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DIGITAL 101 FOR BEGINNERS

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The Fundamentals classes are, by far, the most popular starting point for photography classes in Chicago and are designed to give the complete beginner a solid understanding of their digital camera and the fundamental knowledge needed to embark upon a lifetime's exploration of photography.

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The classes are packed with the information you need and are run on a timescale that works for you. You can learn the fundamentals of photography over a four week period running one night per week for 3 hours. If you prefer to learn over a shorter period you can take the one day fundamentals class which covers much of the same information without computer editing and printing.

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There are no 'hidden' or extra fees to pay for any classes at the Academy. There is no Lab fee. All of the supplies needed for printing are supplied by the Academy. There is no required lens to buy. In fact, the fee in the Beginners Schedule and Fees covers everything you need for the class.

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The 'Digital in a Day' class has much of the same fundamentals of photography information but does not cover the information in as much depth. If you prefer to learn how to take great photographs without having to 'fiddle' with them on a computer, this class will work for you.

You can choose Monday for your four week class which runs every month, while the Digital in a Day classes runs at the weekend.

Take a look at our Beginners Check List. If any of the scenarios apply to you then you are on exactly the right page at exactly the right time.

Go to our Beginners Schedule and Fees section to take the first step to great images now!

CLASS DETAILS

Class details including everything you will need to bring with you are listed belowMore Info

CURRICULUM

The photography subjects covered in the Fundamentals Classes are listed belowMore Info

INSTRUCTORS

The instructors at Chicago Photography Academy have a wealth of photography and training experience to shareview bios

CHECK LIST

ScenarioCheck
You just bought or received a gift of a fancy new digital camera and you haven't dared to take it out of the box yet
You have owned a digital camera for a while and you want to find out what all those settings are and learn how to use it correctly
You used to shoot film and want to know how to transfer your skills to digital
You want to learn how to take better pictures of your friends and family / kids
You have decided to get visually creative and have chosen photography to express yourself
You want to start a new career and learn how to do it really well
You are keen to begin a new hobby with a group of like minded, friendly, creative people.

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REVIEWS

"I am really excited that I found Chicago Photography Academy. Shane is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor. I learned things about my camera in the first hour of class that I hadn't learned since I bought it two and a half years ago and that is after taking plenty of classes elsewhere. The class was paced just right for me with enough time to practice on my camera and ask questions. Shane definitely knows his stuff."

Brewster - yelp.com search photography classes Chicago


"I was sooo worried that I would be the idiot in the class among all these cool photographers. Tristine made my life very easy. She was patient and considerate and really fun to spend the day with. I actually arrived ten minutes late and was welcomed without a problem. Whatever kind of camera anyone had in the class, Tristine seemed to know it inside and out. CPA is five star!"

Melanie - yelp.com


"I just completed the Beginner's class. In the 4 weeks, not only did I learn how to properly use my digital SLR (various settings), but I gained invaluable photography skills from William. He is a great instructor and generously shares his wealth of information from his many years of experience. We were able to use all his studio equipment including a variety of lights, computers, and printers. I would highly recommend this class. I feel I have definitely become more knowledgeable and confident in using my digital SLR. I finally understand the fundamentals and importance of lighting, shutter speed, aperture, etc! I am looking forward to the next 'Intermediate' & 'Advanced' levels!"

Janice - google.com search photography classes chicago


"I found that this class provided me with all of the necessary tips and tricks to shoot a successful wedding. It pointed out the "must have" shots to get, how to work with both a bride and groom and excellant suggestions for flattering lighting. Both instructors were patient and made sure that every participant had an opportunity to try all of the equipment and scenarios that were "painted". As a photographer who specialized in another area, I found that this provided me with the confidence to go out and be the primary shooter at a wedding. The references provided for wedding albums and other services a wedding photographer needs have been invaluable. The instant feedback with suggestions on improvement were good and the various opinions from 2 class leaders reinforced to me that there is always more than one way to be sucessful as a photographer and that "one size fits all" does not apply. This was well worth the investment of time and money."

Dan - yelp.com


"I had been looking for a photography class for quite awhile but was intimidated by the 8 week courses with expensive lab and materials list at other schools in the area. When I learned about a 4 week class at only $195 I was ready to sign up! The first class was free and just there I learned more about my camera in 3 hours than I had in the 3 years I have owned it! I kept saying, "wow didn't know I could do that!" The next classes have been focused on learning to shoot in aperture priority, composition, shutter speed, etc. Some of it is pretty technical and confusing, but I am already starting to see improvement in my pictures. The assignments can be accomplished in your busy week. William also gives you his cell phone number and you can call him at any time with questions which is helpful. William is funny, direct and to the point. I highly recommend this class and look forward to signing up for the next series of classes"

Laurie - yelp.com


"I just took the beginner four week class and it was exactly what I needed. The classes were overflowing with really useful information and I found the instructors both knowledgeable and entertaining. Four weeks was just long enough to learn everything and not too long so that I had to struggle with my schedule. I took the free class before I bought my camera and the instructor handed me a $5000 camera to use for the night. Awesome!! Then he gave me some excellent advice and I bought the right camera to complete the class and continue with my photography. I am already booked for the next class and very much looking forward to it. This place is a real find and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning photography while having great fun"

Bram - yelp.com


"I have been shooting seriously for about 2 years and have taken a couple classes and a course at my local technical college, but nothing has been better than my two day class at CPA. William does a great job of explaining his photography theories and coming full circle when explaining his way of getting perfect exposure. i am very happy i took the class and if you are serious about learning photography, CPA is the place to go to increase your photography skill and knowledge."

