Learn Manual Exposure Controls/ISO/Aperture/Shutter Speed/Metering Modes/Histogram/File Sizes and More

Connecticut D-SLR & D-Mirrorless System Photography Workshops

Entry level and Intermediate/Advanced classes available. Learn Manual Exposure Controls and Advanced Techniques from a Qualified Experienced Professional


Hands-On D-SLR Photography Classes in Connecticut

Teaching You The Manual Functions

Most camera owners use their DSLR cameras on a regular basis with no thought to how these things operate under the hood. For the most part, it’s still set on full auto, just as it was when you unpacked it from the box.  The thought process usually dictates that if you go out and purchase a better camera, then you’ll take much better photos. Just point at your subject and click. It doesn’t take long to realize you are not seeing the results you expected. As a result, you resort to leaving it set to Program or Auto, and cross your fingers each time.

Regardless, no matter what skill level you are currently hibernating at, I can help you master your camera’s manual settings. The D-SLR Photography Classes I’ve designed put you in full charge of your camera, while elevating your creative skill set.

Define Your Goals

The act of Photography means something a little different different to every person. It is a career for a select few, and an enjoyable hobby for many others.  Certainly, if you own an advanced camera system and want to capture treasured moments, vacation memories and all of life’s events as great photographs, you’ll benefit greatly from any of my classes or workshops.

All things considered, my hands-on training methods are an efficient method for learning your camera’s features and taking better photos.

Travel Time 

I’m located just 65 miles from Manhattan NYC. Regional Connecticut towns such as Bethel, Sandy Hook, Torrington, and Ridgefield are short drives of 20-30 minutes. Cities like Hartford, Westport, Milford, Mt Kisco or Brewster NY, and New Haven are within an hours drive. Please use this address in your devices Map aps for exact travel time:  37 Main St. New Milford Ct.

No Calendar Needed for Local CT. Classes 

I offer a simple Flex-Schedule” for all my Saturday & Sunday classes and workshops. The first thing you do is pre-purchase the class you feel most comfortable taking. Once I confirm your class or workshop purchase, I’ll be in touch and we’ll fit you right into either a Saturday or Sunday class at a time that works for us. This is first come-first serve basis. Just be sure to provide your name, email and phone # so I’m able to contact you ASAP.

I don’t schedule appointments like a doctors office does. Photography workshops don’t have a line of people sitting in a waiting room to be called. As a matter of fact, you can pre-purchase your class today and not worry about booking the class until months later!

Purchase  Workshops as a Gift Card or Vouchers for Personal Use

It’s suggested that you purchase a Gift Card/Workshop Voucher in advance online or contact me directly so I can email an invoice. You can purchace a gift card/voucher on this website by clicking any Booking Info button or from the drop-down menu. If you are the recipient of a Gift Card, you need the special code supplied when we schedule your first class.

If you have a friend or loved one that may be interested in any of my D-SLR Photography Workshops in Connecticut, be sure to check out our Gift Cards

Offering a Great Value for your Hard-Earned Money!

Traditionally, professional photographers charge $80.00 up to $200.00 per hour for their skill enhancement workshops and coaching. This is especially true for guided workshops in National Parks, remote and exotic locations to be at or near the higher amount. If you take a look at my classes and pricing, you’ll see I’m offering a relative bargain. My (3) class Phase I-Level II classes are just $389.00 for 7 hours of hands-on coaching!


Unique Classes and Workshops for Any Skill level

I have a wide assortment of classes and workshops, some of them can even be purchased as bundles. They range from Phase I entry-level course packages, more advanced Phase II guided outdoors “Art Of Nature Photography” 4.5 hour workshops and even one-on one photo editing and workflow tip classes using Lightroom and Photoshop.

Have Thom – Will Travel

I make myself available to travel within a 20 mile radius of 37 Main St, New Milford Ct to teach you any Phase I entry-level class or Photo Editing (Lightroom) from the comfort of your own home. Please note, you will need to already have Lightroom and/or Adobe’s Photoshop installed on your desktop. I charge $165.00 for a 2.0 hour travel-to session.  It’s suggested you contact me to secure my time for this service in advance.

Mentoring Programs & Phone Consultations

I have offered to mentor in the past, and plan to continue to do so. This includes consultations to help match you up with your first new camera system, or to replace an older system if you haven’t done so. I’ll provide continued knowledge training to assist you to achieve your goals.

