Introduction To Photography – Student Comments

Scroll down to see comments and to add comments.

Thank you for your participation the Introduction To Photography class.

Your opinion and candid comments are valued because they help me to make sure the class is as effective as possible and help me to evaluate if I’m doing a good job as a teacher.

Thank you again for choosing to work with me, I hope that I have helped you to be a better photographer.


  • Could you please take a moment to let me know what you thought of the class in the “Leave a Reply” area below?
  • If you’d like, you can use the following questions as a guide.
  1. What was your main concern about taking this class?
  2. What did you learn as a result of taking this class?
  3. What specifically did you like most about this class?
  4. What are three other things that you found useful about this class?
  5. Would you recommend this class? If so, why?
  6. Can you comment on Sam D’Amico as a photography instructor?
  7. Is there anything you’d like to add?
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123 comments on “Introduction To Photography – Student Comments
  1. Donna Ives-Kimpel says:

    I’ve been wanting to learn how to use a camera in manual mode for years. I tried learning from books, online articles, and tutorials, but I always ended up more confused than when I started. I finally realized it was all right to admit I needed someone to teach me, and I’m so glad I found Sam. Sam is a great teacher and extremely patient and supportive. Each class was full of useful information about the how’s and why’s of making pictures. His discussion of the topics coupled with hands-on practice made it all make sense. As I’m continuing to experiment, the notes I took in class give me what I need to work with my camera effectively. Even though there was no wasted time, the classes were casual and relaxed, and Sam encouraged us to ask whatever questions we had. I highly recommend this course for anyone who wants to turn off the auto setting on their camera.

  2. Erik Muendel says:

    I learned a ton in Sam’s class. I have been working in manual mode for several years but had a lot of holes in my knowledge and theory. Sam’s intro class did a great job filling in my knowledge gap! 🙂

  3. Mike says:

    I have always enjoyed taking photos but never taken any course to really understand how best to use my camera. Sam’s intro course was my first for me and I came out with a more profound understanding of how my camera works and how to make a photo.

    Sam did a fantastic job explaining the limitations of the camera (as compared to the human eye) and how to work within those limitations to make a photo. He did a great job of explaining the technical aspects like aperture, shutter speed, ISO and how those aspects impact the photo.

    I liked how Sam mixed in explanation with exercises to reinforce what he taught which helped resonate things with me. He does a great job of explaining things in layman’s terms and his passion for photography comes through which got me more excited about the power of photography.

    Overall, I would recommend Sam’s class to anyone interested in learning about photography. I would also look at taking some of his other classes in the near future.


  4. James says:

    I recently made the plunge from glorified point-and-shoots to a “real” DSLR, and I wanted to learn to use it. My wife did some research and got me Sam’s class for my birthday, and I learned a great deal at every session. Like most courses, you’ll get out as much as you put in, so I augmented the classes with independent research and lots of practice. Sam makes sure everyone in class understands the topic before moving on, so it’s certainly best with a small group, which his classes are. Understanding light is probably the largest component of the class, as that’s the entire medium a photographer is working with. Metering for that light and getting a proper exposure, therefore, were the biggest take-aways for me, and we started doing that on day 1 and gradually got more advanced as we went.

    I would recommend knowing your camera’s general settings and your lens capabilities before coming to class, and I’d certainly recommend having your full owner’s manual as you’ll be referencing it a good amount.

    Finally, I would recommend this class to anyone who has a camera capable of operating in full manual mode who doesn’t know what the means or is too scared to use it because you think your pictures won’t turn out. Working in Auto mode is allowing your camera to make all the decisions for you, which means its just guessing at what you want or are trying to do. Take Sam’s class if you want to take full control over your exposures and to be deliberate in what you’re doing. You’ll definitely get better pictures along with the satisfaction that you made them rather than the camera.

    • Thank you for your comments, James.

      I enjoyed working with you.

      You’re now using your mind, instead of an automated machine, to create your photographs.

      It’s the deliberate thought that you put into each picture that makes them “better pictures”.

      Thank you for being an active participant in the class.

    • It took me awhile to figure out what should I do to keep myself in the fashion industry. However,I have been calling and calling, searching for different company’s that will teach photography. I finally register a photography class located downtown in D.C.a wonderful place.

      The instructor Sam, who I like to call “Sammie” was very easy to begin with. Down to earth, wisdom, and knowing about the basis of photography. He taught me so much about what’s controlling the exposure of aperture, shutter speed, and the ISO.

      When I begin to do my homework by increase and decrease between the aperture, shutter, and ISO was my biggest struggle. Oh trust me! He’ll revisit me by explaining more than what he know but eventually, Sammie taught me to correct myself and find out what was giving me problems by struggling to handle on what my camera can do.

      But the best part was I am now infinitely a better picture taker than I was before, teaching the class inside the National and Portrait Museum, and discussing about what was for I love the effect that he was real about what he know and how he does it. Would I take his class again. Sure, without of doubt! This was the best class I have ever taken sense I was in college. However, I would recommend anyone or everyone to take these courses if you want to learn or know more about photography. Trust me, he know the answers when it comes to a camera.

      Thank you Sammie. You’ll definitely hear from me again.

      See you soon!

      • Thank you, Kenneashia. I enjoyed working with you.
        It sounds like you’re doing great in terms of your studies and practice.
        Keep studyin’ and keep practicin’ and you’ll keep getting better.

  5. John Juergensen says:

    I recently took Sam’s class in February, and I loved it. Sam was engaging and personable, and he was an excellent instructor. Our class only had three people, and that allowed for very individualized instruction.
    I learned how to operate my camera in manual exposure mode, and I am now an infinitely better picture taker than I was before. I liked the fact that we learned at a good pace, and that we could ask all the questions we wanted to and needed to. I feel like I finally have a handle on what my camera can do. I would absolutely recommend this class to anyone who wants to get serious about taking better pictures.

