Monday, 7 July 2014

Please Don't Say Cheese - Online Photography Class {Review}

A few months back I was contacted by a blogger who was hosting a giveaway to an afternoon photography class.  Turns out the photographer offering the class decided to bless everyone who had entered and had invited us all to meet her along with our children at the beach in order to learn to take better photographs.  Boy was I excited! Until I realised that the class was in Sydney.  I anxiously scanned Web Jet for specials to Sydney I even had accommodation.  No flights ...

Sadly I contacted Robyn (the owner of Please Don't Say Cheese Photography) to let her know I was unable to join her for the class.  About two minutes later I had a letter from Robyn offering me a spot in her 8 lesson online photography workshop. To say I was excited was the understatement of the century. I had been feeling very frustrated with my photography skills and understanding of how to use my camera so this class was just what I needed.

What I received

How I used it
  • I went to Please Don't Say Cheese and Signed Up.
  • There is a specific members area which made finding my courses and signing in really easy to do.  This area is divided up into six specific areas.

  • In the Share area you will find photographs that have been uploaded by others doing the course for you to look through and learn from.  
  • Robyn's blog is full of tips and insights and challenges.
  •  At present there are two video tutorials.  This area will be growing in the future as Robyn adds more video's for her students.
  • In the contact Robyn area there is an online contact form.  I am impressed with how promptly all my emails and queries have answered by her.  Every time I have sent an email I have received a response in less than 24 hours.
  • Under the My Courses Tab was a list of courses I was signed up for with a short description of each one.
Click to see image in full screen.

  • When I click through to my specific class the top has the date that I began my course and below a beautiful image taken by Robyn there is a course status notification.  Mine is currently: In Progress (thank you Robyn) from here I can click through to my lessons.
  • To the right below my name there is a quick link to My Profile, My Courses, FAQ and Log Out
  • Below that a status bar showing my progress through the course
  • Followed by the eight lessons.  These are locked when you begin the course.  A new class is unlocked for you one every seven days. However you only gain access to your course content upon completion of the modules preceding it.
Click to see image in full screen.

  • Below this is a course content. This can be expanded or collapsed depending on your preference. 
  • Each course starts with a 'Getting to Know you area' followed by the first lesson.
  • Once you complete a lesson it is highlighted with a white tick in a green box.  You can see at a glance which lessons are completed.
  • Each lesson is divided into topics. As you complete a module a green button appears next to the topic.
  • Robyn's mantra is "Practice" A requirement of each of her classes is participation.  At the end of each module there is an assignment. Once you have submitted your photograph the next module is unlocked.
My course covered the following topics
  1. Camera Basics (5 Modules)
  2. Understanding Exposure (6 Modules)
  3. Composition (6 Modules) 
  4. Finding the Light (5 Modules)
  5. Seeing Creatively (3 Modules)
  6. Avoiding the Cheese (2 Modules)
  7. Photo Editing (3 Modules)
One of the things I have appreciated the most about this course is that Robyn does not assume you know anything.  You are taken to the beginning and regardless of the type of camera you have (DSLR, Canon, Nikon, Instamatic) everything is explained to you in everyday terminology.  Robyn introduces you to the correct terminology explaining it to you in an easy conversational tone.

  • At the end of the module there is a summary followed by a practical assignment for the work you have just learned.
  • Once you have taken your camera and applied what you have just learned it's time to upload your results.
  • After submitting your photograph to the online community it's time to look at what others are doing and share some comment love.
  • Submitting your photographs also unlocks the next module in your lessons.
  • An advantage of the online class submissions is that we can learn from one anothers photo taking and build friendships. 
  • Robyn then comes along and gives you some tips on your submitted photograph.  I was a little afraid of uploading my photo's to start with. This I soon discovered was unwarranted because all feedback is always encouraging and positive. Robyn gives excellent practical advice to help me grow and improve in my skills as a photographer.

Here is a sample of a photograph I uploaded for lesson 1: topic 3: focus Activity 1

Robyn's feed back on my submission

Regardless of your photographic ability there is something for you in this course. I highly recommend signing up and participating. Whether you're wanting to improve your portraiture, travel or product photography this is an excellent class to participate in.

Cost** of the Workshops
  • 8 module online photography workshop - (a total of 30 modules and 6 months membership) AU $167.00
  • VIP membership to Please Don’t Say Cheese [Learn] - Lifetime Membership AU $392.00.
  • (short course) Camera basics (for beginners) 
  • (short course) Understanding exposure (for intermediate photographers) 
  • (short course) Photo editing magic (beginners and intermediate) 
**All prices are correct at time of review.  It is your responsibility to check the price before purchasing any item.  Price changes are subject to change without notice.

Introductory special (3 days only) 50 % discount on Short Courses
  • (short course) Camera basics (for beginners) AU $27
  • (short course) Understanding exposure (for intermediate photographers) AU $27
  • (short course) Photo editing magic (beginners and intermediate) AU $27
Get 10 FREE tips for taking stunning photos of your children

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Robyn also does child and family portrait sessions.

Final thoughts
Before I started this 8 module online photography workshop I was feeling incredibly frustrated with my photography.  This class is helping me to expand both my general and practical knowledge of photography.  I have loved the classes I have completed and look forward to learning many more things.  

My favourite piece of wisdom from the course so far is from Robyn:

"Practice, Practice, Practice:
the three things 
that will make you 
a better photographer!"



  1. Wow! You make it so tempting, alas no money but maybe one day. Will read Robyn's blog anyway and pick up some tips.
    and yes have noticed your photography has shot up in huge quality!! Well done:){{}}

    1. Oh Erin it's so worth while to save up for this course you will not regret it. I am learning so much from Robyn.
      {{hugs}} hope to see you there soon


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