Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info


All right, so, speed lights. There's a lot of different speed lights available. The entry lights are for the people who maybe don't have a built in flash and they just want a little kicker flash just to help illuminate things that are directly in front of you. They don't have any bounce capabilities, so it's kind of limited in what they can do. We have intermediate level flashes, which I think are often pretty good choices for people who want to get involved with this type of work. They're going to give you some options. A little tilt and swivel so you can bounce against ceilings and walls, sometimes they'll have little infrared AF assist beams that will let your camera focus under low light conditions, and many of these will allow you to work wirelessly if you have another flash of that style, or you have a camera with a built in flash that has a wireless system so that you can put your cameras off to the side without a lot of cords and cables running all over the place. If you use fl...

ash a lot, you're photographing large groups, or you need to shoot in rapid sequence, the top of the line flashes typically have faster recycling times because they're more powerful. They're going to have external plugins where you could have an external battery powering your flash if you're going to be shooting for a long period of time. They have extra little features, little bounce mini cards and reflectors and so forth all built into them. They'll have syncs so that you can work in studio environments, and with all sorts of lighting equipment, and little diffusers so that you can work with wide-angle or even fish-eye lenses, and these, too, will often have these wireless connections. Canon and Nikon started with these wireless systems, and it's grown and expanded to pretty much all the systems out there, so there are some good options. I have seen some really elaborate photographs of people who have been hired by the manufacturers and have been given tens of thousands of dollars of their expensive lighting gear to fire something all TTL, and I'm just thinking: "Wow, you could have done this "whole thing with a few hundred bucks and basic flashes "if you would have been willing to use manual." And they were clearly doing a set-up shot, so they would have had a chance to test it. I think spending a lot of money on these flashes isn't the best choice for most people. You could actually go buy some decent lighting equipment for the price of three or four of these flashes, because they do tend to be quite a bit of money. But, for an event photographer, somebody moving around a lot, these can be really, really handy. So, strobe units. There are some more manual units out there. This old style was called the potato masher, because it looks kind of like a potato masher handle out there, and they were known as nice, powerful flashes that had a good kick, and wedding photographers had those for a long time, and I still see them on, there must be a prop house in Hollywood, because in a lot of the movies they have news reporters, and these people that clearly aren't photographers, but they're posing as them, use this. But, they are very powerful, as far as a hand-held device. When we get into the studio, we have mono lights, which are lights and power units all built in, and this is kind of nice because this is just one unit, you plug it into the wall or a battery pack, and it's got everything you need in there. The more serious photographers will have flash heads, and then they'll be plugged into the power source, a power pack or a generator, and this is going to be able to control more and send more power to these flashes, and so these flashes can be really, really powerful, and one of the advantages of these is that they can fire very, very quickly compared to some of the other speed lights, as well as being more powerful, so you could shoot a model spinning in a dress at a very fast shutter speed, and having a lot of light on them, so the flash is happening at just a thousandth of a second for freezing motion. One of the things that these companies are going for is the fastest flash sink that they can get. There's a lot of other things that we're not going to get into, really, in this class, but there are ring lights so that you can actually shoot straight through the light so you have, really, a seamless, shadowless area if you were doing a closeup face portrait.

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!