Fundamentals of Photography

Lesson 94/107 - Rule of Odds


Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Rule of Odds

Alright, here's a new one for my classes that I haven't talked about before, it's one that has been talked about because when I do talk about composition I do my research and I go out and see what other people say about composition, and this is one that I don't agree with, but I will tell you about it anyway. It's just good to be aware of, I think there are some things to talk about and think about when it comes down to the Rule of Odds, and this states that images are just better when you have an odd number of subjects in there. Let's explore how this may or may not work. If you have a solitary subject, I think that can make for a really strong photograph because it's very clear what your subject is, what's going on, and you get a good, nice close-up view of that subject. So for people, for animals, this works out really well. The next step is if you can't have one then you have three. Little secret note here, three is my favorite number, I love three, three is a great number. It's a ...

nice, small grouping that you can easily understand. It's not too big of group, you're not wondering how many, you just immediately pick it up and it's a small little group that we can all identify with, so I think images with three subjects are very strong, and so as far as the Rule of Odds goes, yes, I completely agree that three subjects in a frame can be very interesting and there's a lot of fun that you can have with three subjects in a frame, cuz there's a lot of ways that you can line them up and play with them. We saw, I think this one in one of the quizzes before, and so three subjects, ya, that's a nice playful number that can do a lot of things with it. Maybe my favorite shot with three subjects in it right there, alright, three's just a great way, there's a lot of things that you can do with it. I'm all for three, I love three, that's good, I really do. What about this? I took this early in the morning, and I like this shot, and I think a lot of people I've showed it to have really liked that shot, it's kinda a cute shot, and perfect as a test example here, a scientific test example. Now I did not have to Photoshop this. One of the cubs got up and left. So tell me, is this a better photograph than the one with four in it? If the Rule of Odds was true, three is better than four, then it should be better, but that big empty spot just seems to me a whole lot better when it's filled with four there, and so I don't believe any particular number is better than another number, but there are things that are different about versus two. When you have two you'll have a relationship potentially between the two. People will be lookin at one, lookin at the other. Are these friendly, are they not friendly together? Mom and cub, there's a nice relationship that's goin on. Have you ever seen penguins hold hands before? (class laughs) Alright, so there's a nice thing about two. Would this be better with a third one? I'm sorry, I think three would be a crowd in this couple here. (class laughs) I think two works perfectly good. I think two is a great number to have in a shot, so there's lots of examples where having two works really well in a shot, so that's why I don't believe in the Rule of Odds. I think one's good, I think two's good, I think three's good, I think four can be good. There's lots of different examples, but there is a different type of thing that's goin on when you have one to two. Are you bein fair to the two? Can you have four and have it be good? Absolutely, it's still a reasonable number. With four you can have symmetry, so there's that you can work with, so that's a good element that you can add in to having four. It's still a small enough group that you can easily keep track of what's going on. Now what about five? You can have five as well. Five gets to be a little bit more, six gets to be a bit more. At a certain point you start losing count, but one, two, three, four, five, and then it starts just becoming a larger group depending on how long you're studying that particular subject there, and then it just starts becoming a pattern unto itself, so each number has its' own little benefit, but I'm sorry, I'm not buying into the three is better than four, or three is better than two. They each have their own good thing, and I think you'll find that whatever works just works for other reasons, there's other things going on that's compelling that photograph to be better. You can shoot that tight shot and get that single animal. You can have two shots and have that nice relationship, or you can start having a very easily used small group or a larger group, or as large of group as you wanna have and it really doesn't matter in some cases. It's gonna be a good shot if it's a good shot for other reasons.

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 26Aperture 27Depth of Field (DOF) 28Quiz: Apertures 29Lens Quality 30Light Meter Basics 31Histogram 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 59Macro 60Flash & Lighting 61Tripods 62Cases 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 74Speedlights 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?


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!