  6. Larry Gardner says:

    Enjoyed taking Sam’s Introduction To Photography class. 40 yrs ago I started shooting for fun with a manuel 35mm film camera. After taking photos for 10 yrs and loving it, work and life got in the way and I put it down. Sam’s class was a great re- introduction for me using the new DSRL cameras. I’m looking forward to taking another class and highly recommend his classes.


    • Thank you for the comment, Larry.

      I enjoyed working with you and I’m happy that you decided to pick up a camera up again.

      As I mentioned during our conversations, while the technology of cameras has changed, photography has not. Don’t be intimidated by the technology. We do the same thing with a digital camera that we did with a film camera.

      The car may be different, but ya know how to drive.

      Keep studying and keep practicing.

  7. Jamal Horne says:

    Received Sam’s Introduction to Photography class as a gift in November 2017 after showing an interest in photography due to travel outside the states and it was truly a great experience. Sam was patient and willing to always revisit and re-explain topics to me when I struggled with tasks. I never felt intimidated as Sam’s easy going personality gives the class a comforting feeling. After only 4 classes, I now can shoot in Manual mode with confidence in capturing my shot as the human eye views it. Highly recommend this class to any beginners with a DSLR camera.

    • Thank you for your comments, Jamal. I enjoyed working with you.

      I’m happy you now can shoot in Manual mode with confidence.

      Your words, “capturing my shot as the human eye views it” remind me of different approaches to the intent and approach to composition. We can create a photograph composed from a basis of what our eye sees or we can create a photograph composed from a basis of how our mind thinks about what it sees.

      Here’s a related link–>

      Please practicing.

  8. Roger LeBlanc says:

    I am so glad I took this course. Sam is a great instructor. He really clearly lays out the materials and helps you work through your questions. Sam makes sure you have good notes to reference for the future and caters the class to how you want to be making photos by making it relevant to what you are already doing. I walked away from the class with an improved understanding of camera operations, and I am really happy with the pictures I am able to make. I look at photographs I see around me in a whole new light now. I would recommend this class to anyone looking to improve and understand how to get the pictures you want using manual camera settings.

    • Hi Roger,
      Thank you for your comments and thank you for your active participation in the class.
      I’m glad you took the course too and I’m glad that you are able to use your notes and practice to help you make the best possible photographs that you can while using your camera in manual exposure mode.

      Please keep practicing your photography in the way that is relevant to you.

  9. Matt Aliberti says:

    I really enjoyed the Introduction to Photography class – Sam was very thorough and patient, reinforcing each lesson to make sure we had notes we could use in the future and knew underlying principles and not just shortcuts. I have alot more confidence now to use my camera in manual mode and I’m motivated to keep practicing.

    • Thank you for your comments, Matt. I enjoyed working with you and I’m happy that you’re a lot more confident to use your camera in manual exposure mode. Please keep motivated in your practice.

  10. Georgette says:

    I just finished Sam’s Introduction to Photography course and upped my photo taking skills considerably as a result. Many thanks to Sam’s guidance and help with building my “muscle memory” on how to get the best photo and trusting my own ability to do just that. Sam teaches a wonderful class and I highly recommend it to anyone (at any skill level) who is interested in seeing photos in a new way and becoming a better photographer. I am looking forward to the Intermediate Class.

    • Georgette, Thank you for taking the class and thank you for your comments. I enjoyed working with you to help you build your “muscle memory”. While our “muscle memory” is important, please keep in mind that “muscle memory” is in service of your composition process, which I think should be a spontaneous response/process to what we are seeing and the intent of our expression/communication. Please keep practicing. I look forward t working with you in the Intermediate class.

  11. Shannon says:

    I really enjoyed Sam’s class. In the four weeks I went from a person who had never used a DSLR camera to someone who is comfortable working in manual mode and knows what the buttons and numbers mean! I liked Sam’s teaching style that individualized the class to our questions and cameras. I will definitely be back for the intermediate one after a little more practice.

    • Thank you for your comments, Shannon. I enjoyed working with you during the class. I’m happy to learn that you’re comfortable using your camera in manual exposure mode. Keep practicing. I look forward to working with you again.

  12. Brian says:

    I will never look at photos the same way. I learned far more in the Beginner class than I had anticipated. This class is a great way to learn how to take the pictures you actually want. Highly recommended!

  13. Beiqiang Wu says:

    I am very happy that I enrolled in Sam’s class. That is a right decision. I have taken introductory photography classes before, but it was not good at all. To me, the instructor I had before Sam just tried to make everything difficult. But Sam did a very good job at explaining things to students, and I’ve find it very easy to follow.And when you get these basic things nailed, all you have to do is like what Sam said, practice and practice and practice. I sincerely recommend this class to everyone!!!!!!!!!! DO TRUST ME.You won’t regret.

  14. mar says:

    I am very happy I’ve decided to enroll in this introductory course with Sam. I enjoyed every one of his classes, his style of teaching and his methodology.
    At the very beginning I was not very clear about what my final objective was, I just wanted to learn how make better photographies. But the course has given me much more than this. I now have a much better understanding of how my camera works. I learned the basics and how to use my camera in manual mode, of course, but most of all I learned why my camera works that way, allowing me to think in advance what I want to do with it and what I can do with it. His course learned me to look at what I am interested to photograph in a different way, with other criteria which I previously had not considered. Therefore, for me this has been a great and very helpful experience.

  15. Bernard says:

    I really enjoyed Sam’s class. I was looking for a class to learn photography and how to use my camera. Sam isn’t going to teach you how to operate your camera – mainly because everyone comes to class with a different camera and that’s what the instruction manual is for. Rather, he’s going to teach you the fundamentals of photography, and in turn you’ll learn to use your camera through knowledge of the fundamentals, practice and reading the manual. I really liked Sam’s teaching style and personality. He makes you think, and he’s not here to judge your photography skills. He leaves that up to you as the photographer. I recommend his class and plan to take the intermediate class and focus class.

