Small Product Photography

This class is aimed at artists, dealers, collectors, or anybody who needs to create catalog pictures for sale on websites such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Google, Squarespace etc.

This digital photography class teaches you how to light your subjects and set your camera to take clear and descriptive pictures that sell. It includes tips on processing files for displaying on the web.

  • How do you take professional-looking photographs of items such as glassware, jewelry, hardware items, clothing accessories, and art pieces for marketing purposes? 

  • What equipment do you need for product photography to get the best out of your camera?

  • How do you process picture files for display on websites such as Ebay and Craigslist or your own company website?

These questions are answered in this two-hour digital photography class held at DK3 Studios in Sorrento Valley. It is suitable for new or experienced digital photographers. Class materials including Mark's teaching notes will be made available as a PDF file to attendees.

  • Taking professional quality photos will increase your sales.

  • Being self-reliant for your product photos will reduce your costs.

  • Lighting your products properly will make them pop out of the page.

  • Showing more detail in your pictures will attract more buyers.

  • Taking sharp pictures with good color will show off your product's features.

If you sell your products through catalogs, brochures, or on the web, you'll know that good photographs are essential for showing off your products in a way that attracts buyers. You need pctures that allow potential customers to see clearly what they will be buying. In order to achieve this, photos need to be well composed, sharply focused, free from camera shake, properly exposed, properly lit, and contain realistic color. It is the aim of this workshop to give you the tools you need to become self-reliant for all your basic product photography needs, so that you can respond quickly when you have a new product to display online or in your next catalog.

Subjects include:

  • Getting familiar with equipment

  • Shooting with strobes and constant lighting

  • Shooting with a tethered camera

  • Lighting your subjects

  • Dealing with shadows

  • Working with glass and reflective subjects

  • Metering your subject

  • Setting exposures manually

  • Exposing high key and low key subjects

  • Obtaining the sharpest images

  • Neutralizing color tints

  • Post-processing tips

  • Processing for websites or Ebay

The workshop consists of one  two-hour  session.

Studio Lighting Introduction

Studio Lighting Introduction

The studio lighting workshop is ideal for experienced photographers who wish to investigate through hands-on demonstration the equipment options and techniques used in studio photography.

This digital photography class investigates the equipment, terminology, and techniques of portrait studio lighting.

  • What are the otions available for building my studio?

  • What equipment do I need?

  • How do I position my lights to get the results I want?

If you are thinking of setting up your own studio or you are interested in how professional photographers use studio lighting, this workshop is for you. At the end of the class you will have gained knowledge of all the key tools and how they are employed in a portrait studio.

Subjects include:

  • Backgrounds

  • Lightstands

  • Continuous v. strobe lighting

  • Using reflectors

  • Light modifiers, umbrellas and softboxes

  • Placing key light, fill light, hair light, rim light, background light and kickers

  • Gels

  • Flash metering

  • Camera positioning

  • Camera settings

  • Portrait lenses

The workshop consists of one  two-hour  session.

Digital Photography Basics

Digital Photography Basics

Learn the techniques of taking great pictures - a two hour class for beginners

The first workshop in the series of becoming a better digital photographer, this workshop teaches you to understand light and control your camera out of full auto.

This two-hour classs on DSLR photography is held regularly in San Diego. It is suitable for digital photographers who may be new to DSLRs or who would like to understand how to take better pictures with their camera. It is a practical class and usually takes place in Balboa park. All camera classes are kept small, with a mximum of ten attendees, though usually fewer, and all DSLRs are welcome. Users of mirrorless or micro 4:3 cameras will also find this class useful.

  • Getting to know your DSLR allows you to use it to its full potential.
  • Setting your camera for different light situations increases the number of successful shots you take.
  • Knowing about the rules of composition will help you take better pictures.

Your camera does not see the world like you do. Taking great pictures involves using your camera’s characteristics to compose and capture images with emotion. This two-hour workshop will teach you to see the world how your camera sees it and shows you how to compose powerful images.

