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Camera Settings

Lesson 12 from: Fundamentals of Photography 2016

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

12. Camera Settings

Next Lesson: General Camera Q&A


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Welcome to Photography


Camera Types Overview


Viewing Systems


Viewing Systems Q&A


Lens Systems


Shutter Systems


Shutter Speeds


Choosing a Shutter Speed


Shutter Speeds for Handholding


Shutter Speed Pop Quiz


Camera Settings


General Camera Q&A


Sensor Sizes: The Basics


Sensor Sizes: Compared






Sensor Q&A


Focal Length: Overview


Focal Length: Angle of View


Wide Angle Lenses


Telephoto Lenses


Angle of View Q&A


Fish Eye Lenses


Tilt & Shift Lenses


Subject Zone


Lens Speed


Aperture Basics


Depth of Field


Aperture Pop Quiz


Lens Quality


Photo Equipment Life Cycle


Light Meter Basics




Histogram Pop Quiz and Q&A


Dynamic Range


Exposure Modes


Manual Exposure


Sunny 16 Rule


Exposure Bracketing


Exposure Values


Exposure Pop Quiz


Focus Overview


Focusing Systems


Autofocus Controls


Focus Points


Autofocusing on Subjects


Manual Focus


Digital Focusing Assistance


Focus Options: DSLR and Mirrorless


Shutter Speeds for Sharpness and DoF


Depth of Field Pop Quiz


Depth of Field Camera Features


Lens Sharpness


Camera Movement


Handheld and Tripod Focusing


Advanced Techniques


Hyperfocal Distance


Hyperfocal Quiz and Focusing Formula


Micro adjust and AF Fine Tune


Focus Stacking and Post Sharpening


Focus Problem Pop Quiz


The Gadget Bag: Camera Accessories


The Gadget Bag: Lens Accessories


The Gadget Bag: Neutral Density Filter


The Gadget Bag: Lens Hood and Teleconverters


The Gadget Bag: Lens Adapters


The Gadget Bag: Lens Cleaning Supplies


The Gadget Bag: Macro Lenses and Accessories


The Gadget Bag: Flash and Lighting


The Gadget Bag: Tripods and Accessories


The Gadget Bag: Custom Cases


10 Thoughts on Being a Photographer


Direct Sunlight


Indirect Sunlight


Sunrise and Sunset


Cloud Light


Golden Hour


Light Pop Quiz


Light Management


Artificial Light




Off-Camera Flash


Advanced Flash Techniques


Editing Overview


Editing Set-up


Importing Images


Best Use of Files and Folders




Develop: Fixing in Lightroom


Develop: Treating Your Images


Develop: Optimizing in Lightroom


Art of Editing Q&A


Composition Overview


Photographic Intrusions


Mystery and Working the Scene


Point of View


Better Backgrounds


Unique Perspective


Angle of View


Subject Placement


Subject Placement Q&A




Multishot Techniques




Human Vision vs The Camera


Visual Perception


Visual Balance Test


Visual Drama


Elements of Design


The Photographic Process


Working the Shot


The Moment


One Hour Photo - Colby Brown


One Hour Photo - John Keatley


One Hour Photo - Art Wolfe


One Hour Photo - Rocco Ancora


One Hour Photo - Mike Hagen


One Hour Photo - Lisa Carney


One Hour Photo - Ian Shive


One Hour Photo - Sandra Coan


One Hour Photo - Daniel Gregory


One Hour Photo - Scott Robert Lim


Lesson Info

Camera Settings

We're gonna look at the camera settings. There's a bunch of other things in your cameras beyond the shutter speed that needs to be controlled and that's what the section is gonna take a look at. Let's start off with probably the most important setting in your camera, and that is the file types that your cameras are recording from the digital sensor onto your memory card. The JPEG images are one of the most versatile formats for files that you can have on an image. The images that you see me presenting in this class are all JPEG images. It's a great form for visual displays, it's a great form for posting on Facebook and the internet any place else, on a website, and so forth. It's a very, very common format used throughout the world today. However, if you shoot JPEGs in your camera, the camera goes through a bit of processing of that particular information, which means it's adjusting the color space and the white balance, and the sharpening, the saturation, and the contrast of each of t...