I can book one-on-one appointments to help you understand the business of photography and explain your rights to Copyright protection. If you are a career-minded individual, I can provide more in-depth skill training for most genres of photography. I also have a great deal of experience working with various publishers and licensing my own work. This can be a frightening ordeal for an inexperienced photographer!  Please, contact me with any questions.

Benefit Learning From an Experienced Professional

My extensive professional resume and body of work speak for itself. I am one of the most recognized fine art nature and landscape photographers in the New England region. In the past, I contributed to and served on the New England Photographers Guild until 2015.  I have been guiding workshops in western Connecticut for over a decade.

Inclement Weather Policies

We do not cancel workshops for general inclement weather. You’ll soon understand that bright sunny days and clear blue skies really suck for most photography, no kidding!  If we have a significant weather event such as an ice storm or a snowstorm, all-day downpours, Hurricane, severe thunderstorms, etc. we will reschedule your workshop at a convenient date.

Cancellation Policy

If you decide to cancel your booked workshop, I will refund you the full amount, minus a transaction fee of 2.9% up to 60 days prior to your scheduled booked workshop. Should you need to cancel your workshop between 30 and 59 days prior to your booked workshop date, I will refund you 50%. Workshops canceled with less than 30 days remaining to your scheduled booked workshop are not eligible for a refund.


If an unforeseen event pops up and you wish to reschedule any workshop, I will gladly reschedule for the next available convenient date! I kindly request you give us 15 – days of notice if possible so I can try and fill your original spot. If you have any questions about our workshops, you can call directly at (860) 717-2227 or email me using the contact form above.

Phase I - The Beginners Series of Photography Classes

Phase I – Level I Beginners  Photography Classes – Learning the Exposure Triangle and Camera Functions

The Phase I – Level I classes are set up as (2) separate indoors sessions that are 2 hours long each, at a cost of just $125.00 per session. You can also purchase both Phase I classes as a bundle for only $245.00.  Each session is scheduled for seperate days because I’ll have you out taking practice photos before your second phase I class.  I’ll begin by teaching the fundamental SLR camera controls and settings including the Exposure Triangle  (ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture) with participants. To allow you to get the most out of your classes, I like to keep class sizes from 1 to 4 participants maximum.

The exposure triangle is a complicated relationship. I’ll be simplifying all of this for you. Although I have coined this a beginner class, it’s clearly not a limiting factor and you don’t have to be a true beginner to take this class. Whether it’s a new camera, if you just replaced an older camera, been away from photography a while or just want to brush up on your skills the Phase I classes will be of great benefit to you!

My approach to showing you the basic functions and navigating the menus is practical. It’s my goal to have you feel confident in making manual settings adjustments.  Knowledge = power.

D-SLR camera control dials
The image shows the manual control features of a modern D-SLR camera body

The second Phase I class,

We’ll be reviewing the photos you’ve made after the first class, and I’ll provide feedback on those images. This way, we can gauge your understanding of your camera’s functions after the initial class. If we need to go back over any functions, or there is something your still unsure about, we’ll cover it all for you! I’ll briefly refresh you on the exposure triangle, introduce you to the different light metering modes and discuss what is the best lens to use for different situations.

Phase I – Level II Classes: Learning to Master Technique

So, the first (2)  Phase I – Level I beginners classes are extremely informative. There was a lot of time showing you all of the camera’s functions and the Exposure Triangle. There is still much to learn however, and it doesn’t all have to end after the beginners classes.  In fact, I provide (3) additional follow up Level II classes and allow YOU to pick your favorite subject or style of photography! I call these “Mastery of Techniques” Phase I – Level II Skill Enhancements.

They compliment the Phase I entry-level classes so nicely.  They are held outside, lasting just 2 hours 15 min. and priced at $150.00 each.  What you’ll really love is I allow YOU to pick your favorite subjects to shoot!  I’ll integrate your favorite style of photos into the classes, and show you hands-on how to make good decisions for aperture, shutter speeds or ISO settings you need to make to start taking really impressive images. Whatever you enjoy shooting, taking people pictures, street photography, buildings and architecture, or nature landscapes this is a great opportunity to continue enhancing your photography skills. (I do provide a bundle package of all 3 classes for just $389.00)

Keep scrolling down the page and I’ll provide more detailed information about my Phase I – Level II photography workshops.

