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Fundamentals of Photography 2016

Lesson 1 of 123

Class Introduction


Fundamentals of Photography 2016

Lesson 1 of 123

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Welcome to CreativeLive. I am your host, Kenna Klosterman, for Fundamentals of Photography with John Greengo. John Greengo is a landscape and travel photographer. He leads international photography tours, and, of course, he is one of your favorite instructors right here on CreativeLive. So please help me welcome John Greengo. (applause) Thank you very much. Welcome, everybody, to the Fundamentals of Photography. My name is John Greengo. We've got a great class in store for all of you. In fact, I think this is gonna be a lot of fun for everyone involved. Now, the first question I would like to address right now is who this class is really directed for. So if you are new to photography, if this is something that you've been wanting to get into and you want to learn how to use your camera and how to take your own good photos, this is gonna be a great place to be, because we've got a great lesson plan, we've got everything that you need to know in order for you to move forward in your ow...

n photography. And so I think this is a great place for anyone new to photography. But I don't classify this as a beginner photography class. It's not the beginners, it's the fundamentals. And if I had to direct who this class is for, in my opinion, this class is for people who really have an appreciation for the craft of photography, and interest in the tools and the techniques and the thought process that goes into taking photos. No matter what your skill level is. And there's gonna be beginners, there's gonna be people who are full-blown professionals who are watching this. And I'd like to think that there's gonna be something for everyone in this class. Now, if you are new to photography, as I said, we got a really good lesson plan. We're gonna start at the very beginning and we're gonna go through everything you need to go through. I feel that my job up here in teaching this class is very much like telling the story of photography. Now, we're not doing a history of photography, we're talking about photography here and now today with modern equipment. And like any good story, I'm gonna introduce characters, shutter speed and aperture, and they're gonna have conflict, exposure and focus, and then we're gonna figure out how to resolve these issues and end up with a beautiful composition. And that's what we're gonna be doing in here. And so if you enjoy the craft of photography, I think you're really gonna like this class. I know I am a huge fan of photography. I love photography. I've been doing it since I've been 10 years old. I went to college, I got my degree in it, and it's been every full-time job I've had as an adult, is in the world of photography. And I am constantly studying photography, I'm looking at what people do, I'm looking at photos now everyday from people around the world on how they take their photographs. And even though I'm supposed to know all this stuff, I read their articles, I look at their photos trying to figure out, what can I learn from them? And this class for me is really the accumulation of everything that I have learned over 30-plus years in photography into the most important five days of information. And so that's what we have in this class. And so for anyone new to photography, we've got everything that you could want in here. Now, something that I hope you appreciate, I think you'll notice, is that the style in which I teach is what I would call highly visual. It is a known fact that humans are extremely visual and that we learn most of our information through our eyes, that's how we gather most of our information. And I have no proof for this, but I believe that photographers and people interested in photography have kind of a special, highly sensitive visual gene in their system. And so I learn better visually. When I was in school, I would have teachers standing up by a chalkboard and then just talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, and I'm like, "Would you draw something, please? "Show me something." And so I have taken every imaginable concept in photography and tried to illustrate it. And so I've got lots of photos, I have illustrations and animations that show how virtually everything works. And so if you're watching the screen, you're going to be learning in this class, and I think that makes things more quickly learned and more thoroughly learned, which means we can cover more stuff. Now, for those of you that have experience, and I'm gonna estimate that pretty much all of you have experience taking photos. I mean, how many of you have never taken a photo? Everyone's got some experience taking photos. My thoughts for you folks are that, first, it's pretty good to review the fundamentals from time to time, because you're gonna kind of stay up on your game, you're gonna stay sharp with what you're doing. I read basic photography columns, and articles, and videos all the time. I want to see somebody else's point of view. It's not that I'm gonna be a better teacher than anyone else, it's just that my point of view is gonna be a little different than the previous person you saw, and you're probably gonna pick up something new and slightly different with that. Now, for those of you who do have more experience, this is a class that has lots of more advanced sections kind of sprinkled throughout the class. I enjoy the highly technical stuff in photography, and so I have no problems throwing in a way to customize the auto ISO in your camera. We're talking about hyperfocal distance or talking about tilt-shift lenses, and these are not basic concepts, and so I will be throwing those in whenever and wherever necessary in this class. And finally, for the more advanced photographers in the group, one of the ways that I decided that I would try to improve my photography a long time ago was simply