  16. Josette says:

    Even with a background in video and film, I found Sam’s class to be very informative! With so many camera presets and new technologies trying to make photography easier for everyone, it’s easy to dismiss the importance of starting from the beginning. Overall, I feel like a smarter and more confident photographer. I would highly recommend this class and encourage you to ask as many questions as possible during the class.

    • Thank you for taking the class, Josette. I enjoyed working with you and I’m happy that you feel like a smarter and more confident photographer.
      Keep practicing and keep questioning. 🙂

  17. My wife and I took Sam’s class to improve our photoblog ( In addition to a good review of the basics, Sam provided thoughtful ways to expand the use of techniques we knew but were not fully exploiting.

    The class is definitely taught via the Socratic method. Questions were posed and class members provided answers that they were required to defend. Between classes, we were given assignments that allowed us to translate the theories we were learning into practice.

    We liked the class and liked Sam. We think the photography is our blog has improved so we would recommend this class to others.

    • Thank you for your comments, Duane.
      I enjoyed working with you and Celesta and found your participation in the class useful.
      I’m happy that you liked the class and that you think that you photography has improved.
      My thanks to you and Celesta for taking the class. Please keep practicing.

  18. Mark R says:

    The intro class was great. I had no clue how to use my new camera. Sam pushed us to think through the problems we had with our photography in order to create the better picture. Photography is way harder than I had anticipated – for sure! I recommend this class for anyone who wants to try something new.

  19. Caitlin says:

    I was predominately interested in learning the basis of manual exposure so that I could take pictures in conditions where automatic just wasn’t cutting it and so that I could adjust the settings accordingly. I certainly learned that and feel comfortable with the basics of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, focusing, metering, and flash. I mostly liked the simple sentence or two guidelines about how the topics I just listed work – short and sweet. I also found the Q&A portion, the engagement with the other students, and the open approach to photography useful. I would recommend this class for all of those reasons – Sam is a kind, patient, and knowledgeable instructor who really wants to make photography work for you as an individual. As very much a person who reads and researches everything, this wasn’t always easy for me (I wanted a right answer! or at least a “right place to start”), but it was certainly helpful to understand photography in that way. Likewise everyone is going into the class for a different reason so it can be hard to balance what everyone wants to get out of it, but I think Sam does that. The only thing to add is that I think the classes could be only 2 hours/session based on the amount/type of instruction. That could well be because our class was only 4 people, but it would have been preferable for me. Thanks again!!

  20. Susana says:

    I liked this class very much because before getting it I was clueless about what I was doing, which now I know is capturing and registering light. This gave me another perspective of what I was looking for and what would I could record with my camera. What I like the most is to get the tools to create whatever I want and that the class was not focusing on getting what the teacher think is right but what we want to achieve. I would definitely recommend this class and Sam as a teacher.

  21. Michael Stolar says:

    I was familiar with photography basics such as shutter speed, aperture, depth of field, etc. from when I used film cameras. However, today DSLRs and the mirrorless digital cameras are quite complicated relative to film camera functionality. Taking this course is a good way to: (1) really get to know your camera and use all its features which isn’t easy to do just by reading the manual, and (2) to begin mentally analyzing how you’re going to take the picture rather than just pressing the shutter with the camera on automatic.

    The course format is very informal which you may or may not prefer. It also doesn’t go into topics such composition (e.g., Rule of Thirds) to any great extent if that’s what you’re looking for, perhaps that’s in the Intermediate course.

  22. Catherine says:

    I’ve always been interested in photography but never actually took any classes. I’m really happy that I signed up for the intro class because you taught me things I would’ve never thought about before. In the beginning I came in thinking it would be cool because you’d be able to teach me all the technical stuff and then I could just apply it and have a better understanding of my camera. You did all that, but also you’ve helped me to see things differently. I have a better understanding of what it is that I like about photography and I can look at something that I might not have found interesting before, and find it interesting for several different reasons. So thanks! and I look forward to taking the intermediate class.

  23. Catherine Trifiletti says:

    The intro to photography class attacked exposure head on and made all the technical terms that once scared me very easy to understand. By the end of the class I felt super comfortable with the words “shutter speed” and “aperture.” It will take more practice to feel completely comfortable shooting in manual, but I think Sam’s class steered me in the right direction. I had also never thought about light in the way that Sam explained it- light is everything!

    The biggest takeaway from this class, beyond the technical lesson, is the importance of shooting for yourself. You will never develop a style or be good at your trade if you don’t have confidence in your work. Amen, Sam!

    • Thank you for your comments, Catherine. Your participation in the class was helpful.

      Keep practicing and you’ll learn to use your camera more fluidly. Keep shooting for yourself. Critique your work on your own terms.

  24. Yordanos says:

    Before taking Sam’s class Intro to Photography class, I could imagine what I wanted my photographs to look like but I didn’t have a good handle on exposure, iso, and metering to create the photo. Sam’s class has taught me how to use my camera in manual exposure mode and, and I think differerently when taking images now that I have control of my camera settings. Taking a class with a small group was really helfpul because we could learn from each others challenges and questions. I highly recommend Sam’s class and will be taking more classes in the future.

  25. Thank you, Jennifer.

    Your presence in the class was appreciated.

    Please keep practicing.


  26. Isabel says:

    I found the intro to photography class very helpful. I went in not knowing the first thing about the manual mode in my camera (I thought it meant focusing manually and had no clue about aperture/shutter speed/ISO), and I came out today feeling like I have a pretty good idea of the basics of what goes on in the little black machine that I own. I think the class was great for learning about the mechanics of the camera without getting too in depth about unnecessary details. Thanks so much, Sam!

  27. Meghan says:

    I took Sam’s class with the sole goal of learning how to shoot manually on my DSLR. Within the first two hours of the first class, I was doing just that and it was awesome. I enjoyed how each week built upon the previously covered material. I thought that the 3rd class was especially interesting as that’s when I felt like I could actually create the type or look of photo that I was going for without having to think about it as long….the things that we’d been learning about exposure, all of the associated elements and components finally fell into place and I was able to prepare a photo and take it the way I wanted instead of take one and then correct it with another.

