Digital Photo Academy

Learn How To Use Your Digital Camera



Join a Digital Photo Academy teacher for Chicago photo workshops, small group or private live sessions. You’ll learn all about your camera controls and how to create powerful images.

Click or scroll down for full schedule of live workshops

Welcome to the Chicago market for the international network of live and online photo classes, all under the banner of Digital Photo Academy.

This section is devoted to the Chicago photo workshops. The DPA Instructors who lead these workshops are professional photographers who have lived in Chicago for at least 10 years, usually longer.

These pro shooters also have teaching experience and they love teaching. (Not all photographers do.) They know the local retailers where you can get the better deals on photo equipment and more importantly, they know where the best photo ops are which allows us to provide you with a rotation of interesting places to shoot, throughout the year, whether indoors or outdoors, winter, spring, summer of fall. Sometimes one time of day to shoot is better than another and our DPA instructors keep us informed.

About Our Chicago Photo Workshop Venues

Often, the DPA Instructors even have private access to various locales in the city where they live. Themes vary from street photography and dynamic architecture, to flowers and landscapes, as well as waterscapes, sunsets, lush scenery and everything in between.

During one month, you might be invited to rendezvous in the luxurious natural light streaming in to a religious venue via spectacular stained glass windows and the following month, it might be a small relatively unknown park with very special landscapes. This is why we offer a special ALUMNI Discount to people who attend more than one workshop.

Nationally, we organize these workshops to provide variety for the participants in each local market, but we could not do it without the expertise and connections provided by the DPA instructors in each of those markets.

Phone the national headquarters of Digital Photo Academy at 1 877 372 2231 but know that each of the Digital Photo Academy markets includes a local office. In Chicago, that office is at:

 1633 N Hamlin Ave #210, Chicago, IL 60647

E-MAIL US AT [email protected] OR CALL 1-877-372-2231 OR click here TO LEARN ABOUT OUR PRIVATE ALL DAY OR HALF DAY CLASS


And in case you’re interested, click here to check out some FREE SAMPLES of our ONLINE CLASSES.


Comments to “Chicago”

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed my private session learning how to use my Canon 5D. We met outside of Millenium Park and went over the basic concepts of photography. I learned a lot in that one session and he even had printed out copies of all the stuff we learned. I definitely got what I was looking for but wish I had more time with him. I am already applying what I learned to my workplace. Would recommend to anyone looking to take better photos!

  2. I had a great experience. I’m sure for Ron it was disappointing and strange that the others were a no show. But for me it was wonderful. Ron gave me a really solid foundational overview of good photographic practice including a very helpful overview of my camera. As a result, I feel more confident and have a better understanding about how to improve the quality of my photos.
    He is an excellent teacher. I love learning from people, like him, who know their stuff inside and out.
    Thank you for making this possible.

  3. Ron did a great job.

  4. The DPA team has to coordinate the DPA workshops across the whole country; which I imagine entails a lot of names. Your national office team members and the folks who teach where they live do a wonderful job. That’s why I keep coming back!

  5. The workshop was a good experience

  6. It was a rough start due to the address issue. We probably lost 15 minutes. However, Ron was really good and did not rush out of there at 2:30. He was very accommodating.

    The times were different than what it said when we signed up, but the change was communicated by email and that wasn’t an issue.

    We enjoyed the experience.

  7. Great workshop with the guidance and expertise of Ron ! Ron is very experienced in all aspects of photography… makes it clear and accessible. Learning a new way to approach street photography and depth of field! Thank you

  8. The class and Ron were great. I learned a lot and am excited to play with my camera.

    Thanks for all of your help!

  9. Ron was an excellent instructor, especially for beginners. He helped ensure the content was easy to understand and provided really great recommendations on how to use a camera without overcomplicating things. Really nice person, accommodating, and made sure to answer every question.

  10. We had a great time in our class with Ron last week. He helped us understand better how to use a camera, how to take time staging and adjusting lighting to our photography needs. He was very knowledgeable and interactive, and managed to convey a ton of information in just 3 hours.