by studying every photograph that I looked at. And so this class has lots and lots of photos. I've added many, many new photos to the class this year, and every time you bring up a new photo and you start talking about it in a group, and we're gonna talk about photos, there's something new that's gonna come up, and there's something to be learned by it. It is a learning opportunity, and so there are gonna be lots of learning opportunities for people of all skill levels in this class. Now, the final group of people that I want to address are the folks that ask me the same question every year, and that is, "John, you taught this class last year. "How is this class different than last year?" And I wish that I could just roll in here with a completely new show for you and it's a whole new production on what photography is all about. But let's be honest, the fundamentals of photography have not radically changed in the last 12 months. A 500th of a second last year does the exact same thing that it does this year. However, I try to get a new take on things. I try to add and change as much as I can. I do have a new section in this class called photographic vision, and this is all about developing the photographer's eye, the way that you look at the world and judge what you are shooting. And so I think that's gonna be a new section. It's not all new material, but it's refocused on that specific topic. The biggest new, whole new section I have in this class is one I'm really excited to share with you. It's all about shooting at sunrise and sunset. I was in Europe, I was in Rome, and I had a hotel, it was fairly near the coliseum, and I got up each morning to go shoot, and most of the things are closed down at 5:30 in the morning. And so I would end up going to the coliseum to shoot on subsequent mornings to shoot sunrises. And if anyone has seen the movie Groundhog Day, it was a bit of that experience, where I kept on doing the same thing every day, and I just simply had an epiphany about what was going on and how to break it down and what to look for. And now that I really kind of understand the exact components of what's going on at this most dramatic time of the day to be shooting photos, sunrise and sunset, I've broken it down into very easily compartmental things. For instance, did you know that at sunrise and sunset there are three potential peak moments to be shooting photos? Three different types of things that you're gonna be looking for, and they're gonna be in different directions, and there's different aspects that you're gonna be looking for. And so I'm gonna be talking about those in the lighting section. Now, there is all sorts of others areas where I've added new sections into the class. If I had to mention as to one trend of this class versus other class, and that is the rise of mirrorless cameras. And so it's at this point now, and this is gonna seem really dated at some point in the future when people watching this, but for right now, I see single-lens reflex cameras and mirrorless cameras on an even playing field. I think they're equal. Now, one camera is better at certain things, and the other camera is better at other things, but kind of in the overall where are we in cameras right now, it's a 50-50 world between mirrorless and single-lens reflex cameras. And so I have a lot more information about mirrorless than I have in the past, and it's something that's very much ingrained into the classes that we're gonna be going through. So I think it's gonna be a great class. I want to give you a little preview because this is a very long class. So let's just take a little walkthrough of what we are gonna be doing in the class. Section one is on the camera. We start right here at home. We're gonna be talking about single-lens reflex. We'll be talking about mirrorless cameras. This is where we talk about the key component to photography, and that is the shutter speed. And so we need to have a really good understanding of shutter speed, so we got lots of photos to look at and lots of things to talk about. We also have a lot of other controls in our camera. For instance, RAW and JPEG, and this is gonna be our opportunity to talk about some of these most core basic settings that you want to have right before moving forward. Section two is a bit of a continuation of section one. We're gonna be talking about the sensor, the different size sensors. We'll be talking about how the pixels work on the sensors and, ultimately, how we are gonna be setting our ISO and the implications of the different settings on the ISO. Section three, one of my very favorite sections, and yes, I absolutely do have favorite sections in this class. The lens is one of my favorite areas, talking about all the different lens choices, different apertures, the resulting depth of field, and then we'll have some fun talking about tilt-shift lenses, macro lenses and fish-eye lenses. Section four is on exposure. This is where we take the information we've learned in sections one, two and three, combine them in exposure, and this is where a lot of people have the aha moment. They see how everything matches and works together. And so we're gonna have a lot of fun looking at how different photos are created and how we choose one shutter speed over a different aperture, and how we make these little compromises to get the exact photo that we want. Section five is a really important section on focus. This is in some ways related back to the lens section. Getting sharp photos is absolutely necessary because we do not have the software these days to take out-of-focus pictures and make them sharp afterwards. This is something that we have to get right in the feel. And these new mirrorless cameras have given us a number of new and exciting tools to help us get the sharpest, best possible focus, and we'll be talking about all of those. Section six is kind of a fun, relaxing one. Literally, we can relax our technical brain for a moment and talk about all those sorts of gadgets that are available