    Ultimately, I’m really happy with taking the introductory-level class. I learned a lot every week and enjoyed some of the off-topic dialogue that my classmates and I had with Sam. I’m taking MUCH better photographs than I was before when shooting in auto-modes and am very happy. I’d definitely recommend Sam to others looking for an intro class in which they’ll learn quickly and get some practice time in a setting with a professional photographer.

    Finally, I really liked how Sam does not critique the students’ work. He offered suggestions on what changes to make when I explained what look I was going for in a particular photo and how it didn’t happen like I wanted, but he never said that something I took was a bad shot or uninteresting. His philosophy on photography is really refreshing — the idea that the photo-taker is the only critic whose voice truly matters is one that resonated with me and made me feel more confident as a photographer.

    • Meghan,

      Thank you for you comments and for being an active particpant in the class.

      I’m happy that you found the class helpful and that you’re taking what you consider to be MUCH better photographs than when you were creating photographs in an automatic exposure mode.

      Keep practicing making pictures.

  28. Greg says:

    Think the course was great. I came in with a decent understanding of photography, but Sam’s class really pulled it all together. I would have liked a syllabus for each class and a little more structure to the content, but I liked his photography elements approach and trying to stay away from all the technology aspects. Sam stayed camera brand agnostic. The other great thing is he really pressed us to ask questions after learning material and using it out in the field.

    The one concern I had was being in the beginner vs intermediate class. I think the next level would have been preffered, but I still learned a bunch here. Just wish at a faster pace. This course is better for those brand new to DSLR cameras.

    • I’m happy that you got something out of the course, Gregg. Thank you for taking the class.

      I’m sorry that the class moved slow for you however,photographers like yourself, who come in with a decent understanding of photography, benefit from the class in the same way that you did. The course, pulls their knowledge together so their approach to their work becomes more clear and intentional.

      I hope that I’ve added to what you already knew and helped you to approach photography in a more thoughtful way that is unique to you.

  29. Julie says:

    I liked the class. Would have benefited from a single-page outline of topics to be covered during each session. The classroom is too cramped/poor ventilation and the entry set-up to the center is weird. May be worth looking into another location – I would actually pay more to take the class in a better venue. Thanks!

    • Thank you for your comments, Julie.

      I’m glad you liked the class and have taken your criticisms into consideration.

      I’ve been at Affinity lab for a number of years and although the place does have some quirks, in terms convenience of location and atmosphere, it’s one of the best places in town to run the classes.

  30. Liz E says:

    Enjoyed the class. Learned a lot. Only thing I’d say is just to provide more visuals (Powerpoint or something). I’m a visual and kinestic learning, so lecture / discussion for me is really aided when there’s a visual component. That’s why I liked the exercise of doing white balance settings by shooting the wipe board. However, during the first week or so when we discussed exposure, I had a really hard time with visualizing the changes. Again, enjoyed the class though!

    • Hi Liz,

      Thanks for your comments.

      I don’t know how to make powerpoint presentations.
      My intention of providing plenty of time to practice in class what we covered during class is to provide an opportunity to see the effects of the techniques that were introduced. I’m trying to develop a series of online tutorials to reinforce what we cover in the class.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the class. Please keep practicing.


  31. Keith Sendall says:

    Thru years of taking decent pictures I had never ventured beyond the camera’s automatic mode and had no idea how much better the shots could be. The class did everything it was designed to do: immediately weaned us off of the automatic mode and on to manual, and taught the basics of how to manually affect and control the make-up of a great photo. We learned how a camera works, its capabilities and limitations, and discussed both challenges and techniques for overcoming them. I now understand and use dozens of measures on the camera that I had never touched previously.
    Sam as an instructor is patient and regularly welcomes questions; no question is ever too dumb. The weekly quizzes on what was learned in previous lessons are also very helpful towards ensuring we retain critical information beyond the classroom. For those of us looking to start at the beginning, this is the class to take.
    My one suggestion is to find a way to increase feedback and discussion about the photos class members bring as part of the homework assignments. I appreciate he does not judge anyone’s work, but attendees will benefit from some level of discussion and commentary on the work done. Without feedback on anyone’s results, all the lessons learned felt just a little less impactful.

    • Thank you for your comments and thank you for being an active participant in the class, Keith.

      I’m happy that you are now working in manual exposure mode and realize that your mind (working in manual exposure mode) instead of a preprogrammed machine(your camera in automatic exposure mode) is a better way to approach photography if you want better pictures.

      You are now working more thoughtfully as a photographer and, as a result, your compositions will reflect your thoughtful approach.

      I appreciate your suggestion about increasing feedback and discussion. While I absolutely agree that feedback and discussion is important, I don’t feel it is my place to critique your work. Instead I encourage feedback and discussion among the participants in the class during the homework presentation part of the class. As a teacher, I think that it’s more important for me to hear how you talk about your work in terms of it’s production and outcome (and engage in a discussion about that) than to offer a one sided opinion(a critique).

      Thank you again, Keith. Please keep practicing.

  32. Anne says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the class. I took the course because I never really knew how to use my camera in anything but auto mode. I shied away from even trying to figure out all the buttons. Thanks Sam for helping me overcome that discomfort. I liked the small group instruction and the review each week built our confidence and abilities. My only real complaint was the location/room. I would propose that maybe we go on some “field trips,” take some pictures as a group and compare our photos. Not only does that provide instant feedback but we also get a chance to discuss how we look at something (not just the room which, let’s face it, is pretty bland). Thanks Sam for helping transition me from someone who randomly took pictures to someone who actually knows (well, at least in theory) what different things on my camera do to the pictures I take and how to be a more thoughtful photographer.

    • Thank you for your comments, Anne and thank you for your for your participation in the class.

