Skip to main content

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 50 of 51

BONUS - In Conversation with Art Wolfe


Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 50 of 51

BONUS - In Conversation with Art Wolfe


Lesson Info

BONUS - In Conversation with Art Wolfe

Chris Great. Give me hope. It's been, what, a couple months since I saw you. Like living in London. I don't like the new digs. Beautiful way just opened in January. Yeah, come on over here. I love this style of photography. This use of movement to mimic that idea, the motion of the animals. What technique behind it, simply panning with the motion of the animals. Long shutter speed. It's a technique that was inspired by the work of Ernest Toss, and eventually I compiled enough of these images. It became a book called Rhythms From the Wild and I love the Cell because it takes a literal subject and interpret said into something more lyrical, more painterly and more artistic, which is always what I'm after. It's a complete change of C. Yeah, thing is one Sean. China is really on the South Coast, south central coast of eastern China. It's a place that I first visited in 1986 and once I went there for the first time, I knew I'd return in return toe return again. It's a great location. It's o...

n the top of a mountain. It's noted for its vertical columns. Iraq and bonsai trees. And if you hit it just right, you got all the swirling miss from the lowlands. And in short, it reminds me of a watercolor painting. It's got that classic Asian aesthetic, and whenever I get a photo that reminds me of a painting, it connects my history because I'm a painting major. So, China, I mean, China is a great place not only for the landscape, but it right around the corner. I want to show you another Chinese image that's distinctly different. Do you find that the influence of different cultures has changed your photography? Yes, different cultures, different landscapes, different wildlife. I started traveling internationally in and I've never stopped, because when you think about it, every new place you go stimulates your imagination, opens up the subject matter. And so I've never run out of ideas in 40 straight years of shooting, and I think that's the oh, it's well, thank you, Im. It's absolutely what I teach and love to take people with me is to show them new environments to expose him to the term culture shock because I think it's a positive thing, and I think as well that I mean, a lot of people say to me that there are short of ideas. Where do you find ideas? How do you see photographs when you have your photograph? The same subject? Different, different ways. I think that's one of the things you've been doing it for 40 years. You know, the new ideas are still there. They're still coming out, and it's been great because not only am I traveling far a field, but over the years my styles have changed. So I got it. This great variety of subjects. I'm not really a wildlife photographer or a landscape ist or even a cultural photographer. I embrace it all, and I think that's the training in art. You know, the background in art and art education. Really, I said, Don't get stock in one genre or the other. Do you feel like you're kind of like a storyteller? I am. I love taking photographs that still the bigger story, a single capture that shows contacts. It's an intimate shot. I'm just ah, few inches away from these core Marantz. This will be a 16 millimeter wide angle shot with very small aperture opening. It's totally lit by the Ambien Post Sunset lied in the the lantern lights that they're lighting that they use in fishing. Yeah, well, I just love the traditional hats. They're wearing modern shoes and modern pants, but they virtually are wearing the hats and the ring because it is actually raining. You concede drops on the boat and so on. And I was constantly wiping off my filters, and I was using a neutral density filtered to darken the sky. I mean, there were a lot of things going on at once, not the least of which is these fishermen wanted really to get out and start fishing. And I kept on telling the interpreter just a couple more seconds. I'm just getting the shot. So there's a sense of urgency, which often breathes spontaneous life into an image. I think it really conveys in 11 image, the entire story, the history of this tradition, this lip from yeah, it's entirely naturally lit. I tend not to use Flash because it overwhelms the subtleties of light. I love the use lantern fire, like candlelight. You know, romantic light for my subjects. Because my subjects are traditional. I'm not generally shooting modern people in modern cities, although I have done that. But I'm drawn towards traditional culture, and there's a sense of urgency and importance to that because many of these cultures have changed in my 40 years. And I wanna have a visual record of what may not last very far into the future. You know, Chris, this photograph is a great metaphor of tigers because it's passed me is looking back in that backward glance could be a great metaphor for, you know, looking back into a better time. Better? Yeah, 30 year cubs that were still hanging around, and I think the mother's driven him out and they're on their own. But they're still out of alliances sticking together. So virtually one after another kind of moved through this open ground. And that's why I mean, this is like the 2nd 1 going through. I was in the right position. It's even soft light late in the day. All those elements come together when, when subject circumstance in light arrived, you know magic can happen. It's a poignant any rate. India is also a great place for cultures. Yeah, one of my favorite shots over here was shot in Roger stand you can see it's very colorful. Medallion break colors on the shape, shape, color. The two things really stand out. Yeah, I'm actually shooting directly above looking down, leaning over with a wide angle. How did you get to that angle? Get just leaning over like yeah, yeah. So with a wide angle, it kind of distorts a little bit, but they gave me the depth of field and, you know, the women totally were on par with doing this. You know, it's been taking photographs for almost 40 years now. And his passion, his creativity, his enthusiasm really rub off on you. I want to take some pictures now.