hose images. It is also compressing that information so that you can save a lot of images on a memory card, and what that means is it might take six pixels of blue and reduce it down to three or maybe take three and reduce it down to two. If you take an image and you compress it again and again, and again, here's what happens to the image. Notice the blue sky is no longer seamlessly going from medium blue to light blue. It goes in big, blocky steps. Compressing an image damages an image to a small degree and if you recompress it over and over again like I've done just so that you could clearly see what it's doing to the image here, it can be bad for the image. As its final viewing form, a JPEG image is not the worst thing in the world. In fact, it's what we kinda have to use for most of our displays these days. If you shoot JPEG, it's very, very convenient because you end up, right out of the camera, getting something that you can use right away. Most serious photographers, however, use a RAW file type. This is the original data that starts off at the sensor. It does need to go through a RAW converter so that we can actually write it onto a memory card. There is white balance that is applied to it, which is a subject we'll talk about here in just a moment, but the nice thing is that it is removable and completely adjustable, so if you were to make a mistake in the white balance setting of your camera, if you shoot RAW, you can fix it later without any harm to the original photograph. When you do that, you get this RAW file. Nikon and Canon are gonna have different formats and so are all the other manufacturers, and it's gonna be their own proprietary system that you're probably gonna not even be able to email to somebody, let alone post on a website. You gotta go through a little bit of software. Your cameras come with supplied software so that you can read those images and save them as a JPEG. The most popular software for most of the photographers out there would be Adobe Lightroom, but you could also do it in Adobe Photoshop as well as many other programs out there. If you have the RAW image, you can create as many JPEGs as you want. You know I love analogies, and the best analogy is the most perfect analogy here. This is very similar to the old days of photography where we had film and prints. The RAW image is the original negative film that was in our cameras. We are then making prints of those, and that's what the JPEGs are. A JPEG image is processed and compressed data, which means we're throwing information out. The RAW has all of the unprocessed original negative information from those days when we were shooting negative film, for instance. The JPEG image has some very convenient things. They're relatively small in size, there's variable compression rates, depending on what you wanna do with the image, and it's very common to all computers out in the world today. The big downside that photographers don't like is that we're throwing away data and there's limited corrections that we can do to those images after the fact. With the RAW image, we get all the original information. The downsides, we get a larger files size and the larger file size is really not that big a deal. I recently bought a memory card, how much did I pay? It was about $20, and I get 1,000 RAW images on that memory card and I think that's a pretty darn good deal. 1,000 RAW images for $20 on a memory card, and then I would download it, put it on a hard drive, and those hard drives have gotten cheaper and cheaper every year, so the larger file size is really not a problem in my mind. The main issue is that a RAW image cannot be read by certain software. You need to have the right software in place with whatever system you're using. Maybe you don't even own a computer. You have to go down to the local internet cafe to download your images. As long as you can get that software on that computer, then you can work with this. I think most photographers are probably gonna be working with a computer that they can get the right software in. The software that I really like is, of course, Adobe Lightroom because I can shoot RAWs and I can output and make JPEGs when and where necessary for all of my uses. The difference between JPEG and RAW, there's a number of things, and one of the big differences is the tonal range that it can capture. The range from bright to dark. What you see off of the back of your camera, that LCD image is simply a representation of what the original image is. If you were to look at that image, this particular image is showing us areas in blue that are the clipped darks. These are places that are pure black, and the places that you see in red are areas that are pure white. If you were to shoot a JPEG image like this, my guess is that you could go in to some post-production software and resurrect some of that data, pull some of that data back from being either pure black or pure white. You could improve the range, you might say, on that camera or in that image. With a RAW image, I went in on this one, and I was able to rescue all of the shadow information and almost all of the highlighted information except for those two