Exploring Color

Exploring Color – a Self-Paced Online Class with Personal Instruction

Exploring Color is an online photo class designed for all levels of photographers and visual artists and provides the foundations of color theory pertinent to digital image making. Interesting and evocative lessons are coupled with revealing assignments. Cheryl Machat Dorskind has been teaching this online photography class, Exploring Color (formerly known as All About Color) for over ten years to rave reviews. Cheryl Machat Dorskind is known for her deep and insightful critiques and her knowledge of photography and color. 

Color creates a sense of time, place, and emotion. Color uplifts and depresses; instills fear and wonder. Color whether loud or soft tells a story. An understanding of color theory, color temperature, and color’s psychological properties is key to becoming a successful visual artist. Color (including black and white) often makes or breaks a photograph and it follows that to create artful and compelling images, a photographer should learn about color. Understanding color will undoubtedly unleash your creative eye and improve your photographic communication.

Digital photographers control at least 16,780 million colors, so it is essential to know when and why to use a color and which colors(s) make the most sense. It is a “use it and don’t abuse it” philosophy that is essential for a successful digital photo workflow. Join Cheryl Machat Dorskind and learn all about color and harness a trusted and tasteful eye. The outcome of the online class is an enriching experience, an enhanced eye for color and the environment. You will learn when (time of day, white balance), how (lens choice, camera angle, aperture, ISO, post processing tips) and why (what is the right saturation mix, the correct background color, props and clothing choices and juxtapositions) to use the “right” colors to create compelling photographs.

Exploring Color

Who should join Exploring Color?

This online class is all about color, how it influences us and our photography including post-processing and therefore it is a class for all photographers. If you are a food photographer, then join me and learn what colors (and food) will enhance your plate. For the portrait photographer, learn about pairing wardrobe and backdrop colors (using color theory) to narrate a subject’s personality, or to accentuate hair coloring. For the fine art photographer, learn how to celebrate color as the subject itself. For the novice, join me and learn about photography and your camera by exploring the exciting world of color.

Office (virtual) hours of Exploring Color

During the online class, students will have access to communicate, ask questions, converse — a great way to connect.

How the Online Photography Class Exploring Color Works

Exploring Color includes four lessons in pdf format rich with information. Each lesson is followed by a relevant and fun assignment corresponding to the lesson. Students are encouraged to submit three digital files (jpegs or PSDs (with layers) per assignment and a summary sheet (word docx) detailing the camera, lens, photographic strategy, obstacles and other information relevant to the Exploring Color photographic assignment uploads. Cheryl Machat Dorskind will provide video critiques addressing the color theory concepts employed, camera techniques, and post-processing tweaks, all guaranteed to enhance creative vision and photography skills.

The critiques will be rendered as private Vimeo videos (a total of four videos which average 15 minutes per assignment – that is over 60 minutes of personalized photo critiques!) in the platform of choice (Lightroom, Photoshop, or Photoshop Elements). The class includes a personalized timeline to encompass work and travel schedules. Typically, each assignment and lesson run over a one -two-week time span. Critiques follow within five days of upload. Unlimited and timely email communication during the class timeline is included in the class. 

Topics Learned in Exploring Color 

Exploring Color

Color Theory Colors of Light
Science of Color White Balance
Artistic Expression Night Colors
Art Movements Black and White Imagery
Color Psychology Color Geometry

Join me and enrich your vision. And if you are color blind (like 8% of the male and .05% of the female population), you are still welcome. I will teach you how to compensate for the colors you cannot see.

Improve your photography by registering for this online class, Exploring Color.

 What students are saying: 

“I have learned so much during the three courses I’ve done with you!  I now approach my photography in a completely different way.  Before your classes, I did not consider color nearly as much as I do now.  I can see a tremendous difference in my photos from before the classes and now, and I owe that improvement to your tutelage.  While I can always go out and shoot, it is always more worthwhile to have a real goal in mind and to try and be as creative as possible.  I clearly was able to exercise creativity in your classes!  Thank you again for your help in my journey toward being a better and more artistic photographer. “
~Glenn Kaatz

“Thanks for a great class.  This really pushed my limits with my photography and I now see color way more often then I ever did before.  I especially liked the assignment to pick a color a just take you camera and go shoot that color.  It really made see many more photos, and I have a bunch of photos I like from that assignment, most of which I would never have taken before.  The Fauve part of this assignment was difficult for me but I did have fun messing with all of the settings and changing all the colors around in LR.  The night photography was a blast, but I already knew I liked night photography.  I just wish I had the time to head into a city to get some more colorful shots for this assignment.”

