The Digital Photographer's Journey

A tailored course of individual instruction at your own pace

If you want to take your photography to the next level, this approach is for you. Working individually through in-person lessons with Mark Holmes, you will complete the course at your own pace. Course materials and an online photo gallery are provided where you can upload images for review. Each student follows a different lesson plan depending on their photography goals and experience.

Become a Deliberate Photographer

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

Typical 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.

The cost of classes are:

  • $85 per hour when booked individually
  • $75 per hour for 10 hours paid for in advance
  • $65 per hour for 20 hours paid for in advance

Recent Reviews

"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

"I honestly cannot say enough about how much Mark has helped me grow in my photography skills. When I started the Digital Photographer's Journey with him at the beginning of the year, I had already started my photography business, so I was pretty well versed with my camera and shooting in manual mode. But I learned much more than I could have expected about my camera and how to shoot better images compositionally and with correct exposure. The one-on-one mentoring was specifically tailored to my needs and what I was trying to achieve with my photography and my business. We set out goals to achieve during this journey and throughout my time with him, he ensured I was on track to achieve them and helped me in areas I needed extra support so that I could reach them. We covered everything from flash photography and capturing long exposure landscapes with neutral density filters, to indoor and macro photography, and everything in between. It truly took my photography to a new level and I'm so appreciative of the time I had with him on the Photographer's Journey."

Andora Photography

Graduate, The Photographer's Journey