Online Photography Classes with Ricky Tims

2023 Photo Challenge Part 1


This is Part 1 (26 weeks) of Ricky's 52-Week digital photo course. Learn the basics and progresses through camera techniques, Lightroom, Photoshop, special effects, and composition. Now 66% off, $199. (reg. $600)

Class Example Image


Join Ricky Tims for the 2023 version of his 52-Week Photo Challenge! This course is for those who have a desire to know more about photography.


The course blends three major elements...basic camera techniques, speciality techniques, composition, and editing (in Lightroom Classic and Photoshop).

Keep in mind. Part 1 is Twenty-Six weekly challenges, videos, PDF downloads, and selected critiques/comments. The group interaction is invaluable.

Participants are worldwide.

Ricky Tims leads Part 1 (26 weeks) of an in-depth, three-part, 52-week digital photography class. This is group participation/interactive class. You will become virtually familiar with the other participants during this course. A wonderful community is built each year.

The course is not self-guided. Lessons/challenges are posted each week. You review each lesson that week at your own convenience. The lessons are not presented live.

Each participant submits one image each week via an upload link. Class members are able to see and comment on each other's images. Each week Ricky comments/critiques a few of the images that are submitted. Viewing the image gallery, commenting on other images, and the reading the weekly critiques are just as vital to your success as watching the pre-recorded video and/or reviewing the .pdf lessons that are presented.

The class is a great option 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 - see below. 

The entire course (52 Weeks) when compared to other online photography courses is a $1200+ value. Note: Most online courses are self-contained and self-paced. This course is "virtually interactive" with the other participants and the instructor. 

Part 1 (first 26 weeks) is a $600 value. EARLY BIRDS SAVE 66%! Only $199!

Now through November 28th, Registration is 66% off at $199.00. 
From November 29 - December 12, the price will be 50% off at $299.
After December 12, Full price, $600 for Part 1 (26 weeks)
Registration Deadline is December 19, 2022.

All Part 1 participants will have the opportunity to get Part 2 (13 weeks) and Part 3 (the final 13 weeks) at the discounted price. (see below).

What You Will Learn Through The Year
     • Learn camera basics
     • Learn in-camera specialty techniques such as panning and night photography
     • Learn the elements of art and principles of design
     • Learn Lightroom and Photoshop
     • Special Photoshop editing techniques such as focus stacking, dreamscapes, selective color, panorama, and much more.
     • Learn Special editing plug-ins such as Topaz

Class begins Sunday, January 1, 2023

Pre-class information/lessons will begin December 20.
Week 12 will be a Do Over week and Week 13 will be a Challenge Only week*
Week 25 will be a Do Over week and Week 26 will be a Challenge Only week*

Part 2 (13 weeks)
Early bird price will be $119.00 - Registration begins in June
Week 38 will be a Do Over week, and Week 39 will be a Challenge Only week*

Part 3 (13 week)
Early bird price will be $69.00 - Registration begins in September
Weeks 49-52 are Challenge Only Weeks*

*This mean, no lessons and no critiques are given, but challenges are presented.

WATCH THIS VIDEO featuring 40+ student images.

Please read the following Q & A carefully.

Q: Who should take this class?
A: Everyone who is interested in photography regardless of his or her artistic medium or skill level. Young and old, near and far, and experienced and inexperienced. All are welcome.

Q: Can I submit previous images that I have taken previously that fit the challenge theme?
A: No. No old photos allowed. All submitted photos must be NEW photos 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.

Q: When do classes start?
The first challenge/lesson begins Sunday, January 1, 2021 and continues weekly with new lessons/challenges posting each Sunday. Streaming videos and/or downloadable lesson PDFs are issued each week. Most weeks have a video tutorial to accompany the challenge lesson, but not all lessons will have a video. The class builds on the previous lessons so keeping up with the weekly challenges is vital.


Q:What type of Camera do I need? 
A: REQUIRED: You will need a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera with changeable lenses. This class is not intended for those using point-n-shoot cameras or smart phones. This is not a smart phone photo course.

You will need the ability to shoot in Manual Mode, Shutter Priority Mode and Aperture Priority Mode. Some lenses will have an image stabilization or vibration reduction on/off feature, which can be beneficial, but not required. Before class starts, 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. We will start with the basics and I start as if the class knows nothing about aperture, shutter speed, ISO, or manual focusing.

Q: How do I know what camera to buy if I don't have one?
A: There are a variety of brands to choose from. However, the majority of photographers are split into the Nikon camp or the Canon camp. Sony is another brand to consider. Check with your local camera store and have them assist you. If you don't have a local camera shop, shopping online can be helpful. Look for a bundle that will have the camera body, two lenses, digital media, filters, camera bag and more. Those are often the best value for startup gear. 

Q: What lenses will I need?
A: 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. 

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

PLEASE NOTE: An expensive camera should never be paired with a flimsy tripod. Your camera needs to be matched with a tripod that will support and protect your camera. Sturdy, 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 head mounts. You will discover what features are most comfortable for you. Another consideration is twist release leg extensions vs. flip lock leg extensions.