Subjects include:

  • How your camera sees and how it affects your pictures
  • Working with light
  • Composing pictures
  • Choosing a file setting (JPEG quality and size, TIFF, RAW)
  • Safe lens handling
  • Holding your camera
  • Setting vibration reduction (image stabilization)
  • Reviewing your shots
  • Deleting images from your camera
  • Getting to know scene controls and Programmed Auto

Workshop format

This is a two-hour workshop. We will meet in fun locations around San Diego with a range of shooting subjects. Each workshop starts with an explanation of the lesson plan, in which we discuss what we are trying to achieve that day. We will then all work on a number of practical exercises with short breaks for explanation and summaries. At the end of the workshop we will come together to discuss what we have learned. The workshop is based on the contents of Digital SLR eLearning Kit For Dummies with additional exercises and information. Class sizes are small to enhance your learning experience.

Learning Your Mirrorless Camera

Learning Your Mirrorless Camera

Note: Although all Mark Holmes Photography DSLR workshops are suitable for users of mirrorless cameras, this workshop is specific to mirrorless cameras by Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and Nikon. Users of DSLRs should not register for this workshop.

The mirrorless camera workshop is aimed at new and experienced digital photographers who want to get to know more about shooting with a mirrorless camera. This format of camera is similar to a DSLR, but uses an electronic viewfinder in place of a traditional mirror-based optical viewfinder. These cameras produce excellent results, while generally being less bulky and lighter than a DSLR. Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, and Nikon have all produced excellent mirrorless cameras with sensor sizes ranging from micro 4:3 to full frame.

The Learning Your Mirrorless Camera workshop is ideal for owners of:

  • Sony Alpha series cameras
  • Panasonic  DMC Series cameras
  • Olympus OMD Series cameras
  • Nikon 1 Series cameras

If you just bought a new mirrorless camera or received one as a gift, this workshop is a great way to discover the many features of your camera while learning to take better pictures.

  • How do I capture good pictures with my mirrorless camera?

  • How do I use the different settings available?

  • How do I capture portraits, action, landscape and low light pictures?

These questions are answered in this two-hour digital photography class held in Balboa Park, San Diego.

The workshop is hands on with exercises in adjusting and using your mirrorless camera for different types of shot. At the end of the class you will have gained knowledge of all the key tsettings in your camera.

Subjects include:

  • Camera setup

  • Shooting modes

  • Viewfinder displays

  • Histogram

  • Focusing on faces, still subjects and, moving subjects

  • Freezing and blurring action shots

  • Controlling depth-of-field for portraits and landscapes

  • Shooting in dark and bright places

  • Adjusting for strong shadows and backlit subjects

  • Adjusting white balance, colors, and art modes

The workshop consists of one  two-hour  session.

The Digital Photographer's Journey

A unique opportunity to learn with San Diego's renowned photography instructor in group sessions, individual sessions, and  one-on-one mentoring.

Today, everyone is a photographer. We all carry iPhones or smart devices that have no trouble capturing sharp clear pictures. The average amateur will take their camera to the top of a hill and capture a picture of the beautiful scene below them. They will later show that picture to a friend while saying, “The picture doesn’t do it justice.” It is not the camera that failed the picture, but the photographer.

An accidental photographer might take 1000 images. Three of those images could be incredible. They are indeed excellent images, but the photographer does not know how they got them or how to repeat them.

Our camera is not a magic box. We need to learn to see the world the way our camera sees, so that we can use it to its best advantage. To take great pictures, we need to have a vision and know how to interpret LIGHT, COMPOSITION, and TECHNIQUE in the camera to achieve that vision. I call this being a deliberate photographer.

As a deliberate photographer, compelling images are no longer the result of a happy accident. You will have learned to manipulate your medium to create art that satisfies you and belongs to you alone.

For over ten years, people have been attending my individual workshops and learning about their camera and techniques. For people who want a complete grounding in digital photography, I am inviting you to commit 24 hours on a journey to learn or improve your digital photography skills. This is a journey we will undertake together, with group and individual instruction, exercises, and practice in the beautiful scenery of San Diego.

I have had the honor of mentoring hundreds of photographers during ten years in business running my own photography school. Whether you are a beginner or accomplished amateur, you will benefit from this course.  Come and join me!