  11. I enjoyed my class with Ron and learned a lot of forgotten info on ISO and apperature.
    He is very knowledgeable.
    I look forward to following both Digital Photo Academy groups on Facebook. It’s so nice to know other shutterbugs.

  12. Both of Ron’s classes were tremendously helpful — indeed, I’m glad I signed up for the first course on mastering the basics of your camera since I wasn’t using the one I was used to, so having a hands-on walk-through for that really helped me get familiar with my camera. I relearned a lot and felt a lot more comfortable messing around with the auto settings turned off during the following composition class, which was a lot of reminders I’d forgotten or just hadn’t thought about in a long time. While nothing I took ended up being especially satisfying to me upon further review, I got my footing back enough to keep practicing and turn out something better the more I shoot. Forever a work in progress.

    I don’t know how the other guys felt about having things rescheduled from the church to Garfield Park Conservatory, but like Ron, I’m grateful we ended up there; in addition to simply being a pleasant place to walk around, the conservatory afforded more opportunities to shoot and get creative with framing, colors, shadow/light, angles, etc.; between that and Ron’s decision to print out a lot of what he was talking about in the first course when we were going over our cameras, I felt I came away with the best possible iteration of these classes. Talking with him about lenses and other more pointed equipment questions was also enlightening, and I had a lot to chew on coming away at the end of the afternoon.

    Thank you again for setting things up and for allowing me to be part of these classes. It was a good way to spend a Saturday morning and, thanks to my brother, has inadvertently reinvigorated my long-dormant interest in photography.

  13. It was great. Tahany did wonderful job. I really enjoyed the event. Thanks.

  14. Garfield Park Conservatory is an outstanding location and Ron taught me many helpful technical tips about using my camera & stylistic elements to consider while taking photos. Thank you, Ron!

  15. Ron is an excellent instructor! He was very friendly and patient with all of the students and covered all of the important features on my digital camera. Ron provided and explained each concept with specific examples that were easy to understand and see. He also provided many tips about using the camera settings. I’m hoping he teaches a class at the conservatory so I can take another class with him.

  16. Don was a great instructor and I learned a lot! He even adjusted the curriculum to my and the other students proficiency with photography! I would recommend him and this course to anyone!

    – Erin

  17. Great class! I appreciate all the information I received.

    – Jacqueline

  18. The instructor was great and I appreciated the handouts with examples. That helped my understanding of the concepts.

    – Randy

  19. Great teacher! Great info! I really benefitted from this private course!

  20. Workshop went well! I feel a lot more comfortable with a camera in my hands and have been itching to get on the floor.

  21. Very helpful. I learned a lot about how my camera worked.

  22. Actually, it was great! A lot of information but Ron explained everything so well. Glad I took the classes back to back to apply what I had learned. I’m a hands-on learner so having that class right after the first was very helpful to me. I also appreciated that Ron made an effort to spend time with each of us in the class to help us get the most out of the experience.

  23. Very good course to learn the basics on how to work your camera. Would do again.

  24. I thoroughly enjoyed my private session learning how to use my Canon 5D. We met outside of Millenium Park and went over the basic concepts of photography. I learned a lot in that one session and he even had printed out copies of all the stuff we learned. I definitely got what I was looking for but wish I had more time with him. I am already applying what I learned to my workplace. Would recommend to anyone looking to take better photos!

  25. Sai was super nice, patient and taught us a lot about our cameras and taking great pics.

  26. It was a great session with Don. Really helpful to do some time inside on the camera basics before heading out to the field. Thanks guys for a great session!

  27. I meant to send you a note yesterday but the afternoon got away from me. Don and I had a very productive and enjoyable morning. His easy style was very helpful and I enjoyed getting to know him and his techniques. We took some time to go over my concerns, talk about my equipment and talk about technical craft, and then we walked around the city and put some of those approaches to work. We’ve exchanged a few emails and he has shared many helpful papers and documents too. I really appreciate his insight and I hope we stay in touch! Thanks to Don and DPA!