Q: What software will I need?
A: REQUIRED: All participants must have Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Additional software for editing plug-ins will be covered during the year. There is not a requirement to purchase the additional software. Obtaining it is optional.

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 Adobe's Creative Cloud Photography Plan. It comes with Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Lightroom Classic, and Adobe Photoshop. We will only be using Lightroom Classic and Photoshop for this class. All lessons are taught using Lightroom Classic platform. There is also a Lightroom (non-classic) version. We will not be using that non-classic version. Should you opt to use other version of Lightroom, and not Lightroom Classic, you will need to make any adjustments and learn the differences on your own. My guidance will not be available for the Lightroom version. I will be using Lightroom Classic.


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 the Creative Cloud 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. 

When you get to the Adobe link, I recommend the least expensive plan. We WILL be using Lightroom CLASSIC - We WILL NOT be using Lightroom (the cloud-based version). Both versions will come automatically with the plan, but you only need to install the Lightroom Classic CC. 

SELECT THE 9.99 per month - Photography Plan (20GB).


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use Photoshop Elements for this class?
No. You must use the latest version of Photoshop - not Photoshop elements.

Can I use older versions of Photoshop and Lightroom?
No. Please get the latest version of software listed above.

Will I learn how to photograph my quilts?
Not specifically. The photo skills you learn will allow you to take much better photos of your quilts, but many (if not most) in the class are not quilters. You will learn to be a better photographer which in turn will help you to better photograph your artworks.

About the Class Format:
You will review the lesson on your own at your own convenient time. You don't have to login at a specific time to learn and watch. 
1. Review the lesson first.
2. Take your photo, process it, and save/export it. (This will be taught).
3. Upload it to the class gallery - ONLY ONE PHOTO IS ALLOWED EACH WEEK!

Each week a new challenge/lesson is presented. In most cases there is a link to a streaming video lesson that you watch at your own convenience. In addition, each week there is a PDF that you will click to open, download, and save and/or print to create your own workbook.

The challenge and lessons are self-contained each week, but the year progresses with lessons building on the previous lessons.

Evaluation of Images 
Each week Ricky selects 10-12 images to evaluate and critique. Therefore, not every image submitted will be critiqued. The critiques will be presented to the entire class to be read/viewed by all participants. By critiquing a cross section of images you will evaluate your own submission based on the comments and learn how to improve. Naturally everyone wants glowing critiques but critical comments are necessary in order for the group to learn. Selected images showing both shortcomings and successes are necessary.

Ricky will always strive to pair his critiques with words of encouragement. Please understand that critical comments are vital to the course. A cross section of "only the best" photos is not the goal. Ricky be looking for images that are inspirational, but I will also be selecting images that have issues. The critiques will help the group learn. 

Types of Challenges/Assignments 
This course will teach you a variety of things: Camera technique, composition, software, and more.

Camera technique: 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. You will learn to be in charge of your all settings including ISO.

Composition: A significant part of the class will be dedicated to composition by exploring the Elements of Art and Principles of Design.

Software: You will learn 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. There will be lessons on certain editing plug-ins (such as Topaz). You will have the option to purchase those or not. Additional software is recommended when the time comes - but not required.

How does the class share images?
The lessons are presented at but they are shared on a photo sharing site called Students are provided with a unique upload link each week. The images are uploaded to a gallery at Smugmug.comYou 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. This will be explained in more detail during class.

Who Can Comment?
This is an interactive class and everyone should attempt to review the submissions of their classmates and add comments. However, in order to protect from spammers, only allows comments when visitors are logged in to Smugmug (not to You can log in to Smugmug using either:
     1. Your own Smugmug account (minimum $40 per year - not required) 
     2. Login via Facebook account
     3. Login via Google account

In reality, while is is not required, all students should be associated with a photo sharing website such as Smugmug, Flickr, etc. Since you are only allowed to submit ONE photo to the class gallery each week, having a photo sharing site allows students to share links to a photo gallery with multiples images. This option is available via adding a link in the comment section - further explained when class begins.

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. You will use your full real name. I will learn who you are by your name and not a nickname or user name.

How are images critiqued?
It is not possible to critique every image that is submitted. However, there are at least three times throughout the year that Ricky will comment on every photo submitted that week. Critiques on selected images will be posted in the comment section on Smugmug. For each challenge Ricky will select his choice for Photo of the Week. It is purely a selfish decision. Picking just one favorite image each week is always challenging because there are always many exciting images. The choice is personal and is essentially his self-indulgence during the year. 


What is my commitment?
Course Dedication 
It is estimated that you will need about 2-3 hours each week for this class. At first you may find you spend about 4-5 hours if you are just learning your software or other concerns.

If after the first 26 weeks you are inspired to continue, you can choose to continue on with Part 2, and subsequently, Part 3. Deadlines for submission must be met on time each week. Late submissions create a cumbersome logistical situation from the administration aspect. Please don't submit challenge photo late.

Ricky does 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. Please don't post your images after that week's deadline. Your registration gives you permanent access to the lessons. They 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. The My Classes tab only appears when you are logged into your account at


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

27 video lessons
25 lesson downloads