Your camera cost you a lot of money.

Do you want to stay on auto forever?

Sure, the auto mode will usually get you OK results. Why settle for OK when you could be taking awe-inspiring photos. Photos that leave your friends and family speechless.

Photos that get you hundreds, even thousands of likes and comments online.

Photos that make you money!

You know you’re smarter than your camera.

So why let it make all the decisions for you?

You didn’t buy this expensive camera to take photos on auto mode forever.

Who should do this course?

You, if you own a DSLR camera.

If auto is your go-to setting on your camera. Auto is just so comfortable – it's what you know.

You want to discover how easy, and fun, it is to go from auto to manual on your camera. Do you want to gain the confidence to go to manual?

You want to take control of your camera – to go from auto to extraordinary.

This course is for people who own a Canon DSLR or Bridge camera. Users of other brand cameras are very welcome as the fundamentals are still the same.

Do you want to take better pictures? Do you want to be a creative photographer rather than leaving the camera in control?

Do you find your camera manual more confusing than helpful?

It does not need to be complicated

You bought your digital camera to take high-quality photos, like those you have seen from other photographers.

But you didn’t expect that your digital camera would be THAT complicated. So you have remained on the auto setting thinking the manual settings are too complicated. They are not and this course will teach you that.

And that's exactly what happened to me. I remained on auto for years until I took a course. That course, and that coach, changed my photography journey. My journey went from being a hobbyist to becoming a professional photographer.

Let this course do that for you. Even if you don't want to be a professional, let me be your coach to creative photography using manual settings.

Course curriculum

  • 1

    Chapter 1: Your journey to awesome photos starts here

    • Welcome

    • What's in my kit bag

    • How to navigate through this course

    • How to find support

    • Acknowledgements

    • I will edit your photos

  • 2

    Chapter 2: Some fundamentals

    • Introduction to this chapter

    • It's all about the light

    • Buttons, dials and basic settings

    • Lenses – zoom, prime, fast and slow

    • How do I focus on a single point?

    • Should I be photographing in RAW?

    • What is white balance and why is it important?

    • Pay attention to your dashboard

    • Playback and learn

  • 3

    Chapter 3: Composition

    • Intro to composition

    • Rule of thirds

    • Using leading lines

    • Change your point of view

    • Enhancing your photos using negative spaces

    • Clutter and busy backgrounds

    • Don't be afraid to crop

    • Tell a story

    • Composition video

  • 4

    Chapter 4: Shutter Speed

    • P is for Program

    • Introducing the exposure triangle

    • What is shutter speed?

    • Using the Tv setting, how do I change the shutter speed?

    • What is the perfect shutter speed?

    • Shutter speed info guide

    • What is camera shake and how do I reduce it?

    • The 30 second exercise

    • Video showing various shutter speed examples

    • Background to iconic Rio Olympics photo of Usain Bolt

    • Shutter speed: Now it's your turn

  • 5

    Section 5: ISO

    • How is ISO related to the sensor?

    • What exactly is ISO?

    • How do you change ISO on your camera?

    • FAQ – ISO in action

    • ISO recap

    • ISO Info Guide

    • ISO: Now it's your turn

  • 6

    Chapter 6: Aperture

    • What is aperture?

    • Changing aperture using the Av mode

    • F-numbers and depth-of-field

    • Aperture info guide

    • Besides aperture what else affects DoF?

    • Can I change exposure while using the Av setting?

    • What is bokeh?

    • Now it's you turn: Aperture

  • 7

    Chapter 7: M is for Manual

    • Setting aperture and shutter speed using M mode

    • Exposure – it's about balance

    • Properly exposing your photographs

    • Full manual: Now it's up to you

    • Assignments

    • Onwards and upwards

  • 8

    Bonus material

    • From Adobe: How to Take and Edit Pet Portraits

    • Interview with Sean Thompson

    • Hand over hand - details of my iconic scaffolding photo

Do you find yourself out of work?

