With its excellent weather and bright sunshine, the San Francisco Bay Area is a great place to be a photographer, whether you do it for fun or as a serious hobby. If you are new to photography or would just like to improve your skills at taking pictures and processing them, whether in film or digitally, these workshops and classes can help you improve.

Marin Photography Club Education Night
Unitarian Universalist Church of Marin
240 Channing Way
San Rafael, CA 94903

Date: July 9

If you are interested in learning more about photography, one low-cost option is to join a local photography club. The Marin Photography Club sponsors periodic digital and film/printmaking competitions as well as social events and education nights. On July 9, the club will be offering an evening workshop on how to get the best photographs possible from iPhones and other cellphone cameras, lead by Gail Pierce. Annual membership to the Marin Photography Club is $80.

Basic Photography at College of Marin
College of Marin
835 College Ave.
Kentfield, CA 94904
(415) 457-8811

Several local community colleges and community education programs in the Bay Area offer courses in photography, including the College of Marin. The Basic Photography course offered by the College of Marin is taught by author and photographer Jed Manwaring and includes several classroom sessions discussing camera types, settings, metering and lenses, as well as composition and formats. Two field sessions are also included in the class schedule, where students can get practice shooting ‘in the wild’ and learn tips to improve their photography.

Related: Best Wedding Photographers In The North Bay

Better Pictures with a Digital SLR
Shutterbug Camera
3011 Santa Rosa Ave.
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
(707) 546-3456

Date: June 30, July 2, 28 and 31

Shutterbug Camera, with three locations in Santa Rosa, Novato and Petaluma, offers a full line of cameras, lenses, photo and gift printing as well as accessories, camcorders and digital picture frames. It is happy to answer questions and also rent cameras and lenses. It also offers several classes on both film and digital photography, whether point-and-shoot or SLR, as well as specialized topics like using Photoshop or an electronic flash. Most courses are held at the Santa Rosa store. The “Better Pictures with a Digital SLR” course is offered frequently and includes a review of DSLR features and a brief field trip with instruction on composition and lighting.



Golden Gate Bridge Photography Walk
Crissy Field
983 Marine Drive
San Francisco, CA 94129

Although not quite in North Bay, you can’t pass up an opportunity to take photographs along the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Bay Area amateur photographers are lucky that one of the most frequently photographed and beautiful bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge, is right in our backyard. But without careful planning and composition, shots of the Golden Gate can end up dull or unimpressive. The expert teachers at Isla Studios have attempted to solve this problem by offering a photo walk workshop at the bridge for beginning photographers. The two-hour class is offered one Sunday a month from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in order to take advantage of the “golden hour” of sunset lighting. For additional upcoming dates this summer, check Isla Studios’ website. Isla Studios also offers beginning photography classes in its studio in San Francisco.

Art & Clarity Adventures
Napa, CA
(707) 480-4003

Professional photographers Lowell Downey and Janna Waldinger offer a variety of workshops and seminars as part of their business Art & Clarity. For visitors to the Napa and Sonoma areas, they offer a three-hour “The Art of Seeing” photography workshop which can be done as part of a group or individually. In addition, Downey and Waldinger host monthly “Lunch and Learn” workshops on various topics including new media and on-camera skills, video newsletters for your business and more.

Related: Best Photography Galleries In North Bay

Laura Tarwater-Scharp is a freelance writer, editor and historian. Originally from the Midwest, she has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.