~Mike Randow


“I just wanted to thank you for another wonderful class. I have to confess that each week, when I read the new assignment, my first reaction was mild panic and a deep certainty that I would not be able to produce anything worthwhile that fit within the parameters you had set. But before I knew it, the ideas started to flow, and I quickly became obsessed (no, that isn’t too strong a word!) with exploring the possibilities. I can honestly say that the photos I produced in response to your assignments (in this class and in All About Color) are among my favorites. Thanks for bringing out a creative side I didn’t know I had!”

~Barbara Geiger

“Most of my photography has been done in black and white, but now thanks to Cheryl, I am able to do color. Cheryl taught me how to see color; she changed my eye, so that now I can see color in a whole new way, which has improved my photography immensely. I owe a huge debt to her.”

~Lash LaRue


“All About Color” was fascinating on many levels; Cheryl made it so much fun to learn about color theory, color temperature and why we are drawn to certain colors when we photograph, what those colors mean and symbolize, what they can reveal about our own personalities and most importantly, how understanding color is essential to becoming a better photographer.”

~Mary Dohtery


Thank you. Your “Colors” course was just what I needed, just when I needed it. I was getting stagnant and bereft of ideas for my imaging, especially flowers. You have guided me to additional techniques I’ve now added to my imaging armamentarium. Most importantly, you have helped me further understand and appreciate color as another variable to consider and capitalize on when previsualising and creating images. I’m confident that there will be future images that greatly benefit from this new knowledge.

One of the immediate benefits, for me, was that an image I created for one of your assignments is now in my folder of all-time favorites. Thanks for that, too. You are an excellent artist, photographically and otherwise, which carries through into your teaching. I particularly valued your diligent, in-depth, and conscientious critiques. I will look forward to your new classes, your blog, and your new books.

 Thank you.

~Roger Mitchell


 “ I want to tell you how much you have done for me. Taking your course on color was one of the best things I have done for my art. I know it was a photography course but it’s general principles were solid. I have since, returned to my first love acrylic painting and your class has changed the way I see my art for the better. I thought I’d write and say Thank you “

~Paticia Pilaf


I just want to thank you for such an inspirational class. Not only had you opened up my eyes to see colors, you also had shown me the meanings of colors, forms, shapes etc. Through your critiques and comments, I learnt how a work could be read and interpreted. Your class taught me more than just photography techniques, you also gave me directions to explore the wonderful world of arts and for that I am most thankful.”

~Mun Fong

“I can not begin to tell you how much I have enjoyed this class. You made me get out of my comfort zone and try some things I have never been brave enough to try before. I came away from every assignment knowing that I now can do ‘that’…When I asked a question, I got it answered almost immediately. I am so going to miss this class and feel very fortunate to be joining you in the next Color class.”

~Robyn Mehmke

“Cheryl, my eyes have literally been opened to the color of my world and I see things differently now. I feel more open to taking risks and embracing what creativity I have.”


” Thanks for all your kind comments this week. I was talking to my cousin, a very good artist, about this class. It has made me think about my compositions in an entirely different light and color. Until now, color was just something that was there in a photo. I was just looking at objects and their relation to each other. Thus, I was creating very technical images. The feeling, however, is now coming into my images as I consider how color interacts with the objects and with the viewer emotions. Thanks again.” 


“I have LOVED spending the summer with you, taking your two classes! My eyes see the world a little differently. I have begun my color journal with yellow, not just solely but in its analogous and complementary color context. I have a ton to learn about the digital brush – not sure about the dry media brushes. In the meantime,


~Edie Clifford

“I was thinking about you because of “all the color” my eyes behold since your course. Yesterday, I purchased a vivid and colorful flower bouquet…it exemplifies “fauve” colors.  I have never purchased this type of bouquet…as you know by now, I surround myself with peaceful, mostly monochromatic colors. Well, I must tell you that the colors truly lifted me…as I looked at them, my heart filled with joy…I put some music on, I danced my way (as best I could at this time), I sang to a Shania Twain CD and felt more alive than I have in some time. Moreover, Ed and I went for a little 3 day trip…I have always noticed various colors and shades of color; however, this time I became imbued with all that I saw…I totally became one with the awesome beauty and the multitude of colors that was created for us all to enjoy.

 This a.m., my cup runneth over.  I could go on and on. So, dearest Cheryl, the benefits I derived from your course photographically speaking are wonderful.  Due to my experiences in the past few months, the benefits I derived personally are immense. Thank you for sharing your love and passion for color with me.”

~Diane Imfield

“Cheryl…thank you so very much for your kind words! To be honest, I wasn’t sure about taking this class! It seemed so vague and obvious. Little did i realize how much i was missing the “obvious”! To me this class was more about opening your eyes and “seeing” what has always been right in front of you. It was also really interesting to look into different personality traits related to color and shape/line. I’m sure that you’ll be seeing me again…not only in painting but in the child photography class…I have a 9 year old daughter and unfortunately for her she’s my favorite subject matter…lol:) Thank you again:)”

~Candice O’Brien

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