BSOP Portrait Graduate, BSOP Instructor news and more! – Late Nov News from the BSOP


Lots of Big News!

© Shellaine Ulmer - BSOP Portrait Photography Diploma Graduate

© Shellaine Ulmer

We have big news for you on several fronts!  One of our students is the first to receive our Diploma in Portrait Photography and one of our BSOP instructors has ‘made it big’!

Keep reading for all the latest news, updates on several photography classes and a photography tour we think you might be interested in.

First recipient of our Diploma in Portrait Photography

© Shellaine Ulmer - BSOP Portrait Photography Diploma Graduate

© Shellaine Ulmer

Image © Jen McLeod
Shellaine and Family

Our congratulations go out to Shellaine Ulmer who is the first recipient of our diploma in Portrait Photography.  To be eligible for the portrait, Shellaine completed seven different classes and then honed her craft until the point where she was comfortable submitting a portfolio of 20+ photographs that she felt would meet our standards.

Shellaine started her training with us in February of 2013 and completed her last class at the beginning of May.  Since that time, she’s been refining her skills.  At the end of October, she submitted her portfolio in an attempt to qualify for her diploma.  We were thrilled with the work that Shellaine is producing and are proud to have her as our first graduate.

Following is a short interview that we conducted with Shellaine:

Question: Tell us about a bit about your background.
Answer: I graduated with an education degree in 2008, married my wonderful husband, taught elementary school for a couple years, and then had my son, which led me to buy my first DSLR camera, which I have not been able to put down since.  In addition, because I fell so much in love with photography, I figured what better thing to do then to take my passion to a new level and create a profit at the same time.  I have always loved dance, music and art, and am always expressing my creativity through some sort of avenue or another.  I like to be crazy busy, but also like to just check out every now and then, especially when I am travelling (but trust me, my camera is still on my hip!)

Question: What got you interested in photography?
Answer: I always liked to snap photos with a point and shoot camera; however, it was not until I had my son that I really became interested in photography.  I had purchased my first DSLR camera, and was frustrated that my photos were not looking like the professional ones that I had done in the past.  I did some research and found that if I wanted to get the look of a professional photographer, it was less in the camera and more in all of the other components: lighting being a key as well as getting myself off shooting in automatic mode, and onto manual exposure.

Question: What sort of options did you research in terms of a photography education?
Answer: I began my search online, I knew that I wanted something that was all encompassing, and did not want to take a course here and there.  Rather, I wanted to make sure that, like my university degree, I was going to finish my training feeling ready and capable of capturing exactly the type of images I wanted.

Question: Why did you choose the BSOP for your photography education?
Answer: Firstly, the small class sizes.  I like having the option of some one on one time if needed.  Then, I really appreciated that I could do evening and weekend courses to complete a diploma.

Question: Which of the BSOP classes was your favourite?
Answer: I learned valuable information from every course, but at the top of my list would be Available Light as well as Off Camera Flash.    Following closely behind would be the Lightroom course.

Question: How did you find the instructors at the BSOP?
Answer: I enjoyed all of my instructors; they each had such valuable information to bring to the courses.  I also appreciated how they shared their own work at the beginning of the class; we were able to get a good insight on the type of art that they produce.

Question: What are you doing now that you finished your training at the BSOP?
Answer: Prior to beginning my courses at Burwell, I had envisioned myself doing wedding photography.  The thrill of capturing all of the special moments of the big day was what I had intended would drive my photography business.  However, during my schooling at the BSOP, I did a few newborn photography sessions for close family and friends.  I loved it.  I am absolutely hooked by it.  So, now I have began my photography journey specializing in maternity, newborn and family photography.  I am currently working out of a studio in Sweet Momma Spa in St. Albert with another photographer and absolutely love it.

Question: What do you have to say to any other potential students about choosing the BSOP for their photography education?
Answer: Personally, I highly recommend it, I wasted a lot of money on an online program because I am a hands on learner and need to be in a classroom setting where I can have someone show me exactly what they are teaching, as well as allow me to practice with positive feedback until I get the concept down.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Shellaine’s work or contacting her to contract her services, please visit her web site at

© Shallaine Ulmer - BSOP Student

© Shellaine Ulmer
© Shallaine Ulmer - BSOP Student

© Shellaine Ulmer
© Shallaine Ulmer - BSOP Student

© Shellaine Ulmer

Congratulations to BSOP Instructor Darlene Hildebrandt

BSOP Instructor Darlene Hildebrandt

Our sincere congratulations go to BSOP instructor Darlene Hildebrandt.  Darren Rouse, originator and owner of theDigital Photography School web site (dPS), recently announced that Darlene is the Managing Editor of dPS.  If you aren’t aware, the Digital Photography School is the web’s largest on-line instructional resource for photographers.

This is a tremendous achievement for Darlene who recently returned from a whirlwind trip to Australia (where the headquarters and owner of the Digital Photography School resides) where she was officially welcomed to the team by dPS owner and originator, Darren Rouse.

Darlene has been an accomplished and awarded photographer for many years now and it is excellent that her passion for photography education has been recognized in this way.  At the BSOP, we always knew Darlene was well loved by her students through the numerous testimonials we’ve received and we’re happy that she’ll have a chance to share her skills with a large part of the photography world now.

