Nicole Hill Gerulat’s Online Photo 101 Class

Nicole Hill Gerulat has an amazing photography portfolio. She also teaches an online Photo 101 class, which she offered to me when she saw that I had written about wanting to become a better photographer.

I had taken a photo class in high school, but that was fifteen years ago and I no longer knew my f-stop from my aperture. (Turns out they’re the same thing, go figure.) Before the class began, I had been trying to improve through trial and error, mostly relying on my camera’s AV and TV priority modes. Now I’m fully comfortable shooting in manual.

The photos in this post are from one of my class homework assignments. All of these images are straight out of camera (SOOC), shot in manual mode.

The class structure is great because there is a video for each week’s lesson, but you can also read the information instead of just watching it. There is a companion text book as well which I’ve written about separately. If you’re looking for a course to start shooting in manual, or just to improve your photography skills in general (composition is covered as well), I’d definitely recommend Nicole’s Photo 101 class.

The only drawback I’m seeing? Now that I know what I’m doing, I want some new lenses to play with. And lenses are expensive. Must practice restraint.

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    April 20, 2011 at 9:25 am

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  • Caitlin
    April 20, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Is the course just for DSLR cameras? Or would those of us with just a lil’ point-n-shoot benefit from the class as well?

    • Making it Lovely
      April 20, 2011 at 9:46 am

      There is a portion dedicated to composition that would be helpful for anyone, but it really is intended to get you shooting in manual mode.

      • Caitlin
        April 20, 2011 at 10:09 am

        Is that a yes or no for requiring DSLR? Even a cheap point-n-shoot has a manual mode.

      • Making it Lovely
        April 20, 2011 at 10:11 am

        Oh! I suppose if you can adjust your shutter speed and aperture, you’d be fine then! There is a brief overview of how to work a DSLR (using a Canon Rebel as an example), but other than that it’s all information that would apply to any camera in manual mode.

  • babs
    April 20, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I’m taking that class right now! It is so fun and I love knowing how to work my camera. I completely agree about the lenses…

  • Sarah M
    April 20, 2011 at 10:08 am

    great photos! and what are these awesome blocks?

  • samsonizzle
    April 20, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Great photos! I love it when I see SOOC photos left as-is. It’s the sign of a truly good photographer, in my opinion. We have a great DSLR that takes beautiful pictures, even with my cluelessness behind the lens, but you sure do make it sound tempting to actually learn a few things about what I’m doing. That said, most of the pictures we take these days are quick snapshots with our little Canon S90 point-and-shoot. It has a better white balance than our DSLR (though I know that can be altered) but the main reason is because it’s small enough to fit in the diaper bag and take anywhere. It’s so nice to actually have it with us when we want to capture a cute moment or a beautiful scene when we’re out and about, and it’s pretty good at catching our busy toddler without much fuss. Another plus is that it can take video clips, for those first steps, words, impromptu toddler dancing, and the like. :)

    • Making it Lovely
      April 20, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      I have a G10 that I use the same way. It’s not tiny, but it is smaller and more portable than a DSLR and it takes great photos.

  • Janssen
    April 20, 2011 at 10:15 am

    My husband suffers from the same lens lust :)

  • Jenna
    April 20, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I have been looking for a good tutorial. I will definitely check this one out.

    On another note, I was curious where you got the blocks Eleanor is playing with. They are really cool. I am expecting and looking for some simple classic toys to invest in.

    • Making it Lovely
      April 20, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      They’re vintage Colorframes blocks, but they’re still in production and available. I wrote about them a little while back.

  • MIMI
    April 20, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I’m glad I’m not the only one pining over the blocks and have been since you wrote about them before. I do think its wrong that I kinda want them for myself lol.

    • Making it Lovely
      April 20, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      They’re really pretty. I like that she likes them, because they’re a toy that I don’t mind seeing scattered about.

  • Alisa (mrsbcs)
    April 20, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Jenna- My O loves the simple wood stacking rings too, which are available on Amazon from Melissa and Doug.

    Nicole- I have been so wanting to increase my photoshop skills, and my genious hubby will not teach me :( so I was so excited when you shared this link since there is a course for that as well. I think I will be taking that course in May!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessica
    April 20, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Thanks for posting this! My husband and I own a small photography business *(he’s the photographer). I’ve been wanting to take classes. It so inspiring watching someone capture amazing moments and so frustrating that you can’t do it as well! :)

  • Carrie S.
    April 20, 2011 at 11:10 am

    I like this photo series. Two other angles you might want to try with the above (or a similar) photo shoot are 1) from over Eleanor’s shoulder (or from behind her) to see what she’s doing from her perspective, and 2) from above her looking down at the whole scene. They are two of my favorites.

    • Making it Lovely
      April 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      Why didn’t I think of that? Thanks for the ideas!

