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.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Flash Sale: One-on-one Learning!

Looking for the perfect last-minute Christmas gift for the photography-lover in your life??  The Clicks elves are offering incredible savings on our popular beginner and intermediate series of courses!!

Book a January or February session time with one of the Clicks experts before the end of this year, and receive a $15 discount off the cost of Focus on the Features, Focus on the Frame or Step it Up, Shutterbug.  This is our one and only sale for 2013.  :)

Private tutoring is the most convenient way to enjoy and learn the tips and techniques shared in the Clicks courses.  There are many benefits including flexible scheduling for a two-hour block that works perfectly for you, the time to ask your own questions, and individualized help with your particular camera.  Each course is two hours in length, so one of us is all yours for that block of time.

With this promotion, you save $15, so choose your course:
  • Focus On The Features, beginner - reg. $75 taught privately, now $60 for a limited time
  • Focus On The Frame, beginner - reg. $75 taught privately, now $60 for a limited time
  • Step It Up, Shutterbug, intermediate - reg. $100 taught privately, now $85 for a limited time
  • OR you can pre-purchase all three sessions for $200 (a total of $50 in savings!).  You will be able to book each course with either Gemma or Rhonda and learn at your own pace.
*** Please note, for 2013, and moving forward into 2014, Clicks Gone Wild will only be instructing our courses in group gatherings through our Clicks In Your Home program, or in a one-on-one format.  We will offer the occasional public session of our most advanced course only, The Magic of Manual Mode (which we are teaching on Saturday, Jan. 11th starting at 10 a.m. - there only two spots remaining). Keep updated on our Facebook page to see any other news or future dates offered for Magic. 

If you are interested in taking our beginner or intermediate courses, this is the perfect way to do them and save!  *Discounts are only available for those who book and arrange payment before December 31, 2013.*

For a detailed list of what is taught in each course, please see here.  To book your very own one-on-one session or sign up for the Magic of Manual Mode on January 11, please send us an e-mail to clicksgonewild@gmail.com

We look forward to helping you learn more about your camera and photography, whatever your level of current understanding!

  • Happy Holidays!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

What is Kickstart Your Clicks For Spring?

We realize that most people don't take as many pictures in the cold months as they do during the warm ones.  And so after a long winter, what most of us need is a little inspiration and motivation to get going in the Spring.  This is the perfect time of year to get back into the groove of taking pictures, especially in the great outdoors.

We have developed a month-long, online course for May that will help inspire you to not only get shooting again, but also, to try taking images that you would not normally take, and to get your creativity flowing!  The course is aptly called "Kickstart Your Clicks For Spring," and the cost is $25.

Is the course strictly online and what do I need to take it?

Yes, this is an online course, which means you can participate from wherever you are.  It will occur in a private Facebook group, so anything you share will only be seen by the other registrants in the course.  You require a Facebook account to be added to the group.  Anyone who owns a digital camera (point and shoot or dSLR) and is interested in photography (beginner to advanced) can take this course, as the focus of the month will be on inspiration, creativity, and the content of your images.  There is no judgement of your skill level.  Clicks always creates a welcoming environment that supports your learning, wherever you are at.

How much of a time commitment will I need to make?

You can spend as little or as much time on this experience as you want!  If you only have time to check the group every few days to read the information shared and try out a few challenges, without posting images, you are more than welcome to join and participate quietly while being inspired.  If you have the time and energy to follow along everyday, post your images from challenges, and comment on other participants' questions and posts, go for it!  The more activity there is in the group, the more everyone will take away from it.

We are currently organizing one (maybe two!) optional outings for the participants in this course, to help inspire and practice photography.   Any outings will occur in May, and we will let you know the dates as soon as we can so you can plan to attend if you want to or are able, but there is no pressure to do so.

What will happen during this course?

Either Gemma or Rhonda will post something in the group daily, whether it be a small photography challenge for you to attempt, a photography tip, or an inspirational image or anecdote.  There will be four main themes and we will spend approximately one week on each.  Remember, this course is intended to help you kickstart YOUR clicks, so this is a month about you.  The themes are:  The New You, You and Me (there is Mother's Day tucked in there!), Colourful You, and Sentimental You.  We know that there will be a lot of comments, discussions, and questions in the group.  All of the participants in the course are encouraged to connect with each other, answer questions when you can, and post as much as you would like.  Either Rhonda or Gemma will check the group once daily to help encourage and guide discussions.

How do I register?

Send us an email at clicksgonewild@gmail.com and we will send you registration details.  The last date to register for this course is  April 30th, as you won't want to miss the start on May 1st.  We will add everyone to the Facebook group when the course begins.

Those of you who have taken courses with us before know that we are passionate about photography and love sharing with others.  We came up with this concept to reconnect with some former students, learn from new students, and also to push our own creativity, as well as yours!  We are as excited about this inspirational month, and the opportunity to create and connect, as you are!

