Online Photography Classes with Ricky Tims

2017 Photo Challenge Part 1


Ricky Tims leads Part 1 (26 weeks) of an in-depth, three-part, 52-week digital photography class focusing on camera techniques, Lightroom, Photoshop, and composition.

Class Example Image

Ricky Tims leads Part 1 (26 weeks) of an in-depth, three-part, 52-week digital photography class. This is group participation class. It is not a self-guided, self-contained class. Lessons/challenges are posted each week. It is perfect for anyone interested in being a better artist by using photography as a medium for creative exploration and artistic discovery. Hobbyists and travelers will benefit too. You will learn to look at your world with an artistic eye. Proper camera gear and software is required. 

Part 1 is a $599 value.

December 16th-25th, Registration is 50% off at $299.
On December 26, Full price, $599

What You Will Learn
     • Learn camera basics
     • Learn in-camera specialty techniques
     • Learn the elements of art and principles of design
     • Learn Lightroom and Photoshop

Class begins Sunday, January 1, 2017
Pre-class information will begin mid-December.

Part 2 (13 weeks)
Early bird price will be $99.00 - Registration begins in May 2017

Part 3 (13 week)
Early bird price will be $49.00 - Registration begins in August 2017

WATCH THIS VIDEO featuring 40+ student images.

Please read the following carefully.

Who should take this class?
Everyone who is interested in photography regardless of his or her artistic medium or skill level.

Can I submit previous images that fit the theme?
Submitted challenge/class photos must not be old photos. All challenge photos must be taken only during the week of the challenge. This is not a class to highlight your previous accomplishments no matter how wonderful or pertinent they may be.

When do classes start?
The first challenge/lesson begins January 1, 2016 and continues weekly with new lessons/challenges. A new downloadable lesson is issued each week. Most weeks have a video tutorial to go along with the challenge. The class builds on the previous lessons so keeping up with the class is vital. For this reason, the 52 week challenge is divided into three sections - 26 weeks, 13 weeks, and 13 weeks. 

If you would like to explore my images visit my Smugmug site and browse the Challenge Photos gallery.


What type of Camera do I need? 
 You will need a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera with changeable lenses. 

Regardless of the bells and whistles it has, you will need the ability to shoot in Manual Mode, Shutter Priority Mode and Aperture Priority Mode. Some cameras will have an image stabilization or vibration reduction on/off feature, which can be beneficial, but not required. Before January, read your camera manual, learn where your manual adjustments are located. The sooner you know how to quickly make adjustments to functions like ISO settings, shutter speed, over/under exposure, etc., the quicker you can focus on taking pictures instead of feeling lost and confused with your camera. A camera with external buttons/dials for quickly changing aperture, shutter speed, and ISO is recommended.

What lenses will I need?
REQUIRED: During this course you will need to shoot wide and zoomed. 

There are versatile zoom lenses that allow for both wide and zoomed. Most students will use two lenses, such as a 24mm-70mm and a 70mm-200mm. If you have lenses that are wider than 24mm or longer than 200mm, that is a bonus but not required. You will need versatility for the types of shooting we will do over the course. Specialty lenses (such as macros, fish-eye, etc.) are not required, but may certainly be used as an option from time to time. 

Do I need a tripod?
REQUIRED: A good quality tripod is an absolute must. There are many lessons that cannot be accomplished with a hand-held camera.

An expensive camera should never be paired with an inexpensive, flimsy tripod. Your camera needs to be matched with a tripod that will support and protect your camera. Carbon fiber or aluminum tripods are recommended. Consider your options and select one that best suits you. Quality tripods are usually sold separately from the head mount. Tripod heads come in different styles. Tripods are best selected "in person" as are the ball heads. You will discover what features are most comfortable for you.

What software will I need?
 All participants must have Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop from 2014 or later. 

Adobe now has the Creative Cloud option for Photoshop/Lightroom bundle for $9.99 per month (or $119.88 annually) which I highly recommend. Here is the link to get Photoshop. The Adobe Creative Cloud is a new way of getting software apps. It is licensed rather than purchased, making it very accessible to everyone. Using it means that when there is an update, there is no charge for the new version. The monthly or annual fee ensures you can get all updates. You can use either the PC or the Apple platform. Video lessons will be demonstrated using the Apple platform. The differences between the two platforms are minor. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Photoshop Elements for this class?

About the Class Format:

Each week a new challenge opens. In most cases there is a streaming video lesson (not for download). Each week there is a lesson .PDF that you will click to open, download, and save. Many students print these and keep a notebook. The challenge and lessons are self-contained each week, but the year progresses with each lesson building on the previous. 

Evaluation of Images 
Each week I will select 10-16 images to evaluate and critique. Therefore, not every image submitted will be critiqued. The critiques will be presented to the entire class. By critiquing a cross section of images you will learn from images that are successful and those where certain aspects could be improved. Naturally we all want glowing critiques but critical comments are necessary for the group to learn. Images showing both shortcomings and successes are necessary for everyone to see and learn. I will always strive to pair my critiques with words of encouragement. Please understand that critical comments are vital to the course. I won’t be selecting a cross section of only the best photos, nor will I select my “favorite” photos to critique. I’ll be looking for images that are inspirational, but I will also be selecting images that will help the group learn. 

