DMA Central


Who was the Inventor of Photography?

224 years ago, on Nov. 18, 1787, Louis Daguerre was born. Daguerre, a digital media pioneer, was the man who invented the first reliable photography process, or what was known back then as the daguerreotype.

Daguerre was born in Northern France and even though he lived after the Renaissance, he was truly a “Renaissance man.” He apprenticed in architecture, theatre design and panoramic painting. He was also a skilled illusionist and invented the Diorama.

Honored with a Google Doodle on his birthday, Louis Daguerre was the Steve Jobs of his day, as photography was the emerging technology of the age. With an eye for capturing life, Daguerre developed the photography technique as a way to capture images he saw with his camera obscura. The technique he developed was unveiled in 1839 to crowds of eager scientist and artists. Ultimately, the French Government acquired Daguerre’s patent and offered it as a gift, “free to the world.”

The Invention of Photography
Back then, photographs were captured on metal plates, also called Tintypes. Daguerre experimented with the process for several years, often showing his work off to other artists in hopes of wooing investors to his idea. Daguerre didn’t truly invent the process, but he did refine and make it reliable. The first permanent photograph was created by Nicéphore Niépce. His process was long and laborious – it took about eight hours to produce a photograph and then the picture quality was extremely poor.

Boulevard du Temple“, was the first photograph of one or more persons. The image was taken by Daguerre in Paris, in 1838. The ten minute exposure captures only still objects – including a shoe-shine boy and his customer at the bottom left, and two people sitting at a table nearby – who stood still long enough to have their likenesses immortalized.

Niépce learned about Daguerre and became partners with him in 1829. Daguerre continued the photography experiments the two were working on after Niépce’s death in 1833 – and that’s what resulted in the daguerreotype - the forerunner of modern photography. Today, only about 25 of Daguerre’s photographs survive; the majority of his legacy was lost in a fire that destroyed his studio and first Diorama in 1839.

Photography has advanced a lot in 200 years. Today photos are digital and can be shared with the world in an instant. Taking good digital photographs or learning your DSLR camera settings can be challenging. Lke Daguerre learned, you have to keep working at it to create a legacy.


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posted by DMA Jordan in Digital Photography,News Blog and have No Comments

DMA’s 2011 Summer Camp Kick Off – Stanford, Drexel, Harvard and More

The wait is finally over! Summer has started and that means Digital Media Academy summer camp is in full-swing at two of DMA’s prestigious campus locations. Campers attending DMA’s summer camp at Stanford University arrived in Palo Alto, CA over the weekend. While over on the East Coast, DMA campers started the computer and digital arts camp in Philadelphia, at Drexel University.

Campers at Stanford in the Digital Filmmaking program get personalized instruction.

Creating The Future
Digital Media Academy’s professionally taught programs are in full swing – and that means an explosion of creativity is happening right now. Student campers are learning how to design video games…how to create professionally produced movies…build amazing web sites…how to make an app for iPhone or Android…how to shoot digital photos like a pro…to program a robot or computer, and become skilled at music production or image editing, using Photoshop. These campers are not only having fun, they’re creating the future!

DMA has computer and digital media camps, and academies summer camp locations in the United States and Canada. Locations like Harvard University, UCLA and the University of Chicago. In coming weeks, DMA Summer 2011 programs will also start summer programs at the University of British Columbia (starting July 4th), UC San Diego (July 11th), George Washington University (July 11th), University of Texas at Austin (July 11th), and Swarthmore College (July 25th).

It’s not summer camp without a break to go outside and enjoy some time making friends.

No matter where you’re coming from, with campuses across the United States (in California; Massachusetts; Pennsylvania; Texas; Illinois; Washington, D.C.) and in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Digital Media Academy has the perfect location to and program to accommodate everyone.

With world-class instructors and hands-on training with the latest equipment and software, a DMA summer camp experience is like no other! You not only learn while at camp, but also grow personally and professionally. Making friendships that can last a lifetime are just the icing on the cake! It’s no wonder that Digital Media Academy is the first and only choice of summer camp students and their parents.

From film editing to gaming, DMA covers it all! Here an instructor shows a student one of Final Cut Pro’s great features.

It’s Not Too Late to Register
Camp may have already started but there are still openings for great courses and training sessions.Visit Digital Media Academy for more information about registering. And make your summer count!


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Adventures in Art & Digital Photography: Unlocking Genius at an Early Age

Course: Junior Adventures in Art & Digital Photography

DMA Instructor: Megan Howe

Education: Western Washington University; Bellingham, WA (Major: Child Development, w/ Reading Specialist Certification). Master’s degree: Boston College; Chestnut Hill, MA (Major: Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching English Language Learners).

Professional Portrait: A talented educator and gifted photographer, Megan Howe brings numerous skills and endless energy to her work. Currently a 3rd Grade teacher at the Graham and Parks Alternative Public School in Cambridge, MA, Megan will change coasts this fall and begin teaching 4th Grade at Larchmont Charter School in West Hollywood. Her six years of teaching children (in combination with her undergrad major in Child Development) give her special insight into today’s kids. She knows what makes them tick and how to help them unlock their creative potential. Megan combines her superb educational credentials with a confident understanding of today’s digital media and an artist’s passion for expression.