little areas in red. In a tricky lighting situation, the RAW image will be easier to work with afterwards in the computer. There's more that you're gonna be able to do with it. It's because of this that most serious photographers shoot RAW for most of the work. In your camera, there's going to be a place for setting image quality, and this is obviously gonna look very different depending on the menu system of your camera. This is a Canon example. If you do set JPEGs, there's probably gonna be several different options for small, medium, or large JPEGs and most of us are gonna wanna set this to the largest possible setting. These other settings are in here for people who wanna get something straight out of camera that fits their specific needs without having to go through a computer in order to get a smaller file size. If you knew that you needed to have a photo that's gonna be just fairly small, you could shoot it in a small JPEG size and it's ready to go right after you've shot it. Many cameras will have multiple version of the large option. With Canon, they have kind of a smooth curved symbol next to it, and then a stair-stepped one. The stair-stepped one means it's high compression, which is low quality. Remember, when we compress something, we're squeezing out some of the quality. The other large option is what we would call low compression and higher quality. You always wanna try to record at the highest quality mode that your camera has, so if you are shooting JPEG and you just don't have the RAW in place, and I'll be honest with you. When I started shooting digital, I shot JPEG only for probably about the first six months or so because I didn't have the computer, I didn't have the software to work with the RAW images. If you were to have a Nikon, Nikon has JPEG fine, JPEG normal, and JPEG basic. These are the different compression sizes. This is the equivalent of Canon's little curved or stair-stepped line. If you have a Sony camera, they have extra fine, fine, and standard. These are just different levels of JPEGs. By default, probably ought to choose the best. We rarely look back on old photographs and wish that we had them in lower quality. If you do wanna shoot RAW, you can select RAW. With Canon and a few other brands, you can select a different size of RAW, so the RAW is capturing all the original information and it's just sizing it down to a different size. I've found this kind of handy for sometimes when I know that I'm shooting something and I need to get all the tonal range, but I know that I'm not gonna make a big enlargement of the photograph. It's on a rare case that I would shoot those. Most of the time when I'm doing my serious photography, I'm just gonna shoot the straight normal RAW image. If you can shoot RAW and you can shoot JPEG, then you're probably gonna have the option of shooting RAW plus JPEG, which means every time you take one picture, you'll actually get two files on your memory card. This is something that I don't recommend because if you can shoot RAW and you can process RAW, you can make all the JPEGs you want whenever you want. The only reason to do this is if you need JPEGs right away right out of the camera. Don't recommend it, but it is possible on pretty much all the cameras. Next up, let's talk about white balance. This is the color of light that we are shooting under and there are many different options for light sources to illuminate our subject. Sunlight in the middle of the day is a very neutral color. Tungsten light or open flame has a very orange look to it. These different colors are gonna greatly affect the subjects that we are shooting, and our cameras cannot identify the light source. Our cameras don't know what color our lights are, so this is the way of telling our cameras, "hey, the color "we're shooting under is this color." Sunlight, cloudy, and shade are three common options that you'll see on most cameras. They are gonna be set slightly different on the Kelvin Scale. The Kelvin Scale is the color that a particular type of metal gets to, the color it is when it gets heated up to that particular temperature and that's how we describe that color, and so we can describe the color with a number system. Pure white is about, what is it? About 5600, if you wanna know what pure white is. There's a number of settings for artificial light and the one that is most notably different are the incandescent lights, which are the orange lights a lot of people have in their homes. This is why you end up with a lot of orange pictures of people in your living room, is because you have an orange light illuminating them. Fluorescent light is kind of a greenish-yellow look to it, and flash is, of course, set at normal light. Some other settings that you might encounter, a Kelvin setting. For instance, if you knew the exact color temperature, 5600 degrees, you could set it in the Kelvin setting in your camera, and most cameras have this option. Another option not in all cameras, but in many cameras, is the custom preset option. This is where you would photography a white sheet of paper and then you would have to go into your camera and say, "this is supposed to be white," and