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


  1. Buttons, Dials and Switches: What This Course is All About

    In the first lesson, meet the instructor and see why Chris suggests focusing on just six camera controls that help adjust exposure, focus, color, and quality.

  2. Setting Up Your Camera

    Find what you really need to know about inside your camera's extensive menu. Find the general setting and playback options in your camera and learn what features to turn on and why.

  3. JPEG or RAW

    What's the difference between JPEG and RAW in digital photography? Learn the difference between these two file types and when to use each, based on when the type of images you share.

  4. Compression

    One of the major differences between JPEG and RAW is that RAW files are much larger. In this lesson, see how both JPEGs and RAW files are compressed and the pros and cons to each type.

  5. Menu Settings for JPEG Shooting

    If you opt to shoot JPEG, you can still control how the image is processed using picture settings and picture styles. Learn how to use different presets for better JEPG results straight out of the camera.

  6. Module 1 Summary

    Summarize everything from the first module to ensure a sold grasp on JPEG and RAW settings.

  7. Applying White Balance

    Light has color -- and white balance is what keeps the colors in your images in check. Learn how color temperature differs by the different times of day and sources of light, then control how your camera sees those colors with the white balance setting.

  8. Using White Balance Creatively

    White balance can be correct -- or creative. See how the white balance settings can be used to create a warmer or cooler image to play with the mood of the photograph.

  9. Auto White Balance

    You don't have to adjust the white balance for every photograph. Auto white balance will read the scene and choose the color for you -- determine when (and when not) to use this automated setting.

  10. Module 2 Summary

    Recap what you've learned about colors and white balance in this quick lesson.

  11. Controlling Exposure

    Lens aperture and shutter speed work together to create an image with proper exposure, or a photo that's not too light or too dark.

  12. F Numbers

    Aperture is measured in f-stops or f-numbers. Decipher the numbers and learn how to create a balanced exposure when adjusting the shutter speed or aperture.

  13. Lens, Aperture, and Shutter Speed

    Lens aperture will also create blur in the background and foreground. Learn how aperture can create a shallow depth of field using a wide aperture, or more sharp detail with a narrow aperture. Then, see how shutter speed can freeze action and how a slow shutter creates motion blur.

  14. Exposure Modes

    To get access to the aperture and shutter speed controls, you need to get off auto and into a semi-manual or manual mode. Decipher the different modes on your camera in this lesson -- and bust the myth that serious photographers "must" use manual mode.

  15. Too Little or Too Much Light

    What happens if the scene has too much light or too little light? In this lesson, Chris walks through the different options when the settings you want just don't work for the scene in front of you.

  16. Manual Exposure Mode

    Jump into full manual exposure mode. Decipher the camera's meter to help balance the settings.

  17. Aperture Priority Exposure Mode

    Using modes such as aperture priority is often both faster and simpler in manual mode. See why Chris uses aperture priority mode most often.

  18. Module 3 Summary

    Wrap up those two elements of exposure in this quick summary of the class' third segment.

  19. ISO in Practice

    To complete the exposure triangle, ISO needs to be added to the equation. Learn what ISO is and see how the camera setting is used in the field.

  20. ISO and Noise

    ISO has a trade-off -- the higher the ISO is, the more noise or grain the image will have. See how aperture affects image quality in this lesson.

  21. An Acceptable ISO

    Each camera handle high ISOs a bit differently -- so what are the best ISO settings to use? Determine how to find out what ISO is acceptable for the shot.

  22. Module 4 Summary

    Wrap up the final elements of the exposure triangle in this summary on ISO.

  23. Metering Modes

    Determining exposure isn't guesswork -- the meter helps determine what settings create a balanced exposure. Metering modes determine how the camera's meter works and come in handy for tricky lighting scenarios.

