September 5, 2013 • 01:21:34 p.m.

Photography classes get smart

Creator Gallery delves into world of mobile photography, apps with new classes


Kevin Kuster of the Creator Gallery in North Aurora will host two supplemental photography classes to engage photographers with photo-editing apps, such as Instagram, which is what was used to edit the above photo. (Instagram photo by Kevin Kuster)

If you go

WHAT: Photography-related classes at Creator Gallery, 1057 W. Orchard Road, North Aurora

COST: Each class costs $35

MORE INFO: Follow Kevin Kuster on Instagram via @KevinKuster or @JoshJohnson. For information about the classes and to sign up, visit or call 630-229-0828.

NORTH AURORA – As smartphone cameras continue to improve, they are seemingly becoming the most commonly used image-capturing device, further making photo taking, editing and sharing easier than ever. With a few taps and swipes of a finger, life’s moments are captured, beautified and posted to social media channels across the Internet in near real time.

Falling in accordance with the changing times for photography, the Creator Gallery in North Aurora is intermingling photography instruction with social media and mobile-app editing tutorials in two supplemental classes to be offered in September and October.

The classes are generated by the idea that, “If I have the skills, I’m no longer limited by technology,” Creator Gallery part-owner Kevin Kuster said.

Kuster will teach each class alongside Creator Gallery photographer and graphic designer Tom King of North Aurora.

Through each class, beginners and intermediate students will  delve into the world of photography through the lens of point-and-shoot cameras, digital SLRs and – now – mobile devices.

“In this day and age, everyone is taking pictures and everyone wants to take better pictures,” Kuster said. “The artist is the important part, not the tool that they’re using.”

Kuster also said 80 percent of his personal photography is taken using a mobile phone, adding that – as a professional photographer – using mobile apps such as Instagram make the often time-consuming task of photo manipulation “feel like less work.”

Photo-editing apps such as Instagram give amateur and experienced photographers alike an opportunity to manipulate photos in seconds, ultimately improving the quality of images being circulated through cyberspace.

Kuster said Instagram and mobile photography “reinvigorated” his passion for the medium after buying a smartphone a year-and-a-half ago.

“What I love about my mobile phone [is] I always have my camera with me,” he said. “It’s right there in my pocket, and I can edit and upload photos right away – and get a response and immediate feedback.”

As an artist, Kuster uses Instagram to share his work and enjoys its ability to start a near instantaneous dialogue online through images.

As the CEO and chief photo director of the #JJ community on Instagram, a feed found via @JoshJohnson, Kuster has helped create a network of nearly half-a-million mobile photographers who share as few as 5,000 and as many as 30,000 submissions a day using the hashtag #JJ, Kuster said.

Through the @JoshJohnson feed, mobile photographers can enter daily photo contests and post themed entries via Instagram, using the feed’s hashtag. The images are then shared among the community of photographers he has helped create.

Kuster will delve into Instagram more thoroughly in the second, and supplemental class to the first, which will be in October.

The first class will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11. It’s a basic class for beginner and intermediate photographers that will focus on better picture-taking techniques with everyday subjects, such as family and friends, as well as portrait and travel photography.

The second class will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. It will delve into photo editing; how to select the best images; how to use mobile apps – like Instagram – to manipulate photos; and how and where to post them. The class also will cover how to connect with people using hashtags and how to accumulate additional followers on social media outlets such as Facebook.

Kuster recommends bringing the camera students use most often to take photos, whether it’s a smartphone, point-and-shoot or digital SLR.

“I don’t care what you shoot with; I can teach you to be a better photographer,” he said.

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