3 Digital Camera Settings to Take Better Photos

How do I take better photos…

with my DSLR camera? You might be surprised to hear the answer. Do you want to create beautiful, lasting memories of family functions, sporting events and other meaningful events in your family’s life? Simply knowing the tools at your disposal will help you take high-quality photos with that DSLR you’re keeping on auto. Here are 3 settings you need to know to take better photos.

1) What is aperture?

To put it simply, the aperture setting controls the amount of light being let into the image sensor of the camera. Think of it like your pupil, the bigger it gets the more light it lets in (that’s while when it’s bright out, your pupils get small, and when it’s dark, they appear much bigger.) Unlike your pupils, which automatically adjust to the light, you can manually control the aperture of your camera by changing what’s known as the f-stop. A low f-stop like 3.5 lets in more light, and a high f-stop like 22 lets in less. In addition, the aperture controls the depth of field of your image (how in-focus certain parts are). A low f-stop will produce a higher depth of field (great for close-ups of flowers!), and a higher f-stop will produce a crisper image (great for awesome landscapes!) See the examples below:

Low f-stop | Photo by H K on Unsplash

High f-stop | Photo by Rob Morton on Unsplash

Photo Experiment #1: 

Try turning your camera to aperture priority mode (A). This will allow you to test different f-stop settings without having to worry about anything else. With the camera on aperture priority mode, the other settings on the camera will auto-adjust. Give it a try and let us know how it goes in the comments!

2) What is shutter speed?

Shutter speed is the speed at which the shutter passes in front of the image sensor, thus determining how long the image sensor is exposed to light, measured in fractions of a second. A slow shutter speed lets in more light and allows for more motion blur. Sometimes this can have a cool effect like in the photo below.

Photo by Denys Argyriou on Unsplash

But, if you’d prefer to have a less blurred image, try using a faster shutter speed.

Photo by Mitchell Orr on Unsplash

For more tips, visit the B.Britnell Blog.

Photo Experiment #2: 

Turn your camera to shutter speed priority (S). Experiment with photographing moving objects. What happens when you change the speed?

3) What is ISO?

ISO is a digital setting that uses the camera’s software to boost the light in the image. And while lots of light is good, it’s important to use a high ISO sparingly, as it can cause the image to look grainy.


Read more and check out other educational images at ExposureGuide.com!

Photo Tip #3: 

Turn your camera to manual (or M). Experiment with all 3 of these settings at once and let us know what you came up with in the comments!

Looking to further your skills?


in our Adult DSLR Photography class beginning October 14th!

3 Reasons Minecraft is Actually Good for Kids

Imagine you have an unlimited supply of square LEGOs of all colors and materials. Now put that in a virtual world, and you have Minecraft in Creative Mode. Here are the 3 reasons building in Minecraft is great for kids:

  1. It’s creative! (Haha see what we did there?!) You’ll be amazed at what your kids dream up to build. Without real-world limitations, players have the ability to imagine anything into existence. At the DAE, we’ve seen everything from roller coasters, to spaceships, to pixel art. 
  2. It teaches project planning, persistence and collaboration. Taking a project from conception to completion is a process that can be difficult to master, especially for younger kids. The idea that Minecraft is fun and “cool” makes it easy to engage in and helps kids as they navigate the sometimes difficult prospect of overcoming obstacles to complete a creation. It also fosters collaboration, since building with a partner or group of friends is way better than building alone!
  3. Kids are forced to practice patience, have a strategy and utilize their resources. Often, beginning a project can be intimidating. Minecraft blocks are easily accessible, destroying a mistake is easy and players can fly. These things are instantly gratifying and focus away from the time it actually takes to build something incredible. Engineering concepts like use of shape, color, dimensions, and scalability are also put to use during the build process. Patience pays off when playing in creative mode. We love watching our kids put the last block into place and stand back to marvel at their creations. An hour certainly flies by when they’re having fun!

Moral of the story: Minecraft can be awesome. Next time the kids need something to do, help them come up with an idea for something to build in Minecraft Creative Mode!

3 STEAM-related after school activities Chappaqua, NY [fall 2017]

There are so many fun things for kids to do after school in Chappaqua, NY

So which ones should your kids participate in?

The Digital Arts Experience is teaming up with hip-kid on South Greeley Ave. to bring fun, educational, and most importantly, hands-on workshops to Chappaqua and the Town of New Castle.


1) 3D Printing and Design

Students learn how to safely operate a 3D printer. Using Tinkercad, students will learn how to design and 3D print original objects from scratch!

