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First Steps with a DSLR

with Kristin Dokoza


$225 Full Participation | $112 Study Along

Take your camera out of auto mode and start taking better pictures!

First Steps with a DSLR is a 3 week beginner photography workshop that helps new photographers move beyond auto mode and get the most out of their cameras. Students will learn the best camera settings to use in different situations, plus basic concepts of composition and natural light photography..


Students must have a DSLR or mirrorless camera (and its accompanying manual) and a prime lens such as the 50mm f/1.8.

what you’ll get

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3 weekly lesson PDFs (formatted for print or on-screen viewing)

15 videos on everything you know to take your camera out of auto mode

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Full participation students engage in instructor-led discussion and Q&A for daily interaction and support. Study along students have full viewing access.

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Full Participation students receive extensive personal critiques of weekly assignment submissions.

Study Along Students have full viewing access.


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Lesson One


Understanding exposure, light and composition.


Using light effectively and carefully composing portrait and landscape orientation photographs while shooting in Program Mode.

Lesson Two


Understanding Aperture and Shooting in Aperture Priority Mode.


Photographing a subject using different apertures in Aperture Priority Mode.

Lesson Three


Understanding Shutter Speed and Shooting in Shutter Priority Mode.


Using Shutter Priority Mode to photograph a non-living subject, a living subject sitting still, and a living subject on the move.

as seen on instagram


"Five fantastic stars!"

- Bekah
read more reviews >

about your instructor

Kristin Dokoza is a child and family photographer in California who loves to capture unique light and thoughtful images. She loves to share her passion for light and finding the beautiful wonder that connects your family. Her style is clean, colorful and simple and her images are filled with warmth and laughter. If her Mark III is not within reach, Kristin is creatively capturing light and telling stories with her iPhone. You can view her work here.

how it works


download weekly lessons

Each week, students receive a set of course materials, which generally include a PDF and instructional videos. All course materials are yours to download and keep.

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chat online

Your workshop registration includes access to a private online forum for sharing and discussion. The classroom forum is open 24 hours a day so that you can learn and join discussions on your own schedule.

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study & ask questions

Study on your own time, and check in on the classroom forum for interactive learning. The instructor is present in the forum every day to answer questions and offer encouragement.

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complete weekly assignments

Students receive an assignment to complete each week that pertains to the topics covered in the course materials and builds upon class discussion throughout the week.


Full Participation students engage in an interactive online classroom experience that includes instructor-led group discussions and detailed, personalized guidance for the duration of the workshop. Full participation students post their assignments in the forum and receive critique each week.


Study Along students have access to all materials and are able to view all content and conversation in the main workshop forum. They also receive access to their own private Study Along subforum for peer study groups and image shares. Study along students will not be able to ask the instructor questions or request instructor feedback on their assignments, but they can follow along with instructor critiques of the Full Participation assignments.


  • Katerina says:

    I was a complete beginner who had never used a DSLR camera before this course. It was necessary for me to start with some prerequisite work, which included reading the manual, figuring out the camera, and learning how to upload images to a forum. Kristin was am excellent instructor for this course. She guided my steps and provided good instruction along the way. I would highly recommend asking questions and posting practice images! The best part of the course for me was having my assignments critiqued by the instructor. That’s where the learning occurred -through practicing, posting, asking questions. We were allowed to download the instructional material which will be a great point of reference for me as I continue to practice. I started with zero knowledge, and by the end of three weeks I am able to understand how the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed work together to create an image. I am yet to learn a lot, but this was a good start. I am grateful for Kristin’s expertise and launching me on this journey.

  • Susan says:

    Kristin Dokoza did an expert job of guiding her class through First Steps with a DSLR. I’d been shooting in Program mode for years, not knowing how to move beyond it. The course materials were presented in a logical way with plenty of examples and we were given time to practice before posting our assignments. Kristin’s professional, knowledgeable and engaging style made for a very supportive and encouraging learning environment. We first learned about light and composition before moving to aperture priority and shutter priority while gaining an understanding of how ISO, shutter speed and aperture are the three factors that determine exposure.The written materials are full of tips and short bulleted lists that I return to often. While still needing lots of practice, I get it! I’m on my way to becoming a more mindful photographer, composing my shots when there’s time, and learning how to quickly assess and set my camera when I need to capture the action. Thank you Click & Company, and especially thank you Kristin for showing the way.