then it would figure out, "oh, if this is supposed to be white, "I know what color the lights are, 'cause it's reflecting "a clean light source," and you could preset something that is unique to the particular situation that you're in. Then finally, there's auto white balance. What the camera does there is it looks at your image and it tries to guess what color is the light. Does it see an overall tint to your images and what it does is it looks at the highlight information more than anything else to see if something's highlighted, it's probably fairly light in color, and it's probably gonna reflect the color of the light source. That's how it's gonna base the information. It's imperfect, but it's not bad. The fact is, is that the auto white balance is pretty good and it's not a bad default system to start with. If you know for certain that you are in on a particular situation, you are outside on a sunny day, then it is obviously good to just sunlight. If you know you're working with flash in a studio, for instance, you could set it to the flash setting. If you're not sure and you're doing a little this and doing a little that, then that auto white balance setting would be more than good enough, I think, for most situations. If you see a problem in the review of your images, make an adjustment. This is where we jump back and talk about RAW images for a moment because if you shoot RAW, you can mess up with white balance. This photo has what I think is very funky color. This is not the color of the situation. I can go into Adobe Lightroom, for instance, I can go to the temperature slider and I can take that slider and I can move it over to the yellow slide and I can see what this looks like if there was too much yellow in it, and then I can balance this out somewhere in between. If it's a RAW image that I'm working with, I am not damaging the original image in any way at all. It's another good reason for shooting RAW over JPEG, being able to fix white balance later on with no damage. The visible spectrum of light that we can see with our own eyes is greater than what our cameras can handle. Most cameras, virtually all cameras that I know of come set from the factory to shoot in the sRGB color space. When you shoot in RAW, you're getting something called Adobe RGB, and if you want, you can change your camera to Adobe RGB when you are shooting your JPEGs so you get a slightly wider color gamut. The reason for going to the larger color gamut is that if you wanna print your photos, they'll be a wider range of colors that you can choose from that you can print. The reason for the smaller color space is that the internet, for the most part, runs on this smaller color space to save bandwidth. If all you wanted to do was post pictures online, then you probably only need sRGB. If you have higher aspirations for your photos and you wanna do some printing, you wanna have as much data to work with as possible, you can set Adobe RGB. If you set RAW, you inherently get Adobe RGB. It just kinda comes with it as part of the RAW file. Another little note here is the drive mode. This is controlling what happens when you press down on the shutter release. This is called the Drive Mode because we used to drive film through our camera. We used to have a motor drive or a motor winder on our camera. Now it's all done electronically, of course, and we can have our cameras set to single shot for shooting one shot at a time, and that's where my camera is most of the time, 'cause normally I'm just wanting to get one shot at the right time, but when I'm shooting action and sports and so forth, I'll put my camera in the motor drive and, depending on the camera, you might have an L version for low speed or H for high speed. Some cameras have really fast motor drives like eight frames a second at high, but four at low. Sometimes you can go in and regulate exactly how fast they are. In most cameras, this is also where you're gonna find the self timer system. If you wanna get in the photo yourself, you'll have 10 to 12 seconds to do it here. The two second self timer is really nice if you're working off of a tripod. You can press the shutter release and have two seconds to get your hands off the camera and let the camera stop moving, let the vibrations settle out. It's good to use in leu of any sort of wired remote. This is also where you might find a wireless remote option for your camera. A lot of cameras will have wireless remotes that you can buy for a small amount of money so that you can trigger the camera from a distance. The buffer system on our camera allows us to shoot more pictures than our cameras can really handle at one time. In the original digital cameras, the image was formed at the sensor, and then it was sent through an image processor so that it could be stored onto the memory card. If anyone remembers the very early days of digital, it was a very slow process because the images, you would wait, and you would wait for it to process that image and the photojournalists who were using these very early cameras were driven absolutely nuts. They needed to shoot more pictures more quickly. The solution to the problem was putting