Other than being a pro photographer I also teach individuals digital photography workflow, including Lightroom and/or Photoshop (I also do basic Mac instruction too). Often I set up an appointment with a student to go to their place to work with them on their computer. This is the way I prefer to work as it lets me see just what their working with and customize the lesson to their hardware and setup.

Sometimes it’s difficult to find a scheduled time when we can both meet, as did happen recently with a student of mine. I suggested to her that we try a remote session, where I could connect to her computer with mine and we could have our session that way. I thought the issues she was having really didn’t require my physical presence; all I needed was to see her screen and be able to launch some apps. She agreed and we set up a date on a weekday evening.

The tricky part of this was getting both of our computers to speak to each other. I figured I needed to use a combination of Skype and iChat (on the Mac) to get the whole thing working. Initially, we set up a Skype connection so that we could speak to each other. I wanted to eventually get us connected with iChat since it has a robust screen-sharing capability built in. Skype has screen-sharing built in, but it doesn’t let one user take control of the other’s computer. iChat does.

After about a half hour of configuring, we got iChat to work. The audio was not great, at least from my end, but it was good enough to get the job done. I spent a bit more than an hour working with her and was able to successfully solve her issues, as well as teach her some stuff about Lightroom at the same time.

When I was finished, she asked about payment; should she send me a check or something. I had forgotten that I have an account with Square, the iPhone/iPad credit card payment system. With it, I can accept credit card payments with a card reader attached to my iPhone or iPad. I can also accept payments by typing in the payment info manually. Figured it was worth a go. She gave me her card info, I punched it in, payment made and receipt sent. All in less than five minutes. Perfect.

Generally, I prefer meeting with my students face-to-face, but when that’s not possible, a remote session can get the same thing accomplished at everyone’s convenience. With a little Skyping, iChatting and Squaring, another student goes away satisfied and I’m very happy that I was able to help.