Fundamentals of Photography


Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Quiz: Histogram

Alright, so I know we're starting with Team A on this one, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to show you a photograph and I'm going to give you three histograms to choose from and you choose the histogram that you think is the appropriate histogram for what we're seeing in the exposure of this particular image here. So we have one true histogram and two lairs. What is the true histogram for this subject? And so what you're trying to do is you're trying to judge, what is the true brightness of this image as a whole? And so for Team A. B. They're going with B, which to me they're saying that this is a little bit darker than average. It's not lighter than average and it's not super dark. The correct answer is B. So they do get a point. Now, just in case you thought it was one of the other letters. If it was A, this is what the photo would look like. And if it was C, this is what the photo would look like. Alright? But it was B. Alright. So, let's not get confused, lots of As and B...

s. Team B (audience laughs) in this case. And here is your photograph. And your three histograms. It's getting trickier folks (laughs). And you are studying at home, I'm sure. You guys are judging it too. Write it down, prove it to yourself that you're doing it right. [Woman In Audience] Final answer is... Okay. We are also going to go with B. Going to go with B. Actually it is C. This is a very dark photograph here, these roofs are very dark. If it was B, this is what the photograph would look like. And this may not be a bad photograph but we're now starting to blow out the lights up here on the castle and if we go up to A, it clearly becomes too bright. In this case it's a dark photograph and that histogram is fine for what this photo is. Okay. Back to Team A. What's in the photograph? [Woman In Audience 2] A. They didn't even really think about it for very long. Maybe they saw the trend here in the class quizzes or something. (audience laughs) That is the correct answer. If it was B, it's going to be more middle tone, gray. I mean this is still brighter than average and here's real middle tone with C. And so it was an A. And so there are photographs that are bright, there are photographs that are dark and that's perfectly fine. I have three photographs and I have three histograms. I want you to see if you can come up with the letter code A,B,C, C,B,A, B,C,A, C,A,B, what is the correct code for each of these different images here? Just take a look, pick out an image that you think you could work with and try to find the right histogram for it. Look at the highlights, the shadows, how much there is there? So there is some definite discussions going on. So just in conversation, what photo do you think is the easiest to figure out? 3. 3. And so, which one is that? B. B. So that's pretty easy. There's a big spike over on the right hand side. You guys are good at reverse engineering. Now these next two are pretty close. They're kind of similar, there's some areas of highlights, some areas of shadows and looking at these as far as what is significantly different between, I'm going to go ahead and give you the answers here. It's C and A and in this second image there is some areas that are noticeably darker compared to where the brightness is and so there's a bit more of a spike there. The landscape image on the left, there's a lot more middle ground, which means there's a little large hump in there. And so I encourage you to challenge yourself looking at your photos, guessing what their histograms are going to look like and when you compare the two of them you're really, I hate to say this, but you should never have a bad exposure once you've checked the histogram and made a small adjustment. Deleting photos or throwing away slides, back in the old days for me, if you were a half stop off on the exposure was quite common because if you didn't nail the exposure, forget about it. Now-a-days with the good meter, the multi-segmented metering systems being able to view the image on the back of the camera, being able to see the histogram of the image and then with mirror-less cameras being able to see the exposure beforehand. If you're editing your images and you're throwing images away because you got the bad exposure, you need to re-watch this section of the class (laughs). Because that just shouldn't be happening anymore. I've found that very few people are getting rid of images due to exposure. John, before we move on to the next bit, we do have some questions on histograms. Okay. If that's alright with you. Sure. First of all, shout out to Kevin Smith who says John's previous classes got me using the histogram and it has improved my photography. So that's great to hear. That's good to hear. This is from Lee Gardner, could you again explain what the different colors mean? So the different colors are the different color channels that you are seeing. Now, the histograms that I'm using in here are basically screen shots of Adobe Lightroom. Cause that's how I use and adjust my photographs and this is showing us the red, green, and blue the cyan, magenta and the yellow channels as well. So we're seeing more colors here than, I would see in my camera or you will likely see in your camera at home. And so it's showing us the color channels that we see. What happens is if you have a big blue sky you're going to see a big blue hump over on the right hand side, where it's very bright in that one particular color. And I'm just trying to... You're trying to reverse engineer what you see in a photograph and in this third photograph, you see this little blue hump right here? I've really even looked at this but just trying to think, Okay do I have some color here, what I think is going on here is that this was photographed on a sunny day. See this shadow? In that shadow area, it's being illuminated by the blue sky and so it's a little bit tweaking more towards blue than towards yellow and that's indicated right there. Awesome, thank you. And this is from D from Philly. What does it mean on the top of the histogram when it goes off the charts? Right. So sometimes in histograms and we actually see it here in B. Where it's going through the roof and that is a relative number and they don't bother giving us numbers as far as how many pixels are of a particular brightness and so you do not need to worry about going through the roof cause you can potentially be going through the roof right at the middle and that would happen say if you photographed a gray card. All the colors are basically exactly the same and it's just shooting through the middle and that's just letting you know where it's at. If it does go through the roof and it's way over to the sides, you probably want to pay attention to that, see what's going on. Like this histogram would have me looking at that photo pretty quick. Oh okay, it's fine. You know. Once you see the photo you can see it and so it just means it's a relative number of pixels of one compared to another. Question in class? Oh great, yeah. So my camera has a histogram that you can actually put up while you're shooting, and so I was just wondering your though. Is there any reason why you wouldn't want to use the histogram while you're shooting, except maybe you're missing a part of the frame? You're thoughts on that, cause the mirror-less cameras they can do that. You're just rubbing that in my face I just didn't know it was a process, I was just wondering if it was better to do one way or another. That's why I think it's fantastic. And that is the future of photography because the traditional light meter that I've showed you and that we're going to talk about. This one tiny little point is going to describe all the light that you're recording and it's either here or here, is ridiculous. A histogram gives us way more information because you think well everyone of these pixels is providing us with a little bit of information and combined, we really get a much better overall feeling rather than this one number plus one, minus one. And so in the future, I think, traditional light meter systems will be gone and we'll just look at a histogram because that tells us the range of brightness, where it's peaking and it makes a whole lot more sense. And so I would like to just turn off the traditional light meters and use a histogram. Which is available in many mirror-less cameras and you can have it right up on camera. I'd just wish they'd stop blocking the view of the stuff I'm trying to shoot. I think they need ares outside of that and so I'd love to see a camera, and nobody's done this, who knows why, down below the picture area, I can have information that is important like a little active histogram down there. I think that'd be fantastic to see.

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?