Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Flash Class

Another Flash Photography class was held last night at Balanced Exposure.

This is one of the images from the class.  I lit this photo with only one light to the right of the model and this is the result.  Adding a reflector to the other side is an option to brighten up the darker side, but this image was done simply to see what a single light source would do.  A medium sized softbox was used to soften the studio light.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Online Coupon Deals

I guess Groupon was right.

As the first Groupon deal comes to a close on December 6 (that's when the first six months coupon runs out), I'm seeing a marked increase in people enrolling in a Photo 101 class.  Even so, I can't help but notice how many people still have not signed up for class!  Groupon mentioned that I should see a lot of people sign up for classes right in the beginning, then a lull will happen in the middle months and just before the end of the coupon's time, a bunch of activity will happen again.

Still, I have to wonder how many people will simply let their coupon expire and never take the class.  That's too bad because I really want everyone who has purchased a coupon to come in and take the class!

While the weekend classes are all filling up to the max, the weekday evening classes are still relatively sparse with students.  Plenty of space for people to take the class!  They just need to come in during the weekday evenings!

The Photography Boot Camp deal that ran on also has a lot of people who have not yet redeemed their coupons.  They have until sometime in March 2012 to take a class, so perhaps these student are doing a similar thing and just waiting for the expiration date.

According to both companies, a certain number of people will never redeem their coupons.  I won't divulge their statistics, but it's a lot of people.  I just have to wonder why someone would spend money and not use their coupons?  I know I wouldn't want to do that!

Still, I'm grateful to those who have come to class and have told me that they have benefited from taking the class.  A decent number of my students have also signed up for post production classes from Balanced Exposure.  I'm so happy that these students have decided to further their photography education beyond just the first class.  Many more have also told me that they plan to take my DSLR ADVANCED class in 2012 too so that they can learn about the other features of their camera!  That's a nice gauge for me to see if I'm doing a good job teaching.  If someone is already telling me they are planning to come back, I must be doing something right!

Besides taking the class themselves, I've had a number of students recommend the class to their friends and relatives.  These people simply buy the deal directly through Balanced Exposure.  This has helped a lot to keep me in business!  Thank you all for these referrals!

I shared this information with Groupon and Amazonlocal and they have told me that I'm doing a lot better in getting return business than some of their other advertisers.  Many times, people use their coupons and never go back again.  But in the case of Balanced Exposure, the return rate is well above the average for coupon company deals.

Because of this, Balanced Exposure will continue to work with companies like Groupon, Amazonlocal and LivingSocial to offer deals to photographers looking to learn about their cameras.

Thanks to everyone for their continued support of Balanced Exposure!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

New Classes for 2012

While I'm off of teaching this week until Saturday, I'm still working!

My goal is to get all of my accounting together in preparation for the end of the year and not do a last minute rush to get everything to the accountant.  In the past several years, I've been pretty good at this. So far, I'm on track to get this finished by today.

I'm also answering phone calls from students trying to schedule their classes.  This happens daily anyway.  Other calls involve signing students up for taking a class if they did not go through an online coupon company to buy their class.

I've also been dealing with planning for the 2012 classes.  The "Photography 101" class is going to be "more compact" in 2012 (and will be called "Photo Essentials" going forward) and will move to a 4 hour training session instead of 6 hours.  This will move the class to a slightly faster pace in order to keep the information the same.  I feel it will actually make the class more interesting... and it will keep the students on their toes.  Several students have said that this is a good idea as well.

The Photography "Boot Camp" class will remain the same at 3 hours.  The main difference between the two classes will be that the "Photo Essentials" class will also discuss composition and other topics that are not specifically just about how to use the mechanics of the camera.  Boot Camp will concentrate solely on the camera's operations.

I am also adding a class called "DSLR Advanced."  This new class is for those who have already taken "Photography 101," "Boot Camp" or the "Photo Essentials" class.  It will be the continuation of those classes.  We'll cover many more of the advanced features you will find inside the "menus" of the camera itself.  There are a lot of features inside your camera's menu and it was impossible to even discuss them in the first class and still get through the main focus of the Photo 101 and Boot Camp classes.  With DSLR Advanced, we'll be able to do this now.  It will be a 3 hour class.

However, DSLR Advanced will only be offered to those who have true DSLR cameras.  Those who own "hybrid" advanced Point and Shoot cameras will not be able to attend this class as it will be specific to the DSLR.

Can you get the new DSLR Advanced Class through Groupon, LivingSocial or Amazonlocal?  No... but it will be available directly through Balanced Exposure at a substantial discount for students who have already gone through one of the first classes.  Keep an eye out for a special email announcement in January for this class.  You'll have an opportunity to get tthe discount if you respond to the promo offered via email.

Also in 2012, Balanced Exposure will drop Point and Shoot photography classes.  With so many more DSLR students coming onboard in 2012, and also to service existing students, I decided Balanced Exposure will need to concentrate solely on DSLR cameras going forward.

Hybrid / Advanced Point and Shoot cameras will be allowed into the Photo Essential and Boot Camp camera classes, but they must be truly capable of functioning like a DSLR.  This means cameras that can fully be controlled manually and also can be shot in both Aperture and Shutter Speed Priority Modes.

The calendar for 2012 is currently up on the website, but may be tweaked a little as classes are added throughout the year.  Stay tuned!