• Nick Kelsh is a nationally known photographer and instructor. His passion for teaching and helping others, knack for creatively delivering photography tips in easily digestible bites, and inspiring, entertaining style has earned him the following of thousands on his How To Photograph Your Life website, How to Photograph Your Baby Facebook Page and popular Basic Photography Course

  • Going Manual is a series of online videos and resources to help anyone interested in turning off the Auto setting on their DSLR camera. Each Monday a new topic is posted in the form of a video with written components, a discussion board, assignments and a gallery to upload your assignment photos. Your classmates and Nick will post comments and provide valuable feedback and review of your assignment photos. You'll also receive a quiz to test your grasp of the topics with a video review, including the answers, from Nick.

    Don't worry about "making class"; each video and all of the resources are designed to be self-paced within the framework of the 8 week syllabus. Ideally, most participants will want to work on the material during the week it's posted, as that will provide the most beneficial interaction with Nick and classmates. However, if your schedule doesn't allow that, you can always catch up at your own pace and you will have full access to the videos and resources for one year. Please note that courses will take a week break for Thanksgiving and Christmas—allowing extra time to practice shooting!

    You'll also receive access to our Quick Tip Library with 50+ short videos and Nick's periodic webinars with valuable Q&A sessions and live photo critiques. You won't miss a beat if you're not able to attend live, as we always record and post these valuable sessions.

    And—please don’t tell anyone!—Nick loves to get on the phone with those of you that feel like you’re floundering during the course. He has actually saved a few photographic lives by talking students in from the edge of the photographic cliff.

    Lessons include: Introduction to Going Manual, F-stops, Shutter Speeds, and ISO, How a light meter thinks, Introduction to depth of field, Depth of field & focal length, Focal length and the shakes, Color balance, Shooting raw, Histograms

    • WEEK 1 - An Introduction to Going Manual


      • Going Manual Introduction
      • What is Going Manual?
      • F-stops, Shutter Speeds, and ISO: An Overview
      • The Weekly Assignment

      Week 1 of the Going Manual
    • WEEK 2 - How a Light Meter Thinks


      • An Introduction
      • Understanding F-stops as Fractions
      • How a Light Meter Works
      • Adventures in Real Life Photography / Week 2
      • ISO: Your Camera is a Light Sponge
      • The Weekly Assignment

      Week 2 of Going Manual
    • WEEK 3 - Introduction to Depth of Field


      • An Introduction
      • Exposure Dial Confusion
      • The Meter Needle is Off the Scale
      • Exposing Against Black or White
      • Shutter Speeds and Motion
      • An Intro to Depth of Field
      • 4 Ways to Put a Background Out of Focus
      • Your Metering Mode Can Mess You Up
      • The Weekly Assignment

      Week 3 of the Going Manual
    • WEEK 4 - Depth of Field and Focal Length


      • An Introduction
      • The Effect of Focal Length: Wide Angle Telephoto
      • Depth of Field and Different Lenses #1
      • Depth of Field and Different Lenses #2
      • Zoom Lens Confusion
      • CCD Size
      • Bicycles and Shutter Speeds
      • The Weekly Assignment

      Week 4 of the Going Manual
    • WEEK 5 - Focal Length and the Shakes


      • An Introduction
      • The Effects of Raising Your ISO
      • Adjusting Your Diopter
      • How to Push a Shutter Button
      • Hand Holding Your Camera and Shutter Speeds
      • Testing Your Shutter Speed Skills
      • The Slide Rule Continues
      • The Weekly Assignment

      Week 5 of the Going Manual
    • WEEK 6 - What is Color Balance


      • An Introduction
      • What is Color Balance?
      • Large Apertures and Distance
      • How to Hold Your Camera
      • The Weekly Assignment

      Week 6 of Going Manual
    • WEEK 7 - Shooting Raw


      • An Introduction
      • What is Raw?
      • Raw vs Jpegs: What's the Difference?
      • Another Look at Using Raw
      • How My Brain Does and Doesn't Work
      • The Weekly Assignment

