For The Wild Hearts

Real Photography for Real People with 40 years of experience in commercial and from-the-hip photography.

For The Magic Makers

Learn to use your camera like a Pro, see where the art and craft in photography is hiding behind all those buttons, dials, and switches.

Stories You Can Feel

You will learn through step-by-step training to love your cameras and find your innate creative center with an expert in the photography industry. 

For The Tender Hearts

Through small in-person classes you will get the real hands on and eye-to-eye experience for you and your nice camera.

Learn from a Pro!

I am a working commercial photographer with decades of experience in Silicon Valley. Additionally, I administer Real Photography for Real People in person, in small classes and in real time. This takes place most saturdays at PhotoTrainer World Headquarters in Mountain View, CA.

Are you… A beginner, advanced, new professional, creative but shy or a puzzled new camera owner?

Everyone has a camera, photography is important; I can help you. –TEU

Learn from a Pro ~5 Stars for 10+ years~

The right class for your right camera is here.  Not online, not a webinar not a “make 6 figures” come-on from an MLM carnival barker.  I teach how to shoot a in manual mode, the way the camera was built. You can take it from there. Get the training that compliments your investment.

I have personally taught over a thousand people how to do this. All you have to do is practice!  ~Namaste


Jumpstart Your Inner Photographer . . .

With my experience as a commercial photographer and trainer, I can awaken your inner photographer through manual mode. See how the camera really works and how all the really nice controls are there to help you. Let me introduce you to your camera and its charisma and power.

DSLR/M Jumpstart Class

DSLR & Mirrorless Jumpstart class for those who have had enough of “smart” phones and full auto mode. Learn manual mode in one day, with a Pro. (me!)

Better iPhone Photos

Finally! The iPhone has a creative center and so do you. I will personally introduce the two of you; then teach you how to use this camera to create way Better iPhone Photos!

Photos For Small Business

This class is for small business owners who would like to learn how to showcase their business using great professional photography.

Photographic Composition

Great photos do not just happen. Learn the language of camerawork. It is quite simple if you are observant. We explore the classics: Rule of Thirds, Geometry, Notan and way more.

Portraiture Lighting

Join an experienced model (included) and me for a day of portrait lighting. This is a workshop for people who want to dramatically improve their portrait photography. Person to Person!

Classic Still Life

Explore the worlds of objects, light, and arrangement through your camera! Try your hand at this timeless craft yourself with me as your guide.

Lightroom Training

Learn Lightroom with one of my private Lightroom classes: LR101 or If you have been bad LR911. I can help you get organized, get started and get out of trouble. Person to Person!

Mentorship with a Pro

Explore the worlds of objects, light, and arrangement through your camera! Try your hand at this timeless craft yourself with me as your guide.

Private Training

2.5 hour Personal one-on-one training session. Tailored to you, when you are really ready for better, This is a great gift for a camera lover in your life. You will be in good hands.

Family Photo Archiving & Organizing

We live in a vast image ocean. This is a search and rescue of your beloved family photos. Many of us are dealing with older B&W prints, small color snapshots, old digital camera files and other photographic evidence of lives lived.

“There were at least five separate times during the class, where I said to myself, wow that alone was worth the money I paid to be here. One thing Tom has done that allows the student to be fully present during the class, is to create high quality hand outs that mimic what he is teaching. Tom’s teaching style combines practical facts, deep knowledge and true passion to put together information that is completely accessible to a novice photographer, while also inspiring you to believe in your own ability. I would highly recommend this class.”

– Shannon L

Thank you for a very helpful session today. I enjoyed the day and had several things explained that I have been wondering about for quite some time. I am looking forward to putting it all to practice soon. And I am looking forward to some photo walks as well!

–Doug Klein

“Took this class recently and it was fabulous. It’s the easiest way to understand your camera. I have read websites, taken college classes and nothing ever made sense. There’s nothing like being in a small class where you can ask questions when you’re not “getting it”. The lightbulb went on and it’s made so much sense now. Loved the class. Money well spent.”

– Orlanda Silva

“The DSLR Jumpstart was perfectly utilized. Tom was very patient and even though my camera was not a classic DSLR (I have the Sony Nex 5n, mirrorless), he was prepared specifically for me with a reference sheet and explanations. Besides that, I understand better how to use my camera and take better pictures for my food blog. I highly recommend this class.”

– Mark Hassin

Classes for every level!

In my work teacher, ( and as a photographer) I have observed how people learn the evolving tech of imaging. I can see the shift from literal to visual thinking. It is not difficult as 30% of your brain processing is devoted to the visual cortex.  I connect some dots, I help beginners get proper footing and I translate the jargon into real information you can use to create beauty in your life.


First thing, I teach new ways to look at the light in order to See the Light. Then, how the camera becomes an instrument in your hands.

Finally, you can make music with the light.

–Tom Upton

Tom, where do I start?

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Deal of the Month | July Photo Comp | PC125