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Online Photography Course
A Darkroom Called Lightroom

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: A Darkroom Called LightroomLearn to bring out the best in your images by using Adobe Lightroom to its full potential in video-based course. Lightroom lets us apply traditional darkroom techniques to our photography. Instructor is pro photographer Rob Sheppard, editor-at-large of Outdoor Photographer magazine and author of over 30 books about photography. A challenge we all face is that the camera does not see the world exactly as we do. Therefore, photos coming straight from the camera can be misleading or even wrong. In this course, you'll learn how Lightroom's great tools can help you better interpret and more accurately translate reality into a photo.

NOTE: Updated for Lightroom 5! Also, this interactive course features video lessons!
Key Features

  1. Getting Started
  2. Key Local Controls
  3. Helping The Composition
  4. Working Different Subjects

  • Newly revised for Lightroom 5 with new example photos and new videos! (You can also work with earlier versions of Lightroom, too.)
  • Video lessons explain - and show! - the techniques.
  • Learn how to bring out the best in your photos.
  • Learn the difference between local and general controls.
  • Learn to effectively use Lightroom's important local controls that give true darkroom adjustments, including the Graduated Filter and Adjustment Brush.
  • Discover how to balance the light in an image.
  • Learn how you can better reveal and enhance your composition.
  • Find out how to get better shadow detail.
  • Learn how to make your subject stand out better in an image.
  • Explore examples on how to do darkroom work in Lightroom with landscapes, people, products, travel and architecture.
  • Learn to make good decisions about using Lightroom's local controls in order to get more from your photography.
  • NOTE: The course is fully interactive - you can ask questions and get answers, and you'll receive pro feedback on your work!

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Rob  Sheppard Rob Sheppard
Rob Sheppard has had a long-time and nationally recognized commitment to helping photographers become better photographers, regardless of the equipment and technology. He was the editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine for 12 years and was the original editor of PCPhoto (now Digital Photo). Now he is editor-at-large.

He is also the author/photographer of over thirty photo books, including The Magic of Digital Landscape Photography, The National Geographic Field Guide to Photography - Digital, and Adobe® Photoshop Lightroom for Digital Photographers Only. He writes regularly for Outdoor Photographer and teaches around the country, including workshops for the Palm Beach Photographic Centre and the Light Photographic Workshops. His Web site for workshops, books and photo tips is at, and his blog on nature and photography is at

As a photographer, Rob worked for many years in Minnesota (before moving to Los Angeles), including doing work for the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Norwest Banks (now Wells Fargo), Pillsbury, 3M, General Mills, Lutheran Brotherhood, Ciba-Geigy, Anderson Windows, and others. His photography has been published in many magazines, ranging from National Geographic to The Farmer to, of course, Outdoor Photographer and PCPhoto.

He and his wife, Vicky (married 30+ years), live in the Los Angeles area. They have a son working on his Ph.D. in youth sports and education, and a daughter studying communications/journalism.

Also see Rob's Nature and Photography blog.

A Couple of Photos by the Instructor

© Rob Sheppard 

© Rob Sheppard 

Course Outline


Week 1: Getting Started
This first lesson will help you more effectively use Lightroom and start using local controls.
Assignment: Work with the controls from this lesson - global changes, HSL and edge-burning techniques.

Lesson 2: Key Local Controls
How to use the key local controls of the Graduated Filter and Adjustment Brush for more effective work on your photos.
Assignment: Practice the controls from this lesson.

Lesson 3: Helping The Composition
How to work an image to help your composition and get an image closer to what you originally saw when you took the photograph.
Assignment: Explore the techniques that will help define and clarify your compositions - balancing light, brightening dark shadows, clarifying what you want a viewer to look at, and helping the subject stand out.

Lesson 4: Working Different Subjects
This lesson includes a set of examples showing how to use the techniques for different subject matter.
Assignment: Practice the techniques from this course that will help enhance various subjects. Again, try things out on parts of your photo just to see what happens.

NOTE: Each lesson includes 4-5 brief video segments that will take you step by step through the core elements of working with Lightroom as a darkroom in order to create stronger and more effective images.

© Rob Sheppard 

© Rob Sheppard 



  • Course videos are based on Adobe Lightroom 5, but you can also work with earlier versions of Lightroom, too.
  • Students should have a handle on the basics of Lightroom.
  • Digital camera with aperture and shutter speed control.
  • Desire to go beyond automated photography to develop better images.



Is this course intended for beginning, intermediate, or advanced photographers?
This class is intended for everyone from the "serious hobbyist" to the advanced amateur or aspiring pro. This is about working an image, any image, to get the most from it. Be prepared to be challenged to become a better photographer!  