Securing & Booking any Phase I Classes

The first step you need to take is to secure your time with me. Don’t worry about scheduling your class at the time of purchase! I’m flexible for scheduling most Saturdays and Sundays. You can pre-buy your workshops online by purchasing a Gift card/voucher, or contact me by email or phone and I can email you an invoice. Once you secure your class time, I’ll contact you and we’ll go over our schedules together to set time and date. In addition, we’ll also be able to speak to get a feel for your current skills before we get started.

To schedule a workshop you can also email me: Thom@ThomasSchoeller.Photography

Class Requirements

Connecticut beginner photography classes are strictly for DSLR & Mirrorless cameras with full manual exposure controls and interchangeable lenses. (No iPhone cameras, iPad cameras or compact consumer digital cameras)  You should bring your DSLR or Mirrorless camera, along with a lens, charged battery, memory cards and a healthy dose of enthusiasm!

If you would like to see examples of Thom’s best photographic imagery, check out his Gallery 

Phase I Classes from the Comfort of Home! 

It is possible I can travel to your location for any Phase I classes. I’ve done this in the past and it seems to work quite well! There are travel limitations with regards to mileage. I am usually comfortable driving within a 25-mile radius of New Milford, Ct.  To discover how far apart we are, please type the address: 37 Main Street New Milford,  into your device Map App.

Each travel to you class is $165.00 per person, last about 2.0 hours with a maximum of 4 people per class.

For additional information or to Pre-BOOK your class, please contact me and provide your address! This optional Phase I Beginners class must be paid for in full, in advance. I will email you an invoice for payment and confirmation of booking.

Please note, if you can get over 2 participants for this class I will apply a savings of $15.00 off for each of you.


Knowledge = Power.

  • The Exposure Triangle – A complicated relationship simplified
  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Metering Modes (spot-matrix-center priority)
  • Using the Histogram
  • Image Stabilization (VR-IOS)
  • Viewfinder Basics – TTL or EVF
  • Comparing Mirrorless and D-SLR
  • Image Quality Settings (RAW and JPEG)
  • Exposure Adjustments (+/-)
  • Cool filters for awesome effects

Phase I Entry Level Classes are strictly for DSLR & Mirrorless cameras with full manual exposure controls and interchangeable lenses. Please note that handheld devices and compact consumer digital cameras are not suitable. It’s always a best practice to bring a camera you’ll be using most frequently. This helps you remember what you’ve learned more easily. For your first entry-level class, be sure to bring the following items. Your camera body and any lenses, fully charged battery, a memory card and a dose of enthusiasm.

Don’t own a suitable camera just yet? No problem! I’ll be happy to book a special one-on-one consultation up to 45 minutes (weeknights) to help guide you to a good match. The cost is just $50.00. Simply email me and tell me you are looking to purchase a new camera system. Provide me with your name and contact information, and I can email an invoice to confirm your upcoming appointment. Once confirmed, we’ll set a time and date!

Level I – (beginners) classes are $150.00 and typically take 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Saturday morning workshops begin at 9:15 am. We’ll begin our second tier of scheduled classes at 12:45 pm if needed.  I conduct these workshops at a location in New Milford, Ct. After you book your class online, I’ll email you to confirm your appointment and provide the location address for navigation.

To schedule a workshop you can also email me: Thom@ThomasSchoeller.Photography

Phase II - Guided Connecticut Landscape Photography Workshops

Guided Intermediate Phase II Photography Workshops

After completing the Phase I Entry level class, this more Intermediate skill level guided outdoors workshop is the next phase.  If you are already well past basic skills, completing my entry level workshop is not a requirement. You must, however, meet the requirements listed below to take this workshop. You should be comfortable making manual exposure adjustments, change your light metering modes, manual focus, changing lenses, own polarizer & neutral density filters, and own a tripod. I am available to provide 1 on 1 advanced workshops at your request if you prefer a more private instructional experience.

Geared Towards Landscape Photography

Although my Phase II D-SLR Photography Workshops are oriented towards nature and landscape photography, what you learn, however, can be applied to any number of genres of photography.

This is a Hands-On outdoors workshop

And a wonderful follow-up to my beginner’s Level I workshops. Level II D-SLR Photography workshops are most frequently available on Saturdays or Sundays – by appointment only. It’s best to secure and purchase your Phase II workshops in advance.

At the time of purchasing your workshop space with me, don’t be concerned about the date and time just yet! First secure a space by purchasing a Gift Card/Voucher, then provide me with your contact information so I can reach out to you directly. When I call to speak with you shortly after you purchase a Phase II workshop, I will find what subject matter you prefer to shoot (I have many optional places in mind) and we’ll set up a time and date for your workshop!