Types of Challenges/Assignments 
This course will teach you a variety of things. If you are a novice at making the camera do what you want (rather than having the camera make automatic choices for you, i.e. “point and shoot”), you will learn many techniques – like depth of field, bracketing, and panning. A significant part of the class will be dedicated to composition by exploring the elements of art and principles of design. I will also teach a variety of techniques using Lightroom and Photoshop. There will be challenge weeks that are theme based only so that you will not be limited by a special technique or design challenge assignment. 

How does the class share images?
Students are provided with a private upload link. The images are uploaded to a gallery that is visible only to class participants. You do not have to have a Smugmug account to upload images or to view the images and participate in the class and view the images. However, you will need to login to Smugmug to interact and add a comment on someone else's image. 

Who Can Comment?
This is an interactive class. To protect from spammers, only allows comments when visitors are logged in. You can log in using either:
     1. Your own Smugmug account (minimum $40 per year - and worth it), 
     2. Your Facebook account
     3. A Google+ account. 

In reality, while is is not required, all students should be associated with a photo sharing website such as Smugmug, Flickr, Picassa, ect. This allows students to share links to multiples images and galleries with other students in the class. Inevitably, the group creates a bond and will connect with each other. Since only one image is allowed per student per week in our challenge gallery having an account with a photo sharing site is very helpful.

How does the schedule work?
All times are based on Mountain Time (Colorado). New classes and challenges are pre-scheduled to post every Sunday morning at 1am. Challenge images may be uploaded anytime during the following week. The deadline for posting is the following Sunday night at midnight. You will get a class email each Sunday morning when the new lesson is posted. It contains the new challenge as well as a reminder that the previous week's image is due. 

How do I get acquainted with other students?
Because we interact as a class, you will be known by your name. I urge you to use your real name or a variation of your real name - especially first names. We are not a secret group - we will become virtual friends. For example, I could choose RickyTims or RickyT which are both better than RTims or DogloverRT. Clever nick names are not encouraged. I will want to know you by your name. 

How are images critiqued?
It is not possible to critique every image that is submitted although there are a few weeks that I will do just that. Critiques on selected images will be posted in the comment section on Smugmug. I do not select the most amazing photos to critique, I attempt to make comments that are informative and helpful in order to improve. Critiques will be ongoing as images are added to the gallery. At the end of each week I will select my choice for Photo of the Week. It is purely a selfish decision. Picking just one favorite image each week is always challenging, but it is my own self-indulgence.

What is my commitment?
Course Dedication 
It is estimated that you will need about 2-3 hours each week for this class. Fifty-two weeks is a long time to stay committed to any project. For this reason I have divided the class into three parts. If after the first 26 weeks you are inspired to continue, you can choose to continue on with Part 2 and Part 3. Please evaluate your ability to be committed to this course before registering for it. Deadlines for submission must be met on time each week. Late submissions (more than 24 hours) is cumbersome on this end.

Having said that, I do not monitor who posts and who doesn't post. Should you find you have to miss a week here or there, or find that life gets in the way, don't worry, the lessons are still being posted and you can review them in the future at any time. You just won't post your images should they be taken after that week's deadline. The purchased lessons are yours forever.

What Happens to These Lessons in the Future?
You will forever be able to login and access the lessons and videos associated with your purchased classes. If you find you have to take a break from the challenges, but would like to review these on your own in the future, they will always be there for you to login and access under your My Classes tab.


Read this TESTIMONIAL BLOG by quiltmaker/designer/author Becky Goldsmith.

The lessons on design and Photoshop are wonderful. And the opportunity for growth that Ricky provides is invaluable! I thought this class would be about photography, which it is of course, but so much more. You will learn to refine how you see and to dig deep into your inner artist. – R. Miracle

Every Sunday morning, like a kid waiting for Santa, I open up the next lesson. Lessons continuously build our skills with the camera, composition and the use of Photoshop to enhance our pictures. Ricky quickly responds to questions and classmates are eager to share their knowledge and provide assistance. I recommend this class to anyone who truly wants to get to know their DSLR and become a better photographer. – C. Shaw

Your photography skills—composition, knowing your camera, and processing will grow exponentially over the course. Best of all, each lesson’s scope is a do-able “bite-size.” If you have more time, you can go deeper, learning from fellow students’ work. Recently, I took my son’s Senior (HS) portrait and the comments were “looks professional!” That’s thanks to how much I have learned this year. A FAB class….and wanting more! – S. A. Smith

The 52 Week Photography Challenge has been a worthwhile adventure into the technical and creative aspects of making photographs. My favorite aspect is being motivated on a weekly basis to get out and shoot. This year with Ricky has rekindled my love of photography. – J. Puntnam

I loved the 52 week photo challenge class. I learned tons about camera settings and post editing techniques. Tutorials were excellent and your weekly critiques were honest yet kind and taught me so much about photography and art principles. Thanks for a wonderful year! – J. A. Banks

Learning Photoshop in babysteps has taken away the fear. Shooting photos every week, I finally feel in control of the camera. Ricky and the other participants are always there for you... with helpful tips and encouragement. And reviewing photos from all across the country as well as Europe and Australia has been a delight. – Kari "Safari" Bauer


Have a question? Ask the Teacher

Included in the Class

39 video lessons
41 lesson downloads