to help solve problems, and that's what, really, these are, is these are helping us solve various photographic problems, and so this is gonna be a good chance to kind of get all of those things talked about. Section seven, another extremely important one, is on light, understanding how light works, how to recognize it, how to work with it, and how to adjust it. And so we'll be talking about natural light, we'll be talking about using on-camera flash and taking that and working it off camera as well in some fairly simple setups. Section eight is the art of editing. So here in the digital world, we have to deal with working with computers and manipulating our images a little bit and taking control of all of our images after the fact that we have shot them, and this is a good chance to take a look at what we need to do here, because this is where we have a little bit of 20/20 hindsight. If you know that you need to do such and such with an image, that may affect how you're going to shoot it, and so this is important information to know before you go out the door in some cases. Section nine is dedicated to composition. We're gonna be looking at the different angles of view and how you frame your subject, and tools and techniques that you can do to take a subject that's kind of interesting and make it a bit more interesting simply by the way that you frame it up and shoot it. The new section in this fundamentals is photographic vision, and this is really dedicated to helping people learn how to see like a photographer, because you probably all know somebody who's pretty good at photography, and they've got a good eye, they know what makes a good photo. And this section is dedicated to really helping you hone that skillset in photography. And so there you go, that is our 10-part section. I love having nice 10 even sections, each one is distinct, each one has lots of different sections to them. All right, so let's talk about some class logistics here. I want to talk about, for a moment, what we're not going to be talking about in this class. And so I don't want to hear any questions on the following subjects. Number one, the business of photography. A lot of people really enjoy photography, it's just something they go out and do on the weekends, and every once in a while, they're like, "Well, maybe I can make a career out of this." And there is a whole business aspect to photography, and we're not even gonna touch it. This is the most we're gonna talk about it right now, by saying we're not talking about it. There's a lot of other fundie versions that we could get into. We could talk about video, 'cause video is fantastic. I shoot video. You'll see some videos that I've shot to help show how things in photography work. And I love video, I love watching movies, but this class has nothing to do with being a filmmaker. Now, if you are interested in video, this is a great foundation class for that because every good filmmaker has a good foundation in what makes a good image, and that's what we're gonna be talking about in this class. And so if you want to get into it, this is a good base, but it's not going into the whole video world at all. We're not gonna be getting into specific software. There's a number of pieces of software that I use, and I'm more than happy to tell you and give you links for those. We are gonna talk a little bit about Lightroom in the editing section, because it is, right now, by far, the most popular piece of software that photographers are using for looking and judging and working with their images. So we'll talk a little bit about that, but it's not a Lightroom class by any means. And we're not gonna really be going into specific genres of photography. If you want to be a wedding photographer, you need this class before you go learn the wedding business and how to shoot a specific wedding. It's not a sports photography, it's not a landscape photography. This is the base class that you want to have kind of under your belt before going on to all of those other types of photography. Now, for those of you watching at home, which is most of you, we do have a little live studio audience here as well, I know what a lot of you are doing, and that is, is you've taken the screen that I'm on and you've shrunk it down and I'm down in the lower right hand corner. For some of you, I'm down in the lower right hand corner, but I know that you've gone really small, and I watch a lot of videos and talks and classes online as well, and I'm kind of working and it's like, yeah, we'll put them down here, and I'm working away, and that's usually 'cause they're just up here talking. Now, so far this class, I have just been talking, and that's gonna change very, very quickly. And so this is a very visual class. And so if you really want to get the most of this, I would like to be full frame, full screen, nothing else going on so you can see at full screen. For this first part, that's fine, I'm fine being small in the corner, but we've got a lot of visuals, and I think you'll get more out of the class. Now, for the newcomers, once again, you're gonna watch the class the first time, and, from time to time, I'm gonna get into these more advanced sections. And I know like the first time I learned about mirror lockup in a camera, I went, "OK, I guess my camera can do that, that's nice. "I have no idea why I would use that." And then about a year later, I'd watch that section again, I'm like, "Oh, that's what the problem was "and now I know how to fix it." And so there is a benefit to going back and watching it a second time or third time. I used to do this with instruction manuals. I was the actual guy, the weird guy who actually read the instruction manual. But then I would read it after I had the camera for nine months, and I was like, "Oh, now I get it." And it's not that we don't understand what's going on, we just don't understand how it affects our personal photography. And so there is a benefit to reviewing the material. And so I think you'll appreciate that.