Has the Corona Virus pandemic dealt you a hard blow?

Are you looking at upskilling yourself to make money from your photography?

Do this course and start making money from your photography.

What you will learn

Learn how to use all of the manual modes (P, Tv, Av and M). See real-life examples of where you should use each mode. You will find out how to adjust your shutter speed and why you would choose one shutter speed over another. Learn how to adjust your aperture and why you would choose one aperture over another. Discover when and how to adjust the ISO setting. Understand various composition techniques and tricks. Grow in confidence with using manual settings. You will not go back to auto.

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About your instructor

I am Stephen Cruickshank.

I have been taking photos since 1984 and have been a professional for more than 20 years. I am passionate about photography. I am an acclaimed international event photographer having photographed events in New York, Greece, Dubai, Mauritius, Thailand, Cape Town, Barcelona and many more places across the globe. In Paris, June 2013, I photographed a 3 week event with 4000 delegates. This was the largest prolonged event ever hosted by Disneyland Europe. Over these years I have gained a vast amount of knowledge around photography. I love passing on these skills, tips and tricks through my training. I look forward to using all of my experiences to teach you.

My story

It was December 1998, an unusual thunderstorm blew in over my hometown of Cape Town in South Africa. We had some friends over for dinner that evening and on their way home they called to say lightning had struck the mountains which were now ablaze. I left home, with camera in hand, at around 11pm to go and photograph the mountain on fire. The blaze was very far away from the roadside so I headed back home without getting any shots.

As I approached home however, I saw the thunderstorm had moved in over False Bay once again. I went to a particular spot above my home village of Kalk Bay which I knew well for its view. I set up my camera on a tripod, pointed it in the direction of the strikes across the bay, and started shooting.

I had no idea if I had captured anything as in those days, using film cameras, I did not have the playback option on the back of my camera. The next day I went with excitement to the lab to have the film processed. Out of the 36 exposures on the spool, I submitted the best to a contact at the local newspaper. They printed this image in their Sunday edition! The newspaper didn't pay me much but they did take my number and passed all queries for prints on to me. I earned good money selling prints to people all over the world. Some still have the image hanging on their walls.

For this particular image shown, I left the shutter open for about 15 seconds. The photo captured two lightning strikes – one hitting in the bay and the other hitting the mountains on the other side of the bay.

This image started me on my path to becoming a professional photographer.

There is no way I could have captured this image if I did not know how to use manual settings.

What's the cost of not doing this course?

What is the cost to you missing out on that "wow" image because you default to using auto? What value can you place on positive comments from family and friends, from strangers online, when they praise you for your brilliant photography; on capturing that perfect memory to keep for a lifetime? Let's get you to manual so you can take photos such as these below.

Have you ever looked at pro photographers' images and wished you could get the same results?

This is Colin's story

I completed my course with Steve in September. I now never leave home without my camera. You may never know when that special photo will be there. I have progressed to having my own Facebook page, a logo, a signature and my website is in construction. One of my photos has been shortlisted for publication in Getaway Magazine. From the start I was determined to make my photography course into a way of life. My thanks to Steve for starting or rekindling the passion. This image is of professional surfer Nat Young competing in Morocco. - ColinF

Do you know how to use shutter speed to get that beautiful waterfall photo?
Do you know how to capture an action photo of your child enjoying their favorite sport?
Do you know how to make the background blurred on your photos?

This course will teach you the ins and outs of changing shutter speed to get photos such as this.
This course will teach you how to change your settings to get a sharp image using the fastest shutter speed possible.
This course will teach you about when to change aperture settings.

Do you know how to compose your image using the rule-of-thirds? 
Do you know the best aperture setting to capture a beautiful landscape photo?
Do you know how to capture a well-exposed photo of the full moon?
In this course, you will learn to differentiate between different composition techniques.
I will teach you how to change your ISO settings so you can adjust the shutter speed to capture the image you desire. I will teach you which lens is best and how to expose correctly to get THAT shot.

