You may think you’re ready for summer’s visits and memories because plans are made and you have an SLR (single-lens reflex) digital camera. But do you know how to capture that wow sunset, the breathtaking light radiating through a forest’s canopy or your wide-eyed youngsters zooming down an amusement park ride? Perfect album or online-sharing photo ops are out there if you know the right camera settings for light and speed and understand how to capture long-distance scenes and close-ups. They might be even better if you knew how to frame a shot and add perspective and interest with objects and shadows. Here are five classes, ranging from camera basics to shooting on location and editing, that will help you capture special moments and places.

Introduction To Digital Camera And Computer 
The Art Center Highland Park (Formerly Suburban Fine Art Center)
1957 Sheridan Road
Highland Park, IL 60035
(847) 432-1888

Date: Begins July 1, 2013, eight weeks

The Art Center (TAC) has several excellent summer photography classes such as Photoshop Elements, Urban Location Photography and Digital Techniques/Landscapes and Natural Environments. Click here to see those classes. However, Introduction To Digital Camera And Computer may be for you if you want an after-work class that helps you understand your camera’s capability and also how digital pictures can be edited on a computer using Photoshop and Adobe Bridge.

Shooting On Location
Beverly Arts Center
2407 W. 111th St.
Chicago, IL 60655
(773) 445-3838

Date: June 15 through Aug. 17, 2013

Become acquainted with two turn-of-the-last-century Chicago neighborhoods on the city’s far southwest side with the Beverly Arts Center’s (BAC) Shooting on Location class. You shoot primarily in the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park neighborhoods where you learn the best settings to take images under different lighting circumstances. Beverly, an area of large homes on Chicago’s highest land, hosts the popular South Side Irish Parade. Abutting Beverly to the South, Morgan also features large homes, BAC and an historic train station. To see other BAC Digital Art and Film classes, click here.



Lighting Fundamentals
School of the Art Institute of Chicago
36 S. Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 629-6100

Date: July 8 through Aug. 7, Monday-Wednesday

Lighting Fundamentals is for you if you have digital SLR experience and are ready to think about how an image may be more interesting with shadows and how you can adapt to almost any lighting situation. You will work with indoor lights, metering and the light conditions outdoors. Even though you would be a non-credit student, you will have access to the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) and be taught by SAIC faculty. Courses are limited to 14 students to match computers used for editing and printing.



Digital Photography
Oakton Community College
7701 N. Lincoln Ave.
Skokie, IL 60077

1600 E. Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016
(847) 635-1600

Date: Skokie, June 10 through July 15, 2013, Des Plaines June 11 through July 16, 2013

Oakton Community College offers several online photography courses but to work onsite, hands-on with a professional photographer, take Digital Photography at either the Skokie or Des Plaines campus. The course guides you through the intricacies of digital photography and editing software to achieve desired results. It covers everything on the camera from settings and lighting to shutter and aperture control and explains how editing enhances images. To find the course after clicking on the website, type in photography. To learn more about the course, click on the fee and then the magnifying glass when it appears.

Related: Best Places For Computer Classes in Chicago

Tram Photo Safari
School of the Chicago Botanic Garden
1000 Lake Cook Road
Glencoe, IL 60022
(847) 835-5440

Date: June 8, 2013

Catching dappled light and wild flowers in the woods or a heron by an island can be a great photo. In Tram Photo Safari, a one-time morning class at the School of the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG), you are accompanied by a professional photographer who will give photo tips and individualized help. A tripod is suggested. However, if that date doesn’t work for you, take a free photo walk the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. with a GBC photographer. Click here for each month’s meeting place.

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Jodie Jacobs is a veteran journalist who loves writing about Chicago, art, theater, museums and travel. Her work can be found on