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Viewfinder center beginners photography course


Viewfinder’s popular three-day Digital Photography 1-2-3 Course is perfect for those who have recently started using a dSLR or Mirrorless-type camera or who have been using their camera for a while, but struggle to get consistent results. If you’re ready to leave automatic mode behind, this is the course for you. Registered students benefit from a free online video version of Digital Photography 1-2-3 at the end of the course.

Each of our three course sessions takes place on a Saturday from 10:00 until 16:30 at the Viewfinder Center in Zurich. Our approach is to offer friendly, hands-on learning that familiarizes you with essential camera functions and the contexts in which to use them. Think of Digital Photography 1-2-3 as a foundation of knowledge which you can build upon as you continue exploring photography. This three-day course is Viewfinder’s most popular program and if you’re new to our community – this is a great place to jump in, learn new skills and get inspired!

Viewfinder center beginners photography course



Viewfinder Center, Stampfenbachstr. 157, 8006 Zürich


This course is conducted in English.


Digital Photography 1-2-3 is a beginners course and is open to anyone. If you are just starting your photography journey we recommend that you start here. The three different sessions are designed to build on each other as students progress. Registered students benefit from a free online video version of Digital Photography 1-2-3 at the end of the course.


We recommend a digital SLR camera (a camera with changeable lenses) but a mirrorless camera works just as well. We are “brand agnostic” at Viewfinder, so any camera brand is fine with us. Be sure to charge your camera battery and bring a cleared memory card to the course.


We’ll take a 45 min lunch break at 12:00. Lunch is not provided. Participants are welcome to bring a lunch or visit one of several nearby restaurants.


Minimum of 5 participants, Maximum of 9


Matt Anderson, Mike Bissig or Erwin Windmüller


Registration closes two days before event.

Viewfinder Center photography student beginners class

Jack M.

Thanks for a fantastic class! I can’t believe how much I was able to learn during the day and how these new ideas have completely changed my approach to taking pictures.


The Digital Photography 1-2-3 courses are a mix of theory presentation, short in-class exercises and afternoon shooting assignments. These courses are always fun and completely free of “photo-snobbery.” The course instructor is a professional photographer and experienced photography teacher who enjoys working with beginners.

Digital-1: Camera Basics

In Digital-1 we start by discussing and demonstrating what happens inside your camera when you take a photo, then explore the two most important creative controls to master: aperture and shutter speed. We work on controlling depth-of-sharpness and practice capturing moving subjects with the correct shutter speed. After session 1 you will understand:

  • What’s happening in your camera when you shoot
  • Working with Aperture- & Shutter-priority modes
  • Controlling depth-of-sharpness in your photos
  • Capturing movement with specific shutter speeds
  • Choosing an ISO for your shooting situation
  • Composition tips to add interest to your pictures

Digital-2: Controlling Exposure

In the Digital-2 session we move further into the following subjects and techniques:

  • Working in Manual exposure mode
  • Metering modes (“Matrix, Spot & Evaluative”)
  • Measuring light using the exposure indicator
  • Avoiding weird color casts with white balance
  • The “exposure triangle” and how it helps you
  • Avoiding dull photos in backlit situations
  • Composition tips, “frame-within-a-frame”

Digital-3: Advanced Features

In Digital-3 you’ll be ready to uncover advanced features of your camera and learn about:

  • Quantitatively vs. “Creatively Correct” exposures
  • Understanding your image’s histogram
  • Autofocus modes to help capture the action
  • Focus points: how to avoid focus errors
  • Using the AE-L button for perfect portrait exposure
  • Working with Tripods for long exposures
  • Panning the Camera to show movement
  • Exposure trivia game
Viewfinder Center student beginner photography course

Steve W.

Excellent course. Clear, with a good mix of theory and practice. Covered a wide range of topics but to a good depth as well. Really enjoyed it!

Giorgina d.L.

What a GREAT DAY today!!!! You must hear this at the end of each course, but really, it was amazing. I didn't expect to go through so much information and so many things which until now were always so vague and unclear. Now it all makes sense.

Viewfinder Center lead instructor and managing director Matt Anderson

Matt Anderson

Professional photographer Matt Anderson directs the Viewfinder Center with his wife Dagmar and shoots commercial, editorial and private assignments when he’s not busy teaching. As a former newspaper photojournalist, he’s comfortable photographing a variety of subjects from sporting events and news reportage to portraits and product photography. Matt takes pleasure in seeking out interesting photography trips and creating fun learning experiences for other photographers. dSLR 1-2-3 is one of his favourite programs at Viewfinder, because (in his own words), “it’s packed full of ah-ha moments.”

Viewfinder Center instructor Mike Bissig

Mike Bissig

Michael Bissig feels at home while photographing in the Swiss Alps. Although he lives near Zurich, he spends as much time as possible in the mountains. As a Swiss adventure and lifestyle photographer he concentrates mainly on shooting for the outdoor industry. His photographs of athletes and outdoor enthusiasts get used by companies like Mammut, the Swiss Alpine Club and various tourism agencies. Michael is able to draw on his extensive mountaineering and athletic experience for his outdoor projects and adventure tours both at home and abroad, showing Viewfinder students how to get great shots in spite of negative temperatures, rain and stormy winds.

Viewfinder Centers instructor Erwin Windmueller

Erwin Windmüller

Erwin Windmueller’s photographic career has taken him around the globe and introduced him to many of the world’s best and brightest. After cutting his teeth as an agency photographer in Zurich, he moved on to photograph for the biggest brands in fashion, living in Paris and New York for more than 20 years before returning to his home country of Switzerland. In addition to photographing for Vogue, Elle, GQ, L’Oreal, and Yves Saint Laurent, Erwin is the principle photographer for Swiss Universe (1st and business class magazine for Swiss airlines). A powerhouse of energy and creativity, Erwin is as approachable and thoughtful as he is enthusiastic for the craft of photography.

Fabienne G.

That was perfect! Looking forward to the next courses.

Viewfinder Center digital photography course testimonial

Carolyn L.

By the time it's over, you have a clear understanding of how to make the camera work for you. I'm no longer intimidated by my camera!


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Jun 15/29
Jul 06
10:00 - 16:30Zurich
CHF 875.-
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Oct 19
Nov 02/16
10:00 - 16:30Zurich
CHF 875.-
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