I can accommodate up to 3-4 people for most Phase II workshops so please, don’t stress yourself over the dates and availability. I am quite flexible, and all it takes is a simple email or phone call.

Learning Advanced  Landscape Photo Techniques

The Level II D-SLR Photography Workshops are intended to cover advanced  landscape photography techniques while shooting in some pretty scenic locations. The idea is to help you get a beautiful wall-hanger from the images I help you take.

The Technical Aspect: 

I’ll be teaching you how to get an amazing depth of field in your images. By definition, that means sharp focus front to back. For creative effects, I’ll explain selective focus techniques with purposely out of focus areas. Ethereal movement, like the silky effect of water in motion in streams & waterfalls, is another technical trick.

I’ll show you how Neutral density filters are used for this amazing calming & creative technique. We will also explore by using different metering modes to get the best possible exposure for your subject. This is a way to manipulate the way the camera actually sees light. If we have the opportunity, I’ll show you how to create “sun stars” in your images. .

The Artistic Aspect:

If you request to expand further that technical aspects of photography, Phase II Photography Workshops can really expand upon your artistic vision and determine what elements make for better images. Most workshops don’t teach you this, and you’ll NEVER learn this from an online course!

You need to be outdoors, in the elements with real events happening around you. An experienced professional photographer on hand can inspire you to higher levels. I will teach you to SEE and understand visual design and create visual depth. Elements such as foreground, mid-ground, and background come into play. Then I’ll show you how to create an effective composition with those elements. Amazingly, lowering or raising your tripod 2 inches or tilting your camera body slightly can make a world of difference! It’s all about perspective.

The Secrets to a Successful Image

We’ll be exploring the color of light and how your light meter reads the scene. Understanding this helps you make better images. We’ll be modifying that light with various filters. Vertical and horizontal lines come into play with landscape images. You’ll learn which of them possess more energy and assertiveness in your imagery. An effective composition trick is finding gently curving lines that lead the eyes through the scene towards the subject. They convey gentleness and sensuality, peacefulness and an unhurried pace.

I’ll be explaining to you how the human brain scans the image & how the eyes focus on what seems interesting.  Similarly, another composing trick is using graphic elements within the scene to bounce eyes off. This allows the photographer a tool to invite the viewer back to explore further. Some colors that occur naturally work extremely well together. I’ll open your mind and eyes up to this secret world in the Level II workshops!

Start Times – We Go Out During The Best Light 

An early start is usually necessary to take advantage of the best lighting. Working those hours of the day provides optimal lighting for outdoor nature scenes. In essence, we can avoid harsh sunny mid-day lighting. If we get misty or foggy days or light rain that is great! I’ve spent 34+ years chasing bad weather to capture beautiful atmospheric conditions.

  • DOF – Depth of field, attaining sharp detail front to back
  • Selective Focus – Leave portions of your image out of focus (bokeh) to direct the viewer’s eyes where you want
  • Using Motion to Convey a feeling – How to capture that silky smooth ethereal effect in a stream or waterfall
  • Using different Metering Modes for dramatic effect – this allows you to preserve highlights or shadow details for a WOW effect
  • Sunstars – depending on your aperture blades, I’ll show you how to get this effect which can deliver awesome results
  • Your Artistic Vision – Allow me to expand upon your artistic vision and look for elements that make for better images. You won’t get this in an online course!
  • Effective Compositions- How to place elements of the scene in the viewfinder. Stronger images tell a story and hold onto viewers attention
  • Foreground, midground and background elements- This is how you build your scene and add dimension
  • The Essentials of Light- I’ll be teaching you about the appropriate lighting for the scene. Metering modes, and how your light meter perceives light is part of this lesson.
  • Leading Lines and Curves- the dynamics of a great image.
  • Colors affect the human eye and how we perceive a scene. Learn techniques to use these colors to your advantage.
  • a D-SLR camera body OR Mirrorless camera and lens
  • a Tripod (this is important for long exposures and composing)
  • Ability to manually change exposure settings
  • comfortable hiking shoes
  • screw on circular polarizer filter that fits your lens
  • bottled water and a snack for some nature hikes
  • 2 or 3 stop circular Neutral density filter for waterfall/stream photography helps if you have one!
  • Charged batteries and storage media!! CF or SD cards
  • Certainly, it’s a good idea to bring a Cleaning kit/Soft lens cloth and appropriate cleaning solution (just in case)
  • Bear spray is optional for nature hikes. I always carry my own.
  • Lastly, to participate in Phase II workshops you must be at least 18

This workshop requires a road trip and working in the field for several hours.

