Fundamentals of Photography


Fundamentals of Photography


Lesson Info

Visual Perception

Alright, let's keep moving along into visual perception. How do you see the world, what's important? So, if we're gonna have a photo, sometimes it's a visual story, sometimes it's just simply a statement. And, when people look at that, what they're trying to do is they're trying to understand what your story is. They're trying to figure it out, they're trying to identify what you're trying to say and sometimes you don't have very long to get your message across. Have you ever seen people scroll through photos? They're just... They're checkin' 'em all out as they're going through, and I wanna show you how quick people are at reading a photograph. And so, we're gonna have a bit of a challenge here, and this is not a group A B challenge and I am gonna be asking some questions so get ready with microphones. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna do a little test, a visual comprehension test. So, what's gonna happen is I am gonna show you a photo for one second and you're gonna tell me what...

was in the photo. Alright? But then I'm gonna show you some other photos, so don't yell out things quite yet. So, you guys ready for your one second? Alright, looking at the screen, here we go. Remember everything you can. Okay, that was it. Just remember that for the moment. It's gonna be like going to the police station, what did the suspect look like? Alright, we'll go through these details in a second because now we're gonna do it, another one, for a half second. So, take a look, remember every bit of detail you can about this photograph. Alright. Now we're gonna do it one final time and this time I'm gonna show you a photograph for a tenth of a second. Alright, you gotta be really quick on this one. Alright, I want to know as many details as we can figure out about this. Okay. So, let's hear... What can someone tell me about that first photo? Give me some details, I wanna know as many details as we can. Let's get the mic to somebody who has something to say and then we'll... Yes. There's kayaks by the water and there's a city skyscrape that you can see. City in the background, great. Who else has something to add to that? Go ahead. It was Seattle. What's that? It was Seattle. It was Seattle, okay. Somebody else? The kayaks were lime green. Lime green in color, good. Anything else? Was there any boats in the water? Yes or no, was there anything in the sky? You're not sure, okay. So, we did a pretty good job. Let's go see, I kinda gave that one away a little bit. And so, that is right. There is a barge out there, but it's kinda blended into the city. That's kinda hard to see there, but you got that right. What about the half second photo? Remember back to the half second photo. Who can offer us a first bit of information from that? Okay, let's get those microphones ready to go. I think several pictures in the wall and I think was a dark blue wall. Okay, dark blue wall and paintings on the wall. There were chairs on both sides and people sitting on both sides. Do you remember how many people? Two or three, I was gonna say, on each side, but I'm not sure. Okay. Anybody else have something to add? It looked, to me, like Amsterdam. Amsterdam, okay. Anybody else wanna add anything? Blue chairs. Blue chairs. Okay, let's go ahead and take a look at the photograph. And so, we do have three people there. Blue wall, paintings on the wall. And so, that's a lot of information you picked up (snaps) in a half second. Alright, now the tenth of a second. That's like no time at all. Can any remember anything from the tenth of a second? Okay, so let's get a microphone down here. There was a tree in the center, there was an elephant to the side and a tan colored Range Rover to the other side, I think. Okay. Alright, anybody else have something else to add to that? More detail? Just that everything... The grass was yellowish. Okay, yellowish grass. Yes? I think maybe there was two vehicles. Two vehicles. Like one closer to the front of the frame. Okay. Anything else? Did you see a guy in a mask and a gun off to the side? (laughter) Alright, so our tenth of a second photo. You actually have three vehicles there, but we did have a tree in the middle, we had yellowish grass, we did have an elephant. We had Range Rovers, actually one, two, three, four of them there. But the thing that amazes me is how much people can remember from just a blink of an eye, looking at a subject. And so, when you're looking at... When you're making your photographs, realize that some people are just (snaps) that quick on it and then they're on to the next thing. And one of the goals for a lot of photographers, including myself, is I would prefer you to look at my photograph for a while. And so, I kinda want you to look at it in some ways. And so, in some cases it's a more complex story that requires more studying, sometimes it's a simpler statement. Some photographs are very very simple and that's perfectly fine 'cause there's different purposes to different photographs. So, if a photograph is complicated, cluttered, or confusing, that's probably something that's gonna make it fail in what you're trying to do. So, a good goal to start with is to try to simplify, get it down to its bare