DMA Campus: UCLA


Put a digital camera in a young summer campers hands and show them in how to use it – not just to focus and shoot, but to really take advantage of the technology’s amazing potential. Then teach them the connection between digital photography and traditional art – by not just showing campers famous works of art, but guiding them as they recreate major masterpieces. Experiencing for themselves the same techniques used by art’s great masters.

“The marriage of art and digital photography really enriches the program and gives kids a more in-depth perspective as to how to see the world as an artist.”

At Digital Media Academy’s computer & visual arts summer camp, learning is strictly a hands-on process, no matter if you’re using a digital camera or picking up a paint brush. Now, Megan is ramping up for another great summer and getting ready to teach digital photography and art to kids ages 6 through 8 in DMA’s Junior Adventures in Art & Digital Photography summer camp course.

DMA Instructor Megan Howe helps kids take a hands-on approach to learning how art and digital photography work together.

“I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera.” You can hear the excitement in Megan’s voice: “I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera, their faces light up the first time they see the image on their camera screen…just as they do the first time they upload a picture and see their work, or when they share their work with others. And then their faces really light up when they present the slide show of their photographs to their families.”

Digital photography isn’t just a summer hobby for this teacher, either; she tells DMAC that she incorporates today’s electronic technology into her classroom activities throughout the academic year. This way, her “digital” skills never become outdated, because they stay in constant use.

“I love seeing the kids’ faces when they really get to explore with the digital camera.”

This summer, kids in her Junior Adventures in Digital Photography and Art course will get a well-rounded overview of both art forms. For their training in digital photography, the first step is getting familiar with the equipment. “The kids learn the parts of a digital camera, how to hold it and what each part does. This helps them with the basics for the rest of the sessions,” Megan explains. “Then we learn things like how to zoom, how to photograph shadows and photographing using the ‘rule of thirds.’ This gives the kids a variety of photographs to look through and choose for their slide show. It also gives them experience using different techniques.”

Those are all great learning activities, but it’s not the whole picture. “We also learn how to edit the photographs,” says Megan. “This includes an introduction to I-photo, cropping, retouching, and creating black and white photos. Then the kids put all these skills together to create a slide show.”

Megan, an expert photographer, captured this close-up of a rock-climbing snail.

What makes this Junior Adventures course really special, however, is that it also underscores the connection between digital photography and traditional art. The course’s art sessions familiarize students with the works of five important artists – Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse and Eric Carle – by letting the kids use a technique related to each particular artist. So kids experience Van Gogh’s amazing use of color by using chalk pastels to recreate his signature masterpiece, “Starry Night.” To study action painter Pollock, kids will actually learn his famous method of “drip painting.” Each artist’s technique – from cutting paper and making collages like Matisse to mixing colors of paint a la Georgia O’Keefe – will broaden the child’s appreciation and knowledge of art. Even more importantly, these activities will help identify special talents and interests possessed by that child.

Megan commands the imaginations of the young crowd.

Megan feels that both parts of the course carry equal significance for that child’s training. “Students split their day between creating art on paper and capturing it with a camera,” she says. “The marriage of art and digital photography really enriches the program and gives kids a more in-depth perspective as to how to see the world as an artist.”

DMA offers computer and visual arts summer camps and courses for budding artists of all age groups, in a wide range of creative areas. DMA instructors have the quality credentials that count to parents and other educators and their methods of instruction represent the best and latest professional teaching practices. Learn more about DMA programs and instructors by visiting Digital Media Academy.

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Digital Photography and Photoshop For Teens in San Diego

(c) 2010

Kyle Knox, San Diego County. Photo courtesy Chris Owen. (c) 2010

I once spent some time with a very accomplished professional photographer who was in Ansel Adam’s photography home group back in the day. He told me something very shocking about Ansel’s philosophy of getting the “magic shot.” Just shoot, shoot, shoot.  It will come. I couldn’t believe it.  This is coming from not just one of the worlds most respected photographers, but the one who invented what we know as  THE ZONE SYSTEM. Most universities teach Ansel’s system religiously as a standard of where to start in the world of photography.

With the influx and availability of digital camera’s and media, the problem certainly hasn’t been one of shoot, shoot, shoot, but one of edit, edit, edit.  And honestly, in the digital world, it’s our biggest enemy. Overshooting that is.  At some point, we all approach a threshold where we long again for the art and simplicity of photography.   The balance remains in the approach.  Knowing when to let the shutter loose to sing, and when to move on and find inspiration elsewhere.

This Summer the pre-teens at UCSD will be jumping in the mix to learn about digital photography from a technical, yet highly artistic perspective.  All the basics of camera functionality will be covered, along with incorporating lighting, exposure and aperture to create both fun and professional images.

The photographic experience only starts while looking through the lens.  As the photographers of old used to say, the darkroom is 80% of an image.  Well, in this world, the digital darkroom (photoshop) is about 95% of making great imagery.  We will learn all of the foundational principles in Photoshop  that into creating great images.  Subjects covered will be using layers, adjusting levels for exposure compensation, and yes — removing all the little annoyances such as blemishes and red eye.