  • Jenny says:

    Had a great First Steps with DSLR class run by Kristin Dokoza. The class is well organized with material sent out at the beginning of each week and the presentation was comprehensive with easy to follow explanations and supporting examples. You do have to make sure you can dedicate the time to review each package as it is full of information and put in the time to actually practice taking pictures using what you learn. Kristin was very generous with her review remarks including practice shots we posted prior to posting our final assignments each Saturday. She was very quick to answer any questions and give feedback for each photo submitted and that helpful to cover many questions we all had. DSLR cameras are definitely highly technical machines and the class was helpful to isolate some of the features and work in those areas without feeling overwhelmed. I really enjoyed the segment on light as it really helped understand how to take a better photograph in general. The class was helpful in breaking free from Auto only mode and starting to understand some of the variables in the DSLR equation. I was especially excited to understand how to create “bokeh” which is that really cool blurring of the background around your subject! To get the most of the class be prepared to read the presentation material at the beginning of the week and practice as much as you can during the week with varied subjects, times of the day so you can see the differences in light.

  • Bekah says:

    5 fantastic stars for Amy Lockhart and this course! I thoroughly enjoyed it. This course takes you out of Auto mode and teaches you the other semi-manual modes your camera has to offer. Amy is a great instructor and has the ability to give you spot on CC all while leaving a smile on your face. I HIGHLY recommend this course if you are looking to get out of auto and make a difference in your images. This course left me confident in my abilities to have more control over my camera. I’m very happy!

  • Amy Jordan says:

    I would highly recommend this class – as a camera & CM newbie Amy did a wonderful job not only explaining the course material but also the ins and outs of a forum. The weekly handouts and videos she provides are super informative and easy to follow. She really helped me not to be intimidated by all those knobs and menu settings!! The only negative is the class length…3 weeks went by way to fast!! Thanks to Amy I’m now looking forward to Shooting 102 and making the move to manual mode!!

  • Adrian Tejera says:

    I took this course with Amy and it was absolutely fabulous! Amy is a very thorough teacher and seems to have the answers to all of our newbie questions! She created great materials to go along with this course. The PDFs were very helpful, as were the many videos she posted. Her CC were very helpful and very positive, nice, and polite. She knew exactly how to critique photos without stepping on anyone’s toes. I would definitely take other courses by her (and hope to in the near future). My only wish was that this course were longer than 3 weeks!

  • Charlotte says:

    This is an EXCELLENT class for those wanting to learn how to use their DSLR and/or to add some “Attitude” to their photos. It challenges you to think outside of the auto button and create images using various modes, composition, and lighting. Amy is a great instructor going the extra mile to provide answers to your questions. Her video presentations, the material provided, and the critiquing of your assignments are clear, concise, helpful in creating a ground floor in which take more classes. If you are just beginning, this is a great place to start.

  • Karleen Kennedy says:

    Hello everyone,
    I just completed Amy Lucy Lockheart’s class, Shooting 101: First Steps with a DSLR and I highly, highly recommend it!! Amy pours her heart and soul into her class and promptly answers any and all questions and will find the answer and direct you to it if she doesn’t know something! Her critiques are very thorough so you’ll have good information to learn how to take better pictures and her step by step approach to teaching is awesome! She also has some awesome teaching assistants and alumini helpers so you’ll get different perspectives and different ways of looking at the same thing. There are downloads and videos to help you understand it all on top of her answering your questions. The class as I described it to someone else is like, “(insert your name here), meet your Camera, Camera, meet (insert your name here)”. She starts you at the beginning and takes you through the steps you’ll need to learn through semi-automatic modes and gets you ready so that the leap to manual mode will be much easier to understand! The class is worth every single penny! I wish Amy could teach me forever as she has a very kind, loving spirit and never makes you feel stupid even when you feel like you are!

  • lauren says:

    Amy was wonderful! This class really taught me a lot and im just sad it was only 3 weeks. I got lots of great criticism and whats great is they also tell you what they like too so you know what you are doing right and what you can work on. I loved looking at others images as well and reading comments that help me with my work. Amy was very helpful and always answered all questions. This class is highly recommended.

  • Kim says:

    I had been on the fence about whether or not to sign up for this course or BDBCE as my first course. I have been shooting in aperture or shutter priority mode. I decided to take this class and I am so thankful I did. Amy has a really explains everything in a way that is so easy to understand. In this class, you begin to learn about the exposure triangle, focusing and composition. This class really helps to get more consistent shots straight out of the camera. The interaction and critiques from the fellow students, teaching assistants, alumni, and Amy is so helpful and really is wonderful. Amy’s handouts and videos are wonderfully detailed and organized. She explains everything in such a simple way that it really makes sense. I absolutely loved this class and think it was worth every penny. I would definitely recommend this class to anyone who is starting off and/or has been shooting in semiautomatic modes.

