Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Flash & Lighting

So, next up, we're gonna get in to a few flash accessories here. So we're gonna talk more about lighting in an upcoming section, but a little word on some of all those additional flash units that you can add to your camera. So if you don't have a flash, we do have little low end, very simple flashes, which are kind of nice, just to add a little bit of fill light straight in front of the camera. They're not very powerful, so I don't really recommend them in most cases. I think the mid-range flash is pretty good for most people who want some versatility and a little bit more power. If you're photographing social events, weddings, things like that, where you need more power, you need to use wide angle lenses where you're spreading the light out more, or you're gonna be shooting a lot of shots where you're gonna be shooting in sequence. The power systems on this are a little bit faster in their recycling time, and they will also have some special effects modes in there, we'll talk a little...

bit about in the flash section, but for most people, I think the mid-range is where you're gonna be looking for a basic flash, but if you really get into it, the advanced ones are very nice and offer a lot of features. If you get any sort of flash, one of the most important things for getting better quality flash is getting the flash off the camera. If you want to do that in the simplest way, you want to get one of the TTL cords, and this is an offshoot cord that allows you to shoot fully automatic with the flash away from the camera, and it's just about as long as you can reach with your hand, or if you want to mount it on one of these brackets here. There's a number of different flash brackets. This is an older one I have, I don't think they sell this one anymore, but it's got a nice wood handle on it, feels good in the hand, and than what it enables me to do is rotate the camera, so the lens stays in the same position, and we'll talk more about that in the flash settings. The flash diffuser is a way for you to increase the light source. I got one of those over here, somewhere, right here, and this one allows me to point the flash up in here. It gets the flash a little bit further away from the camera. It also spreads it out in a slight manner, and so this is gonna get you a little bit softer shadows around your subject's face for instance, and so, I prefer to use this. It decreases the power of the flash, but if I'm relatively close, than power's not the major issue, it's getting a nice soft light, that's important. Very special tool here, this is for bird photographer's in most cases. It's where you want to throw the light in a very narrow beam far forward. I was out at one of our local parks here, Discovery Park, and there was a family of owls there, and this is where a flash helped illuminate these birds under low light in the forest. You're able to get a little (mumbles) light in their eyes, and see their feathers, and them just a little bid better, and you don't have the normal problem with flash with a shadow on the back wall, 'cause there is no wall right behind him, and so you don't get to see those shadows quite the same way, and so that can really help on subjects that are much further away from there. The flash bracket is something that I have found very handy because when you don't have this, when you shoot verticals, the flash gets thrown off to the side, where it looks less attractive. Having the flash top and center in consistent in your photographs will help out, and so these rotating flash brackets can be very, very handy to keep the lens in the right place, and I've shot a few weddings in my time, and I know, you all know about Uncle Bob, hopefully you know about Uncle Bob. Uncle Bob is the Uncle at the wedding, who happens to have a professional DSLR, and wants to take photos, and kind of wants to be the professional photographer there, but when you have one of these devices, Uncle Bob shrinks down and moves away, because there is no doubt when you step in to the situation that you are the photographer in that case, and I know it sounds a little corny, but it works. It works (mumbles). But it also gets you better quality shots, which is the real reason you're using it, and so, getting that flash in a high centered position so it's even for horizontals and verticals, and getting you better light. For those of you who do want to get in to Macro, getting light in close can be a real problem, and so they do make special macro lights that can actually mount on the front of your lens, and when we get in to light, we're gonna talk a lot about distance. How far away is the light from the subject its illuminating? And you'll want to get that light in really close for power reasons, 'cause you need that power in there. So this is how you get the flash as close as possible without getting it in the way of the camera, and so these are available for many of the different lenses that are out in the market.

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.


Class Introduction
Photographic Characteristics
Camera Types
Viewing System
Lens System
Shutter System
Shutter Speed Basics
Shutter Speed Effects
Camera & Lens Stabilization
Quiz: Shutter Speeds
Camera Settings Overview
Drive Mode & Buffer
Camera Settings - Details
Sensor Size: Basics
Sensor Sizes: Compared
The Sensor - Pixels
Sensor Size - ISO
Focal Length
Angle of View
Practicing Angle of View
Quiz: Focal Length
Fisheye Lens
Tilt & Shift Lens
Subject Zone
Lens Speed
Depth of Field (DOF)
Quiz: Apertures
Lens Quality
Light Meter Basics
Quiz: Histogram
Dynamic Range
Exposure Modes
Sunny 16 Rule
Exposure Bracketing
Exposure Values
Quiz: Exposure
Focusing Basics
Auto Focus (AF)
Focus Points
Focus Tracking
Focusing Q&A
Manual Focus
Digital Focus Assistance
Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)
Quiz: Depth of Field
DOF Preview & Focusing Screens
Lens Sharpness
Camera Movement
Advanced Techniques
Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance
Auto Focus Calibration
Focus Stacking
Quiz: Focus Problems
Camera Accessories
Lens Accessories
Lens Adaptors & Cleaning
Flash & Lighting
Being a Photographer
Natural Light: Direct Sunlight
Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight
Natural Light: Mixed
Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light
Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light
Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light
Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light
Quiz: Lighting
Light Management
Flash Fundamentals
Built-In & Add-On Flash
Off-Camera Flash
Off-Camera Flash For Portraits
Advanced Flash Techniques
Editing Assessments & Goals
Editing Set-Up
Importing Images
Organizing Your Images
Culling Images
Categories of Development
Adjusting Exposure
Remove Distractions
Cropping Your Images
Composition Basics
Point of View
Angle of View
Subject Placement
Framing Your Shot
Foreground & Background & Scale
Rule of Odds
Bad Composition
Multi-Shot Techniques
Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction
Human Vision vs The Camera
Visual Perception
Quiz: Visual Balance
Visual Drama
Elements of Design
Texture & Negative Space
Black & White & Color
The Photographic Process
Working the Shot
What Makes a Great Photograph?


  • 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!
  • 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 <maybe> / <slightly> / <a tiny little bit> 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!