Digital Photography Essentials: Techniques to Capture and Preserve Your Family History

Photography is an essential tool for genealogists—not only for capturing family memories now, but also for preserving old documents and heirlooms. This course will help you master the basics of using digital cameras, photo editing software and scanners in your genealogy work.

Check out this video from the course to get an idea of what you’ll learn:


$99.99 ($89.99 for VIP)

Course Length:

4 Weeks


Lisa A. Alzo

Start Date:

View upcoming course schedule for dates.


“Learning Photoscape and speaking with the instructor alone have been worth the price of the course.”

“Initially, I thought some material was too basic, but working through the projects showed how much I didn’t know.”

“Learned more than I thought possible through an internet class.” — Pat N.


  • Basic digital photography terms and settings
  • How to select a digital camera that’s right for you
  • How to fix underexposed photos
  • How best to photograph people, places and things
  • Tricks for photographing and scanning old documents and photos
  • How to create and share photo slide shows


  • Anyone new to digital photography
  • Amateur photographers who’d like to learn about digital photo manipulation
  • People with heirlooms and documents they’d like to preserve digitally


  • A digital camera
  • A free photo editing software such as PhotoScape
  • A scanner (optional)
  • Students should have a basic understanding of how to use their computer and the web. If you’re new to the web, consider taking our Computer Boot Camp class first.


Lesson 1: Digital Photography Basics

  • The Camera
    • Terminology
    • Shooting modes
    • Camera controls
    • Aperture and shutter speed
  • The Accessories
    • Tripod
    • Beanbag
    • Pod
  • Digital file formats
  • Digital imaging software
    • PhotoScape
    • Picasa
    • GIMP
    • When light doesn’t cooperate
  • Digital imaging software controls
  • Exercise

Lesson 2: Shooting People, Places, and Things

  • Photographing people
    • Portraits
    • Instructional video
    • Group shots
    • Pets
  • How to photograph places
    • Houses and churches
    • Exteriors
    • Architectural elements
    • Shooting interiors
    • Panoramas
    • Shooting Inside a church
  • Composition
  • Photographing Cemeteries
    • Getting difficult shots
    • Building a reflector
    • Flash and tombstones
  • Photographing things
  • Building a “studio” background
  • Exercise

Lesson 3: Scanning Documents, Letters and Photos

  • Choosing a scanner
    • Resolution
    • Software
    • Portability
    • Scanning techniques
  • If you don’t own a scanner
  • Improving your images
    • Online editors
    • Rescuing faded color images
  • Improving Scanned Documents
  • Exercise

Lesson 4: Putting It All Together

  • Video slide shows
    • Windows Movie Maker
    • Slideshow resources
  • Screensavers
  • Photo sharing sites
    • Flickr
    • Picasa
    • PhotoBucket
  • Family history keepsake books
    • Ideas for your book
    • Book resources
  • Exercise

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  1. Pingback: How to Photograph Historic Sites | Nancy Hendrickson - AncestorNews