Your Guide

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Marlene Hielema

Marlene's mission in life is to simplify photography and video technology, and teach you how to create better photos and web video. -- Marlene teaches several online courses: Point Shoot Wow, Photo Fundamentals, and shorter workshops on video lighting and other topics.

Questions? Comments? Email me!

About this course

  • Are you stressed?
  • Do you need a holiday?
  • Do you have a camera?
  • Has your camera been sitting there unused for too long?
  • Have you lost sight of why you got into photography in the first place?
  • Would you like to take photos just for the joy of it?

If any of this sounds like you, then Take a Break may be just what you need, right now.


If you would like to incorporate the joy of creating images into your life, Take a Break is for you. This course will shift your thinking from taking pictures to creating images.

  • This course does not focus on the technical parts of photography.
  • This course has 10 lessons, and you will get a new one each week starting on the day you signed up.
  • You can start when you want and take as much time as you need to complete it.
  • This course is taught online using ruzuku, our favourite online learning environment.

This course is about using photography to add richness and relaxation to your life.

Sometimes this is referred to as therapeutic photography. The term self-care is often used by life coaches and mental health professionals to describe the intentional things we can do to lower our stress levels, make us more resilient, and avoid burnout.


Are you a photographer?

  • Are you tired of all the techy photography training out there?
  • Do you want to do something less technical and more introspective with your photography?
  • Are you looking for a different purpose for your photography than just recording landscapes, people and events?
  • Do you want to put the joy of photography back into your life?


If any of this sounds like you, then Take a Break is the perfect course for you.


Here is the 5-week course outline:

  1. Welcome Lesson - dust off your camera if you haven't used it in awhile
  2. Getting Started - you don't have to go far
  3. The Art of Seeing
  4. Take in the Good
  5. What's all this about Mindfulness
  6. Self-compassion
  7. Photography as a Spiritual Practice
  8. Creative Journaling
  9. Photography as a Gift
  10. Staying connected - continue with your weekly photography practice

Each lesson has five parts:

  1. Inspiration
  2. Instruction
  3. Practice - includes a weekly assignment where you can upload a photo and get a critique from Ruth and Marlene
  4. Marlene's Photo Tips - a little something to help you with the assignment each week
  5. Resources


What you need to take this course.

  • You'll need a digital camera. Any kind will do. And you should even be able to do most of the assignments with your mobile device if that's what you're used to using.
  • This course is taught online, so you'll need internet access.
  • A working knowledge of how to get your photos from your camera to your computer (or iPad) is an asset, but we can help you with that.
  • You'll need some time to devote to this course. The content is released one lesson at a time, over 5 weeks. You can do it slower if you need to.
  • You need a desire to incorporate photography into your life in new ways.

Who are your instructors?

ruth-300px Hello, my name is Ruth Bergen Braun. In my day job, I’m a professional counsellor, registered and certified with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. I work with clients who have a variety of life struggles —for example but not limited to: depression, anxiety, relationship issues, bereavement, trauma, and past and/or current abuse.

I have loved photography since my darkroom days as a teenager — long before we ever imagined the fun of digital photography. I joke that I’m so old that I took my first photography course B.C. — before computers.  I have enjoyed Marlene’s other courses, both the Ruzuku format and Marlene’s content.  I often recommend her website and online courses to people who want to learn more about both the art and technology of digital photography. I also have recommended her courses as “a gift to yourself” and thus, the idea for this course on using photography as self-care was born.

marlene-hielema-avatar Hi there, I'm Marlene Hielema. My mission in life is to simplify the technical side of photography and teach you how to take better pictures. I've taught photography in the classroom at art and polytechnical schools since 2001. I've been teaching online since 2010. This is my 7th online course.

At this time in my life, I'm embracing that who I am is more important than what I do. So now I practice photography mostly for enjoyment and self-care, though I still do commercial photo shoots when asked.