    Chris Larson

  28. “Ron was very knowledgeable and was able to inform the students about what they were trying to accomplish at the beginning level (the whole class were beginners). I learned some new things and reinforced some topics that I was unsure of, which made me a better photographer.”

    -Steve. B

  29. “It was a great session with Don. Really helpful to do some time inside on the camera basics before heading out to the field. Thanks guys for a great session!”


  30. “Sai was super nice, patient and taught us a lot about our cameras and taking great pics.”


  31. “Sai did an amazing job! My wife was very happy with her experience. She said he taught her things about her camera in the first 15 minutes that made the cost of the class worth it. He also did a great job of teaching her how to use her camera to do specific things she wanted to learn. We are recommending you to our son who takes engagement photos for couples, but wants to learn more about composition in general. Thank you and Sai!!!”

    -John Kelly

  32. “I started photography as a hobby 3 months before. This is my first class with direct Instructor. Sai Sivanesan is a very good instructor and he has vast experience in photography. Its a very good learning experience. Learned good tips and tricks from him. Going forward I would like to attend some more classes from DPA.”


  33. “Hi, Richard. Thanks for checking in with me about the photo workshop. The instructor was very personable and well informed and took the time to answer everyone’s questions, as well as personal hands-on instruction. I was very impressed with the quality of the workshop and felt it motivated me to learn more about using my camera. I look forward to taking additional workshops in the future.

    Warm Regards,”


  34. “Thanks Don – great class with excellent instruction as usual! 🙂 ”


  35. “Don
    Thanks for the great class we had a great time and learned some things along the way. ”


  36. “Richard,
    Just wanted you to know that our son loved the Chicago class with Sai. He was able to learn a lot and really take it all in. Thank you very much for providing these classes.


    -Jill DeJong

  37. “Sorry I haven’t sent a more detailed report or reviews of the pics others have posted. Honestly, I feel a little intimidated by my inexperience. I really enjoyed getting to spend three hours focused (no pun intended) entirely on taking photos. Even though I didn’t spend my time on the technical aspects of my shots, I loved seeing the city from the perspective of the water taxi and as a photographer. Isaac was more serious about applying the techniques Don taught us, and really enjoyed the experience. ”


  38. “I definitely enjoyed the class. I thought the location and route along the Chicago River was very good in providing unique photo opportunities. Don was a very good instructor and explained camera techniques well and understandably. In addition to that, I think that he did well in making the point that photography is really just an art and you should try to capture a piece of art in your shots rather than just a photo. Good class.”


  39. “I enjoyed the day and put several images on the Facebook page.”

    -Peter Bukowski

  40. “…I really learned a lot of useful tips. I would love to take another class at some point. “

  41. “Very pleased; Ron is a good instructor.
    Feeling more confident that pix from The Great White continent will be fine.
    Thank you.”


  42. “Love your pictures, especially the girl and her reflection in the water.
    I also wanted to say i really appreciate the handouts, and the gear tips. Both are super helpful!
    I had a great time! Thanks for a fabulous day!”

    -Carrie Jameson

  43. “I just want to let you know I had a great time learning composition with Don Peters.
    Unfortunately I got late, however Don was very kind and helped me to catch up
    and I learn a lot and had a very good time.
    Don was very responsive and help to look things on different way that resulted in very nice photos. He looked at my pictures and gave honest and creative feedback.

    I look forward to attend another class with Don.”

    -MariCarmen Saldivar

  44. “Just wanted to pass along a shot I took last night. Don Peters has been great to work with and continues to offer constructive advise on how I can take my images to the next level. I still have a very long way to go….

    Thanks again and I really enjoyed the Saturday, Lake Eola class.”

    -David Montague

  45. “I learned so much! I loved Tom. He is an awesome instructor! I just shot my first engagement session in manual the day after (Sunday) and the photos turned out amazing.”

