Elements of Design


Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Elements of Design

Alright, folks. Let's dive into the next little section here. And this is called Elements of Design. And this is something that is taught in a lot of art and photography classes. And these are just elements that we tend to look at and it's the way we view images in many ways. First element that we can use is line. We love lines, because it's essentially a handrail for the eyes. Our eyes will tend to look at a line because it's got a strong contrast and it will move through the photo on that line. And so any sort of photograph that has good lines, well that's a good element. Doesn't mean that it will be a good photograph, but at least it's at least a good element to start with. And you'll see that this is a very common theme in photography, is having a line. Your eyes will follow it from one end to the other. And so, definitely something to look for. Now the lines can be broken up into many different subcategories. Alright, so first up is the diagonal line. The diagonal line is said to ...

be a little bit more dynamic. With humans, we expect things to be either horizontal or vertical. And so, having some angled lines in the photograph can make it a little bit more interesting. And so, anytime you see a lot of strong diagonal lines, that's going to be a good potential element to have or to make a photograph around. And so in some ways, these are kind of good subject choices that might make good photographs. And so these strong diagonal lines are just good elements in any sort of photograph. And so these are found all over the place. No doubt. Another type of good line to have is a curved line. And that is a more soothing line than the straight line. And so, using a curved line, especially a spiral line is going to be a very interesting line for the eyes to look at. This is very comforting. This is like a type of place that is a very inviting place, that nice curved line in there. And it's not to say it's better or worst than a straight line, but having that curve does give it a certain feel. Even that little small S curve of the ostrich neck. Or those sculptures that we've seen a number of times before. Trees will often have very good lines as well. Another concept in lines is the leading line. And that is just that your eyes follow lines and have that bring your eyes to the subject that you want it to be. And so your eyes tend to just kind of flow, go with the flow of the lines, following them into the subject. And so in this case, those black curved lines are kind of significant lines leading us down the street. Or taking us to the trees and the rocks in the distance. And so leading lines taking us to the point that we want. Now, when you take a line and you create something a little bit more complex with it, it'll be a shape. And so, we love shapes. Shapes simplify the subjects for us. We can identify shapes from great distances. We're shooting straight down into a river, and I can see a face in this rock. Just a subtle little face and that's a nice little shape to have in there. And so shooting those silhouettes at twilight time, a good time for adding some shapes into your photograph. Finding some details that have interesting shapes to them. Using shallow depth to field to really make that shape very very clear. And a lot of these are very simple images, but I think they're good at making a quick statement. And so then using shape and shadow. Shadows are of course a very strong element that we've used. We've talked about shadow framing can be very nice. Bout having the shadows as a significant portion of the frame, big important element in many cases. And so we've talked about that side lighting for using strong contrast for where you're working with those shadows. And so those shadows really give us a lot of feel for the texture of a particular environment. They reveal a little extra information that we might not have seen other wise. And so playing around with the shadows and light areas is definitely a good arena for playing around. And for anyone who is interested in getting into black and white photography, shadows get to be very very important. And in this case, a lot of times we don't necessarily need to see a lot of information in the shadows. It's okay if they're very very dark and they're ... They help kind of set the tonal range for the entire photograph. Maybe one of my favorite photographs for using shadows in there. There's a lot of different shadows of different things going on in there. And it's definitely a much better photo with those little extra shadows in there. I talked about this a little bit in the human scale section, but the human shape is something that can be identified very very easily. And even though the people are not very big in this frame, they do stand out very very quickly. And your eyes find them. And so when we see people in the shot, we can instantly identify them and we can start putting ourselves in their shoes. And so including a small person in your photograph in this manner is a very helpful element. It's kind of a ... As one of the photographers I was interviewing on one of our photos, he goes, "It's the cookie. It's a little extra bonus cookie that you get to in there." And so, having a small human person in the frame is perfectly fine, because your eye will be drawn to it naturally. We're curious about what all these other humans are doing out there. And with humans and non-humans, we're also interested in exactly what they're doing. What's going on between them and do we understand that? And so the gestures that you see that these animals or people are making, can we infer what's going on? Tension between these two. You know, there's an alertness that's going on. You can tell that this is more than a casual walk. This is a walk with purpose. A caring gesture. From Bhutan, one of the dances in preparation for their Paro festival. They do a lot of dancing. And so when we see a human body part like this in a position we can kind of identify what that feels like for ourselves and we are drawn with a closer connection with that subject when we can identify more about what they're doing. And so each of those body positions kind of show us a little bit more about what's going on. And sometimes we'll see gestures with items that don't really move in any real sense. For me, this tree really shows a gesture. For me, it kind of reminds me, if anyone knows the Pixar logo? With the lamp that kind of moves around. It reminded me of that. Sometimes they can be funny gestures. Alright, this is the biggest "Gimme" in photography. Alright? So if you just want a good photograph, this is the easiest one to take a good photograph that's interesting. I always love as I scroll around on the internet, "Best Photos of the Year." Alright, let me see the collection of 20, 30 photos. And almost a third of them, maybe half of them fall into the pattern category. Our brains love a pattern. It's just interesting when one subject is replicated over and over and over again. And in almost every circumstance, a pattern will make an interesting shot. You can have a pattern of garbage, and if it's the right type of garbage, the right color and the right pattern to it, it's gonna look good. And so, finding a pattern and then filling the frame. And so that's one of the key things, it's not revealing the magician's trick going outside the frame, you know where the pattern is, cause we like this pattern to go continuously throughout the frame. And so, there's so many pattern shots, I really have to kind of cut it down in this class to figure out, you know, which ones do I want to show you, cause it is so easy. As soon as you see something replicated, and our society is just filled with patterns. Cause it's a very efficient system of building and nature and everything else. We see these all over the place. That's why I love these. They're very very simple. Slightly mysterious shots, but our brains enjoy looking at these in many ways. So if you have a pattern, you can break the pattern. And that can be a lot of fun. And so if you have a pattern of something, and then a couple of things, or something that just sets apart from that whole pattern. It's going to drawn a little bit more attention. It's back to the old Sesame Street, which one of these things is different than the other? That's what draws our attention, it's that one thing that's off. We may have a whole bunch of leaves, but we've got this one rock that's kind of sticking out. That's going to draw your attention. We like something that stands out from the rest. Go in that opposite direction. The one thing that's different. It does seem like what our society focuses on. It's not the one that better, necessarily, it's the one that different that gets all the attention. And so when you see that one flower that's a little bit different, that's the one that's going to make it interesting.