bones of what it needs to be and you'll have success in that photograph. Clear photographs generally do very well. But, there is the possibility of over-sanitizing a photograph. And so, you have everything perfectly clean and there's this one style and it gets to be very simple and basic, which can be fine, but sometimes you wanna add a little bit more to it. And so, if you can add something else that's fascinating, some more detailed information, something that's a little bit surprising in there, you'll have even more success. And so, there's a little bit of clean it all up and then just add a little bit to it. And so, there's a lot of cases where there's be just kind of like a little bonus in the photograph, and you know what, if you didn't have the bonus, it'd still be a nice photograph. It's like, you've probably seen a nice landscape photograph with a person standing on a lil' hilltop right there. You know what, if you took the person out, it'd probably make a still pretty nice photo, but just adding that one extra person in there even makes it a little bit better. And so, I was thinking about what do we like to look at? Just as humans, what draws our attention to either looking at a scene to photograph it or what we look at in a photograph. But, just what causes us to go, look at that. Alright? And so, the first thing is something we've already talked about. It's the way that human eyes work, the movement. Even though there's not much moving in this scene, it does attract your attention. Any slight movement, we pick up on that. The ways our eyes and brains work, we pick up on movement very very quickly and easily and we look at a still photograph in a different way. If something is big in the frame, and this rock in the foreground is relatively big in the frame and it's gonna attract your attention as opposed to if it was someplace else further away where it's much smaller in size. Anything that's unique. There's a lot of trees in this photograph, but there's one that's kind of different than the others and that's gonna attract your attention. We're attracted to things that stand out from everything else. Now, closely related to unique is unusual. That's something that we don't expect to see. And so, if something like, wait a minute, what is that? The goat tree in Morocco, that's a very unusual thing. A gigantic lamp of some sort, that's unusual. That's gonna attract our eyes. I've mentioned this before in the class, but things that are brighter will attract more attention. So, your eye is more likely to go up to the top of the hill than to spend a lot of time perusing the bottom of this hill because it's much brighter. Whatever's brightest immediately draws a certain amount of attention. Shapes, we love shapes. And so, those outlines that contrast between dark and light, that's gonna attract our attention. We're definitely attracted to colors. Strong vibrant colors are gonna be interesting for us to look at and so, they affect our images greatly. It's possible that this might be the best example photo in the entire class in my mind as far as your eye is drawn to sharpness. It's hard to look down here in the bottom right of this frame, your eye just wants to go where it's sharper and it's not comfortable looking at a blurry area. It's like we have a problem with our vision and so, we tend to go to whatever is sharpest. We like contrast where there's lights and darks. That's kind of interesting. Our eyes kind of enjoy that because then we can see detail and sharpness in those areas of contrast. Don't read the sign in here. Kinda hard not to read the sign. I mean, once you learn how to read it's not hard not to read things. You know, driving down the street there's a billboard. You know, you really have to concentrate to not just glance up to see what that billboard says. And so, if there is text in your photograph, people's eyes are gonna be drawn to it. And if it's not something that you want a part of the photograph, you better figure out a way to crop it or not include it or do something to lessen its impact because people are gonna read any sort of words that are in your photograph. People do interesting things and it's hard not to look at people. I'm curious about what they're doing. And so, any time there's a person in your photograph if they're not the main thing, people are gonna still look at what's this person doing, what's that person doing? We also like animals, and so if an animal's in a photograph, that's gonna attract our attention. We're interested in what animals do. And whether it's people or animals, we're really interested in faces. We like to see faces because we want to know what they're doing, what they're thinking, and by looking at their face and looking at what their eyes are looking at and the expressions, you can read a lot about somebody if you can see their face. And when you look at their face most people are lookin' at those eyes. They wanna see what those eyes are looking at. And when you can see those eyes, you can see a lot about what's going on. And so, that's why you want to really make sure that those are nice and sharp. And so, when we talked about focusing on the eyes that's a really important thing when you're doing portrait photography.

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?