Fundamentals of DSLR Photography: Workshop Itinerary & Guide


Thanks for making it to the Fundamentals of DSLR Photography Workshop page! Whether you're interested in learning about this workshop or have already taken the course and wish to review the material we covered, this page reviews all the details.  You can sign up on the AirBnB Experience page by clicking the link below.




This is a crash course in the fundamentals of Digital Photography. As we progress through the workshop, we’ll talk about the main camera settings and then take a few photos to demonstrate the effect of specific adjustments.  We’re going to look at aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and manual mode. I’m not going to get too deep into the theory and mechanics of how everything works inside your camera – that’s something you can learn by researching. The best way to understand and learn how to take the shots you want is by actually shooting and experimenting.  So that’s what we’ll spend time doing, and we will be doing that at the famous Gasworks Park (this picture was taken where we will be shooting from). 

Below is a rough list of our main discussion points:


  • Professionals shoot in RAW mode
  • RAW photos are uncompressed, JPEG photos are permanently compressed
  • RAW and JPEG might look the same at first, but RAW has more depth of editing power
  • I advise to use RAW mode
  • The two caveats are:
    • RAW photos take up 4-5 times the memory
    • RAW photos require special post processing software like Lightroom or Photoshop


  • Determines your depth of field
  • Large aperture is represented by a smaller number next to the ‘f’.  For example: f/1.4
  • Small aperture is represented by a larger number: f/22
  • In aperture priority with ISO set to A:
    • Shoot the snowman with a large aperture (smallest number) – note the clear pumpkin and blurry background
    • Shoot the snowman with a small aperture (largest number) – note the clear pumpkin and clear background

-Tip: Use large aperture for portraits

-Tip: Use f/8 – f/11 for landscapes



  • Determines how long your camera sensor is exposed to light, which in turn affects how you capture motion
  • Longer shutter speed = lighter image, more blur
  • Shorter shutter speed = darker image, more clear
  • In shutter priority with ISO set to A:
    • Shoot moving object at 1/100 speed. Note the clarity
    • Shoot moving object at 0.5 speed. Note the blur
    • Shoot running water with similar settings

-Tip: Use image stabilization for hand held shots, don’t use IS for tripod shots

-Tip: Use longer shutter speeds when camera is on tripod



  • Determines sensitivity to light
  • In bright settings, use low ISO
  • In dark settings, use high ISO
  • -In program OR aperture mode:
    • Shoot at 100 ISO – zoom into picture and note the clarity
    • Shoot at 10000 ISO – zoom into picture and note the noise

-Tip: shoot low ISO for less noise (daytime is best for low ISO)

-Tip: shoot higher ISO when there is not much light



  • Shoot subject with light in background & light not in background

-Tip: Always be aware of where the sun is when you shoot outdoor photography



  • Manual mode gives you ultimate control of your photos
  • Requires more time to set up
  • Turn the camera onto manual mode
  • Adjust all 3 settings of exposure triangle
  • View your histogram, learn how to read the graph
  • Take photos of Seattle in manual mode. Recommended settings to start with:
  • ISO 200 - 400
  • Exposure 3-5 seconds
  • Aperture f/8 – f/11