In addition to her new role, Darlene will continue to teach for us:  Available Light Portrait Photography, HDR Photography, Night Photography, Travel Photography and Street Photography.

Congratulations Darlene!

Studio Lighting Class

© Moments in Digital Photographry | Bruce Clarke - BSOP Instructor

© Moments in Digital Photography – Bruce Clarke

Join professional event, wedding and portrait photographer Bruce Clarke for a hands-on photography class that will provide you with the opportunity to learn studio lighting from basic set-ups to advanced configurations, equipment and techniques.  Learning to photograph in a studio environment can seem a daunting task.  The next edition of this class runs the weekend of November 30 and December 1.  Bruce designed this class to demystify studio equipment and provide you with hands-on opportunities to gain an understanding of studio lighting and techniques.

What You Will Learn During our Studio Lighting Class

  • Studio set-ups
  • Lighting Equipment
  • Backdrops and props
  • Hot lights versus strobes
  • Mono Lights versus Speed Lights
  • Metering in studio
  • White balance
  • Basic portrait set up
  • Essential modifiers
  • Key light, fill light, hair light
  • Overview of light sources
  • High key lighting
  • Low Key Lighting
  • Creating mood with light
  • Controlling the background
  • Gels and accessories for modifying backgrounds
  • Grids, Spots, cutters, gobos, mirrors and more

What to Expect

  • 12 hours of classroom instruction
  • Multiple sessions to photograph models using studio lighting set-ups
  • Hot lunch on both days consisting of a choice of main course, 2 salads, soup, side dishes and dessert
  • Certificate of completion
  • Small group size, limited to 12 participants

If you would like to register for the class or if you’re interested in finding out more information on this class, please visit our Studio Lighting class web page.

Gift Certificates

BSOP Gift Certificates

The holiday gift-giving season is upon us!  Now is the perfect time to get some shopping out of the way by purchasing one of our Gift Certificates. You can choose a gift certificate in a preset amount or customize it to whatever amount you desire.

These gift certificates make the perfect gift for the photography enthusiast and never expire.

Purchase a BSOP Gift Certificates through our web page.

Travel Photography Class

© Her View Photography

© Her View Photography

If there is some travel in your future and you want to make some memorable images to help you capture the essence of what you are feeling while travelling, our Travel Photography class could be just the ticket you’ve been looking for.  The next edition of this class runs the weekend of December 7-8, 2013.

Presented by BSOP Instructor and Digital Photography School Managing Editor, Darlene Hildebrandt, this 12-hour weekend class will provide you with the tips, tricks and techniques that you’ll need to know before you go.

What you can expect to learn during the class

  • Safety on the road
  • How to back up and store files
  • How to compose better images
  • Photographing people on the street
  • Learning about “good light” and how to find it
  • Location scouting and planning ahead
  • How to create a series of images to tell a story
  • What to do with your images when you get home

If you would like to register for the class or if you’re interested in finding out more information on this class, please visit our Travel Photography class web page.

Nicaragua Photography Tour

© Justin Evidan Photography

Leon Cathedral © Justin Evidan Photography

Join BSOP instructor Darlene Hildebrandt as she journeys to Nicaragua leading a photography tour through her company, Her View Photography.

This photo travel tour of Nicaragua’s next dates are: February 25th – March 7th 2014

Do you want to learn to take better photos, and you love to travel too? Maybe you’ve taken a photography class or two, but want something different, something more interactive, in a cool location. How about putting it all together in this customized photo tour to Nicaragua?  Darlene, a professional photographer of 25 years, is your tour host and photography coach.
Photo Travel Tour Nicaragua- Quick Details

  • Where: Nicaragua
  • When: February 25th – March 7th, 2014 eleven days (10 nights)
  • Who: you and 11 other fabulous people. Spouses and non-photography types are welcome.
  • What: photo tour catering to photographing in the best light of the day, in the field practice in a fun small group setting, and a flexible schedule to allow us to decide how long we stay at each location!
  • Why: learn to take better photos, immerse in some local culture, and help some kids and to have a whole lot of fun doing it from a beach on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast!
  • Price: $1650 (price in USD)

Nearly full, 3 spots remaining

NOTE: this in an introductory price on this inaugural trip to this country. Be part of the first trip and help Darlene create and refine the itinerary. Future tours will be $2450! Save $800 and join the recon mission.

More information and registration is available throughDarlene’s web site at this link.

Until next time…

© José‎ Manlolo - BSOP Student

© José‎ Manlolo – BSOP Student

José‎ Manlolo created the above image during our recently completed Macro Photography class.  The macro photography class is part lecture and part shoot and critique.  Moreover, one of the aspects that we love about teaching the class is getting to see all of the creative work the students do.  We simply loved what José came up with while working with a bendable Gumby, some pencil crayons and a $15 LED light from IKEA.

It won’t be long now until the busy holiday season is upon us.  We find that photography is one of the things in our lives that help us stay sane during this time of year and it might be a good distraction for you too.

Don’t forget that if you’re in a bind about what to add to your wish list or when you’re having trouble finding the perfect gift for someone else that our gift certificates are just a click away.

Take care of yourself and those close to you.


Paul Burwell
Owner – Burwell School of Photography

“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia.”

-Charles M. Shultz

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