the former Mastering the Basics series and would enjoy the opportunity to come back and see the new and improved classes, please send us a note (especially those who took the time to send us their thoughts!!).  We'd love to have you back!

In the meantime, mind the dust as we get the presentations all polished and ready to release in late February!  We promise that new public course dates will be announced soon - we eager to start teaching our first sessions with our new format!


Monday, February 06, 2012

Exciting Changes Coming Soon!

Please be advised that as we are entering our second year of Clicks courses, Gemma and I are re-vamping courses and policies.  We know that these new changes will result in improved presentations, more hands-on time during our courses, and ease of booking Clicks In Your Home gatherings.  Please be patient as over the last couple of days our blog has undergone a few tweaks to reflect these changes.

We look forward to seeing you in 2012!