      I’m happy that you enjoyed the class and that the class helped you to overcome your discomfort with your camera and helped you to be a more thoughtful photographer.

      I appreciate your criticism regarding the location/room. My goal is to provide the participants in my classes with information that they could immediately use to improve their photography. Without getting into the specifics why I don’t think “field trips” as a part of this class are practical, in my opinion a field trip would only provide an opportunity to practice and apply covered/old material, Id’ rather cover new technique in a classroom setting. Your homework should be your “field trip” and the weekly group review/discussion of the pictures created during your homework is intended to serve as an opportunity for feedback from others in the class and a chance to discuss how you look at/see something.

  33. Terry Morse says:

    I really enjoyed the Introduction to Photography course It really helped me to understand metering and camera stops. Sam you are a great teacher, and I look forward to taking the Intermediate Photography course to take my newly acquired skills to the next level.

    • Thank you for your comments, Terry.

      It was good seeing you at the Kogod courtyard this past Sunday.

      Thank you for registering for the Intermediate class. I look forward to continuing to work with you. I’ll see you on May 3 at 130pm.

  34. Brandon says:

    This class was great! Going into it, I had a good idea of the many features my camera had to offer. However, I was missing some key components and concepts that tied everything together. Sam did a great job of filling in the gaps and providing helpful insight into improving my photography skills. I can now use the manual mode of my camera efficiently and effectively.

    • Thank you for taking the class, Brandon. It was good working with you.

      I’m glad that the class helped you to fill in the gaps and that you were able to improve your photography skills.

      Keep practicing making photographs in manual exposure mode and you’ll become even more efficient and effective.

  35. Catherine says:

    I learned so much thanks to this class and am definitely feeling less flustered with my photographs. I especially liked the in-class hands-on camera approach where you asked us to make appropriate changes for exposure, etc… Many a-ha moments for me.
    I also appreciated your tips and tricks!

    The discussions were interesting and I felt quite okay about feeling ignorant as far as all the operations on my camera go.
    You are very patient and that is a great quality in a teacher.
    I especially liked how you broke things down to simple steps making everything seem less overwhelming; a definite plus with these mini-computers.

    I would definitely recommend your class as you are able to address each student to the level at which they stand when starting the class and make them feel at ease by gently nudging them in the right direction. (is that English!!?).
    Thanks again, Sam!!

    • It was good working with you Catherine.

      There is never a need to feel ignorant. There are a lot of controls and settings on the camera. I think the best thing to do is understand what you want to do when you are creating a photograph and simply use what you need to use to create the photographs that you want.

      Keep it simple Catherine, simple steps add up to a whole process of creating the picture. Be aware of each step in terms of when you need to do it and then while you are doing it.

      As far as I know it’s English.

      Thank you for your active participation in the class, Catherine. Your presence and engagement elevated the conversation .

  36. coreynull says:

    This class really exceeded my expectations. I appreciate your approach. I learned how to take full advantage of my camera. More importantly, I learned how to make technical decisions that will impact my pictures. With this base of knowledge, I feel like I have a very solid foundation upon which to build. I was concerned that the class would be “too basic” for me but you did a great job of addressing each student’s individual concerns, including mine.

    I have a sense of what I need to work on now, thanks!

    • Thank you for your comments, Corey.

      I’m glad that you decided to register for the Introduction To Photography class instead of the Intermediate Photography class. After our conversation I felt that the Intro class would benefit you in the way that you stated.
      I’m happy that you feel that the class provided you with a solid base of knowledge and a very solid foundation upon which to build.

      Now that you have a sense of what you need to work on, keep practicing.

      Thank you for your active participation in the class, Corey.

  37. Sarah says:

    This was a great class! I was frustrated when my photos wouldn’t come out the way I had hoped but didn’t understand why. I had tried to read the manual and to play around with the settings, but always made too many corrections (out of frustration) to really know what was changing. I am SO glad my husband decided to give this class to me as a gift! Sam made things very clear and understandable. I now understand why my pictures look the way they do and how to correct them if I’m not happy with the results. Thanks for a great experience!

    • Thank you, Sarah. Your participation in the class helped drive some good conversations that were useful for everyone in the class.

      I’m happy that you have a good understanding of photography and can now create photographs with an intended outcome.

      Please keep practicing.

  38. Adam says:

    After doing my own self-study of photography I took Sam’s class to clear up questions and enhance my understanding. I was not disappointed. There is no substitute for learning directly from someone who knows and has direct experience in a subject. Sam was very accommodating in answering questions and allowing the topic to drift to the areas of concern for the students, while at the same time ensuring we spent enough time on the important concepts for each lesson.

    Now I find myself looking for excuses to “make” photos far more frequently and to keep the techniques and tools fresh in my mind.

    Thanks, Sam!

    • It was good working with you during the class,Adam. Thank you for your active participation.

      No need to make excuses to make photographs. Keep practicing technique in a thoughtful manner while you are creating a picture.

      Thank you, Adam!

  39. Dan says:

    Great class! Sam knows his stuff about photography, and I learned a ton about my camera and how to take some great pictures. I was hoping to get a better handle on how to get control over my exposure and how to make my photos look the way I want, and Sam got me there!

    • samdamico says:

      Thank you for your comments, Dan. You already had some understanding of your camera and photography, the class introduced you to some new technique and you took it from there. Thank you for taking the class. It was good working with you.

  40. Holly says:

    I thought the class was a good investment of my time and money. My goal in the class was primarily to be better at getting the pictures I want from my camera and this goal was met. I increased my skills in learning to use the manual features of my camera, and have a much better understanding of the principles behind exposure. Although there is no substitute for more practice, I am definitely taking pictures that better reflect what I want the camera to see. Sam is a good teacher, very patient with class participants who have different levels of skills and various types/models of cameras. I enjoyed taking the class and would be likely to take another one from him.

    • samdamico says:

      Thank you for taking the class and thank you for your comments, Holly.

