Auto ISO – A Great Feature!

One camera feature that is sometimes overlooked by photographers is Auto ISO! This is a mode where the ISO setting is adjusted by your camera to a setting that the camera predicts as a useful choice without you having to manually adjust the ISO all the time.

This is an especially perfect option when shooting handheld. When your camera is in Aperture Priority Exposure Mode, the camera is “thinking” about what ISO would be right to ensure the shutter speed is fast enough for handheld photography, minimizing the effect of motion blur caused by hand movement. It also takes into account the focal length you are using, and it does a great job at making a good choice for the ISO value to be used. It raises it automatically in lower light scenarios, but then brings it back down to lower values in brighter circumstances. That is exactly what you would want it to do!

One small distinction is with regard to Nikon cameras: Nikons have something called ISO Auto Sensitivity Mode. Rather than totally surrendering control of the ISO to the camera, as other brands do, Nikons allow you to still set the ISO value, and then when you enable ISO Auto Sensitivity Mode (in your menus), it will automatically will override your ISO choice if it thinks your choice is too low for handheld photography when in Aperture Priority Mode. That’s still a great feature! You could just set your camera to ISO 100 or 200 and just let the camera raise it automatically as needed.

Also, Auto ISO is quite useful in Manual Exposure Mode! In this mode, you then take control of both the aperture AND shutter speed, and the camera will try to choose the right ISO value that will work for that aperture/shutter combination (at least within the limits of your camera’s capabilities).

SO if you have never used Auto ISO before, I encourage you to check your user manual and try it out!


Sharpen your photography skills!

Make your plans NOW to improve your photography skills by taking some of our upcoming classes!

So many great opportunities!

Several of these classes have Early Registration Discounts ending soon! Sign Up Today!

Photographers Weekend Boot Camp

Photography 101

Private Instruction

2023 Texas Hill Country Spring Photography Retreat

Lightroom Classic Workshop

Photoshop for Photographers Workshop

Flash / Speedlight Photography Workshop

Student Comment: “I signed up for his basic course after thinking that I probably need to pick up a hobby to fill my time during retirement. From day 1, Kevin was very responsive and sent reminders about locations and class days. He is an amazing teacher that used stories and analogies to get his points across. After so many courses in the military, I didn’t know how to react when faced with an instructor that genuinely cares about teaching and just wants the world to enjoy the beauty of photography. I enjoyed every session and plan on signing up for another class with him to learn about lighting.”


Truly – Happy Holidays

Many of you are familiar with the classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Lots of people watch it during the holidays each year. If you remember in the final scene, George Bailey reads this note left for him by Clarence the angel:

I have never really sought to grow my business by seeking popularity or fame or slick marketing or any of the other ways that are mostly considered “best practices” for success as a professional photographer.

Instead, I have simply strived toward excellence in my photography and in teaching others, but really more than anything else, my business is about the people I serve: you.

I so totally relate to this quote by Annie Liebovitz: “A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.”

I think that really sums up how I feel. I was not afraid to fall in love with all of you. I guess, in many ways, I measure my success in terms of all of you, my friends.

During these holidays, I have been thinking about that a lot. I am just so grateful for the past 18 years with all of you who have gone on my workshops or hikes or other adventures, or activities at my studio. And I am grateful for all of the opportunities to involve many of you in activities to help make this community a better place.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all!

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I am also so grateful for Gail, my wife and sidekick on this great adventure of life. I could not have done this without her.

Thank you for supporting local small businesses like mine. I hope to see you soon in my studio or in one of my workshops, or let’s just get together for a cup of coffee or a beer. 🙂

Kevin Gourley


Gift Ideas for Photographers!

We are down to our final shopping week for Christmas. Check out my website for a wide range of upcoming photography classes, AND if you register soon, you can take advantage of some great early registration discounts!

Student Comment: “For years I have wanted to take a photography class, but was reluctant because I thought it would be too overwhelming and didn’t have the confidence to do it. Kevin is very thorough and made me feel very comfortable about asking any questions I had. I am so glad I finally decided to take a class and came across Kevin Gourley Photography Workshops.” – Tiffany Dewald

Student Comment: “I have attended several classes with several teachers -all talented photographers. But Kevin is the best of all of them. Great and talented photographer PLUS great teacher.”


Our Rocky Mountain Fall Photography Workshop is About to Begin!

We’re looking forward to a fun week of photographic adventures in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park! Waterfalls, lakes, mountains, wildlife and a great group of people who love photography! It all starts this evening! Our 2022 and 2023 Rocky Mountain Workshops are totally sold out! If you’d like to join us in 2023, let us know and we can add you to our waiting list, in case there is a cancellation!


Expand Your Thinking & Creativity in Photography

I encourage you to join me for my next Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop on October 8th! (Plus if you register by September 7th, you’ll SAVE $20.)

Whether you are just starting out in photography or you have years of experience, this class will meet you where you are and help you find new directions to head to discover your unique artistic expression in photography! Fall in love with photography, all over again! Regardless of the type of camera you use, even if it’s just an iPhone/Smartphone, you’ll find this class worthwhile!

Photography is about WAY more than shutter speed, f/stops, ISO, exposure modes, etc. Photography is about creativity and how we see the world around us! Open your mind to new expressions of art. Join us!