Tyron - yelp.com


"I also took the Digital in a Day class and thought it was really worthwhile. I was nervous about such a long class, but I was never bored and learned tons. I was tired of battling with my point and shoot, but had no idea how to operate a DSLR. I feel like I now have a solid understanding of how it works and how I can control the outcome of my pics. William is hilarious and puts things in easy to understand terms."

Rachel - yelp.com


"Advanced Photography Class ... I really enjoyed my recent class with Skye. We explored various creative techniques. If you have any questions about the class you're about to enroll in, just give them a call. They are very helpful."

Vera - yelp.com


"I just completed the four week beginner class at the Chicago Photography Academy and can't say enough good things about it. I wanted to learn the basics of how to use my camera and this class was perfect. William is a great teacher and really takes time to explain the basics before jumping in to the more technical aspects. I learned a lot and had fun doing it! I will be signing up for the Intermediate class so that I can continue to learn and grow as a photographer. I highly recommend the Chicago Photography Academy."

Sue - yelp.com


"I am super impressed with this school and, in particular, with Karl the instructor for my class. I had almost given up hope of ever learning how my fancy new Nikon works. Karl made everything simple and easy to follow. There was much more information in one day than I could handle but I took away everything I needed to know for now. I am thinking about future classes but I might just retake this one day beginner class just because I liked it so much. Highly recommended for beginner photogs!"

Candy - yelp.com


"I came to know of Chicago Photo Academy by way of a Groupon. The timing was fortuitous as my boyfriend and I have a brand new toy (a very sexy Canon EOS 7D) that has proven challenging to master. Enter the $45 Day-Long Digital Photography Class ($125 Value) from Groupon. I was skeptical when purchasing the deal. How much value could really be derived from a crash course in fancy DSLR operations, but at $45 per person, I decided to try it out. Both my boyfriend and I were extremely happy with the course content, pacing, facilities, and probably even more importantly - the instructor. Similar to prior Yelp reviews for CPA, William Benson was at the heart of what made this class the very positive experience it was. We fondly referred to him as the Simon Cowell of the photography world. Unlike Cowell, his was a charming Irish accent in lieu of a British one; however, his blunt opinions, wit, and lively sarcasm kept us engaged in the class for the entire day. Content - Covered the key elements and established an independence from the pre-loaded settings that come with the camera. Discussed ISO, aperture, shutter speed, zoom lenses & why they're not ideal, and the all-mighty quality of light. Pace - While a full day may sound daunting, this class was well paced. We had multiple breaks for getting out and shooting example photos as well as an hour long lunch/homework assignment. I needed a little caffeine boost in the afternoon (Starbucks is just across the street!), but that was probably due to my Friday night and not a reflection on the class itself! Takeaways - an understanding of how shutter speed relates to length of lens and impact on hand held focus, or lack thereof. An appreciation for the importance of quality of light. A working knowledge of those somewhat intimidating technical photo terms. And best of all, even more enthusiasm for taking great photos!!! In addition to the class, you receive a tour of the facilities including an impressive professional-grade studio available to students. I was very impressed with the set-up and convenience for up-and-coming photographers. Overall, the class was super and I recommend checking it out!"

Rachel - yelp.com


"I started taking classes here in January and I can't say enough good things about it! They have an amazing Executive Club program which includes a year of all you can take classes and free access to their very well appointed studio. William and his wife Dawn have been immensely helpful and supportive and they run a great school. In my time their I have learned the technical aspects of photography as well as the artistic. I particularly like that in the Advanced Classes the emphasis is on the individual and each person is able to hone their strenths and work on the particular type of photography that interests them most. I have met some great people and through them have gotten some great photography opportunities. CPA also has a partnership with The Darkroom Bar in which everyone two months two students are able to participate in a show. I will be participating in my first show on Oct 1st, I am exceedingly grateful for all of the knowledge I have gained through CPA as well as this exciting opportunity to show my work! If you have a DSLR and are serious about learning all you can to be a better photographer, this is the place for you!"

Brighid - yelp.com


"I took the one day beginner class Digital in a Day that covers most of the topics from the beginner course, except for Light Room (it was a Groupon offer). I really enjoyed the class and it was really informative. William makes you feel very comfortable and there were multiple times I laughed out loud during the day, which can be hard when you're learning about a brand new concept. I am excited to keep learning more about my camera and continue my hobby. This is a great place to begin and continue your photography experience."

Kate - yelp.com


"I just took the Digital in a Day class and it was awesome! William Benson is a phenomenal teacher and I learned an insane amount about photography and DSLRs. I too was iffy on the long day but it really did fly by - you won't be bored."

Michelle - yelp.com


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BEGINNER SCHEDULE & FEES

There are no lab fees, extra lenses, paper or any extra items to buy, making CPA classes the best value in Chicago.

Class Day Starting From To Tuition Register
Digital 101 in a Day Saturday Nov 22 10 AM 5 PM $195
Register
Digital 101 in a Day Saturday Dec 13 10 AM 5 PM $195
Register
Digital 101 Four Week Monday Nov 24 7 PM 10 PM $295
Register

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