Rhonda and Gemma

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kick Start Your Clicks in May - An Inspirational Month with Clicks Gone Wild!

Join Clicks Gone Wild (professional photographers Rhonda McMaster and Gemma Robillard) on an exclusive month-long, inspirational journey.  This is for anyone, anywhere!

Sign up to participate as much or as little as you want, in a private online group, with other photography-loving people.  Any skill level is welcome as we focus on creativity and the actual content of your images.  We will inspire you to get going with daily tips, images, anecdotes, or small challenges, that will help you out of the cold-weather rut and kick start YOUR clicks for Spring!

Take time to focus on YOU with our weekly themes of:
  • The New You
  • You and Me
  • Colourful You
  • Sentimental You
Intrigued?  Join us on this adventure by registering at clicksgonewild@gmail.com.

What this month includes:
  • an invitation to a private, temporary Facebook group
  • a daily post or posts from Rhonda or Gemma, that tie into the above four themes, including inspirational images and stories, photography challenges, and photography tips
  • the opportunity to share your images with others for support and comments
  • networking opportunities with other photography-loving people
  • the opportunity to be part of a group driven by creativity and inspiration
  • gentle nudges to push you out of your comfort zone and get new and fresh images
  • the month should result in a series of images you love and motivation to continue clicking into the beautiful weather
  • and surprises for participants throughout the month!

The cost to join us is $25.

And because Gemma and Rhonda love to give back, and registration starts in April (Cancer Awareness Month), Clicks Gone Wild will donate $5 from every confirmed registration in the first two days of registration to the Canadian Cancer Society.

If you would like to gift yourself with "Kick Start Your Clicks" and help others at the same time, register starting today, Thursday, April 18th, up until Friday, April 19th at midnight.  Deadline for all other registrations is Tuesday, April 30th, the day before "Kick Start Your Clicks" begins.

Don't miss this!  We're going to have a lot of fun!
Rhonda & Gemma

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Sunny Sunday Shutterbug Moment...

While making my morning coffee today, I glanced over at our dining room table to notice the gorgeous morning light streaming in on the small bouquet of flowers sitting there.  It was creating a natural spotlight on the beautiful pink gerbera daisy in the centre.  The light in these types of scenes always stops me in my tracks!! 

I also couldn’t help but think of how so many of the principals of our Step It Up, Shutterbug! course come into play for this one scene – White Balance, Metering Modes, Adjusting Aperture, Colour in Photography and Exposure Compensation.  Immediately I ran over to my desk and grabbed my camera to share the beauty of the moment with you all and let you know that you can learn about all of these topics this week!!  J
With my fancy-dancy dSLR, here’s how my camera interpreted the scene in Automatic Mode (“the green box”):
Automatic Mode
Can I just be honest here, my photo-loving people??  These are not the beautiful flowers I saw in that kiss of sunlight.  L  This is way too dark and this camera (or any camera, for that matter) can do so much better when I take control of a few of the settings and use my equipment to its fullest capabilities. 

So knowing what to do in this scenario, I turned the dial over to one of the semi-manual modes and adjusted a few settings that would account for that brighter area over the daisy and the window in the background, fix the slight bluish colour, and my focal area (because I wanted the attention on the centre of the flower, not the front edge of the petals).

Aperture Priority Mode
Ahh, that's much better exposure-wise.  But I used a small aperture here and you can see so much detail in the background (hello top of the electrical plug); my initial vision was that I was going for something a little more soft.
Yes!  That's it!
All I did was dial in a different aperture setting and voila!! It’s exactly what I was intending to achieve with my camera in this situation.  Creating a blurry background brings the viewer's attention in to the centre of the pretty bloom – what an improvement compared to the first two shots, isn’t it?? 
Okay, I hear you... this may all sound a little tricky to figure out on your own, but it’s not hard to achieve these results yourself with your dSLR.  Active kids, landscapes… you name it, we’ll help you get there with a combination of our illustrative examples and hands-on learning.  As we tell our students all of the time, it just takes a little practice and the desire to take better photographs.
Rhonda and I can’t wait to share this exciting information with the fine shutterbuggin’ folks already enrolled for this Wednesday evening’s class.  And don’t fret – there are still a few seats left!!  E-mail us at clicksgonewild@gmail.com for more information and registration details.
Wishing everyone a Fantastic Family Day Weekend,

** If you are ready to take the your dSLR skills to the next level, a comprehensive half-day course on using Manual Mode is set for March.  We cover a lot of the same content as Shutterbug, plus more, and discuss composition and editing. **

Monday, January 28, 2013

Using Manual Mode In the Low Light of Winter

Picture this.  A woman purchased an entry-level SLR last September and proceeded to shoot on auto mode.  For the most part, the pictures from her new camera turned out okay and about 1/50 were fantastic.  She was pretty happy with her purchase, and could see a noticeable difference in the quality of her pictures since the upgrade, but she really wanted most of her pictures to be fantastic.  Fast forward five months, and she was ready to throw her camera out the window.  How could this beautiful new camera not be working properly?  It felt slow, wouldn't always grab focus, and every second picture was blurry.  The woman was at the height of frustration, as she had paid $700 for her new gear.