To schedule a workshop you can email me: Thom@ThomasSchoeller.Photography

Phase I - Level II Technique Classes - Follow up to beginners classes

Phase I – Level II  Technique Classes 

I’ve created a unique spin with my Phase I – Level II Photography classes once you complete the first (2) indoors beginners classes. If you feel comfortable with the exposure triangle and making exposure adjustments we can jump right in to the Level II technique classes.

I offer something really fun for the Level II classes, and that is I let YOU decide what subjects you like to photograph the most!  It can be subjects like people pictures, architecture, general travel photography, or even nature landscapes. The idea is to be very specific to help you make better photos of the things that mean the most to you!

As with all my classes and workshops, it’s always best to purchase a Gift Card/Voucher in advance online, or email me directly so I can send you an invoice. Don’t stress about what dates or times are available when purchasing your voucher/gift card. I have a flexible schedule and it’s very rare when I can’t get you the first weekend date you’re looking for.  Just be sure to provide me with your contact information, and let me know what class or workshop you want to take. I’ll contact you to work out all the details and schedule a Saturday or Sunday class! (I offer the option to bundle purchase all 3 Techniques classes for just $389.00 – Please Contact me)

Level II classes

What we do is work on mastering the exposure triangle settings and tailor it to what you like to shoot the most. Either Shutter speed or Aperture is selected for your first Phase I Techniques class skill enhancement. The photograph below is a sample of using a slow (longer) shutter speed to capture ethereal water flow along a stream. As you see, shooting hand held with your cameras settings set to “auto” will NEVER deliver such amazing results. This is just one sample of shutter speed changes can deliver cool effects.

Really FAST shutter speeds freeze motion and prevent blurry images. This may be very important to you for any number of reasons. So we’ll spend a full 2 hours working on getting you to understand how shutter speeds effect your photos.

Using long exposure to create an ethereal artistic scene
An example of using a long exposure to capture beautiful ethereal results

We may decide that Aperture is the starting point for your Level II Techniques classes. Aperture settings control how much of your image (close to far away) you want to be in sharp focus. This is Depth of Field.

Taking people pictures for example (OK, lets call them portraits) requires critical aperture settings to make beautiful images!  The secret here is learning to select the right perspective (lens focal length) and combine it with the distance to elements behind your subject that would distract from the photograph. You need your subject to be sharp, and the background should not distract the viewer’s eyes away from the subject of the portrait.

The example below depicts a close Lilac photo with a classic white steepled church in the background. The church was purposely left blurred by choosing a wide open aperture. This is often called selective focus. We can spend an entire 2 hour class on selecting the right aperture settings to deliver the results you need to make better images of the subjects you love most!

Selective focus with smooth bokeh
Learn how to use selective focus and soft bokeh effects to make creative photographs

By default, ISO settings will come into play when changing shutter speed or aperture settings. (remember that exposure TRIANGLE?)  So you’ll get some coverage on ISO (light sensitivity) during both the shutter speed or aperture phase I outdoors technique classes.

The final (3rd) Phase I technique class is optional, and we’ll mostly focus on your camera’s LIGHT METER settings. This is so often an overlooked aspect of photogaphy, and one of the mysteries when people are puzzled why their pictures suck so badly. You camera body has either 3 or 4 different meter settings, each one effects the final outcome of the image.

I feel it’s best to hold off on the meter settings until after you comprehend the exposure triangle, ISO, aperture and shutter speed. Again, I’ll work with your favorite subjects and adapt how you can use the camera’s metering to take the most effective pictures possible.

The simple Black & White photo below depicts the use of a Spot Meter where I wanted to preserve highlights in the scene and render the shadowy areas pure black. The details in the highlights were critical since the bar was a historic Flatiron NYC icon and they still use ancient antique fixtures and registers. Had I selected Matrix Metering, too much detail in the shadows would have rendered this a flat, lifeless image.

Proper light metering to protect highlights - TS Photography workshops

To view examples of Thom’s best nature imagery, please take a look at his online Galleries

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Connecticut DSLR & D-Mirrorless Photography workshops | Entry level and Intermediate | Learn manual exposure controls | Advanced Techniques | The Art of Photography from a qualified experienced professional

Learn to SEE, Visual Design, Effective compositions, Be ExpressiveDefine With Light

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