digital photography tips with Digital Photo Mentor Darlene Hildebrandt

Get Inspired · Find Creativity · Seek Adventure

About Darlene and Digital Photo Mentor


Wanna know if you're in the right place?

If you can relate to any of these things you just might be, so stick around!

  • Do you take pictures?
  • Ever wished you could learn to take better pictures?

Maybe you've tried to become a better photographer, but . . .

  • You're frustrated that your photos don't turn out the way you want and you can't figure out why.
  • You don't have time for a traditional class between your crazy work hours, time with family, and life in general.
  • You've seen ads for classes that sound interesting but they're all too far away.
  • Some of your past photography instructors have moved too fast, leaving you to sit and suffer silently, and learn nothing in class.
  • You feel you are too “mature” to learn something new or don't want to look foolish.
  • You've spent a lot of money on a good camera, but digital photography is just too confusing, and you're afraid you made the wrong choice.
  • You've tried some classes but feel like they never cover exactly what you're missing, or answer that specific question you have that no one seems to ever ask.

If you can relate, this site is for you!

Hi, my name is Darlene Hildebrandt

Through my experience working with people just like you—helping them learn how to use their cameras, troubleshooting and solving their problems, and going out with them on workshops and tours—I've come to understand that many aspiring photographers have a lot of the same questions, issues and even fears.

I feel your pain, and I'm here to help!

Through regular articles written by me, and selectively chosen guest authors, you'll get step by step information on the challenges you're most interested in overcoming.

Tell me what you most want to learn (fill in this survey) – I will listen and react.

Topics including the ones below, are just some of the things you can read about here. The list is constantly expanding as a new article is added weekly.

Join the discussion

These seem to be the most popular articles at the moment. Have a look through them and then join the discussion using the Disqus interface below the article. You can register and login with facebook, google or twitter if you like, so it's really easy to participate.

How is this site different from others like it?

clear-subject-composition-2.jpgThere are probably hundreds of sites about learning photography. This site is different because of . . . well, frankly—me! My aim with this site is to be approachable and responsive to your needs. Tell me what you want to know, and if I don't know the answer, I'll do my best to find a guest writer that does. Post a comment on an article, or ask a question and I will answer it. Tweet me, Facebook me, Email+ me, and I will get back to you.

I am a real person and a real photographer with over 26 years of experience as a professional. I can help! Please participate in discussions and comments on the articles, I'd love for you to join in with us.

Photography is magic to me, it always has been. I love sharing it and seeing others like you feel the magic too! – Darlene

But first and foremost I LOVE seeing the light bulbs go off, and I live vicariously through your eyes as you achieve your photography goals. I love the win/win it creates as you get to express the creativity that perhaps you didn't even know you had—and I get to experience photography anew, through the passion and wide-eyed wonder of someone new to the art.

Just writing this makes me all giddy inside!

Who am I?


And where do I get off telling you how to take better photos?

I am the face behind Digital Photo Mentor. I have been a professional photographer for over 26 years, and as such have photographed everything from soup to hay—literally—including doing food photography; weddings; family portraits; corporate events and products.

After a forced change of direction (a.k.a. divorce), I left my photography studio behind and moved on to other aspects of photography—including sales, fine art, and travel. I've finally landed on teaching and I couldn't be happier. I've written for and have been published on websites and in newspapers around the world, and am currently the Managing Editor of Digital Photography School, one of the most popular photography sites on the internet.


I teach several workshop-style classes in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada including:

Photo Travel Tour Leader:

I currently lead photo travel tours to Cuba (on hold until 2018) and Nicaragua and I am in the process of planning some new destinations including Morocco (first one was spring of 2016) and India (possibly fall of 2018). They will be added to our tour section in when more information becomes available.

dps-logo-1000Managing Editor of Digital Photography School:

After writing for Digital Photography School for nearly 2 years, I am now the Managing Editor.

I have been featured on these sites or businesses

twip_logo_2014_400I am a regular co-host on the TWiP (This Week in Photo) podcast. Episode I have participated in include #298, #300, #302,  #338, #346, #378, #382, and #391

Other sites I've been featured on:

Don't take my word for it, here's what a few others had to say

I am glad you take the time to write and circulate the articles. I do read each one and do learn new things from each one you have circulated.D. Sulyma

Looks like this was a great workshop. Loved your writeup here and the tips you provided. Now I’ll have to get out and try some of them. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.M. Koenig

As a newbie in the world of Photography, I was pleased with results I was getting, but still felt that there was something more I could be doing to take my art to a new level. I was fortunate to spend some time with Darlene where she took me from one end of the spectrum – from technical information about my camera, explaining different techniques, theories and practices with me – to shooting, scouting, post production, touch ups and software tips and tricks. In our one-on-one tutoring session we worked together through some of my photographs.Z. Hinton

She (Darlene) is very helpful with her suggestions and makes it easy to have fun while taking pictures. She has been in the industry for a long time is very knowledgeable giving feed back to improve your ability to take pictures. She is great at giving recommendations for equipment to use and how to get the best use out of your camera but most of all she makes taking pictures fun.P. Mah

First of all… you had my full attention by just the first few sentences you spoke. you were fun and down to earth. “say something random about your a tattoo!” every one likes to laugh! Making sure everyones questions were answered by writing them down was brilliant! showed us that you were there to make sure we got the most out of this class and not just what you are told to teach. i learned that radial tool for lightroom and it wasn't even a lightroom class. I am actually blown away by your knowledge and experience. I hope one day I am as confident as you. and when I said you can tell how much you really enjoy photography and teaching… you can. It's just the way you come across and your willingness to teach us anything we can think of during our time with you that shows that. You are very approachable and easy to talk too. I haven't been able to sit at lunch with a teacher and talk yet. It's usually quite silent. Melanie L.

My personal vision

My vision is to help you be a little more creative, expand your horizons, and maybe even push your boundaries a little. I strive to provide a safe place to learn about photography and yourself as well as a chance to try new things and meet new people along the way.