I just completed Cheryl Johnson's photography class "12 Days of Christmas 2011," and I would say it was a winner! CJ offers this class free each year to a large (but limited) group of students. If you get the chance to sign up for it next year, I would definitely say that it's worth your time.
CJ sends a new photography prompt each day from Dec. 1 - Dec. 12. The prompts are a nice combination of technical prompts (setting white balance, creating bokeh, shooting lights at night) and composition challenges (self-portrait, groups, outdoor pictures, etc.). There's a forum and (new this year) a facebook group. The forum was not overly crowded, so it was easy to examine each photograph that was posted (about 40 per prompt). A lot of the posted work was really inspiring, and I got lots of good ideas from the perusing the images there. Classmates were pretty good about commenting - most of my photos received feedback from 5-10 people. CJ patrolled the forum to answer any questions but didn't really offer much feedback on the images posted during the course. (Although it's possible she may add comments next week.)
Like most online classes, you get out of it what you put into it. I only completed 9 of the 12 challenges (I skipped a photoshop tutorial, a group portrait exercise and one on writing with light). But those nine prompts taught me a lot! I now really know how to use the white balance setting on my camera, and I learned how to take beautiful night pictures (like the one at the top of today's post; please click on it to enlarge and enjoy the details). As a result of this class, I have already taken some beautiful holiday pictures, and I know that the photographs I take during the rest of the month will be better because of what I learned during these twelve days! Overall grade: B+
Anyone else have thoughts on this class? How are your December classes going so far?