Tuesdays 9/26 -12/5 (10 weeks) 5-6pm Ages 8-12, no class 10/31

2) Adventures in Scratch Programming

Students will explore coding and the ins and outs of creating games with Scratch. By the end of the class, students will have made their own games!

Wednesdays 9/27 – 12/6 (10 weeks) 5-6pm Ages 8-12, no class 11/22

3) Minecraft Character Modeling

This class uses Blender, a 3D animation program to explore the world of modeling, texturing and animation!

Thursdays 9/28 – 12/7 (10 weeks) 5-6pm Ages 8-12, no class 11/23

Things to consider when choosing a class:

Will your child enjoy it? Is it close to home? Will they have original work to show for their time? Can they use what they’ve learned in the real world?

We believe all of the answers to these questions are yes. To find out more or enroll your child in Full Steam Ahead at Hip-Kid, please visit:



Fall Classes and Workshops in Westchester County, New York

Educational things for kids to do on the weekends fall 2017

There’s so much for kids to do in Westchester County, New York! Everything from classes in dance, traditional and digital arts, and even the art of knitting.

We can’t believe that the month of August is just about halfway through and that the fall semester is right around the corner. So if you are a busy parent who needs to find something fun – but also educational – for your kids to do after school or on the weekends, be sure to check out our recommendations below.

The Rye Arts Center – Rye, NY

Founded in the 1960’s, The Rye Arts Center now serves over 35,000 residents all over Westchester and even lower Fairfield County. Be sure to check out their fun and diverse classes that they offer to a variety of ages during the Fall semester, like Fun with Clay (agess 4 – 5), Manga Club (ages 8 – 11), and so much more!

View 2017 Fall Schedule – The Rye Arts Center 

Curious-on-Hudson – Dobbs Ferry, NY

Since 2015, Curious-on-Hudson has been offering programs for children in the K-5 age range and middle school. They focus on science, technology, engineering and so much more. They are still offering classes through the end of summer, so be sure to check them out and keep an eye open for their fall programs!

View 2017 Summer – Curious-On-Hudson

Mad Science – Various locations

For 5 years, Mad Science has been offering science programs for kids with topics in electricity, magnetism, biology and so much more. Because they run programs in a variety of locations in New York City and Westchester County, you are sure to find one near you!

View 2017 Fall Classes – Mad Science

The Digital Arts Experience – White Plains, NY

Here at The Digital Arts Experience, summer classes have practically been filled to capacity. Our summer camps end September 1st (with availability during Session 5), but the fun doesn’t have to stop there. Our fall Saturday classes and Holiday workshops that begin October 14th are now open for registration. And what’s more is we will be up at the Hip-Kid Lounge in Chappaqua, NY with 3 after school classes.

Session 5: 8/28 – 9/1

Saturday Classes & Workshops – The DAE


Chappaqua, NY

After School Classes at Hip-Kid

The Digital Arts Experience
170 Hamilton Ave, Suite 100
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 644-8100

The Digital Arts Experience aims to provide a unique opportunity for the kids & teens of the Westchester, Rockland, and Fairfield communities to explore the world of creative technology, digital art, STEAM-related fields and more! Their programs are goal oriented and focus on hands-on learning so each and every student will complete his or her class with incredible original work that can go towards creating a portfolio. The DAE strives to expose its’ students to the digital world in order to help them discover new talents and possible career paths.

YouTube Channel: http://youtube.com/digitalartexperience
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheDAExperience
Facebook: http://facebook.com/TheDAExperience
Website: http://TheDAE.com
E-mail: info@TheDAE.com

Westchester summer camps August 28th to September 1st [8/28-9/1]

3D Animation

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, ages 13-16

Learn the skills that go into creating movies like Toy Story, The Incredibles, Ice Age and any other 3D Animated video! This introduction to 3D Animation will focus heavily on modeling, lighting, and texturing. The class will use Blender, a powerful and free animation program, to model characters, monsters, space ships and much more. Students can expect to complete this class with several finished models.

3D Printing with Minecraft

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, ages 9-12

What’s better than building in Minecraft? How about being able to 3D Print objects from Minecraft! Students will explore 3D Printing technology and how to safely operate a 3D Printer. They will then use Creative mode in Minecraft to build castles, villages, characters and much more and 3D print their designs to take home!