      As you mentioned, the skills that you’ve acquired in learning to use the manual exposure features of your camera, have helped to to gave a much better understanding of the principles behind exposure. This enables you not only to get the “right exposure” in terms of the brightness of your picture, but a;so to control other compositional elements of your picture as well. I’m glad that you feel that the class has helped you meet your goals as a photographer.

      Please keep up your practice.

  41. Jared says:

    My wife and I took Sam’s intro course and it was a great experience. Sam did an excellent job of explaining the different features and functions of our camera and teaching us how to think about composition and light before taking pictures. We are already incorporating the techniques we learned into our photography and the results are fantastic. Thanks again Sam!

    • samdamico says:

      It was good to work with you and Kate in the class, Jared. I’m happy to learn that you are actively incorporating the techniques that you learned into your photography and feel that the are fantastic. Thank you.

  42. Chae says:

    I signed up for Sam’s intro to photography class after being frustrated with trying to learn on my own and not getting too far. Since taking the class, I can use the manual mode on my camera without hesitation and understand why my photos turned out the way they did (and fix it). What I gained most from this class, however, is to think and see the world of photography in a vastly new perspective. Sam does this by encouraging and teaching us how to engage our minds (not the eye!) as the beginning of picture taking. Yes, you have to be armed with an arsenal of tools to take good pics, which we covered in class, but a truly great photograph begins with what the person really sees in his/her mind. Thanks, Sam, for a great class!

    • samdamico says:

      Thank you for being an active participant in the class, Chae. As you now know I think that a good, unique photograph is generated through the unique thought process and perception of the individual photographer. Working in manual exposure mode and viewing aperture, shutter speed and ISO as elements of composition that you can use as part of your arsenal of tools is part of understanding and application of craft. Member though, understanding and skill of craft serves creativity. You use your mind to make a picture, a camera is only a tool.

  43. samdamico says:

    Thank you for taking the class and thank you for your comments, Trent.

    During an Intermediate Photography class, whenever I work with a group of photographers that I’ve never worked with, I like part of the first meeting to consist of an evaluation of the groups level of an understanding of basic camera operation and photography basics. Usually, as in the case with your group, I think that the photographers in the class are best served by teaching my version of a four-week Introduction To Photography class.

    The things we covered during the class were intended to give you a good understanding of basic camera operation that is brand/product neutral and a strong foundation in the basics of photography.

    I’m happy that you now “see the world through different eyes”, because the first part of being a photographer is seeing.

    What we covered during the class will help you to see as a photographer sees.

    Thank you again for taking the class, Trent. I appreciated your active participation.

    I hope that you’ll consider taking my Intermediate Photography class in Washington DC.

  44. Dalal Alzouman says:

    Thanks to Sam, I now know how to work my camera using the manual mode. I can also tell why my pictures turn out the way they do (which used to be a guessing game before i took the class). I can look at a picture and tell how to fix it by adjusting ISO, aperture and shutter speed. I especially benefitted from the homework. I now have a different kind of relationship with my camera, instead of having it on auto and being frustrated that it doesn’t understand what I wanted it to record, I now know how to “tell” it what I want. True, I need to practice more to try to get the shot on my first try, but Sam gave us all the tools we need for us to think about photography on a whole new level.
    Thank you so much Sam!

    • samdamico says:

      Thank you for taking the class and thank you for your comments, Dalal.

      Understanding why your pictures turn out the way they do is an indication of you becoming a more advanced photographer.

      Eventually, through a thoughtful, intentional practice, you won’t need to “fix” your photographs because you’ll get’em right the first time.

      The reason you’re relationship changed with your camera is because you’re now thinking of photography with a photographers mind.

      Thank you again for taking the class, Dalal, and thank you for being such a thoughtful and active participant.

  45. Katreena Van Vida says:

    The best of teachers teach from the student’s perspective. Anyone can throw a syllabus at a group and call themselves a teacher, but Sam starts from where each student is and develops the skills in a natural and easy way for the student. I used to be Director of Training for 200 hair salons and trained many trainers. Sam is a naturally excellent teacher. I adore photography and was hugely intimidated by using my camera manually. A previous class I went to, (by someone else) made it similar to learning calculus. With no stress, I now understand and can manipulate my camera to do amazing things like setting the F-stop, changing ISO, meter, control shutter speed– I know how all these things and others relate and here’s the really amazing part, my pictures look good! They say when the student is ready, the teacher will come. If you’re a photography student, I hope that teacher is Sam, because he’s the best!

    • samdamico says:

      Thank you for your comments Katreena.

      Luckily for me, photography is not calculus.

      As you now realize all your camera does is record light and there’s no need for you to be intimated by your camera.

      I’m glad that you adore photography and I’m happy that, without stress, you can now use your camera in manual exposure mode to create photographs that you feel look good.

      Keep practicing Katreena. The more you practice the better the photographer you’ll become.

      Thank you for taking the class and thank you for being such an active participant.

  46. Jared says:

    Sam’s Intro to Photography class was great. I had been trying to take pictures in manual mode for some time, but was not happy with the pictures I was making and felt I needed a more solid foundation and understanding of the basics. Sam’s class provided!

    Through the 4 weeks I learned a lot on where I was going wrong and what steps I could take to improve my photos. The class size is terrific and Sam’s demeanor and teaching style encourages discussion that allows participants to learn and feed off one another. I plan to take some classes again with Sam in the future as I think it was well worth it and truly helped make me a better photographer.

    Thanks Sam!


    • samdamico says:

      Thank you, Jared.

      It was good having you as an active participant in the class.

      I’m glad that the class has helped you to be a better photographer by helping you acquire a more solid foundation and understanding of the basics.

      Keep practicing and keep making pictures in manual exposure mode.

      Thank you again, Jared.


  47. Kaitlin says:

    I loved Sam’s class. I was very nervous about going at first because I felt I knew nothing about photography and would be ridiculed for it. Sam is very kind and patient and extremely down to Earth. I also loved the class size and the atmosphere in the room.