    – Lauren

  46. “Great group; nice meeting everyone. Hope to see some of you again.”

    – Ayana

  47. “Thank you so much for the wonderful class taught by Tom McKenzie in Detroit!!! I was visiting from Boston, and my sister bought me a space in his class. He did a beautiful job – as I learned so much from his instruction.”

    – Claudia Vanderpool

  48. “We had a perfectly nice day in Downtown Detroit (Greektown). Our trainer Tom was able to gap the bridge between beginners and experienced photographers.”

    – Ulrich Gollwitzer

  49. “I enjoyed our outing. you are a good teacher. and i am sure you are a talented artist!
    maybe we can collaborate on some film projects of mine!”


  50. “I really enjoyed your instructional photography course this weekend. I really learned a great deal as you provide details and clarification on topics that I have been reading about and could not quite figure out. I guess its true that their is not substitute for actually getting out their and doing it. So in the sprit of getting out their and practicing I took your advice and went out after the class and bought that Calumet Genesis 400
    strobe lighting key that we discussed. I guess I have got the bug and am in the game now.
    That said, I really would like to lean more about studio lighting techniques and the correct method for controlling light in a 3 light setup. On your card that you gave me I see you have a studio. Not sure if you do one on one training or rent out your space for individual use but I would love to discuss these options if available. My plan is to practice with my equipment and I would welcome any pointers and or assistance. Also, any readings that you feel would be helpful would be appreciate.
    Again, Thanks so much for the information provided during this Saturday class. I learned a great deal and hope that I have the opportunity to work with you in the future.”
    -Forrest Barnes III

  51. “Was good talking to you today. Thanks again for the Italy advice and more importantly, thanks for the time you spent with me on the advanced digital course. I don’t know if the results are evident, but I certainly am thinking about the things you said when out shooting.

    Attached are some contact sheets I generated in Lightroom and printed to PDF. A subset of some shots I took in San Francisco last week. Most of the shots have very little post-processing as of yet. I’d be very interested in any feedback relative to composition, exposure, subject, etc. Also any post-processing recommendations. All handheld – no tripod.

    I don’t mean to take up much of your valuable time, but any feedback you wish to share will help reinforce the lessons learned.

    Thanks again.”

    – Jeff Marcowitz

  52. “Thanks so much. At least now I’ll be able to prove that I swam in the Dead Sea!

    I enjoyed the class and picked up lots of good pointers. Now I just need to find the time to implement them!”

    – Annika Jaspers

  53. “I took a seminar at your studio several months ago. It was great and it covered the basics about digital camera use. Thanks for putting on the seminar — I found the information really helpful. I would like to ask your advice regarding choosing a lens specifically for taking portraits. If you could recomend a specific lens I would be very greatful.

    Thanks again for everything.”

    – T J Minogue

  54. “Thank you again for your time today. I really enjoyed the class and learned a lot more about Photoshop today in a couple hrs. than in all of the days I have spent trying to figure it out myself.

    I would love to get out and take some photos with you first hand. The advanced class at Navy Pier sounds like it would be a fun time.

    Thanks again and hope to see you soon.”

    – Rudy Tardin

  55. “It was a wonderful workshop we had yesterday and thanks so much for taking time and explaining things outside the session.

    Definitely looking forward for the advanced class in summer.”

    – Vijay Kumar

  56. “It was a pleasure meeting you and taking the Photoshop class with you a week ago. It was interesting to get your approach on photography. I have been thinking about the class and the Photoshop commands I learned are very useful. The commands we were able to explore were the spot healing, red eye, patch, auto levels, brightness/contrast, crop, channel mixer, cloning and dodge/burn. Were there any commands that we did not have time to explore? If so, I would be interested to know so I can read about and practice them myself. As we discussed, Photoshop can do a thousand different things, but it is best to learn the most useful tools at the beginning. I also enjoyed the general the photography knowledge that you shared. Thank you for your time.”

