mastering manualDon’t be fooled by the low price. This course is as broad and deep as all our others, but since it is such an integral foundation to your success as a photographer and in all our classes here at TPE, we want to make it as easily accessible as possible. Not only will it give you a taste of how TPE works, it will set you on the path for great success in all your photography endeavors.

No more auto or priority modes! We’re going full manual from day one and you will love it!

This is the essential technical foundation that will set the stage for success on your photography journey and all other course at The Photographer’s Element. Let’s start strong!



VIP Members gain instant access to Mastering Manual

+ all of our other courses!

Our best-selling class. With a mentor.

For $99!

mastering manual

3-Week class begins JANUARY 16th
with Michaela Ristaino

Weekly homework assignments with video feedback on YOUR submitted photos!

All online. No required online times.  Guaranteed to get you shooting in manual in 3-weeks!
(Required: DSLR camera + lens)


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the details

Recommended Time: 3 weeks
Skill level: Beginner
Required Equipment: DSLR
Topics: Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO, Basics of Composition

All our courses are taught 100% through video, text, and sometimes audio download! Download your materials to study at your own pace, at the times that work best for you! Then come back to the course pages to watch your videos.



mastering manual course outline



sarah allredSarah Grace is celebrating her seventh blissful year as a photography teacher.

Mentoring flourishing photographers makes her heart sing, as well as collecting vintage Little Peoples, and devouring all things Drum Corp (check out and watch her inner-geek emerge!). Sarah believes in holding no secrets back when teaching and that photographs can truly change the spirit of your home sweet home.

Sarah Grace lives in Louisiana with her husband, Loves-all-things-purple daughter, bounce house acrobat baby boy, and a fresh little newborn to enjoy.  She is most recently a Podcaster and has loved the chance to interview women who have found GOOD, PURPOSE, and LIGHT in their lives!

Do you have specific questions about whether this course is right for you? You can reach Sarah Grace here.

Want to know something super fun? Michaela took this image of Sarah and Sarah took this image of Michaela. SO fun!

michaela rastaino

Michaela has a deep passion for all things creative.

With a background in professional music and theatre, it came as no surprise when one day she picked up a camera and fell in love. As a child she was obsessed with the boxes of old photo albums and slides in her parent’s basement. Seeing this other world amazed her. Black and white images printed on linen that had been painstakingly “colored” by hand with soft watercolor beauty. Pictures of her grandparents as teenagers…and her great grandparents on their farm in rural Wisconsin looking just like “American Gothic.” Somehow, even then, she knew that photographs had the power to change people.

Michaela Ristaino Photography was officially launched in 2014, and Michaela is in her happiest place when working one on one with a client to create images that sing with their truest inner beauty.

Michaela teaches Mastering Manual and is the heart and soul of The Photographer’s Element Student Lounge. Having the ability to create a safe and nourishing place for the TPE community to continue to grow and collaborate (even after your course is over!) fills her heart with joy. She truly believes that the nurturing environment at TPE is what sets it apart from other photography schools.

When she’s not traveling, you can find Michaela in sunny Florida, where she lives with her amazing husband and best friend Cap’n Tony. With way too many unfinished latch-hook rug kits in her childhood closet, she is a tiny bit amazed with herself for having finished her first Project 365 last year.  Follow her here on Instagram!

VIP Members and gain instant access to Mastering Manual

+ all of our other courses!