Sound familiar?

Photography is all about light.  Simply put, in September, there was more daylight, and the weather was nicer, so the woman took more pictures outside.  Then came along our Canadian Winter, the season of short days and the bitter cold that drives you indoors.  She began to feel frustrated when Auto Mode just wouldn't cut it in lower light.  There wasn't enough light for her camera to grab focus and her camera was slow to recycle on-board flash.  Because here's the deal - Auto Mode may take a decent picture outside the odd time, but you need to be able to control settings yourself, manually, to expose in indoor or lower-light situations.  

Tonight, while I was spending time with my children in their favourite evening hangout spot (the basement craft center), I took a few images to help illustrate the differences between Auto and Manual Modes.  Now think Winter evening, it is completely pitch dark outside, with no overhead lights.  But warm and cozy!  There were only two desk lamps shining on to their work area and collection of papers, stickers, and markers. 

Take a look at the first two images.  Which one do you think best illustrates what I likely saw on the table, the first or the second?  The second; you're right!  If you said the first, that's completely understandable, because you are so used to seeing hundreds of these flashy photos every day; they just seem bright and normal.  The first image was taken in Auto Mode, but that's not what the scene looked like.  :(  The second image would be much more likely to remind me of the evenings I sat down in the basement and made creations with my children.  You can expose properly with available light and avoid flash by learning how to shoot in Manual Mode.  In Auto Mode, the camera chooses all of your settings and you have to take what it gives you, even if the picture is not representative at all.         

Think of the possibilities with low-light photography.  Without your flash lighting everything up unrealistically and your camera choosing focus, ISO, shutter speed, aperture, etc., etc. for you, you can start to take pictures and have scenes look as they actually do.  (And I guarantee you that less people will run away from your camera when you stop firing flash in their eyes!  ;) )

And now this last image should be self-explanatory.

Once you learn how to shoot in Manual Mode, you will never want to give back control of the settings to your camera, because you are smarter than the $700 piece of equipment in your bag.  In fact, you are priceless.

Embrace the Winter and the low light.  Clicks Gone Wild's next Magic of Manual Mode course is coming up in just over a month.  What are you doing in the afternoon on Sunday, March 3rd?  We'll be teaching, discussing, demonstrating, and watching the light-bulb moments for participants in our advanced course, as they learn Manual Mode for the first time or take the course as an opportunity to fill the missing gaps.  We hope to see you!  Send us an email to register for this course.  

Now, to draw a cartoon or two and consider finishing the basement ceiling and installing some overhead lighting.  :)


Monday, January 14, 2013

Going with the flow - 2013 Clicks Public Course Schedule

Photographers go with the flow; they are adaptable - to different lighting situations, the weather, people and their personalities, creative energy - really, eveything.  And now it's time to go with the flow with Clicks!

The past two years have been ones of amazing growth for Clicks Gone Wild.  We went from one beginner course to four concise and amazing courses leveled by skill.  We were able to grow due to demand by our students.  We have traveled all over and taught hundreds of people how to use their digital cameras and take better everyday photographs, and loved every minute of it!

Up until now, we have taught in three ways - public courses, Clicks In Your Home (home gatherings with friends) and private tutoring sessions.  Throughout 2012, we noted that the majority of our students were those who were part of an enthusiastic group at a Clicks In Your Home workshop or those who wanted one-on-one instruction with their camera.  It became clear that most people wanted to schedule courses at times that worked seamlessly with their already-busy schedules, which is completely understandable.

Meanwhile, the demand for private tutoring, both day and evening skyrocketed, as did requests from groups of people who wanted to learn together.  That is why, for the remainder of 2013, we have decided to focus our instructing energies soley on Clicks In Your Home and private tutoring, while we both juggle the demands of our custom photography businesses, other work, and of course, our families.  We are listening to you and going with the flow!

There is one last round of public courses for 2013, and they begin next week.  If you have been thinking about joining a group of other photography-enthusiasts in a public setting (either as a new student or as alumni who wants a refresher of our beginner and intermediate courses), this will be your last chance this year to register for public courses.  All of our courses require pre-registration, and we would be happy to help you.  Just send us a note here.

We look forward to another amazing year of learning with you!!

2013 Public Course Dates

(The following courses all begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Richard John Meeting Room in Arnprior.)

Focus on the Features - January 23
Focus on the Frame - February 7
Step it Up, Shutterbug - February 20

The Magic of Manual Mode - March 3 @ 12:30 p.m.