Hey! I'm Irene Abdou!

And I was once where you are today.

When I started in photography, the only things I knew how to do was change the lenses on my SLR camera, put it on automatic, and take a picture. I had to take thousands of pictures just to get one good one!

So I began trying to learn photography, and I purchased a book. It was hundreds of pages long with 85% text, 10% diagrams, and 5% photos. Whoa, it made for some dry reading!

If only I had had someone to teach me photography in plain old, easy-to-understand English. I don't want you to miss out on capturing all the moments and memories that I did during that time.
Bio Photo of the Professional Photography Instructor

And now, I'm here to help you succeed!

Student Testimonials

"Even considering that I had to travel 900 miles to get there, my time away from work, the investment was more than well spent!"

Myra Rowan, St. Louis, MO

"After being a life long "picture taker", last year in the fall, I found myself with more and more opportunity to work in the field of photography. Suddenly I had a great desire to know everything there is to know and understand about taking photographs. I stepped up with a new camera and a mound of books. While I appreciate the auto setting is there, I've never allowed myself to use it. I wanted more. Like learning to drive a car with a standard transmission, I wanted to learn in manual mode. Short cuts did not entice me. I wanted to know how and why pictures work and what makes them art.

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I started Googling, you-tubing, reading book after book trying to make "it" all come together. I kept getting out there and shooting in manual, trusting that eventually it would click. Last January or so, I was working on LinkedIn for day job, when I decided to do a search on photography.

Irene was one of the four options that popped up. I looked at her website and felt an immediate connection with her and her work. I emailed her immediately, we chatted on the phone the next morning. A week later I flew to Maryland. I spent six hours (2 days) working with Irene. Even considering that I had to travel 900 miles to get there, my time away from work, the investment was more than well spent! I have many photographer friends who knew my work and offered to show me the ropes, but I knew the depth of what I wanted to learn - I just felt it would be more for social with friends, and way too time consuming.

While working with Irene was most enjoyable, I really appreciated that she had a clear agenda, based on what I had told her I wanted learn. Because of her thoughtful plan, we wasted no time. I came away with more ability and ownership of the camera than I ever imagined I would!! I was so excited, our work gave me a solid platform, and new found confidence to work with with immediately. I felt such a sense of accomplishment - finally I had the ability to make the camera work for, or at least with, me. I plan to pick up where we left off sometime soon; I cannot wait!!

Thank you, Irene - I'll be seeing you soon!"

"I am much more confident that I will be able to take my daughter’s senior portraits in the future, probably with an external flash because I LOVE that POP!"

Linh Littleford, Muncie, IN

"I started my photography about a year ago. My 13-year-old recently requested that I take her senior portraits when she’s a senior in high school. I figured that I’d have 3-4 years to work on this goal. I contacted Irene for a 1-on-1 photography session. I like using natural light and capturing people being themselves. I usually don't pose people. But, I like to capture them in flattering ways.

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My goals for the session with Irene were to improve my lighting, posing, and composition skills. Before our session, Irene requested to see some of the portraits I had taken. In addition to providing me with positive feedback about my photos, she suggested that we go to an environment that had mixed lighting so that I could be more challenged photographically.

Irene and I went on a field practice session at Sugarloaf Mountain. I also brought my daughter along. Irene asked me to take photos the way I normally did. I did and thought the photos looked pretty good. Irene then suggested that I used an external flash system that she had brought with her. I was skeptical about using a flash because I didn’t want my photos to look unnatural, like I had used a flash! However, the photos I took with the flash setup were stunning and way better than the ones I had taken with just natural light! In the photos taken with a flash, my daughter had a beautiful glow and seemed to POP from the background!! I never knew that I could control the ambient light separately from the light on my subjects! Mind blown! This allows more creative ways to photograph people! Irene then provided suggestions to my daughter about posing, which my daughter confided later was her favorite part of the session. Irene also showed me different ways to take more dynamic photos.

I thoroughly enjoyed the session with Irene. Irene was an excellent, patient, and supportive teacher. She tailored the 1-on-1 session to my goals and skills level and provided me with additional knowledge to improve my photography. A couple days after the session, I purchased an external flash and have been practicing taking outdoor portraits with it. It has opened up so many more photographic possibilities for me. I am much more confident that I will be able to take my daughter’s senior portraits in the future, probably with an external flash because I LOVE that POP!"

"I've seen my photography improve almost exponentially after each session."

John Jacks, Germantown, MD

"Irene is not only a very gifted photographer, but she is an excellent instructor as well. I've been very fortunate to have a number of personally catered one-on-one sessions with her. I've seen my photography improve almost exponentially after each session. She has a way of making photography a very accessible art form, and she has a way of simplifying what most will find to be very technical. Most of all, she makes photography exciting which I feel is extremely important in anything you do. Her way of teaching is very thorough, as well as very patient. Those are qualities anyone can appreciate whether you're learning photography or any other subject.

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...each session is based on what you want to learn and how you want to learn it. She can teach you how to get that one shot you want, and in some cases, provide some of the tools (and yummy snacks) to achieve that shot. Sometimes she will even play the guinea pig while you try and figure out what settings to use. If you want to further understand exposure, she can help you. You want to learn interesting techniques like focus blur or panning, she can help you. If you're unsure about a function in Lightroom, she's great at it...

There isn't much more to really say other than she's a wonderful resource and I highly recommend anyone learning photography to schedule a one-on-one session with her. You will not be disappointed, and the images you create will make you want to schedule another session, and another, and probably a few more. The way you take pictures will get better, the experiences you have taking pictures will get better, and of course, the pictures you take will get better. You really get more than just a one-on-one session with Irene. The experience and knowledge that is shared is priceless."

"She's a passionate, excellent teacher."

Stephen Lettrich, Clarksburg, MD

"She's a passionate, excellent teacher. My wife and I took a one on one class with her. We unfortunately have an older, non-SLR, highly limited camera. She taught us about picture composition, then spent over an hour outside with us practicing. Although she could have easily said "your camera doesn't allow you to do that", she enthusiastically experimented with us to trick the camera into producing some SLR-like capabilities. I look forward to buying an SLR and getting more training from her."

"I couldn't be happier."

Linda MacArthur, Cockeysville, MD

"Just did my first 1 on 1 photography coaching session with Irene and couldn't be happier. She made me feel comfortable from the start. Irene is an excellent teacher and explains things in a way that I could understand. The knowledge that I came away with will definitely improve my photos."

More Online Photography Classes are in the Works!

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