Social media demands instant uploading

Do you use social media? Do you need to upload your images with urgency? Learn how to get your image settings correct in camera. Don't waste time with copious amounts of post-editing. Learn how to get it right upfront.

You have time on your hands?

Why not dust off that old equipment?

You have an old SLR or DSLR camera you haven't used for a while. Go find it, dust it off. Take this course and brush up on your expertise.

This course will teach you how to create beautiful images using manual settings.

It's online so you can access the content via mobile or PC which means you can learn wherever you are, at any time that suits you. And you have access to the course forever.

I will be available, via comments in each section as well as email, as a coach to evaluate your photos as you go through the course.

This is so much better than reading a book and not having anyone for guidance or feedback.

Do you face challenges when photographing your pet?

I often hear photographers commenting on their pet photos: "My photos of my black dog never come out as I want. The background is always too bright." "When I photograph my white cat the photos are always blown out." "Why are my action photos of pets always blurred?" "I can't keep my dog still, in one place, in order to get a good photo." Learn to take beautiful photos of your pets such as the one here of our puppy, Rocket Man.


It was brilliant Stephen. The content was simple to understand and I am very confident to shoot on manual now.


Really wanted to convey a huge thank you for helping me along the way. It was the best decision I made to get to learn more about my camera and photo techniques.


Wow, thanks Steve for looking at and commenting on my photos. No one has done that for me before so I never know if they are any good or not. I am pleased that you like them.


I did Stephen’s course in May last year. It was a game-changer for me, gave me complete confidence to move from shooting on Auto to Manual, Aperture and Shutter Speed Priority. In addition, Stephen has always been available to assist in the 14 months since I did the course. It’s worth every cent.


I’m impressed by the level of professionalism of your course Stephen - really excellent!


Thanks Stephen for changing my mind from auto to manual. To see the bigger picture of what photography means and how not to be afraid to change the settings.


Thank you for a most interesting and enjoyable course Stephen! Thanks for introducing me to the world of “manual” photography of which I knew very little! I gained a wonderful new skill with your excellent course.


Thank you for changing my perspective on photography. 


Stephen a big thank you for the empowerment and knowledge.



Your investment

in your personal growth

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  • Then, add in your payment info

  • Select 'continue as guest '

Still struggling to use PayPal?

You can pay in ZAR via EFT. The cost is R2 400.

Send an email to me by clicking the button below. Let's discuss your preference.

By the end of this course you will know how to:

Set your shutter speed
Use a shallow depth-of-field
Use a fast shutter speed
Take beautiful photos of waterfalls or car-light trails at a slow shutter speed.

Blur the background to get your people photos to really stand out. Freeze motion in high action scenes.
Perfect sunset and sunrise photos

Ensure your subject stands out

Create beautiful bokeh

Create stunning silhouettes by underexposing your sunset images.
Learn how to manipulate your focusing points to draw attention to specific areas in your frame.
In low light scenes, learn how to use depth of field to create beautiful bokeh (a Japanese word meaning blur).

What are you waiting for?

Go ahead and start this course today.

Take your photography to a new level.

There is no risk. If you tell me you are not happy with the course within 30 days, you get your money back.

No questions asked.

100% money back guarantee.


  • When does the course start and finish?

    The course starts now and never ends. It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.

  • How long do I have access to the course?

    How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.

  • What does the course content contain? How do you train us?

    The lectures contain a mix of video instructions, info sheets, example photos, diagrams, and text lessons for you to go through on your own, at your own pace. I am available via the comments sections, and email, to give advice where needed.

  • What if I am unhappy with the course?

    We would never want you to be unhappy. If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

  • I don't have PayPal

    That's fine. You can pay via EFT in South Africa Rand. Just email me and I'll send the details. Or you cab pay via Debit or Credit card just simply by signing in as a guest on the PayPal screen.