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Understanding Your Digital Mirrorless or SLR Camera

2 Session Weekend Studio Arts Workshop

2 sessions from August 7 to August 14, 2021
Code: 1V00RN
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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By Eliot Cohen

NOTE: Registration will close for this program at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, August 6, 2021.

Photographers who want better picture quality and more control of the process are moving away from their phones to either digital SLRs or mirrorless cameras. Both provide a full range of ISO, shutter, and aperture controls, which makes the process of taking pictures much more interesting, and provides results that are clearer, sharper, and enriched with more delicate tones and colors.

Learning to use an SLR or mirrorless camera is not complicated. During the first session, features such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and depth of field are described and illustrated. Participants learn how to control them on their cameras. Screen sharing over Zoom should make everyone’s camera accessible. The instructor’s notes and illustrations will describe most cameras. Shooting modes such as shutter and aperture priority will be demonstrated and students guided in their use. Technical information on resolution, raw vs. jpeg files, white balance and auto focus modes are also covered.

Between sessions, students are encouraged to do some shooting on their own (the instructor will offer some suggestions). A selection of photos can be uploaded before the second session, which will feature a conversation over Zoom about everyone’s photos and the choices made in the field. Gentle suggestions for possible improvement will be offered. Some additional concepts will be introduced in the second session.

The class is suitable for anyone with a digital SLR or mirrorless camera who wants a solid introduction to its features and potential. We’ll share our screens using Zoom. The instructor has illustrated notes for most camera types with the specific settings we’ll be looking for. To enhance the screen sharing experience, class size is limited to 7 participants.

Note: This streamed program will not be recorded.

Other Information

  • The instructor is Eliot Cohen.
  • 2 sessions, 3.5 hours each
  • This studio arts program is a Zoom Meeting to allow for patron and instructor interaction.

Patron Information

  • If you register multiple individuals, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses so they can receive a Zoom link email. Please note that if there is a change in program schedule or a cancellation, we will notify you via email, and it will be your responsibility to notify other registrants in your group.
  • Unless otherwise noted, registration for streaming programs typically closes two hours prior to the start time on the date of the program.
  • Once registered, patrons should receive an automatic email confirmation from
  • Separate Zoom link information will be emailed closer to the date of the program. If you do not receive your Zoom link information 24 hours prior to the start of the program, please email Customer Service for assistance.
  • View Common FAQs about our Streaming Programs on Zoom.