      Week 7 of Going Manual
    • WEEK 8 - Histograms


      • An Introduction
      • Adventures in Real Life
      • How to Read a Histogram
      • Reading Histograms on a Camera
      • What is Clipping?
      • Photo Editing with Histograms
      • The Weekly Assignment

      Week 8 of Going Manual
  • I took decent pics before this course… but now I can take AWESOME pics!!! Thank you Nick!   -Tammi Janiga

    Thank you for such an incredible course. You are an incredible teacher.   -Tara Fletcher

    If you are just starting out…no worries, everything that he says will make sense…keep going! I love my camera and my photos are a reflection of what I have learned.   -Tracey Dutson

    I have learned so much already!! I knew this would be a great class. Thank you so much Nick for creating a learning experience event his old grandma could understand!!    -Kathy Zerbes

    Throughout the years I have taken so many stabs at trying to lean manual photography that it boggles my mind. I can’t count that high. I finally decided that I was just not smart enough to learn this stuff. I decided I had to take your course because your books are the only ones that have ever changed my photography and I’m so glad I did. I already feel like a rocket scientist!   -Amy Krueger

    Your approach to teaching is by far above and beyond what I expected. You are the type that cares about each person’s knowledge level and strive to reach out individually if needed. Your kind, quirky, gentle manner made it impossible to be afraid to jump in. Your love for your family also was very evident, which made it so much easier to share our love for family as well. I learned more than I could have imagined in these past eight weeks and I look forward to more classes as they become available.    -Arlett Gerde

    You have made it look so simple and have given me the courage to go for it.   -Sandra Dunn

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been a frustrated amateur photographer. I see in my mind what I want and unable to get there. After my photo session today – I am closer than ever to what I want. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!   -Debra Durma

    I was already a fan of yours, but now you really have a fan for life.   -Carmen Tarantino

    I am truly overwhelmed at your enthusiasm. You have encouraged me! Thank you!   -Becky Smith

    I could read that “What I Say When I Take Pictures” text about 20 times and still be learning. In fact, I think I will. Gold, right there. Gold. And I’m not talking dust or even nuggets. Pure, solid, large hunks of sweet, rich gold. Thanks, Nick!    -Cheryl Finnegan

    Nick: I am totally indebted to you for setting me on an odyssey of discovery; already you have taught me, by looking through that lens, that life is rich and beauty is everywhere.    -Anne Parsons

    Nick, I’ve already learned more from you in one lesson than I’ve been able to learn in 30 years of half-heartedly working at this.     -Barbara

    Love the way you explain things Nick, very funny and easy to understand, this is going to be fun!    -Barby Griffiths

    I have enjoyed every second of our time together and shout it to the mountain tops that all my friends need to sign up!!! It’s hard to believe how far I have come. You are such a blessing Nick Kelsh! Thank you!    -Beth Ann Skinner

    I cringe just thinking about how much better those thousands of pictures I’ve taken could have been if I had just known this little fact about the light meter . . . OMG!   -Carmen Kite

    Slowly my frustrations are becoming pieces of excitement. THANK YOU NICK!!!    -Courtney Webster

    This class is AMAZING!! First lesson down and I feel like I have already learned so much! Nick- So thankful for you,your talents and the willingness to teach.   -Deborah Wren

    Nick and Rochelle, the level of feedback and time put in by both of you is more than I could have imagined, and for that I can’t say thank you enough. You’ve made me a better photographer, and you’ve helped ignite a fire of interest that I know will only keep growing. Excited to continue this fantastic journey!    -Erin LaRue

    I am actually feeling “blue” this morning and it is not because of white balance…I hate it that we are already in week 6. That means only 2 more weeks of lessons. I wish to say, Nick’s class has opened up a part of my brain that has been dormant. Thank you so much for your patience and SIMPLE explanations to so many former mysteries!!!    -Gail Kreiser

