Welcome to PhotoTrainer

Have the time of your life learning about your camera and photography!

Jumpstart your inner photographer.


Special for Teachers

PhotoTrainer loves teachers, tells us where and whom you teach and get 20% off the DSLR Deluxe Class price. Offered 6/17, 7/8, 8/5. Read more…

Photography for Bloggers

The saying claims, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” This must ring loud with an echo in the ears of a Blogger. It turns out that in the blogosphere for someone to hear you scream, you need great photographs. Read more…

Macro Flowers

The Macro Flower Photography class workshop will be held in Palo Alto’s Elizabeth Gamble Garden. We will photograph flowers with an eye for color and composition. Come explore the little hidden worlds that we can only see with close up and Macro lenses. Read more…

Speedlight Portraiture

You have seen the Strobist.com posts, the McNally YouTube lessons and maybe you tried it and got stuck. Today’s flashes and speed lights offer a whole new opportunity to get pro grade shots. Join us at PhotoTrainer and learn how to use yours. Read more…

Fireworks Photography!

Join us for the Fireworks at the Port of Redwood City 2016. Learn how to get great fireworks photos. Read more…


Jumpstart Deluxe Class

For those who want it all, all at once! Come in at 9am and leave at 4pm knowing all about the things in your camera that have been vexing you for days, weeks, months! Learn Manual mode for once and for all, get a good grasp of all the modes, and take control for excellent photographs. Read more…

Photo Field Trips

Check our current list of Photo Field Trips. We go Tide-pooling on the coast, Bird Watching on the Bay, Portrait Lighting workshops, and much more. A splendid follow up to The Jumpstart Course, Photo Trips give the opportunity to become intimate with manual mode with my guidance and supervision. A few hours doing this and you are well on your way with great shooting habits. Read more…

Palo Alto Baylands

The Palo Alto Baylands is a work in progress. Come out and practice good exposure, good auto focus habits in an image-rich environment. Maybe we will get lucky and be visited by a giant cloud of fog. Read more…

The Jumpstart Course

Our new DSLR Jumpstart course is ready for you and your camera. Learn your camera the right way if you are a beginner, get a sensible refresher if you are an avid user but haven’t connected all the camera dots yet. Break the Full Auto habit and learn Manual mode from an enthusiastic and very patient Pro. Read more…

Lightroom 101

Lightroom is the new darkroom! Join in on our monthly modular Lightroom classes. Lightroom gets you organized, keeps you productive and gets you in the habit of thinking like a Photographer. Read more…

Natural Light Portraiture

Learn to photograph people all day in beautiful setting using natural light. Models, Cameras, and the Light in a 1920’s style mansion. In the morning we work inside with demos and exercises. In the afternoon, we go outside for the different settings vistas and the stately grandeur. This is a must workshop for any and all interested in getting to the next level with your portrait photography. Read more…

Photographic Composition

Learn the vernacular behind the literature of photographs and what makes some photographs more interesting than others. Then make more interesting photographs yourself! Join us for a spirited and engaging exploration and discourse on what makes photographs work. This class is on two consecutive Sundays, mornings from 9am to noon we look at Composition’s tenets and in the afternoon we look at work, so bring yours! Read more…

Private PhotoTraining

With over 30 years of experience as a Commercial Photographer, I created PhotoTrainer in 2007 to help awaken the inner photographer in people. I love teaching Photography, and for me, it is personal. To that end, my signature specialty is personal one on one training and mentorships. This level of personal contact eclipses the how-to books, the talking head videos, webinars and ballroom seminars. Read more…

Tidepools & Seascapes

Join us for a field photography class shooting tidepools and seascapes on an excellent low-tide day. We shoot early and then head back to PhotoTrainer HQ to review our work in Lightroom. Get a clinical grade dose of Mother Nature; see the benefit from shooting and reviewing your work the same day. Read more…

Learn from a pro!

In my Jumpstart DSLR photo classes, I teach you the way to shoot a DSLR in manual mode. I have personally taught over a thousand people how to do this. Your camera does eight basic things, that I will teach you. After that, all you have to do is practice!
You can do this!

Classes for every level!

In my photo coaching work I bring over thirty years of professional experience for you to learn at your level and get excellent shots. I help beginners with their brand new cameras, I work with avid enthusiasts as a mentor, and consult with professionals, companies and start-ups on targeted problem solving.
Take a closer look!

Jumpstart Deluxe -Teacher Special 20% discount!

Offered 6/17, 7/8 and 8/5

Find out more!
“There were at least five separate times during the class, where I said to myself, wow that alone was worth the money I paid to be here. One thing Tom has done that allows the student to be fully present during the class, is create high quality hand outs that mimic what he is teaching. Tom’s teaching style combines practical facts, deep knowledge and true passion to put together information that is completely accessible to a novice photographer, while also inspiring you to believe in your own ability. I would highly recommend this class.”

– Shannon L
“Took this class recently and it was fabulous. It’s the easiest way to understand your camera. I have read websites, taken college classes and nothing ever made sense. There’s nothing like being in a small class where you can ask questions when your not “getting it”. The lightbulb went on and it’s made so much sense now. Loved the class. Money well spent.”
– Orlanda Silva
“Have a Ladies Day out with a friend. Old Pro Husband Daycare is half a block away from PhotoTrainer, drop your guy off before class learn all you want about the camera without his intervention, and pick him up after; He wont even have to drive home!”

– Tom Upton, PhotoTrainer
“The DSLR Jumpstart was perfectly utilized. Tom was very patient and even though my camera was not a classic DSLR (I have the Sony Nex 5n, mirrorless), he was prepared specifically for me with a reference sheet and explanations. Besides that I understand better how to use my camera and take better pictures for my food blog. I highly recommend this class.”

– Mark Hassin

Look No Further. Sign up Today

I dare you!