  • Alison
    April 20, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Oh, I’m so excited about this! I have had a DSLR for about a year but I know I am not using it to its full potential. I’ve tried the “learn-by-YouTube” route, but I can never really retain what I learn. And learning to take great photos with my DSLR is on my Life List…so I think this class fits the bill!

    • Making it Lovely
      April 21, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      This was a life list item for me too!

  • kathryn
    April 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Love your blog and thanks for the great recommendation! This may be just what I was looking for.

    After years of waiting, I finally bought my Canon and multiple lenses (macro, wide-angle, telephoto). Sadly enough, I’ve used it just a handful of times and definitely overcompensate with my Photoshop wizardry. I’d love to get in full manual mode and eventually play around with HDR.

    Did she give you creative challenges for assignments, or just shoot whatever you wanted? I think the added challenges would force me to actually bring my gear along and use it for once! :-)

    • Making it Lovely
      April 20, 2011 at 3:04 pm

      I can relate to the Photoshop compensation. I’m a much better Photoshopper than photographer! I’m working on closing the skill gap though. ;)

      There were assignments, but they were fairly open-ended. They helped you focus on learning the technical aspects, but you could shoot whatever you like.

  • Nicole Radja
    April 20, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    I recommend lenses from KEH or B&H. I buy all my lenses used (they have great ratings systems). For kids photography or portraits, I recommend an 85 (macro for getting closeups) 1.4 or a 50 1.4. So many parents photograph their kids inside that they really need a fast lens, the beautiful bokeh from these lenses doesn’t hurt either. These lenses on these sites can be just 200-300, not a bad investment, they also retain their value, unlike digital camera bodies. I do not recommend zoom lenses for amateur photographers (unless you want to spend loads of money). Reason being, in order to get the wide aperture you need, you’re looking at spending a few thousand, and honestly, you can just get closer to or further away from your subject if you need to. I’m hoping to someday teach intro photography lessons in Chicago once our business has a studio in the next 2-3 years. Good luck, and to get better at photography, just keep shooting!

    • Making it Lovely
      April 20, 2011 at 3:03 pm

      Thanks. I have a 50mm 1.8 (from Tristan), so I wonder if I would still need the 1.4. Also, I second the recommendation for B&H. They’re great.

  • Kristen Duke Photography
    April 20, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I LOVE her work, and I’m all for anything that promotes shooting in manual mode;)

  • Kelly
    April 20, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I’m just learning to use my DSLR and it’s so intimidating! Definitely not as easy as it seems but I’m trying to keep at it.

  • Katie
    April 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Hey Nicole – it’s a really great class with lots of explanations huh!
    Are you by any chance taking the current April class? I AM .. but I don’t see your name anywhere :)

    • Making it Lovely
      April 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm

      No, I took the March class.

      • Katie
        April 20, 2011 at 9:12 pm

        ooh I nearly took that class but it was a super busy month! would of been so fun to be in your ‘class’

        Mallory said that she is working on a photo 102 class online – yay!!

      • Making it Lovely
        April 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm

        I would definitely take a 102 class. I hope they offer it!

  • kate
    April 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    wonderful website! i’m excited to maybe take illustrator and photoshop too!

  • Penney
    April 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this class. I’ve requested a nice camera for my 2 yr anniversary and will need a refresher class. I took a class in college but it’s been a while.

    Also if you don’t mind me asking, what comment system do you use here on the blog?

    • Making it Lovely
      April 21, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      I just use the standard WordPress system.

  • susan
    April 21, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Nicole – I was thinking about taking Nicole Hill’s courses. Do you think they would have value for someone who has been shooting with a DSLR for several years on AV mode? I think I want to go fully manual, but I also don’t, if you know what I mean. I am afraid it will slow me down too much. Also, if you are having lens lust but don’t want to fully invest, allows you to rent lenses by the day and week for not too much money. I am currently renting a 24-70 1.8 from them. Thanks for the info.

    • Making it Lovely
      April 21, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      I think it would help. I was shooting in AV mode for a while too, trying to kind of teach myself. I think there would still be situations where just setting the aperture priority could be beneficial, but it’s helpful to KNOW what’s going on and be able to shoot in manual if I choose to. I’ve surprised myself by almost exclusively choosing manual now.

  • Miss B.
    April 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    Yea! I loved Nicole’s 101, I took it in person, but on line may have helped things ‘stick’ better. These are truly amazing sooc and I can only imagine what glory we have coming in the way of your future photo’s!

  • Linda Clegg
    April 29, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I would like to register for your next class. A friend of mine, Holly Deaver, is currently taking your online course. Where can I find details about it?

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  • Jessica
    August 11, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I finally signed up for the September class! Thanks for your recommendation! I’m stoked!

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  • Stephanie
    October 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Love you blog! I am a beginner and wondering if this online photo 101 course has a replacement you would recommend? I have been searching everywhere and ran across this blog and you
    Have summed up exactly what I want! I know this post is 2011 but wondering if you could help me now? Thank you and love your blog! Happy to have run across it!