  24. The Light Meter

    White and black confuse the camera's built-in light meter. Compensate for the camera's confusion using a tool called exposure compensation to tweak the exposure.

  25. The Bucket Test

    Confused by metering and exposure compensation? In this lesson, Chris shares an easy, visual way to remember camera metering.

  26. How To Read Tonality

    Understanding tone will help you predict how the camera's meter will read any given scene to take well-exposed images, without the guesswork.

  27. Being Creative With Tone

    Tone doesn't need to be correct to make a great photo -- learn how to use tone and exposure creatively.

  28. Exposure Compensation

    To adjust the exposure without switching to full manual mode, exposure compensation will help capture the ideal exposure. Here, Chris shares the ins and outs of using exposure compensation.

  29. High Contrast Lighting

    Capturing an image in even lighting is easy -- but what about scenes with a large amount of light or high contrast lighting? In this lesson, learn why your camera can only capture a certain dynamic range and what to do to capture high contrast scenes.

  30. Histogram

    If each pixel was arranged on a chart based on the brightness and darkness of each pixel, you'd get the histogram. Here, Chris explains how to use the histogram to guide your exposure.

  31. Highlights Alert

    Turning on the highlight alert will make any overexposed areas in the scene blink. See how to use this tool for proper exposures in this lesson.

  32. Never Underexpose

    One of the great parts of digital photography is the ability to edit your photos later -- but how much can you edit a photo successfully? Chris explains why images that are too far underexposed can't be corrected in post-processing.

  33. Digital Exposure Mantra

    Determining the exposure is part an exercise in determining what's the most important element in the image. When you can't properly expose every area of the image, this piece of advice still helps you capture a good image.

  34. Module 5 Summary

    Recap the elements that factor into an image's exposure in this brief lesson.

  35. Focus Modes

    Missed focus and soft images are one of the biggest frustrations for beginning photographers. Avoid those out-of-focus shots by understanding different focus modes.

  36. Autofocus

    Understanding how a camera's autofocus works helps capture sharp shots. Understand the difference between phase detection and contrast detection.

  37. Point of Focus

    Where do you place the focal point in an image? Pick up focusing tactics for stronger images in this lesson.

  38. Depth of Field

    Depth of Field is photography jargon for how much of the image is in focus. Expanding on the discussion from the lesson on aperture, see depth of field in action.

  39. Hyper-Focal Distance Focusing

    Because depth of field is a range of distance and not a single tiny point, photographers can focus on something that's not the subject and still get the subject sharp. To get the most sharpness in an image, try this hyper-focal distance technique.

  40. Focus Tracking

    Focus tracking allows moving subjects to stay in focus. See how modern digital cameras use focus tracking in this lesson on autofocus area modes.

  41. Manual Focus

    Modern autofocus systems have come a long way -- yet there are some subjects that still work best using manual focus. See what subjects work best with this setting -- and how to manually focus the camera.

  42. Predictive Focus

    When capturing very fast action, predicting where the subject will be and focusing on that point allows you to get a sharply focused shot in tricky scenarios.

  43. Summary

    Ensure you have a good grasp of focus with this summary on focusing techniques.

  44. Buying Lenses

    One of the perks to mirrorless and DSLR systems is the endless options of optics. But how do you choose a lens? Learn what to consider when buying a lens in this lesson.

  45. Summary

    Summarize what you need to know about camera lenses in this lesson.

  46. Quality of Light

    Mastering photography is about more than just understanding your camera controls. Begin building an understanding of how light affects your images with hard and soft light.

  47. Direction of Light

    Where the light is coming from can play a role in the dimension, depth, and texture of an image. See how changing your position in relation to the light source can dramatically change an image.

  48. No Such Thing as Good Light

    Most photography tutorials will tell you to look for good light -- but Chris argues that there's no such thing as good light. Instead, photographers need to understand what to do with the light in any given scene.

  49. Final Word

    Now that you know how to work the camera and recognize good light, what's next? Practice, Chris says. Put the pieces together by trying out for yourself.

  50. BONUS - In Conversation with Art Wolfe

    Find inspiration from a conversation with Art Wolfe, a landscape, wildlife, and cultural photographer.

  51. BONUS - The Source of Creativity

    Where do photographers find creativity? In this bonus lesson, see how to encourage creativity in yourself.


mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!