    – Scott Oblander

  57. “Whenever Robert gave us pointers or talked with us as a group, he made a point of making sure we found a nice shady spot. We huddled under the trees and found shade where we could! I left the class knowing more than I did before I came — which I would imagine was the point! He was very personable, very knowledgeable and was able to answer any and all questions. He was patient and showed us examples of his own that helped us visualize composition in the field by viewing things from different angles and looking at things differently.”

    -Gayle Hannan

  58. “I just want to drop you a note to thank you for making the class with Robert happen today. Robert was knowledgable, personable, entertaining, and the experience with a real working professional was more valuable than I can tell you. While Robert followed the curriculum, he was still able to adjust the session to address my personal questions and needs. I would definately consider doing something like this again.”

    – Keith Raaum

  59. “I am writing to let you know that my instructor, Robert Potter, was the best teacher I have ever had. I went through a semester in college for photography and no one taught it like he did. I learned more in the one day I was with Potter, than I learned that whole semester in college. I was so excited about learning so much, I didn’t sleep much the next few days. I thank Potter for putting my excitement back into my first love/passion, photography! I can’t wait to take another class. Thanks so much DPA and Potter!”

    – Jamie Clute

  60. “Mr. Potter addressed a wide array of topics with thorough explanations into each subject. I feel that everything I could have thought of (and more) was addressed throughout the day. It was an incredible learning experience!”

    -Amy Kerkela

  61. “Contacting you regarding my class yesterday with photographer Robert Potter. The experience was amazing. It was the most exhilarating time for me. We saw some amazing sites and took great pictures. I cannot wait to look over my pictures to see the details that I took away from the class. These types of classes are hit or miss to me, because there are so many variables that have to go right. It’s almost like a blind date, you never know what you’re going to get. However, Robert was amazing and the other students were great. We all worked pretty well. There was a lot of tips given and explanation of how to get better shots, and tips and tricks. I absolutely loved it.”

    – Kay

  62. “I had a lovely time and learned an extensive amount from Mr. Potter. He was patient, kind, and knowledgeable. He taught us many items that we expected to learn and went well beyond the initial scope of the class to meet our needs/interests as appropriate.”

    – Elizabeth Hollow

  63. “I participated in the Lincoln Park Zoo Composition in the Field class with Robert Potter. I thought it was a fantastic class. Robert was so informative and he really answered all my questions. He did such a great job of giving each student individual support with their camera. I was so inspired after leaving the class I spent much of the rest of the day and the next day taking pictures using the information he taught me. He made a camera that I thought was great before even better because now I actually understand how to use it!! Thank you for the experience and the wonderful instructor!”

    – Katie Helwink

  64. “Dear Don, Just a quick thank you for today’s wonderful class at St. James–my daughter Moira and I loved it, thank you so much. We’ll be back to try to join you in your next class…need to check schedules and get our ‘ducks in a row’ — we will be steadfast with our manuals and basic ‘fun practice’ and hope to see you again soon. I do especially hope my son Matthew will join us one time too. You are an awesome teacher Don, it was an honor being with you! Enjoy the rest of your weekend…take care, Moira Felish and Mary Murray (Mom) Felish (and Matthew in absentia!) PS Please keep us posted too about shows where your work may be featured. I am trying to take the kids to photography shows and I think yours would be incredible.”

    -Michael Felish

  65. “Thanks again for a great class yesterday.. We could not have had a better day for weather, the class size was perfect for learning as a group, the dynamics of the group worked well together, everyone interacted with everyone else. We don’t always get that.. And needless to say the
    instructor was very informative but more than that you were there for us and we felt that.. You stayed very engaged with us, watching us and making sure we were understanding.. Your enthusiasm for photography and people shows through!!!”

    – Donna Armstrong

  66. “I have learned so much from you and I thank you for being a remarkable instructor. I will be finally moving out of Green mode (auto mode) on my DSLR and start exploring other interesting features. You made the class interesting and fun and instilled me with the desire to continue learning.

