- Outline a Script
- Use Props
- Look Them in the Eye (Audience Contact)
- Be Structured But Informal (Relax!)
- Record Excellent Audio (Mics)
- Call to Action (Assignments, Subscriptions)
- 5 Tips for More Professional-Looking Videos
- How To Use Your Camera As a Webcam
- What Is a Camera Cage?
- Types of Microphones for Vlogging
- How To Edit Videos Like a Pro
- Lighting Options for Recording Video at Home
photo by coffeekai via iStock
I enjoy the art and craft of photography and videography. A joy shared is a joy multiplied so for several years I have taught others photography in groups and one on one, in person and online.
Teaching photography through teaching online photography classes is an exciting way to share knowledge and inspiration and can also provide us with an extra income stream.
How to Teach Photography Online
photo by JPWALLET via iStock
Teaching photography online is a fairly straightforward operation open to all sorts of photographers from all the various fields and sub genres of photography. I teach beginner to advanced landscape and real estate photography as well as various tutorials on editing for still images and videography.
Here are a few of the methods, techniques, and tips for teaching photography online I have learned:
Outline a Script
photo by innovatedcaptures via iStock
You may want to write out a full script or just an outline of one, but teaching photography in any form works best with a plan of what to discuss decided on ahead of time. Think of it as a lesson plan for a teacher, since that’s what you are, a teacher of photography.
Whether teaching photography online or in person, a clear plan of action for us as the teacher is vital for student development and enjoyment. Having the student enjoy the class is a key factor in motivating them to subscribe to our online photography classes. The student also benefits in that most people learn better if the class is fun.
So let your personality shine through as you provide focused instruction. Ad libs are fine, they often make the point better than our carefully structured first draft of a script, but we want to maintain the theme of the class presented, otherwise the students may lose focus themselves and derive no real benefit from our depth of technical and artistic experience and talent.
Which is why I like to craft an outline instead of a word for word rendition and then rehearse it before I record or go on Zoom, Facetime, or Teams. My rehearsal with the outline almost always shows me where I need to either add in something as I ad lib, or when to remove parts that bog down the flow.
My final script outline is very fleshed out and I will read some important parts word for word. In terms of style, we probably want a balance somewhere between Robin Williams stream of consciousness and a tightly produced performance of Othello.
photo by RichVintage via iStock
If I were teaching photography in a classroom, I might have a projector set up or maybe a dry erase board to illustrate the points I’m teaching that session. A picture paints a thousand words is the timeless adage, an illustration explained creates a lasting memory.
What props can we use? A camera, of course, or some other photographic or video gear we’re demonstrating such as a studio light, video slider, GND filter kit, or an external mic. That dry erase board we have can be used for difficult to demonstrate ideas such as depth of field, magnification ratios, or the Sunny 16 Rule.
We might want to show some of our own photography to illustrate composition techniques or apparent perspective. If we do this, be sure that the picture enlargement is big enough to show the idea we’re presenting. Teaching photography online via a streaming service might give us options for sharing our screen, or we can edit a file into our video if recording for YouTube or some other platform.
Look Them in the Eye
In public speaking courses, this is known as audience contact. Presenting online photography classes, I call it looking at the lens. Engaging the student personally is simple to do in person, just look at them. Teaching online photography classes, you don’t have a student personally right there, but talking directly into the lens accomplishes the eye contact you want.
But, if we’re reading from a script or consulting a detailed outline, how do we maintain eye contact? Same way TV news people do it, teleprompters. If you have a camera and a smartphone, you can use a teleprompter designed by Ikan, the Homestream Smartphone Teleprompter HS-Prompter-RL.
This teleprompter uses your own smartphone or small tablet to enable you to read your script or outline as you look directly at the lens. Even if your script is read word for word. The naturalness of the playback is outstanding when you use a teleprompter. There is a bluetooth remote control that works with the app to let you control the scrolling or you can set it up to crawl automatically at various speeds.
Ikan Corp is always at the top of my short list for videography accessories. They design and make their own gear, so you can find high end equipment at midrange prices. It’s all designed by people who are videographers and photographers themselves, so the features and tools are just what’s needed.
Be Structured But Informal
photo by Jovanmandic via iStock
This is one of the tips for teaching photography that works online or in person, in a group setting or one on one. It goes back to the script outline and ties in with using a teleprompter in that we won’t lose our train of thought but the student still feels a connection.
If you can do some form of live classroom such as streaming, you could even open up to questions and answers. Be prepared to be stunned, some students will have quite interesting questions.
If they’re paying for your online photography classes, their questions will likely be on point, so don’t worry too much about being thrown a curve. Stick to your time schedule if you use Q&A sessions, some subject matter might need more detailed instruction at a later time.
Record Excellent Audio
This applies to live streaming, too. If the audio from your end is low quality, your students may not enjoy the presentation and they aren’t likely to return. The solution is simple, external microphones.
The built-in mics of our DSLR and mirrorless cameras simply don’t compete with adding external mics. Simple solutions are a camera or camera cage mounted shotgun mic, wired or wireless lavaliers worn on your person, or a boom mic, all of which can also be found made by Ikan Corp.
Editing audio properly for prerecorded online photography classes is a good skill to learn. If you can edit visual art, stills or video, you have the mindset needed for audio editing. You can even do it with some of the same programs for video editing you’re already using, since most of them are A/V editors, A/V standing for Audio/Video.
Call to Action
photo by shironosov via iStock
Though the phrase call to action is used in marketing, it applies equally to instruction. If you are charging adequately for your online photography classes, it works for both.
A call to action to get people to come back to you for more instruction can be as simple as urging the student to subscribe to your channel. If you ask for email addresses, that asking is a call to action, too, that can be used to inform former students of new classes.
Another form of call to action that I like to use teaching photography is to outline an assignment for the student to put into practice what they learned. These further learning or homework assignments will help the student to grow and will cement your value as an instructor in their minds, leading to referrals and repeat enrollments.
Share Your Skill and Talent
photo by JPWALLET via iStock
Any photographer or videographer that has any success as an artist or business owner has a valuable commodity for others. Share your art and craft skill and experience as a teacher with an online photography class of your own.