Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Texture & Negative Space

Something else to look for is texture. And texture really is a pattern in many ways. It's something else though that we might have a little bit more awareness of what it feels like, is it hot, is it cold? We're gonna relate to that subject in a different way. Does anyone know what this is? Raise you hand, let's see if we can get? Okay, what do we have over here? Get your microphone. Elephant skin? That is correct. It's a close up of an elephant. An elephant got so close to me when I was on safari, my big lens didn't do much good, but I figured this is a good opportunity to get a nice close up of it. But I think it would make a nice backdrop on a desktop for a computer screen or something. It's nice, simple, clean background. And so, texture. The smoothness of those rocks is something that you can almost reach out and feel. It's aluminum siding. And that's sidelighting, all that detail in there, really makes you feel for what that might be like to walk on. Or feel with your own hand...

s. And when you can really identify with that subject on another level, just beyond the visual level, you start imagining what that would feel like, you're drawn a little bit more closely into understanding what that is like. I love these old walkways in some various small European countries, 'cause they're just so slick and smooth, I would hate to be there on a rainy day 'cause you just know how smooth they are. And you can tell at how slippery this is and how hard it must be to walk around on this and get photos because it's very, very slippery. One of my favorite textures is the fur on the baby King penguins, which are really the soft brown bears, they call them bears with beaks and flippers and when it gets wet the texture completely changes and so then you know it's just kind of that wet coat, wet cat feeling there. (audience laughing) Another concept to think about and this is the reverse of filling the frame. This is having some negative space around your subject to give it context in size and location and this is so for those times where you don't need to fill the frame with every bit of detail and maybe you need space for one reason or another, maybe you're gonna use it for a poster and you need to put text in there, or maybe you just want to show size and scale as I say of what else is around that subject. What's filling that space. And so it's okay to have a bunch of blue sky, from time to time in your photographs. I was up in northern Canada and we were canoeing down this river and there was just nothing, but I really felt like this was a good picture of nothingness. This is what it felt like just nothing around, everything was just very, very far away. And so showing your subject within their environment. This one of my favorite photos of cars in Cuba and it's unusual because generally cars don't have smooth clean paint jobs and I wanted to show as much of the smooth clean paint job that this really is all that very, very smooth. You know, giving the idea of that dark cloud just hanging above there a little bit. Giving space a little bit of direction for that chair, that curve of that chair, leaning forward. What it's like to be in the Mali desert, the Sahara desert here and there's just a lot of big open sky above you, big open expanse. And having that negative space there, helps you give a feel for that area. And this might be my favorite slide of the whole class, so we have a little bit of scale here but we don't have to get in close, we just like to have this person sometimes, little bit to show us where we are in this giant expanse of this beautiful place.

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!