3D Printing with TinkerCAD & 123D Design

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, ages 13-17

Design and 3D print original objects! Students will discover the history of this incredible technology and learn how to safely and properly operate a 3D printer. Using TinkerCAD and 123D Design, free web-based modeling programs, students will learn how to design and 3D print original objects from scratch! Students can expect to take home several 3D printed projects.

3D Printing Student Work at The DAE in Westchester

3D Printing Student Work at The DAE in Westchester

Adventures in Scratch

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, ages 9-12

Create original video games using Scratch! Scratch is an MIT designed programming language that is specifically designed to make programming fun and easy. Students will start with the hour of code and then explore the ins and outs of creating games with Scratch. By the end of the class, students will have originally designed video games to share with friends and family!

Adventures in Scratch

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, Ages 6-8

Create interactive animations and exciting games with Scratch! Scratch is an MIT designed programming language that is specifically designed to make programming fun and easy. Students will start with the hour of code and then explore the basic of using Scratch. They will then create original animations and interactive video games that they can share with their friends and family!

Create Awesome Videos

9:30am-12:00pm, ages 9-12

Write, shoot, and edit original video projects. Students will learn shooting & lighting technique, how to properly operate a video camera while shooting an original story. They will then learn how to properly import the footage to the computer, edit using Adobe Premiere, and add visual effects with Adobe After Effects. Students can expect to finish this class with a completed video project.

Digital Drawing

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm Ages 6-8

Learn to use Photoshop and digital drawing tablets to create stunning works of art! Students will learn the basic of Photoshop & how to import photos, images from the web and more and learn to edit them Photoshop’s powerful tools. They will also use Wacom drawing tablets to draw onscreen with different colors, brushes, and textures. Each student will take home at least one print of their drawings and designs.

Essentials of Flash Animation

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, Ages 9-12

Learn how to animate using Adobe Animate (formerly known as Adobe Flash)! Using digital drawing tablets, students will draw a series of still images to create motion. Each class will introduce a new principle of animation as students create projects consisting of characters, background, and objects of their choice. No drawing experience required! If you can draw a stick figure you can join this class.

Graphic Design

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, Ages 13-16

Learn to create logos, web graphics, movie posters, and much more with industry-standard design software! Students will explore the essential tools in Photoshop and Illustrator and create a variety of original projects ranging from graphics to custom fonts and more. No prior experience with Photoshop or Illustrator is necessary, and students can expect to complete this class with prints of their original designs!

It’s Alive! Bringing Monsters to Life with Blender

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, Ages 13-16

Create your own monster in 3D and bring it to life in this class for mad scientists! Students will have the opportunity to learn more advanced topics of 3D animation including using reference sheets for modeling, creature armatures to create bendable bones, texturing for creature skins, and animating the monster to give it weight and realism. It is recommended that students have prior experience with Blender before taking this class but it is not required. Students who complete the 2 weeks will go home with a complete monster character and a short clip of their monster in action. Join us today and create a monster that captivates and terrorizes your audience!

Learn to Code Using Java

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, Ages 13-16

Learn to program games in one of the most commonly used programming languages in the world! Minecraft, Android apps, and robots are just three of the hundreds of ways that Java is used in the real world, and this class will explore the basics of Java through building arcade style video games. Using Greenfoot, a platform designed to make learning Java fun and easy, students will learn the basics of writing and debugging Java, and will complete the class with a finished, working game!

LEGO Stop Motion

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, Ages 6-8

Learn how movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas, Wallace and Gromit, and more were made. Stop motion animations are created by taking lots of individual pictures and playing them back at a certain speed to create movement. Students will explore stop motion animation by creating stories with Legos. Students can expect to finish this class with several completed animations.

Minecraft Character Modeling

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, Ages 9-12

Model and animate Minecraft characters using professional 3D software! The class will use Blender, a powerful and free 3D animation program, to explore the world of modeling, texturing and animation. Students will model originally designed Minecraft characters and texture them with any skin of their choosing. They will then, as a class, write and animate a short story that incorporates everyone’s characters. Please note that this class is a 3D animation class and does not include playing Minecraft.

Design 3D Games with Unity

9:30am-12:00pm & 1:00pm-3:30pm, Ages 13-16

Learn how to build a challenging platformer in 3D! Students will use Unity, a powerful game design tool, to explore what goes into the game design process. At first, the class will build a pre-designed level in their game as a group to learn the basics of Unity. Students will then get to design and build their own custom levels to add to their game. Each student will complete the class with a finished game that can be played on any computer.