There’s plenty to cover, and the kids will have a blast while exploring their creativity and leveraging all the technical tools available to make images into the “magic shot” that all photographers, in every generation dream of.

by Chris Owen (

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DMA Digital Photography and Photoshop Courses Jump Starts a Photography Business


Copyright Heather Reid Kwok Photography

Images Copyright Heather Reid Kwok Photography

In July of 2006 I spent two weeks at the Digital Media Academy immersing myself in the world of digital photography and Photoshop. Since Photoshop was not the most intuitive software to me, I was glad for the hands on training to get a handle on the basic and more advanced editing tools that it provides.  The instructor knew his stuff!  He was able to show us how to achieve the same result using at least three different methods and explain which method he thought was best which helped me grasp just how much Photoshop had to offer.  It felt like drinking from a fire hose at times!  However by the end of the week, everything would start to come together and it was amazing to see how much I had learned in such a short time.

The courses were a great combination of out in the field shooting and in the classroom learning Photoshop.  I learned some valuable photography skills that helped me take better photos from the start and in the end saves me tons of time since getting the shot right the first time takes less time then trying to correct problems in Photoshop.  The small class size made it easy to get personal time with the instructor to ask my questions and learn what I was specifically looking to learn in these courses.

After two weeks I had gone from never using Photoshop to using Photoshop to edit all of my photos.  DMA’s courses allowed me to gain the skills and confidence to launch my photography business shortly thereafter.  Without the DMA course I never would have gotten my business off the ground and running so quickly.  Since the summer of 2006 my photography business has taken off thanks to DMA!    It’s the best investment of time and money that I’ve put into my business and I recommend these courses for any aspiring photography who is looking to lauch or take their photography business to the next level.

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Digital Photography Lesson : Tips from DMA Pros with Aperture

Written by Jeff Sobel of the John Lennon Bus

In my last post I talked about the saturation and vibrancy adjustments in Aperture 2.  I mentioned that these powerful tools are great when you want to adjust the color in the entire image but not a good solution for selectively adjusting color in only parts of the image.  Aperture provides an often overlooked tool which is fantastic for making these types of selective adjustments.  It’s the Dodge and Burn plugin and it can be found in the Images>Edit With> menu as seen in the screen grab below:


Though Dodge and Burn is included with Aperture 2 it is actually a plugin so when you select it in the menu your image opens up in a new window.  It’s much like sending the image to an external editor except that it’s more tightly integrated with Aperture.  The name Dodge and Burn comes from the darkroom technique of using a card to dodge (lighten) or burn (darken) select areas of a photo print while it is in the chemical bath to manipulate the exposure of the photograph.  The Dodge and Burn plugin in Aperture 2 allows you to do the same thing with your mouse, no noxious chemicals required.  The great thing about the D&B plugin is that it not only allows you to adjust light/dark but a half-dozen other effects as well, including saturation (see screen grab below).


By playing with this tool you’ll quickly learn how to manipulate the color saturation in certain areas of your image while leaving other areas in their natural state (or manipulating those areas in a different way).  Here are some examples (all images can be clicked to embiggen).

I took some photos at a friend’s wedding last year.  They were married in Golden Gate Park and the grass and trees were a vibrant green.  I found that even though I had a fairly shallow depth of field that threw the background out of focus the vibrant color of the plants was distracting the eye from the important parts of the image (the bride and groom!).  
mukh_1_thumb wedding photo edit

I wanted to reduce the saturation of the plants and people behind my subjects to separate the bride and groom from the background.  However, I couldn’t simply reduce the saturation in the whole image because I certainly didn’t want to take away from the bride’s amazing gown.  So I turned to the Dodge and Burn plugin.  Using the Desaturate setting I ‘painted’ desaturation onto the background.  It took a little time but I loved the results:
wedding photo edit 2

By applying the same effect to all the photos a consistent look can be achieved which can really tie an album together (much like a good rug ties the room together).  Here are a few more examples of using the Dodge and Burn plugin to desaturate the background while leaving the subjects vibrant:

Wedding Photo Before being Edited
 After Editing the Photograph

Now here’s one final example that has a similar look but was produced using a slightly different method.  Instead of using the D&B plugin to desaturate the background in this photograph I first reduced the color by adjusting the saturation and vibrancy sliders in Aperture:
Before Editing Photo in Apeture

Then I sent the image to the Dodge and Burn plugin and using the Saturate setting I added color back into the photograph by carefully painting the bride’s dress and the flower lei each is wearing.
After Editing the Photo in Apeture

Spend some time with the Dodge and Burn plugin and I think you’ll find it can do some interesting things to your photographs.  These are the same techniques you will learn in this summer’s Digital Photography and Photoshop courses at Digital Media Academy.

Or, you can learn Photoshop with DMA on a Final Cut Pro and Photoshop Cruise this summer! Learn more about DMA on the Sea!

dma on the sea : final cut pro and photoshop cruise

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