Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

F-Stops and Shutter Speeds: Make this Relationship Work for You – National Portrait Gallery

Learn how to use F-Stops and Shutter Speeds to create the effects you want in your images!

Quick Details


You love your camera, but you always keep it on a nice, safe “Auto” or “P” and let the camera do the thinking? Or do you put it on “M” because you see the pros doing that and still your pictures come out poorly exposed? You are intimidated by the letters “A”, “S”, “M”, or “ASM”, or “Av” and “Tv”. As a result, you only use $200 worth of the features of your $1000 camera!

Does this sound familiar? You are not alone! Help is now on the way from a professional architectural photographer who has made every F-stop mistake in the book, E. David Luria, founder/director of the Washington Photo Safari who since 1999 has helped over 39,000 amateur photographers take better pictures by making full use of their cameras.

How DO the pros get that kid’s face nice and sharp and the background blurred? How do they make all the moving cars and people on a street DISAPPEAR? How do they get those waterfalls and streams to look like cloudy mist? This special photo safari will concentrate on understanding WHY you would want to choose “Shutter Priority” or “Aperture Priority” or even the “P” setting for your camera, whether it is an SLR or a simple point and shoot or “prosumer” camera. You will learn how YOU – not the camera -can control the final image. We will review White Balance and ISO settings. We will even teach you to take the “Mystery” out of the “M” setting. We will conduct a special therapeutic intervention to get you OFF of that UGAT (Ugly Green Automatic Thing)! In short, we will make YOU the boss of your camera, not the other way around!

Bring your camera, and ALL your lenses for this very helpful primer on the proper use of your camera. Tripods are allowed on this safari. Do you have a #8 or #9 neutral density filter? Bring it!

Our venue for this safari is the beautiful Kogod Courtyard at the National Portrait Gallery. The enclosed courtyard with its elegant glass canopy, designed by world-renowned architects at Foster + Partners in London, provides a distinctive, contemporary accent to the museums’ Greek Revival building. The wavy glass-and-steel roof that appears to float over the 28,000-square-foot courtyard lets in natural light provides opportunities to do low-light shooting at higher ISOs and figure out correct white balance settings. And the cars moving along the streets around the gallery let us try out our cameras on varying shutter speeds that can make cars stop, blur, or disappear!

Here is what clients had to say about the safari:

David Luria was a great instructor! I was looking to learn more about the settings of my camera – namely how I should have my settings to capture the image I want. David did a great job explaining this to me and I walked away from the class understanding how to ACTUALLY use my camera! Gabrielle P., Herndon, VA on SWELL

A great hands -on experience. David has the ability to make complicated explanations understandable!  Leonela, M., Washington. D.C.

My Safari with David was a wonderful experience. This is my fourth Safari. Even though I’m an experienced photographer I always come away with more knowledge than when I started. His experience and enthusiasm makes me want to go out and shoot more. Thanks, David for increasing my knowledge and passion. Mark G., Boynton Beach, FL