some fast RAM memory on the camera so that when you showed photos, it doesn't try to go immediately to the memory card because the memory cards just are not fast enough. They weren't then and they aren't now. When you shoot photos now, they will go into the buffer, store it in your camera temporarily and then those images will be written to the memory card when and where the camera has time. Knowing the amount of space that you have in your buffer is important for anyone that shoots action photography because you're shooting, you're shooting, you're shooting, and then all of a sudden, your camera chokes because it can't handle any more information. It's gonna drive you nuts. For some reason, Canon and Nikon list this really, really simply. Over on the right hand side, usually the right most number, it's gonna tell you how many images are left in the buffer. This number will go up or down depending on how much you've been shooting, whether you're shooting JPEG or RAW, or what camera you're using. Different cameras will have different settings on this. For some reason, the mirror less cameras don't really offer this number quite as clearly. If you want, you can just set your camera to the high speed drive mode, and take a whole bunch of photos and just see how many photos you can shoot real quickly. It's something that's very important if you were gonna shoot, say for instance, somebody who just hit a home run. Baseball, they hit a home run and you shoot all of your pictures while they're running to first base and then by the time they get around to second and third, you don't have any shots left. You wanna shoot a little burst there, a little burst at the second base, a little burst at third, and then when they get home and the whole team comes crowding around, then you can shoot some photos there, as well. Shooting in small bursts will help out. Newer cameras tend to have larger buffers than older cameras. There's a new camera that just got introduced that you can shoot 100 photos in a row on the camera in RAW. That would be a really good sports camera, 'cause you could just shoot the heck out of everything and have room to shoot more. Other cameras, they'll only have two or three images they can shoot in a row before they have to digest them. Talking about going to the memory cards. On your memory card, when you store photos, all of your images are usually gonna get thrown in a folder called DCIM and it's a digital camera management folder and then inside that will be your actuals photos in there. As you delete those photos and go out and take more photos, your camera creates different folders, sometimes for different days or just when it reaches a certain cycle number it needs to click up to, it creates another folder. If all you did was take photos and delete them on your camera, at some point, there might be a communication error, and what you need to do is get rid of all of those ghost folders and file directories and all the other things that are created on these cards when you put them in your camera, and you do that by formatting the card. What it does is it deletes all of the photos, so be very careful if you're playing with it right now on your camera, 'cause it's gonna delete all your photos and it's gonna reset the memory card back to its original position as when you bought it from the store. This is something that you should do on all new memory cards to establish the communication between it and your camera so that it can properly communicate back and forth. A little thing that will make life much, much easier for you is adjusting the diopter on your camera. This is something I've talked real briefly about on the mirror less cameras, but it's on the SLRs, it's on a number of the point and shoots. Let me grab one of my cameras over here. Every once in awhile, the dial gets bumped even though it's fairly well hidden in here, occasionally it gets bumped in and out of the camera bag, and I hold it up to my eye and it just, like, my eyes have gotten really bad really quickly and by adjusting that, I can see clearly through the viewfinder. A lot of people have problems adjusting this because they're looking through at the subject that they're focusing on, and right now, I don't care what the camera's pointed at. I need to be able to read the information in the viewfinder. Sometimes the easiest way to adjust the diopter is to take your lens off the camera and look through the viewfinder and adjust it so that, let me turn this on, so that the numbers down below are nice and clear. Now I'm not concerned about everything else, and I'm just looking at the focusing screen or I'm looking at that line of information down below. Now my camera is properly adjusted with the diopter, so that when I put this back on, it's nice and clear in here. That happens to my camera once in a while. Before you think you've gone nuts and you've lost your eyesight, check the diopter on your camera. I've had so many people in so many of my classes say, "oh, my gosh, this makes things so much better!" They thought there was something wrong with their camera or they thought there was something wrong with their eyes. It can really