Sunday, April 15, 2012

Go Back to Basics: Photography 101 by Sir Nicolay


Music: Gotye (Shuffled Albums)

I started taking interest in Photography just roughly about 5 to 6 years ago. I needed something to do with my seemingly free time back then and since I already loved looking at great pictures (landscape and concert/event pictures), might as well try to take them myself. So I saved up for what was a good camera for a beginner (and what my savings could go for – thanks Mom for throwing half of the camera’s price in too haha).

I toyed with the camera at first and read a bunch of basic photography articles online. Tried most of the suggestions, made use of the manual settings, understood a thing or two about the camera, framing, lighting, angles and whatnot. After sometime, with a lot of things going on, I made that colossal mistake of putting my DSLR on automatic mode. Yes I call it colossal because if I am to use a DSLR for automatic mode, I should have just gotten a point and shoot and got away from it.

You see kids, having a DSLR does not make you a good photographer; good, even great pictures do not just come from great cameras. No matter how expensive your camera maybe, if you do not know its settings, its mode and if you do not exhaust all that your expensive DSLR can offer, you would not get that perfect picture you always aim for (with end quality in mind). You always have to have the basics.

For me photography is like learning how to write. If you do not know the letters, you will not be able to write. So learning the basics and strengthening the foundation in Photography is as important as learning your ABC’s. Yes, you maybe more creative or artistic than me but without your must needed basics, pictures would not go that far.

A few months back, I decided to try to get into a community of bloggers and I got in When In Manila (read through http://www.wheninmanila.com). I posted two articles already in there check out:



But the events that usually get my attention needs a good writer-photographer and that is always a set back for me. I know I can take okay pictures but I know it is not that great in terms of promotional articles. So when an opportunity to take photography classes was opened up for us, I grabbed it right away.

Last March 18, 2012 – I got in my first ever Photography class by no other than Sir Nicolay. Going back to my colossal mistake, automatic mode on DSLR – yikes. It took me years to finally get into a class. Yes I made a lot of excuses, that classes are expensive, that I can learn what these teachers could teach me online, that I do not have time for it, that I am okay enough as a photographer and the list could go on and on. But his classes are just the opposite of those excuses.

1.  That the classes offered are NOT expensive: If you can drink a cup of Starbucks coffee (whatever variation) for 5 days straight or eat out with Php 200 pesos per meal of whatever costly thing you do on daily basis, you can get into his basic photography class with change. Its only for Php 850.00 per class.

2.  That I can learn a lot of things in class than just reading articles: Sir Nicolay’s approach is very much a yes or no kind of teaching. You are thought of what you ought to know, things are explained properly, and there are no other classy ways in teaching. You ask, he answers spot on. There are no confusing matters in his class. His classes are very much hands on. it is always a small class so that he could give enough time to everyone when teaching.

3.  That I can always make time for the classes: if you can sit on your couch for 4 hours watching your precious TV Series, you can have time taking his classes. I promise it is very informative and interactive.

All my excuses just got flushed in the drain when I took Sir Nicolay’s photography class that day and it is all worth it.

So put your hesitations aside, take a leap. Stop saying that “I will do that someday”. Just go do it. Take Sir Nicolay’s class if you are photography enthusiast. Throw your excuses away and take a class. You will learn a lot and you will never try to put that AUTOMATIC MODE ever again. (or maybe on some occasions). Do not put your precious DSLR actuations to waste on automatic mode. You didn’t pay for those.

If you want to know more about Sir Nicolay’s photography classes check him out here:


The basics:
Price: Php 850.00 per class 

Classes offered:

1.   BASIC DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
 (3 hours and 30 min. in U.P. Diliman)
* Required Materials: Any Digital Camera, Notebook, Writing Materials

* Keynote on Nature of Photography
* Qualities of Good Photographs
* Getting to Know Your Camera
* Basic Photography Techniques and Tips
* Hands-on Training

2.    PORTRAITS 101 (PEOPLE PHOTOGRAPHY)
(3 hours in UP Diliman)
*Required Materials: Any Digital Camera, Notebook, Writing Materials
* Requirements: Attended the Basic Digital Photography Class
or if you already have more than 6 Months of Photography Experience elsewhere
* Descriptions and Types of Portraits
* Ideal Camera Settings
* How to Work with Models
* Hands-on Training and Critiquing

3.   STILL LIFE & LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY
(3 hours in UP Diliman)
* Required Materials: Any Digital Camera, Notebook, Writing Materials
* Requirements: Attended the Basic Digital Photography Class
or if you already have more than 6 Months of Photography Experience elsewhere
* Descriptions of Still Life Photography and Landscape Photography
* Ideal Camera Settings
* Hands-on Training and Critiquing

4.   ADVANCED EDITING: RAW & HDR
(3 hours in UP Diliman)
*Required Materials: any DSLR Camera, Laptop
*Requirements: Attended the Basic Digital Photography, Natural Editing Class
or if you already have more than 6 Months of Photography Experience elsewhere
* Hands-on Shooting in RAW mode: Manual Bracketing
* Descriptions of Raw and HDR Imaging
* Hands-on Training: HDR, Pseudo-HDR, and Exposure Blending

5.   BLACK AND WHITE
(3 hours in UP Diliman)
*Required Materials: any DSLR Camera, Laptop
*Requirements: Attended the Basic Digital Photography, Natural Editing Class
or if you already have more than 6 Months of Photography Experience elsewhere
* Principles of Black and White Photography
* Hands-on Shooting in RAW mode
* Hands-on Training: Post-processing of Black and White Photos
* Critiquing of Photos

6.   OUTDOOR / STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
(3 hours in UP Diliman)
* Required Materials: Any Digital Camera, Notebook, Writing Materials
* Requirements: Attended the Basic Digital Photography Class
or if you already have more than 6 Months of Photography Experience elsewhere
*Nature Photography: Animals, Plants, Beaches, Mountains Photography
* City/Street Photography: Architecture Interior/Exterior Structures, Street Life, City Events, Parades, Fireworks, etc.
* Hands-on Training and Critiquing


Sir Nicolay is one of the best teachers one could ask for. I can attest to that. I tend to ask a lot of questions on things (trust me my grad school professors would confirm) and would say how I view things (mostly if I disagree or explanation got a little confusing). But when you take his class, everything is taught well and clear. All you have to do is have an open mind about it. So take the classes, you know you want to.



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