This course challenged me to go deeper into the art of photography, to seek out what has heart and meaning. A great mentor is an invaluable asset!
~ Kathy Karn
Your Craft Matters.
3 Making The Image Videos
These videos are a chance to see the creative process from start to finish, and to see the failures, sketch images, and near misses along the way. Sit down with me as I walk you through the making of 3 of my favourite photographs and discuss every decision, every why, and every how.
You can master this craft faster with greater depth and focus, so you can get on with what you really want to be doing: expressing your vision by making stronger photographs.
Master Your Craft is a 16-Lesson course designed to get you thinking differently about your photography, then getting you out of your head and practicing the craft intentionally. Initially offered in 2016 as The Vision Collective, this course has already helped over 8,000 students get further down the path to mastery, making better, more intentional photographs, and finding greater joy and creative freedom.
16 Great Lessons
Focused lessons to give you new insights and tools for making stronger photographs.
01 Forget the Rules
02 Subject & Seduction
03 Indecent Exposures
04 Master Your Optics
05 Present & Receptive
06 Learning to See The Light
07 Abstracts & The Poetic
08 Constrain Your Creativity
09 Exploration & Expression
10 Deeper Frames
11 Getting Dynamic
12 Mood & Emotion
13 Study Your Work
14 Critique & Assessment
15 Bodies of Work
16 Powerful Creative Exercises
This is a practical hands-on course. If we could learn by reading, and not by doing, we'd all be Ansel Adams by now.
Each lesson comes with actionable steps to take you further into your craft. This is not a course that you read but a course that you do and the Your Practice sections in each lesson are your chance to find and explore your own ways of engaging this craft.
16 chances to Go Deeper. Each lesson ends with links to further resources, articles and videos to take your study deeper.
Study The Masters
Learn to make better photographs by studying better photographs
I believe one of the best ways to learn to make more captivating, more compelling, photographs is to study more photographs with those qualities, not just look at them and nod our heads, but to really experience them, to read them, and then to learn from them.
Study the Masters is part of all 16 lessons of Master Your Craft, a chance for you to be introduced to photographers who have made (and many of them are still making) some of the most powerful photographs of our time, and to learn from them.
3 Making the Image Videos
Join me as I talk about the complete process of making of 3 of my own photographs
In addition to the 16 lessons in Master Your Craft, there are 3 bonus Making The Image videos, created specifically to walk you through one of my photographs and discuss the thinking about the creative process and the craft that went into making them, with the camera in hand as well as in the edit and in post-production.
These videos are like sitting down beside me while I walk through some recent work and talk about what I did and why. While we talk a lot about how we do things in this craft, it is why we do things that is most important, especially as we learn. Perhaps most instructive, I talk about these photographs in context, showing them to you alongside the images it took to get to these, so you can see the junk as well as the final images. Together these 3 bonus videos are almost an hour long.
Incredible Bonus Material
Along with the 16 Master Your Craft lessons you will also get:
Always Available & Always Yours
From the moment you enroll, all the material is available to you on a private site that works beautifully on all platforms. It's super simple to navigate and work through the lessons, and because the course itself is self-paced, you can do it on your own time and never feel either rushed or held back. So start now, or start in a month. Or do the course three times in one caffeine-fueled week. Totally up to you.
The content is always yours. If you're even relatively comfortable with focusing and exposing your camera, you've already got all you need to get the most from this course; it's designed to be as free from the technical and as focused on the visual and the creative as possible.
There are a lot of ways to learn photography out there, but none of them are like this. Master Your Craft was built for one purpose—to help you learn your craft in a focused way, to go deeper on things that matter and stay clear of the things that don't. This course will make you more comfortable, more competent, and more confident with your camera than you've ever been.
What Photographers Are Saying
"I can not say enough good things about this course or the man behind it. David brought me back to the roots of what being a photographer is truly about. For me his voice is a guiding light in a chaotic storm, every time I read something he wrote I am reminded of the inner artist that I have lost touch with. If you are just starting out or have been a photographer for ten years - this course will help you. For me it was like photography meditation, it re-inspired me and reminded me why I picked up the lens in the first place. Take this course."
~ Ashleigh Sayer-Frederick
"If you have ever experienced the mild discomfort of being pushed out of your comfort zone for your own good only to be followed by a series of internal clicks when all the pieces fall into place, that is how Master your Craft has made me feel. This course made me realize how much more I yet have to learn in photography and at the same time gave me with the tools and knowledge to do so. I will go back to this course again and again. There are so few resources that touch both the practical as well as the mental aspects of photography in such a clear and entertaining way."