Click Here <– Do it 😉

Here’s what class participants have said about the class:

  • “What a wonderful surprise to discover how much I learned and enjoyed the Finding Your Way photography class. Kevin you are such a fabulous teacher and mentor to anyone seeking to take their photography to a new level. I came away with “zillions” of ideas for future projects. This alone will keep the creative juices flowing and give me a reason to head out the door every day with a new purpose to my hobby! My only problem now is what do I want to tackle first?!”
  • “Kevin’s “Finding Your Way Class” is an inspiration workshop. Whether you’re someone who pulls out their phone to capture a quick memory, or an accomplished photographer stuck in a rut, this class is for you. Creative ideas flow in the intimate setting of Kevin’s studio. Camera skills are not a prerequisite, all that’s needed is an open mind and a desire to try something new.”
  • “I had a great time. I loved it. It gave me so much more ideas. I was forcing myself to find what to take pictures of and I found out I like the abstract ones. They are so much fun! I learned so much. I cannot say how much I appreciate my time in your classes.”
  • “I greatly enjoyed the class. You will gain valuable insights whether you are a novice or a pro photographer. I can’t wait to start working on the numerous projects this class inspired me to think about. If you are out of ideas or inspiration, this class is for you!”
  • “It’s so easy as an amateur photographer to become overwhelmed with all the technical aspects of photography. And as a photographer at any level, there is often an expectation of working to get the best technical picture. Kevin does a wonderful job of teaching the technical aspects of photography, for sure, but his Finding Your Way class focuses instead on the joy of photography, on photography as an experience and way to express ourselves. We are all creative beings, an image of the great Creator, and it is healing to the soul to pursue that. In addition to revealing the depth of Kevin as an amazing person, this class gives permission and encouragement to explore our individual path of creativity using photography. We laughed, we cried, we learned, and we found the spark that drew us to photography in the first place. Thanks, Kevin.”

Some Early Registration Discounts End SOON!

Take advantage of our special offers and improve your photography skills!

In-Person Class: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC Workshop
A very “hands on” 12-hour learning experience. Learn how to organize and enhance your photographs with this powerful program! Explore the new powerful editing features that have been added with the latest version! Bring your own computer. Class size is very limited. 

  • New Dates!
  • Tues/Wed October 11, 12, 18, 19  at 6:30-9:30pm

Photography: Finding Your Way – Creativity and Inspiration Workshop
Whether you are just starting out in photography or you have years of experience, this class will meet you where you are and help you find new directions to head to discover your unique artistic expression in photography! Fall in love with photography, all over again! Regardless of the type of camera you use, even if it’s just an iPhone/Smartphone, you’ll find this class worthwhile! 

  • Saturday October 8, 2022 9am-6pm
  • Register by September 7, 2022 and SAVE $20!

Photographers Weekend Boot Camp
Learn the important fundamentals of photography in one weekend!

  • October 1-2, 2022 ONLY ONE SPACE LEFT!
  • Student Comment: “FANTASTIC – completely exceeded my expectations. Content was fabulous, teaching at just the right level, and Kevin was so credible and explained things in ways I could understand – and he made it fun too, easy to learn.

Photography Painting with Light
Evening Class Tues/Wed Nov 29-30, 2022 6:30pm
The most fun photography class you’ll ever take!

  • Tuesday/Wednesday Nov 29-30, 2022 6:30pm
  • Register by October 1, 2022 and SAVE $30!

Photography 101 – Fundamentals of Great Photography
Start your photography learning with this in-person class! 

  • Tuesday/Wednesdays
    November 1,2,8,9,15,16 2022 
  • Daytime (10am-Noon) OR Evening (7pm-9pm) Options
  • Register by October 1, 2022 and SAVE $20!

We Had A Great Time on Our Rocky Mountain Summer Photography Workshop!

We had two wonderful groups of photographers join us for our Rocky Mountain Summer Photography Workshop. We created a lot of photographs, had lots of fun adventures, and made some new friends along the way.

I have such a love of Rocky Mountain National Park. That is my “happy place” where I am renewed and inspired, where I truly feel joy and peace when I am in the forests and mountains.

Here are some photos I created during our workshops (believe me, I have LOTS more!). If you’re wanting to join us for this grand adventure, all of our 2022 options are SOLD OUT, BUT we are considering offering the workshops again one more year. Click Here for more info.


Years of Experience

I have years of experience in photography and teaching. Falling in love with photography a LONG time ago (48 years ago), you might say it was my “first love.” As an avid photographer, I started out in the days of film photography, first using a Pentax KX SLR. I shot so many rolls of Kodachrome 64, Kodacolor II, Panatomic-X, Plus-X, and Tri-X, and spent countless hours doing black & white and color processing and printing.

Even back then, with all of my work with film, I was fortunate enough to also gain a lot of experience with digital imaging in college, as I was working on a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering (1980-1982). While most of the world had yet to even hear about digital imaging, I was having nerdy fun doing things like writing software to raster scan a laser over chrome-plate glass substrates to digitally generate negatives!

When the rest of the world eventually transitioned over to digital photography, I was already well versed in understanding the technology, so it was an easy transition for me.

Teaching photography was also a part of my life for years. My first photography class I ever taught was in 1977. These days, teaching photography consumes a lot of my time, in addition to doing photography professionally out of my studio in NW Austin.

I have found that my years of experience in both doing photography and teaching photography have complemented each other very well. The more I have taught, the better a photographer I have become and I have gained a lot of experience with a vast array of camera makes and models over the years. The more I have worked as a full-time pro photographer has helped me as an instructor, especially when teaching other pro photographers.

I enjoy working with photographers at all skill levels from first-time beginners to full time professionals and everywhere in between.

My main point in writing this is just to say what I have to offer to you all: experience. I have learned a lot of lessons along the way, and I am happy to share all I know with my students, and I have loved my years as a full time photographer.

Check out my upcoming classes or my private instruction options!

Kevin Gourley


Kevin Gourley Photography Workshops, Austin, TX – Austin Photography Classes