To learn more, visit TheDAE.com or give us a call: 914-644-8100, email: info@thedae.com

Minecraft Tournament June 3rd, 2017 | Fun things to do with your kids in Westchester this Spring

Our Minecraft Tournament on June 3rd is a fun, creative way to get kids out of the house this spring!

Join us at our location in downtown White Plains on for a Minecraft Tournament. Kids ages 6-16 welcome to sign up and parents/families are welcome to stay. Sign up for one of three time slots 10am, 12:30pm & 3:00pm.



Participants build a structure in a category announced the day of the tournament. Once the rules are explained and the categories are announced, players have one hour to build in creative mode. Participants are then judged on factors such as creativity, time management, attention to detail and thinking outside of the box, in addition to other factors. Prizes are awarded to the winners of each category and everyone goes home with a 3D printed gift!

Learn more about the DAE at TheDAE.com


3 Great Reasons Why You Should Bring Your Kids to a Minecraft Tournament

YouTube Play

Your child loves Minecraft but you’re a little hesitant about giving them too much time on the computer, especially on the weekend as it gets nice outside. Here are 3 reasons why bringing them to a Minecraft Tournament will be beneficial to their growth and happiness:

  1. It’s social. Chances are, if your child loves Minecraft, they’re going to be playing it A LOT. Alone. When kids participate in a Minecraft Tournament, they’re engaging with the other kids and parents around them, as well as the staff and judges, all while building something in a platform that’s familiar and fun.
  2. It’s fun AND structured. The kids are given build categories like “treehouse” or  “spaceship” that they must operate within. They’re also given 1 hour to build. This means they need to utilize their budding time management skills.
  3. It’s creative! Building in Minecraft is like building with UNLIMITED LEGOS. Whatever category the kids are given, they have the potential to create something truly amazing. Parents, don’t be surprised at the awe you feel when your child shows you what he or she came up with.

JOIN US June 3rd!


Unique, Flexible & Ultra-Creative Meeting Space in Downtown White Plains

IMG_9471 (1)
The DAE is a great venue with a bright, unique, creative and open environment in which to hold a brainstorming session, team retreat, or group meeting! Located in the heart of White Plains literally steps from the White Plains Train & Bus Station, The DAE boasts a totally unique meeting space that can comfortably accommodate 50+ people, 5 break out rooms, A/V equipment and video recording services available.
Pricing is affordable, space is flexible, and the environment facilitates creativity, team building, and good vibes! Schedule a tour today and you’ll see for yourself that The DAE has the most unique meeting space in Westchester.

Call 914-644-8100 or FILL OUT THE FORM


Supporting Westchester Libraries

On Friday, April 7th, The Westchester Library System (WLS) hosted a breakfast at Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook as an event to celebrate libraries all around Westchester.

The event started off in a lovely, large event room where breakfast was served to the attendees. As mostly everyone had arrived, guests were greeted with an opening speech by WLS Executive Director Terry Kirchner. Terry shortly after focused his attention on the event’s Honoree.

The DAE’s President & CEO Rob Kissner was recognized by Westchester Library System and County Executive Rob Astorino for ongoing collaboration and support for libraries all over the county. Rob as well as other DAE Staff members were in attendance to see him accept his various awards including a Proclamation from the county of Westchester stating that April 7th shall henceforth be recognized as Rob Kissner day.

After Rob’s recognition, guest speaker and Etched in Sand author Regina Calcaterra gave an audience-attention-grabbing speech about her childhood and how integral of a role libraries and other public facilities played in her life.

All in all the event was a huge success largely in part by those who attended to support WLS. It is also important to recognize all of those who work for libraries in Westchester and beyond for their time and dedication to maintaining these sacred public properties.

Spring Break Programs for Kids in Westchester, NY

Spring Break STEAM Programs for Kids in Westchester, NY at The Digital Arts Experience

So you’re just getting back into the swing of things after February Break and just starting to get back to your routine and now you have to figure out what to do with your kids during Spring Break. If you’re not going away, you still have to work while your kids are out of school, so what can do you?

Well, your kids can stay home all day and play video games or they can come to a Spring Break Boot Camp at The Digital Arts Experience and create something amazing!

From LEGO animation and 3D printing, to video game programming with Scratch or Python, we’ve got programs for all ages and all skill levels. And with half and full day options, as well as our super flexible drop-in schedule, we make planning your week easy knowing that your kids are in a safe, fun and exciting learning environment.

Programs run from April 11-14th. To find out more visit the TheDAE.com or give us a call at (914) 644-8100.