    I too, am going to miss this class very much! Thank you Nick for providing this kind of class. You are amazing! I so appreciate all of the lessons. So many things about taking photographs are much clearer to me now. A light has definitely come on! Thank you, thank you.    -Gloria Campbell

    Sometimes I have trouble going to sleep because I am so excited about what I have done & what is coming up next. Thank you, Nick!    -Janice Phillips

    Nick,I feel as if anything I can say is inadequate in a response of what you have given me these last 8 weeks but I couldn’t leave without saying something. All the above positive comments are an echo of what I feel as well….your teaching style, your humor, your feedback are exemplary. Then I realized what you have truely given me is a confidence in myself that has not been matched in an exceptionally long time. The blocks I had to learning something new (in any area of my life) are broken.    -Julie Moris

    I feel as if anything I can say is inadequate in a response of what you have given me these last 8 weeks but I couldn’t leave without saying something. All the above positive comments are an echo of what I feel as well….your teaching style, your humor, your feedback are exemplary. Then I realized what you have truely given me is a confidence in myself that has not been matched in an exceptionally long time. The blocks I had to learning something new (in any area of my life) are broken.     -Julie Moris 

     A friend of mine thought the latest pictures of my kids that I posted on Facebook were taken by a paid professional.    -Katherine Sreniawski

    Nick, the video on how your brain works was one of the best teaching/learning tools I ever seen. My husband happened to be in the room while I was watching, and he stopped to take a look and said “this guy is a great teacher and he’s funny as well”. I agree with his quick analysis and opinion of your skill at teaching.    - Kathy

    Because of you, I now see the world through the eyes of a photographer! And I am so grateful for that! THANK YOU NICK KELSH!   -Kathy Mason

    Nick I have to say that I LOVE your class! I’m excited to see what’s in store for us every week! You have taught me a lot already and it’s only week 3. Thank you, you’re a great teacher!!!    -Kellie Liewellyn

    I’m so serious when I say – THANK YOU!!!! For your teaching style, for showing us your thought process, and for caring so much that each of us succeed.   -Lori Bickford

    Going Manual has changed my photographic life! Thank you! Thank you! You are a fabulous teacher and have been able to teach me what no person has ever been able to teach me! haha! This is true. I am so very grateful!    -Meg Cheesman

    I have so enjoyed taking this class–it’s been the highlight of my summer!   -Nancy Neuman

    Bless You, for being the TEACHER that I needed and need! (As a teacher myself, I appreciate and revel in the “art of teaching” and what it means to those who are desperately trying to LEARN) I now, own the “I THINK I CAN” little engine that could, mantra! I’m off, to get at my camera….    -Peg Cain

    Your kind words are very calming and very reassuring that we are not going to flunk this class!!! LOL THANK YOU so much for taking the time for this entire group. You are the best! I feel like I could shout on top of the house!!!    -Sandy Williams

    My sister told friends at the wedding last week that I always took good pictures, but now I take great pictures. So thank you for great pictures with more to come. Thank you, Nick!    -Sharon Ruder

    I feel truly lucky that I had the opportunity and the means to take this course! Thank you, Nick, for what you do!    -Susan Cunningham

    Thank you. Those 2 words don’t seem to be enough. Thank you for your time, your patience, your humor, your critiques, your dedication, and your willingness to help people fumble through the photography mumbo-jumbo and see the light. My excitement has been growing exponentially today! Every chance I had, I ran outside to practice more. Each trip out led to new challenges: lighting, wind conditions (i.e. swaying flowers), changing lenses…I am loving it!!! Nick Kelsh, I’d kiss you if I could!!!    -Teri Yearkey


  • I am shaking with such excitement! The light is now switched on! If you were here I'd kiss you!
    Kiran, Going Manual Member
  • I did it! I did it! I am so loving all this manual stuff! Keep it coming Nick!
    Donna, Going Manual Member

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