    I learned the basics of using my digital camera in manual mode. The class forced me to pick up the camera and learn it, use it, and talk about it. I am very excited to continue using what I learned and feel more confident when shooting. I also plan to take what I learned and try to teach myself more about my film camera. Sam also had great suggestions of stores to go to for my photography needs (for both digital and film). I was extremely pleased with the class as a whole and would consider taking the second one if I were not moving to Baltimore. I have already recommended his class to a few people.

    Thank you, Sam!

    • samdamico says:


      It was good having you in the class and I’m glad that you didn’t let your nervousness keep you from registering for and participating in the class.

      Now that you have the basics of photography and the basics of camera operation under your belt, you can apply what you know to both digital and film cameras.

      I hope that you enjoy living in Baltimore. Thank you for the recommendations.

      Thank you, Kaitlin!

  48. Karen Barth says:


    I really enjoyed and learned a lot from the class. As I am sure you remember, I showed up with a new DSLR and didn’t even know how to connect the lense. Now, I am taking photographs in manual mode that I actually love! The class was the perfect intro but also covered concepts which I don’t think I could have learned on my own. At times, I think the pace could have been a bit quicker, but that is my only negative feedback.

    Thank you!
    Karen Barth

    • samdamico says:


      Thank you for your comments.

      Yup, I remember the first day of class. Based on the way you were discussing your pictures during the last meeting of our class, you’ve come a long way.

      I’m glad that you’re now working your camera in manual exposure mode and making pictures that you actually love. As you know, I’m a big proponent of manual exposure mode as the way to make the pictures that you want.

      I’m sorry that the pace of the class was a bit slow for you. Each class is a challenge for me in terms of pacing. I need to find a pace that is not too fast for those of us the take a bit longer to learn the topics that we cover yet not too slow where those of us who learn a bit faster.

      Thank you for taking the class, Karen.

      Best Regards,


  49. Steve Nauheim says:

    As a total amateur with a new camera and challenging phot op ahead of me, this course was just what I needed to gain confidence in my ability to use my camera to a high level. Sam is a great instuctor explaining with clarity the basics and how to apply them and drawing out the students to engage in an interactive learning experience.

    • samdamico says:

      Thank you for your comments, Steve.

      It was good having you participate the in class.

      I’m happy that you have gained confidence in your ability to use your camera and how to apply the basics of photography to get the pictures that you want during your upcoming photo op.

  50. Emily Tynes says:

    I have taken several photography classes, but by the end of Sam’s Introduction to Photography class, I had acquired a set of fundamental tools that I had not acquired. Don’t know why I thought shooting in manual mode would be difficult, but Sam taught me that it was not. I am now confident that I can get the exposure I want, even when the lighting situation is challenging. Plus, he is patient, and never made me feel that I had asked a dumb question. I loved his class, and I liked learning from him. Planning to take his intermediate class, to keep up the momentum I acquired from his first class.

    • samdamico says:

      Thank you for your comments Emily.

      It was good to work with you and I’m glad that you found the class helpful.

      Although you had taken several photography classes prior to the Introduction To Photography class that you had taken with me, I’m happy that you have finally acquired the fundamental tools that you had not acquired in the previous classes.

      The fundamental skills that you acquired are the foundation of finding your way as a photographer.

      I’m glad that you no longer find making photographs in manual mode difficult. Working in manual exposure mode allows you to become a more thoughtful photographer and will allow you to create photographs that are uniquely yours.

      Keep up the good work Emily.

      It was a pleasure to work with you.

  51. Naz says:

    For anyone who want to learn about their cameras using the manual mode, then this is the Intro class is for you. What did I like about the class?

    -small group means more individual attention to each student
    -relaxed atmosphere and not intimidating at all
    -and learn everything you need to about your dslr camera, in manual mode, of course.

    Thank you so much for helping me relearn my manual mode functions and now I can truly make my photos my own.

  52. Hilary Robbins says:

    I really enjoyed your class. I would have never dared to try to work my camera in manual mode before, and now I’m really starting to enjoy it (and I understand why it’s important). I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the class and learning not only about photography, but about being a photographer. My only suggestion would be that for the four week class, there’s a lot of time, and we probably could have fit in more material. Thanks, Sam!

    • samdamico says:

      Hi Hilary,

      Thank you for your comments.

      I’m happy that you realize the important difference between working in an automatic exposure mode and a manual exposure mode and that you’re enjoying creating pictures in manual exposure mode.

      I appreciate the suggestion and, although there are main topics that we need to cover in the class, I always try to leave enough time in class for hands on practice and to address any additional topics that someone might want to cover.

      For example, while we learn about basic use of the pop-up flash on the camera, an in depth study of flash is probably not appropriate for the Introduction to photography class.

  53. Kristen Bor says:

    I decided to sign up for Sam’s 4 week intro class because I had recently bought a professional camera and wanted to learn how to use it. Before starting the class, my only previous experience with photography was taking pictures in Auto mode using a point and shoot. After 4 short weeks, I feel that I now understand the fundamentals of how to manually set the exposure to achieve the picture that I am looking for. I really liked Sam’s teaching style, not to mention he is very friendly and patient. While having goals and topics for each class, it was rather informal with lots of opportunities to ask questions. I also liked that we spent some time reviewing the previous week’s lessons at the start of each class. Repetition was key to learning (and remembering) the principles. I would highly recommend his classes and am now considering the intermediate class for myself.

    • samdamico says:

      Thank you for your comments and thank you for taking the class, Kristen.

      I’m glad that you are using your understanding of the fundamentals of photography to work your camera in manual exposure mode and making the pictures that you are looking for.

      You already know that repetition is the key to learning, so keep practicing working your camera in manual exposure mode and keep practicing your application of the material that what we covered in class.