~ Dominique Karg
“In Master Your Craft, David challenges and guides us to get our head out of the rules and numbers and gives us the tools and the permission to express ourselves. His words and exercises remind us to look (and look again) and question everything in the quest to find our own vision. I can think of no better guidance to have on this photographic adventure than David’s words and insight.”
~ Alev Dubaraci
~ Dave Benson
"I have been an amateur photographer for 20 years. I have never taken a course or instruction that has been as compelling as this one. David combines insightful observations, humour, and exposure to the "masters" with a passion for vision driven intentional work that I have yet to find anywhere else. I cannot recommend this course enough. His encouragement for a cohesive body of work has changed how I view my craft. If you commit to every lesson this course will forever alter your view of photography. This is a rare body of work. A gift for your creative soul."
~ Ian Enright
Some Really Good Questions
And some honest answers.
Q: Is this course for me?
A: Probably. Of course I was going to say that, right? But I wouldn't have worked so hard on this and tested it with thousands of students if I didn't believe in the power of focused, intentional study, to learn this craft. If you can focus and expose your camera with a basic level of competency then the concepts and exercises in Master Your Craft will challenge you, and take your further down the path to making stronger photographs.
Q: OK, but what will I actually learn?
A: I took the most important lessons of my own 30+ year journey in this craft and distilled them into this course. I created Master Your Craft to get you thinking more creatively about, among other things, exposure and focal length, and your approach to the conventional rules we're first taught.
There are lessons about those things, as well as about learning to see, and how to use the light more creatively than just how much you let into the camera. I teach a new approach to creativity using intentionally chosen constraints, and I explore the relationship between exploring our vision and expressing it, as well as how to create images with greater depth, and greater energy and emotion.
I also teach ways for you to drive your own ongoing photographic training by studying the work of others, engaging in constructive critique, and building bodies of work.
Q: Can this really be learned?
A: Yes, it can. But one of the reasons some people spend so long dabbling in photography and seeing no progress is that they don't focus. They're all over the place. Tips and tricks do not a craftsman (or craftswoman) make. The worst thing about the unfocused tips and tricks culture of photography is that it appeals to the need to save time, to take shortcuts but ends up wasting so much time. If you want a real shortcut, learn your craft.
Q: Will this course actually improve my photography?
A: Absolutely. If you do the work. Is it a complete course that covers absolutely everything? Not at all. There's no such thing. It's a manageable, focused, 16 lessons designed to help get you more comfortable and more creative with the tools and processes of making photographs. Will you master the craft overnight? No. But you will get further down the path to mastery instead of spinning in circles.
Q: Do I need to be really advanced? What if I'm not a "techy"?
A: You'll be in great company. This course is about learning new skills, and gaining new perspectives. If you were already there (wherever there is) you wouldn't need to learn. Don't mistake knowing your craft with geeking-out; if I were a betting man I'd say most of the photographers you really love don't consider themselves techy people.
Q: How is the course structured?
A: You'll log in to the site with login credentials you create when you enroll. The moment you enroll all course content will be available to you. All lessons, creative exercises, and all downloads. Boom! Right there for you. It's a self-paced course so you go as fast or as slow as you like. Repeat lessons as much as you like. Once you're in, you're in.
Q: Will I miss anything if I go on vacation? Will it always be mine?
A: I don't like fine print and I hate sneaky tactics. When you enroll, the course is yours and is accessible 24/7. And all the course components are downloadable. Going on a vacation? I'll be here when you get back. Send me a postcard!
Q: Do I have time for this?
A: Again, only you can answer that. Any craft rewards those who put in the time. But I won't tell you when that time has to be. Master Your Craft is entirely self-paced, so take a couple months if you want. Need more time? Take a year or two! There's usually much less to be gained by rushing than we hope, so go as slow as you need to.
Q: How is this different from The Compelling Frame?
A: The Compelling Frame, my MentorClass on composition, was designed to go hand in hand with Master Your Craft and will compliment it beautifully. The Compelling Frame is a course specifically about composition and visual design, while Master Your Craft is more about the process and the practice of camera-craft and creativity.
Q: What about The Vision-Driven Mentor Community?
A: When you enroll in Master Your Craft you will be invited to The Vision-Driven, my closed Facebook group, for one free year. This is a great platform on which to interact with me, ask questions, and get feedback - and not only from me but from an exceptional community of thoughtful, respectful photographers.
Q: Can I access the course on my iPhone or iPad?
A: That's just crazy talk. Of course you can!