solve a lot of problems and make the viewing experience, which is so important for a photographer, the best possible that it can be. In your camera somewhere, is the option to format your card, and so make sure you find that, as I said before. Format the cards when you buy them new. If you've switched them between cameras, you're probably gonna need to format them. It would probably be wise. Somebody has a Nikon and you're gonna use it in your Canon camera and you wanna set that card and clear everything off, set a new line of communication would be wise to do. Also in your camera, not the most important thing in the world, but it's a handy thing to have correct and that is the date and time because it gets added to the metadata of your photos. It's great to have the actual photo time. What time was sunrise yesterday? Let me go back and look at yesterday's photos, and I'll see exactly what time sunrise was. For reconstructing when and where you were, it's handy to have that correct. Keep reminded, even though your camera may have a wifi connection to it, this is still something that you need to manually set. It doesn't know when you hop on a plane and go to a new time zone, so you need to adjust it when you're flying to new locations and in Daylight Savings Times as well, it needs to be adjusted. One of those clocks you just need to adjust. All cameras have software that runs the menu system that runs the operation of the camera. From time to time, the manufacturer finds either problems or improvements that they can make in the firmware of their camera. There's been a number of cameras that I have owned that they have come out with significant upgrades that has added features to the camera that the camera did not originally have when I bought the camera. I had a camera that was, "oh, this is kinda nice." I was gonna sell it, and all of a sudden they came out with a firmware adjustment that gave me time lapse capability in the camera that it did not have when I bought it. I'm like, "okay, well, I'm gonna keep the camera now, "'cause it does more stuff." Some of the better manufacturers really update their firmware and they listen to customer complaints and, "oh, we've got a little problem here, let's fix this," and they bring out new firmware. All the manufacturers have been bringing out new firmware. Some are a little bit more aggressive about it than others, and this is something that is totally free. All you have to do is go to their website, look up your camera, see what version is available, see what version is in your camera, and then follow their instructions on how to get it on your camera. Basically, you download the software, you put it on to a memory card, and then you put it in your camera in most cases. In some cases, you hook your camera up to your computer using the USB cable. Pretty much all the cameras out and available now have custom functions. There are dozens, if not a hundred, different functions that you can go in and customize. You can choose whether you work in third stop shutter speeds or half stop shutter speeds. You can customize, does the meter stay on for four seconds or eight seconds? And dozens and dozens of other things, so you can really customize the camera to your personal needs, likes, and dislikes. This is just a great way of really getting to know and bond with your camera. Really makes it very personalized. I love customizing a camera so that I know it's just the right tool for me. I have things exactly the way that I want them and this is a way that you can get in and do it, but there are so many we don't, this is not the time or place to talk about them because there are just so many in there.

Class Materials

Free Download

Fundamentals of Photography Outline

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Learning Project Videos
Learning Projects PDF
Slides for The Camera Lessons 1-13
Slides for The Sensor Lessons 14-18
Slides for The Lens Lessons 19-31
Slides for The Exposure Lessons 32-42
Slides for Focus Lessons 43-62
Slides for The Gadget Bag Lessons 63-72
Slides for Light Lesson 73-84
Slides for the Art of Edit Lessons 85-93
Slides for Composition Lesson 94-105
Slides for Photographic Vision Lessons 106-113

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!

Vlad Chiriacescu

Wow! John is THE best teacher I have ever had the pleasure of learning from, and this is the most comprehensive, eloquent and fun course I have ever taken (online or off). If you're even / / interested in photography, take this course as soon as possible! You might find out that taking great photos requires much more work than you're willing to invest, or you might get so excited learning from John that you'll start taking your camera with you EVERYWHERE. At the very least, you'll learn the fundamental inner workings and techniques that WILL help you get a better photo. Worried about the cost? Well, I've taken courses that are twice as expensive that offer less than maybe a tenth of the value. You'll be much better off investing in this course than a new camera or a new lens. I cannot reccomend John and this course enough!

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