  54. Calvin Nelson Jr says:

    I throughly enjoyed your class and learned a lot about the many features on my camera – most of which I had never used before. Your teaching technique of learning by doing it was a great way of understanding topics like exposure,metering and light.
    The small class size was great because all of us received individual attention from you and there was plenty of time to get all of our questions fully addressed. I liked that you encouraged us to talk about the photos we took for the class assignment – what we were trying to accomplish with our photos, and then offered advice for making them better.
    After taking your class, I realize that with practice I can be more creative and take better photos with the camera in the manual exposure mode, rather than with the automatic setting. THANKS!

    • samdamico says:


      Thank you for your comments and thank you for taking the class.

      Knowing what features on your camera are important to you as a photographer, and which ones are not, is integral to an efficient way to work.

      If you keep practicing making photographs in manual exposure mode, you’ll become more fluid in your camera operations and more decisive in your compositional choices. Understanding of craft will allow your work process to become more natural.

      Remember, understanding and application of craft serves creativity.

  55. Kunjisha says:

    My main concern was that I didn’t have enough basic knowledge to start this class, but we started from the basics so that was no problem at all.

    I learned how to use my camera and the different elements of a photograph. I learned a little about different camera types, film vs. digital, and different file types that photos can be stored as.

    I really like the ability to bring in photographs and ask questions. It really helped in learning what I could do to improve.

    I would definitely recommend this class as a great way to learn how to use your camera. You will enjoy it and be surprised at how much you learn!

  56. Erin says:

    I expected that my expensive camera would just “take” the pictures I wanted in auto mode! Was I wrong! Frustrated, I kind of gave up and just used my small point ‘n shoot….until I took Sam’s class.

    I took his 3-hour basics then his 4-week intro. I know it’s just a start, but now I’m much more comfortable using manual mode and learned so much about photography that I hadn’t ever considered. I’m actually excited about going out and, as Sam says, “making thoughtful pictures”.

    I was a little timid at times about the science behind photography, but Sam is very patient and nonjudgemental of any questions and concerns you have. His small class size allows for individual attention to you and your camera. No textbook is needed, creating room to “veer off track” for other questions and interests in photogaphy.

    Overall, I learned there are multiple components involved to create the picture you want, how to work with your light source, whether bright or dim.

    I’m sure I’ll still be frustrated at times, unable to get that “perfect” picture, but more knowlegable and confident using my camera. I hope to take another course from Sam in the future.

    Thank you!

    • samdamico says:

      Hi Erin,

      Thank you for your comments. It was good working with you again.

      I’m happy that you are more comfortable and knowledgeable about using manual exposure mode to make thoughtful pictures.

      Try not to get caught up in the science behind photography. Instead, continue to do as you have been doing, learning about craft and applying craft when creating thoughtfully composed pictures.

      I like that you mentioned light sources, as we discussed during class, light is our raw material.

      Embrace frustration when it happens, frustration leads to learning and improvement in craft.

      Thank you again Erin, it was good having you be an active participant in the class.

  57. Martha Foulon-Tonat says:

    I had taken a previous Intro to Digital Photography with another instructor. While I learned some in the previous class, it didn’t compare with Sam’s class. Sam makes sure you understand what you’re learning; why when you do this it effects that. A couple of the most useful things imparted were understanding equivalent exposure and how best to meter to get the detail and effect you want. I’m looking forward to the next level of instruction.

    • samdamico says:

      Hi Martha,

      I’m glad that you realize the importance of understanding what effects your choices have on the composition of your photograph.
      The reason why we I think we should always work in manual mode is because we are making the choices, not our camera.

      Thank you for taking the class Martha.
      It was good working with you.

  58. janet zalman says:

    Sam, The class was really great! Not only did I learn about my camera but in additiion you were able to delineate in a specific way the fundamentals of photography,using light and distance as well as you own creativity. Specifically I learned how to use shutter speed, F stops and contrast to make the photograph that I want. I highly reccommend this course. In addition Sam is very patient with the non-technolgical student as well as those who are already very savy. Janet

    • samdamico says:

      Hi Janet,

      It was good working with you and I’m glad that you found the class helpful.

      Keep practicing what we covered in class. Practice makes things more fluid.

  59. Selin says:

    1) My main reason in taking the class was to learn and understand how to use a dslr camera and get the most out of it.
    2) I learned the basics of how to use the manual mode.
    3) I liked that the class was clear and Sam answered all our questions fully.
    4) It was easier and more useful than reading about photography because there were no missing points.
    5) I would recommend the class to anyone looking to understand the basics of using a dslr camera.
    6) I thought Sam was a very clear and accessible teacher.

  60. Cecelia says:

    I liked the casual atmosphere of the class, which made it easy to ask questions without feeling intimidated.

    I found the individual attention Sam gave to each students specific camera’s capabilities very useful.

    I learned how to take control of the picture making process by taking my camera off auto or program mode and shooting in manual mode.

    I have more confidence now in my abilities to handle a camera and make a good picture.

    • samdamico says:

      Hi Cecelia,

      Thank you for your comments about the Introduction to Photography class.

      You statement is right to the point. You are creating the photograph (manual mode), not the camera (auto-mode).

      Having this control over the camera and the the picture making process can only increase your confidence as a photographer.

      I look forward to seeing you on the 22nd.

  61. bryan says:

    sam’s intro to photography class was excellent. it was from nuts and bolts of how your camera works, to how to use principles of how a camera works in general to understand how you make images you want. sam encourages you to think about what you want out of taking pictures, and to think through how to make the camera do what you want it to do. highly recommended.

    • samdamico says:


      I’m glad that you’re thinking about how to create the photographs that you want.

      A good photograph is the result of a thoughtful photographer.

  62. samdamico says:

    Recently I implemented a new way to receive comments from students in a more efficient and engaged manner. At this time, because the system has only recently become available, there are not many comments about classes.

    You can view comments that were made by students before I instituted a new way to receive opinions and reactions to my photography classes. Please use this link if you’d like to see comments that were made by students prior to the implementation of the new system. There are plenty for you to read.

    Thank you.

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