Mark Holmes

Further Information

Subjects covered include:

Getting to Know Your Camera Controls & Menus

Understanding Light and Dynamic Range

Understanding and Mastering Exposure

Working with Lenses, Focus, and Filters

Shooting Manually and Working with Color

Capturing Landscapes & Seascapes

Using On- and Off-Camera Flash

Capturing Natural Light Portraits

Capturing Events and Fast Action

Low Light Photography

Post-Processing Tips & Tricks

Organizing and Publishing Your Photos

Understanding Light and Dynamic Range

Photography means “writing with light.” The camera is not able to see the same extended range of visible light that we see with our eyes.

In this session, we gain a thorough understanding of how to judge what light works well for the camera and how to use light to create pictures that pop. We investigate the tools within the camera that help us judge whether or not we have captured an image successfully.

Understanding and Mastering Exposure

We investigate the three well-known elements of control of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, learn how to decide on the best settings, and adjust them when the camera gets it wrong. How we use equivalent exposures is a key technique in creating images with different looks.

Working with Lenses, Focus & Filters

Focus is critical. Not only do we want to achieve a sharp, clear picture, but focus also tells the story of what the image is about. We will learn to use all the features in our camera to focus in many different situations.

Being able to change lenses on a camera brings a whole new level of creativity to our photography. We will investigate different lenses in different situations and how they can dramatically alter the look of an image.

We will discuss lenses for different sensor sizes and manufacturer, to help decide whether we have the right lens for what we like to shoot. We will also introduce filters that can be used for different effects.

Shooting Manually and Working With Color

Your camera doesn’t always get exposure correct when shooting automatically. We will learn to do our own thinking by shooting manually

Using On and Off Camera Flash

Flash is not just something you turn on to take pictures in a dark room. Flash is an amazingly creative tool when used correctly. We will learn the theory of flash and apply it in fill flash and flash lighting situations.

Capture Sessions

We will apply the techniques we have learned in specific classes and combine them with composition advice in sessions for landscapes, portraits, low light, nature, and fast-paced event shooting. These are guaranteed to be fun and take place in multiple San Diego locations.

Capture sessions are essential for reinforcing the techniques you have learned on your digital photographer’s journey, while adding knowledge specific to different types of shooting.


We will spend time investigating post-processing software and editing your pictures using professional techniques.

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Registration Details

Some classes may be conducted in small groups, but many times your sessions will be spent with Mark Holmes on a one-on-one basis. Sessions take place in Balboa Park or other locations in San Diego suitable to the subject matter. Each session typically lasts two hours, after which you will be emailed course notes, a checklist of achievements, and homework to complete before our next session. The completed course lasts 24 hours and is usually spread out over 12 two-hour sessions. These sessions can be completed at your own pace and conveience and your registration is valid for one year from the date of registration.

Mark Holmes Photography classes and workshops are for adults only. Children under 18 years old cannot attend classes. Although Mark Holmes has taught photography in San Diego for over ten years, it should be noted that these classes are for photography enthusiasts wishing to acquire or improve their photography skills. This business is not an accredited university and does not offer academic qualifications in photography.

Please don't hesitate to call or contact Mark Holmes Photography with questions about The Photographer's Journey. Due to the tailored and personal nature of this course, it is not advisable to sign up without first discussing your needs and expectations.

Purchase a registration ticket below to begin your Digital Photographer's Journey.


From a recent student:

"As a photography enthusiast of over 40 years, the absolute smartest thing I have ever done to improve my skill and deepen my love for the art of photography is sign up for The Photographer’s Journey with Mark Holmes Photography.  

Mark begins your photographer’s journey where your current skill leaves off.  Every minute spent working with him improves your knowledge, skill and appreciation for main components of this art- light, composition, and technique.  What equipment you have doesn’t matter.  What skill level you have doesn’t matter.  All that matters is your journey!

Whether one-on-one or in small groups, each class is a journey in itself.  Each blends instruction with application, experimentation and feedback to maximize your learning curve.  

Want to be a better photographer no matter where you are starting from?  Take the Photographer’s Journey with Mark Holmes!"

K.J. Koljonen

Graduate, The Photographer's Journey