Class Description

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) - 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 your 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.


1Class Introduction
2Photographic Characteristics
3Camera Types
4Viewing System
5Lens System
6Shutter System
7Shutter Speed Basics
8Shutter Speed Effects
9Camera & Lens Stabilization
10Quiz: Shutter Speeds
11Camera Settings Overview
12Drive Mode & Buffer
13Camera Settings - Details
14Sensor Size: Basics
15Sensor Sizes: Compared
16The Sensor - Pixels
17Sensor Size - ISO
18Focal Length
19Angle of View
20Practicing Angle of View
21Quiz: Focal Length
22Fisheye Lens
23Tilt & Shift Lens
24Subject Zone
25Lens Speed
27Depth of Field (DOF)
28Quiz: Apertures
29Lens Quality
30Light Meter Basics
32Quiz: Histogram
33Dynamic Range
34Exposure Modes
35Sunny 16 Rule
36Exposure Bracketing
37Exposure Values
38Quiz: Exposure
39Focusing Basics
40Auto Focus (AF)
41Focus Points
42Focus Tracking
43Focusing Q&A
44Manual Focus
45Digital Focus Assistance
46Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)
47Quiz: Depth of Field
48DOF Preview & Focusing Screens
49Lens Sharpness
50Camera Movement
51Advanced Techniques
52Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance
53Auto Focus Calibration
54Focus Stacking
55Quiz: Focus Problems
56Camera Accessories
57Lens Accessories
58Lens Adaptors & Cleaning
60Flash & Lighting
63Being a Photographer
64Natural Light: Direct Sunlight
65Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight
66Natural Light: Mixed
67Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light
68Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light
69Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light
70Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light
71Quiz: Lighting
72Light Management
73Flash Fundamentals
75Built-In & Add-On Flash
76Off-Camera Flash
77Off-Camera Flash For Portraits
78Advanced Flash Techniques
79Editing Assessments & Goals
80Editing Set-Up
81Importing Images
82Organizing Your Images
83Culling Images
84Categories of Development
85Adjusting Exposure
86Remove Distractions
87Cropping Your Images
88Composition Basics
89Point of View
90Angle of View
91Subject Placement
92Framing Your Shot
93Foreground & Background & Scale
94Rule of Odds
95Bad Composition
96Multi-Shot Techniques
97Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction
98Human Vision vs The Camera
99Visual Perception
100Quiz: Visual Balance
101Visual Drama
102Elements of Design
103Texture & Negative Space
104Black & White & Color
105The Photographic Process
106Working the Shot
107What Makes a Great Photograph?