    I appreciate you letting me know what I am doing wrong along with giving me ways I can correct my mistakes. It is comforting to know that whenever I have a question you answer right away.

    Once again, thank you so much for your time, expertise and patience.”

    – Ashok

  67. “I just wanted to tell you how much my husband and I enjoyed the photography class at the Lincoln Park Zoo (8/3/13), taught by Don Peters. My husband is an avid amateur photographer with years of experience and lots of camera equipment, and I’m a novice with no skills at all, comfortable with just a point-and-shoot. I purchased our tickets through Groupon for my husband’s birthday, thinking that he would love a “composition in the field” photography class. I didn’t realize until after the class was over that he actually was dreading the class beforehand, because he expected it would be too structured and simplified. I was somewhat apprehensive for the opposite reason — I feared it would be too advanced and intimidating for a novice like me. Both of us ended up being pleasantly surprised.

    Don Peters is an excellent teacher who adjusts his teaching to fit the skill levels and needs of his students. He presented basic information at the beginning of the class that was clear enough for me to understand, and yet helpful even for an experienced photographer like my husband. Then he led our group around the zoo to practice the skills he taught us. He was always available to answer questions and assist us, but there was no pressure to do things a certain way. He encouraged us to experiment. We both came away feeling like we learned a lot; I was not intimidated, and my husband was not bored. 🙂 Don even followed up with handouts of helpful tips for things he noticed people in our group seemed to be interested in, like photographing flowers, or how to adjust the shutter speed to “freeze” the water flowing from a fountain.

    We came away from the class feeling like it was definitely worth it. Don Peters is good at explaining concepts and helping his students to feel comfortable. I would take a class from him again, and I would recommend him to others.”

    – Linda L.

  68. “I just wanted to let you know that I attended the Church Street/Lake Eola (Orlando) Composition in the Field class on March 23rd with Don Peters. He did a fantastic job and I thoroughly enjoyed it. He catered the class to the student’s needs and desires and I appreciate that as I am very new at it.

    Don is a great asset to your company. I hope you offer more classes with him.”

    – Tricia

  69. “I attended the Composition class Saturday in Chicago. It was a WONDERFUL experience!!! I learned from the moment I arrived! I learned about the settings on my camera that I had no idea about. I learned to take some great and fun shots that I need to practice now. I appreciated the instructor Don Peters, who taught camera settings, suggestions for different angles to photograph, as well as types of photography (like moving cars, etc.).

    It was a great way to spend the day!

    I think I’d like to practice what I learned at this class and then take the same class again in several months to further deepen my knowledge about both my camera and about photo composition.

    Thanks for making the class so enjoyable!”

    – Ruth Lamour

  70. “Thanks so very much for a wonderful day with you. I learned a lot and realize how much more I would have absorbed the weather had been more cooperative. Still, it was an amazing day of learning and fun.

    I’ll keep checking the website to see if you’re teaching other courses as I’d enjoy registering again. I did, by the way, mention Digital Academy to my flickr-photo friends.”

    —Sharon Hicks – Bartlett

  71. “Thanks very much for the offer. I did just want to say that I attended the class with my mom, and we had a really great experience. Yes the weather was pretty oppressive, and Millennium Park was really crowded, but Alex was good and the actually venue of Millenium Park offered a really cool backdrop for this type of class. My mom and I were beginners in the truest sense of the word, but Alex was patient and gave good direction. We were sharing a camera and the batteries died mid-class (yes, we were those people), and Alex had batteries on hand that he gave us, and he even let me use his own extra camera to give us each more time with the concepts. So overall, it was a pleasant experince. I just wanted to let you know.

    -Melissa Semp

  72. “I just wanted to send a quick note to thank Alex, his team in Chicago, and your staff for a wonderful class last weekend. It as been years since I put my film SLR away for a digital point and shoot. Now that I have have my new camera, I feel inspired to get back shooting. Alex was great at giving us direction and pointers to make our shots even stronger throughout the class.

    It was a good class. I’ll certainly be looking for more.

    Thanks again.”



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