Class Description

Click here for John Greengo's new Fundamentals of Photography class for 2018

As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) than the mechanics of digital photography - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for a digital photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.

Bonus with Purchase:
Every month, John gives you an hour of expert guidance and immediate feedback with ten questions and ten critiques in this exciting new series we're calling One Hour Photo.  John will also sit down with one guest photographer to offer insights, advice, and industry knowledge.

  • January One Hour Photo - Student Questions & Colby Brown Interview with Photo Critique
  • February One Hour Photo - Student Questions & John Keatley Interview with Photo Critique
  • March One Hour Photo - Student Questions & Art Wolfe Interview with Photo Critique
  • April One Hour Photo - Student Questions & Rocco Ancora Interview with Photo Critique
  • May One Hour Photo - Student Questions & Mike Hagen Interview with Photo Critique
  • June One Hour Photo - Student Questions & Lisa Carney Interview with Photo Critique
  • July One Hour Photo - Student Questions & Ian Shive Interview with Photo Critique


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Welcome to Photography
  3. Camera Types Overview
  4. Viewing Systems
  5. Viewing Systems Q&A
  6. Lens Systems
  7. Shutter Systems
  8. Shutter Speeds
  9. Choosing a Shutter Speed
  10. Shutter Speeds for Handholding
  11. Shutter Speed Pop Quiz
  12. Camera Settings
  13. General Camera Q&A
  14. Sensor Sizes: The Basics
  15. Sensor Sizes: Compared
  16. Pixels
  17. ISO
  18. Sensor Q&A
  19. Focal Length: Overview
  20. Focal Length: Angle of View
  21. Wide Angle Lenses
  22. Telephoto Lenses
  23. Angle of View Q&A
  24. Fish Eye Lenses
  25. Tilt & Shift Lenses
  26. Subject Zone
  27. Lens Speed
  28. Aperture Basics
  29. Depth of Field
  30. Aperture Pop Quiz
  31. Lens Quality
  32. Photo Equipment Life Cycle
  33. Light Meter Basics
  34. Histogram
  35. Histogram Pop Quiz and Q&A
  36. Dynamic Range
  37. Exposure Modes
  38. Manual Exposure
  39. Sunny 16 Rule
  40. Exposure Bracketing
  41. Exposure Values
  42. Exposure Pop Quiz
  43. Focus Overview
  44. Focusing Systems
  45. Autofocus Controls
  46. Focus Points
  47. Autofocusing on Subjects
  48. Manual Focus
  49. Digital Focusing Assistance
  50. Focus Options: DSLR and Mirrorless
  51. Shutter Speeds for Sharpness and DoF
  52. Depth of Field Pop Quiz
  53. Depth of Field Camera Features
  54. Lens Sharpness
  55. Camera Movement
  56. Handheld and Tripod Focusing
  57. Advanced Techniques
  58. Hyperfocal Distance
  59. Hyperfocal Quiz and Focusing Formula
  60. Micro adjust and AF Fine Tune
  61. Focus Stacking and Post Sharpening
  62. Focus Problem Pop Quiz
  63. The Gadget Bag: Camera Accessories
  64. The Gadget Bag: Lens Accessories
  65. The Gadget Bag: Neutral Density Filter
  66. The Gadget Bag: Lens Hood and Teleconverters
  67. The Gadget Bag: Lens Adapters
  68. The Gadget Bag: Lens Cleaning Supplies
  69. The Gadget Bag: Macro Lenses and Accessories
  70. The Gadget Bag: Flash and Lighting
  71. The Gadget Bag: Tripods and Accessories
  72. The Gadget Bag: Custom Cases
  73. 10 Thoughts on Being a Photographer
  74. Direct Sunlight
  75. Indirect Sunlight
  76. Sunrise and Sunset
  77. Cloud Light
  78. Golden Hour
  79. Light Pop Quiz
  80. Light Management
  81. Artificial Light
  82. Speedlights
  83. Off-Camera Flash
  84. Advanced Flash Techniques
  85. Editing Overview
  86. Editing Set-up
  87. Importing Images
  88. Best Use of Files and Folders
  89. Culling
  90. Develop: Fixing in Lightroom
  91. Develop: Treating Your Images
  92. Develop: Optimizing in Lightroom
  93. Art of Editing Q&A
  94. Composition Overview
  95. Photographic Intrusions
  96. Mystery and Working the Scene
  97. Point of View
  98. Better Backgrounds
  99. Unique Perspective
  100. Angle of View
  101. Subject Placement
  102. Subject Placement Q&A
  103. Panorama
  104. Multishot Techniques
  105. Timelapse
  106. Human Vision vs The Camera
  107. Visual Perception
  108. Visual Balance Test
  109. Visual Drama
  110. Elements of Design
  111. The Photographic Process
  112. Working the Shot
  113. The Moment
  114. One Hour Photo - Colby Brown
  115. One Hour Photo - John Keatley
  116. One Hour Photo - Art Wolfe
  117. One Hour Photo - Rocco Ancora
  118. One Hour Photo - Mike Hagen
  119. One Hour Photo - Lisa Carney
  120. One Hour Photo - Ian Shive
  121. One Hour Photo - Sandra Coan
  122. One Hour Photo - Daniel Gregory
  123. One Hour Photo - Scott Robert Lim


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!