  • Melina says:

    I cannot describe how ever grateful I am to have taken this Workshop! Amy is a wonderful instructor! Her materials are thorough, detailed and explicit, without being overwhelming; she makes herself available to offer guidance and answer all questions daily; most importantly, she and the other TAs and alum helpers create a wonderful, supportive, encouraging and enthusiastic environment for learning and fostering creativity!
    My eyes have been opened to a wonderful new world and I am eager to keep exploring! Highly recommend to anyone starting out with a DSLR and love for photography.

  • I spent four years shooting in one of the automatic modes. The amount of variables involved in manual was overwhelming. First Steps allowed me to make sense of all those variables. I learned more in those few weeks than I had in four years of trying to learn on my own. This class allowed me to take my photography to a place I only dreamed of!
    -Jennifer German

  • Leann Stoneburg says:

    I highly recommend this class!! I purchased my first DSLR in preparation for the birth of our first baby. I wanted crisp, clean, creative photos of our new addition. Well, as her first birthday approached, I was still taking photos on my little point and shoot because I just wasn’t getting “lucky” with my big camera. It was way harder than I thought it would be. I actually came across Amy Lucy Photography on Facebook (we both reside in MN), and a little click here, and a little click there, and the next thing you know, I found myself on the CM website and registered for her class! The first thing I would comment about the class is that Amy’s weekly handouts are fabulous. They have become like a bible to me. She writes in a style that is so easy to understand, and the details she gives about every little itty bitty thing are beyond plentiful. And that means a lot when you are taking an online course. Also, the handouts contain so many visuals which really helped me finally wrap my brain around things like aperture and shutter speed and what it all means technically. What was also great were the critiques we received online each week. The critiques were supportive yet constructive. I was really pleased with this, because I did not want a course where all you heard was compliments. I wanted to learn. In the end, I had (and am still having) those giddy moments when it all comes together and you capture an amazing shot! I feel as if I can now assess a potential shot quickly and shoot it, where before I would just start clicking and hope I would get something. Now I’m getting the shots I want. Next stop: Full Manual!”

  • Amy says:

    I just signed up! SO EXCITED to learn the basics. I can’t wait to dive in!

  • Kristin says:

    Amy’s class was THE BEST starting point for me on Clickin Moms. It can be easy to get overwhelmed, lost, and sometimes even discouraged in the forums at first, especially if you are a new hobbyist mom like me. There is just so much information, and so many amazing photographers that you realize how much your images can improve. First Steps with a DSLR was just the class I needed. I thought I knew Manual mode and I thought I had the basics down from reading books and blogs. Nope! After the class I can’t believe how better my images are straight out of the camera! This class helped me step back, slow down, and re-learn the basics to really solidify them. Now I can identify areas where I want to improve and figure out what I want to learn going forward!

  • Patricia says:

    I did this course earlier this year after purchasing my first DSLR only weeks before. I LOVED IT! and learned so much. Amy is a great teacher and her tutorials and videos were so clear. I was also new to CM so Amy also covered uploading shots and navigating the forums which was invaluable also. You will learn how to get so much more out of your camera by not shooting in auto (but not quite ready for manual). I’d recommend it thoroughly. I’ve since done the best darn beginners course and there is no way I would have coped without doing this first.

  • Melina says:

    I just signed up and am counting the days!!

  • Areli says:

    I’m very excited to take this course!!

  • Katy says:

    I had been wanting to join CM and take a class for quite some time, but I allowed my fear to get the better of me!
    When I saw this class advertised, I decided it was time, so I jumped in right away and signed up. So, so happy that I did, and so happy that I waited for this particular class. I have just finished the Best Darn Beginner with Lynne, and have loved it and learnt so much, but I may have felt a little out of my depth had I not taken this class first. Amy is so incredibly supportive … I felt comfortable right away. Her lessons and videos are fabulous and I finished this class feeling, not only a lot more confident using my camera, but also using the forums here at CM. This is such a great class to get started with. If you’re feeling a little scared, like I was, then a few weeks with Amy and the lovely TA’s will put you at ease – I promise!

  • Stephanie says:

    Love. Love. Love.
    If you’ve recently (or not so recently) bought a DSLR and you’re not getting consistent results or you’re sick of the Auto setting, THIS CLASS IS FOR YOU! It’s a perfect first step for someone just learning about their camera! Amy is great, very supportive and helpful. I learned so much in three weeks, my mind is blown! I’ll never use Auto again!

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