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Request interest for the class with an email or call/text (410) 718-0344

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Want to take better photos of people?

This 4-session online class is designed to help you improve your photo taking skills. Each class will include two sections. Roughly half of the 90-minutes will include instruction from veteran photographer Michael Ivan Schwartz (and possibly one or two other guest teachers who are professional photographers). The other half will focus on critiques of each student’s photos.

Instructional content will include:

• Camera basics on how to shoot photos in a manual setting. This includes learning how ISO, f-stop, and shutter speed impact your images.

• Framing your subject and composition

• Dealing with lighting you can’t control

• Getting comfortable with shooting photos of strangers (and friends)

• Basic editing using whatever free (or paid for) software is available to you

• Student driven content based on input from the class

What you need to know!

Ideally, you have access to a digital SLR camera...though if you just have a phone camera, you’ll still learn plenty. And download Zoom (free version) if you don’t already have it.

Four 90-minute sessions will be conducted online via Zoom. Links will be sent via email.

Each class is on Wednesday night from 7-8:30pm (EST)

Session 1: January 18, 2023

Session 2: January 25, 2023

Session 3: February 1, 2023

Session 4: February 8, 2023

Cost is $99. Venmo your payment to @michaelivan

Class is limited to 10 students.


Michael Ivan Schwartz


Nina Rosa Schwartz, 1980


Turkmenistan, 1994

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Echo Magazine, 1998

Your Instructor: Michael Ivan Schwartz

I took my first memorable photograph when I was 10. With a simple point and click film camera, I captured my mom walking into our kitchen for her surprise 50th birthday party. I’ve been hooked ever since.

My love for capturing people in their natural environments developed from there. I continued taking photos as a hobby into my college years at the University of Delaware. And in my senior year, I bought my first video camera. Through both still photography and videography I ventured across the globe telling stories of people with my lens. My first mentor, Mike Staub, taught me the basics and gave me my first Nikon camera as I went to Turkmenistan on an ethnographic research trip.


While working at a non-profit in Denver, Colorado, I created a magazine in my mid-20s and was able to put my photography experience to use filling its pages. In my early 30s, I moved to Lewes, Delaware where video became more than just a hobby when I interned with my next mentor, Bill Sammons Jr. After four years under Bill’s tutelage, I began my own video production company and moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 2003 where documentary filmmaking took root.


I’ve learned through mentors, books, movies, and of course trial and error, but I never took a formal class...until 2022 in the midst of the pandemic. I took an environmental portrait class via zoom with a long-time admired photography guru, Rania Matar. What I learned and how the class was taught has added significant value to my current process as a photographer.


I hope to use all of the lessons I’ve learned over the past 20+ years to help others perhaps just starting on their photo making journey take one more step.