Is this going to make my time longer or shorter at the computer?
Like anything with the computer, you have to practice the techniques in the course. However, the basic techniques can be used quite quickly with your photos one you have done that practice. This course will help you work more efficiently with your photos in order to get the most out of them.  

Do I need to have a digital camera?
Lightroom works best with digital camera files, but you could shoot film and scan the images into the computer. Lightroom works very well with scanned images, too.  

Does my digital camera need to be expensive - a professional model?
No, as long as your camera allows you to control aperture and shutter speed and use a variety of focal lengths - those are important things. A digital SLR is ideal, however, an advanced compact digital camera would also work fine.  

Do I need anything else?
Not really, other than an attitude that learning darkroom techniques in Lightroom can be fun! 

Are you going to teach things you can do in Photoshop in this photo course?
Not really. This is a course about Lightroom. 

Do I need to be experienced in Lightroom to take this course?
This course isn't for those who are brand-new to Lightroom, although you certainly don't have to be an expert either! However, you should have a handle on the basics of the program.  

© Rob Sheppard 

© Rob Sheppard 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

Still have questions about this course? Ask Us

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At a Glance
4-Week Short Course
Category: Photoshop Courses

$198.00 USD
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Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Read all 19 reviews

Course Reviews:

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Rajiv Chopra
Rajiv Chopra
member since: 12/25/2006
This is an excellent course. This is, in fact, the third that I have done with Rob, and I did all three on the trot.
The videos are excellent, and very clear. His passion for the subject rings true in his voice.
His critiques are sharp, to the point, and respectful.
At the end of the Lightroom course, I fell in love with Lightroom, and a lot of the credit for this goes to Rob

- 4/30/2014 8:13:24 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Lucia Cooper
member since: 12/31/2013
Rob Sheppard's 4-Week Course "A Darkroom Called Lightroom" is excellent. By the end of the course, you will be fully competent to adjust photos in Lightroom.

- 2/8/2014 12:20:39 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Richard J. Boyle
Richard J. Boyle
member since: 11/3/2013
Rob Sheppard is an insightful instructor whose review and critique of your work goes the extra mile. In each assignment Mr. Sheppard picked one image from each student and utilized it to emphasize the salient points of the week's assignment. Mr. Sheppard suggested outside reading and highlighted several texts for additions to students' libraries: Andreas Feininger's Principles of Composition in Photography and Ansel Adams' The Print, as two noteworthy examples.

The videos in the course were well crafted and imparted significant knowledge and were the key to successful learning. Being able to review all course materials and videos for up to a year after course completion is an added bonus.

Mr. Sheppard encouraged students with unique photographic perspectives and challenged those of us who are less gifted.

This is a definite "two thumbs up" course taught by an instructor obvious taken with all that photography has to offer. It was a pleasure taking it.

Dick Boyle

- 1/1/2014 9:03:22 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Rebecca Barkley
Rebecca Barkley
member since: 2/27/2008
This is a fantastic class! If you don't know how to develop in LR, you'll definitely want to take this. Rob is a great instructor- always helpful, and has a great eye for analyzing what a photo needs. My photos have really improved as a result of this class!

- 12/5/2013 1:03:16 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Nancy de Flon
member since: 9/24/2006
This is an excellent intro to the basics of processing photos in LR. As always, Rob is an excellent, thorough, dedicated teacher, clearly interested in each student and their work. You get your money's worth in Rob's courses. A brilliant idea of BetterPhoto to offer these video-based courses; especially useful for one such as this, covering processing techniques.

- 6/7/2013 6:09:42 PM

Read all 19 course reviews...

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More Delighted Customers:

"I got so much from this course! … I'm not a pro photographer with a lot of gear, but this course really spoke to  me. Thanks Rob!" - Joanne Kramer, student in Rob Sheppard's Composition Boot Camp course 

"Two thumbs up for Rob Sheppard and BetterPhoto!" -John D. Roach in The Magic of F-Stops course 

"Rob Sheppard is one of the best photographic teachers in the business.
He writes clear instructions, and gives timely, instructive feedback. Thank you, Rob!" - Carol DuBois in The Magic of F-Stops course

"Thank you Rob for this stimulating course and your very enlightening comments. They were always spot-on. I learned a lot from your well-put feedback and the feedback from fellow-students. I found the lessons challenging and inspiring." -Peter-Paul Kissels in Impact in Your Photographs: The Wow Factor 

"Rob is a great instructor and relates well to students. The assignments pushed me to do more and Rob did as I asked and encouraged rather than bashed my photos. I would recommend both him and the course to others! - David T. Mahoney in Composition Boot Camp 

"Thank you for all your guidance during this course, Rob! … I am most appreciative of your feedback and that of the other students in the class. I will definitely enroll in more your classes! Thanks again! -Karen C. Shockley in Impact in Your Photographs: The Wow Factor 

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