The Photography Starter Kit for Beginners


Lesson Info


I'm gonna keep moving right on into the next section for flash photography, because it's kind of related to the light. You can add your own light to the situation if you don't have enough light, but this is one of the most complicated areas of photography and we're just gonna try to touch on a few of the most important parts of it here. A lot of cameras do have a built-in flash, and in the program, and in the manual modes you have to press that little button to pop the flash up. The convenience is that it's always there and available for your use which is really nice. Now, if you do wanna get into a little bit more serious photography there are add-on flashes that you can get that give you more power, which gives you faster recycling time. If you are at some sort of event where you are photographing lots of people very rapidly you'd wanna have one of these 'cause it can recycle much more quickly. The bounce capability allows you to tip it up and bounce it against walls and ceilings, so...

that the light source is much larger than that small little area where the light's coming out of right there. They do have a number of special effects features that will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. If you do a lot of indoor work with people then you might wanna look at a flash. Flash photography has a very limited range. Yes, it can reach the penguins in front of you, but not the mountains in the distance. Most built-in flashes are good for about 10 feet, and add-on flash is good for about 30 feet. It depends a little bit on a few of the settings on your camera, but in general it's for things straight in front of you. It really only works well with subjects that are all about the same distance. So if everybody is lined up they will be hit with an even amount of illumination. You can't have one person standing two feet in front of the camera, and somebody else 10 feet back, because they're gonna receive very different amounts of light. This is why you kind of have to line people up, so that the flash has even illumination in that category. Now, there is one control on your camera if you do a lot of people photography, and you wanna add a little bit of fill-flash to fill in the eyes and help see that person a little bit more clearly. Something you should know about and that is the TTL system in your camera, which is the automated system for firing the appropriate amount of flash. Your camera automatically will do this for you, but it doesn't know what you're shooting a photo of, and how much flash you want into it. In flash to me in photography, a good analogy would be like spice in my food. I like a little bit of spicy food. I don't want too much, but i want a little bit in there, and the same with flash. I want a little bit of flash, but I don't want that Department of Motor Vehicle look in all of my flash exposures. So what you can do is you can go into your flash exposure compensation. Usually there's a lightening bolt with a plus, minus, and you can power down the flash. This is just the power of the flash. It is not dealing with shutter speeds, apertures or ISO's. It's just powering down the flash by one stop of light, which I think is fantastic, or you could have it go down two stops of light if you need it and in some cases it needs to go down there. If you wanna go down you can go down further even to three stops of light. But in most cases I found that minus one, that region right there is a sweet spot when it comes to fill-in flash. So if you wanna add flash you don't wanna overpower your subject. You just wanna add a little bit of nice spice to your photograph. Try TTL minus one on your camera. This is a sticky mode. It stays there when you turn your camera off and when you change modes. I leave mine on TTL minus one pretty much all the time. Sometimes minus two-thirds, sometimes one and two-thirds. Depends on what exactly your shooting and what you particularly like in your photographs. So, take a look for that on your camera. One final tip with flash. The best tip I can give, if you can get that flash off the camera that's when things really start getting interesting. That's why in professional studios they don't have the flash on the camera. They have them mounted on light stands. Unfortunately, this opens up a little Pandora's box into this whole world of lighting and working in the studio. We don't have time for it in here, but it is a fantastic place to go if you were doing portrait photography, commercial photography, but there's a huge world of expansion that we're just touching on right here. We do have a question that came in from Claudio who's tuning in from Chili and this had come in, you were talking about showing us the back lit image, and he was wondering how do you shoot a person in front of a window when there is light behind? How are you metering in that situation, or getting the proper exposure? I'm either doing a test shot and then just going, oh okay, it's wrong because of this, and then I make that a setting, or if I wanna try to get it right the first time around, I'll often point the camera, and eliminate that really bright light that's coming in the camera. So if someone was standing right next to a really bright window I would just kind of move the camera over here. I know that's not my final shot, but that's just where I'm gonna do my light meter reading. I then dial in my settings and then I bring that big, bright window back into the scene. So that way you're essentially locking in the exposure over here where it's correct, and then letting that light just be bright the way it is. So, for the TTL flash where is the flash actually coming from? You said through the lens? So the flash, this is for cameras either with built-in flash or an add-on flash. TTL is the term that they use for how they measure the light. It's like through the lens metering system. They're measuring the light through the lens. This is for people with built-in flashes, or a flash that they've added onto their camera. Then one more. With that add-on flash do you use the program mode? Is what the question was, or are there different exposure composition things? Yes, so the flash unit either built-in or added onto your camera can work in any and all of the modes. That TTL exposure compensation that we talked about with the example photos in there will work in all of those modes. As I say, it opens up a scary number of options that you can get into when you change your exposures, but you can use it in the program mode. You can use it in the manual mode.

Class Description

“This is a great starter class. I thought I understood how shutter speed and aperture worked together, but this class made it come together in a matter of minutes. I'm already taking better pictures and this is just the beginning!” -Jennifer Manley, CreativeLive Student

Learn how to take the kind of photograph you’ll want to print and pass on to the next generation. John Greengo is back to teach this updated photography for beginners class. You’ll learn the principles of good beginner and intermediate photography and get the skills necessary to create amazing photos. 

Advanced cameras are available at modest price points, but learning how to use them takes an investment.

  • Learn the the most essential functions of your camera 
  • Gain confidence in putting new functions into action 
  • Get the swing of basic photographic terminology 
  • Feel prepared to move on to more advanced classes 
  • Gain a solid understanding of must-know lighting and composition techniques 
  • Lean to position yourself and your subject to capture the best photo possible with the camera you have – no additional gear needed 
If you want to take more memorable and inspiring photographs of your travels, your friends and family, or the great outdoors then this photography for beginners class is for you. Learn how to make average pictures amazing photographs and gain the ground necessary to continue your photography education.  

“This is a super introduction to photography for anyone who really wants to learn how to understand and begin to use the camera to its full extent. John is an excellent teacher, very easy to follow, with great graphics and examples.”  -Sarah, CreativeLive Student  


Kanoelani Patenaude

I am a pro photographer in my dreams, where I know the in's and out's of my camera; however, reality proved differently, as real life would tell you, I was a deer caught in headlights just looking at my new 7D Mark II. I am a photographer enthusiast without the skills, but a lot of love for the moments one, or the profession/hobby of it can capture. I mostly shoot my husband, friends, and community surfers in the lineup, and of course, my children, who rarely sit still. Thus, I switched from Nikon to Canon, venturing on the 7D Mark II for the grand reviews of how stellar of camera it is for action shots (surfing, and kids, this was a no brainer). That said, and overwhelmed with the way beyond my skill set, but noted desire and aspiration to grow, I made the purchase, and sought help rather quickly as I wanted to feel confident with what I was utilizing to capture the best memories possible. I came into this John's courses knowing the "on/off" button, and "auto" shoot mode. I came out of the course feeling like the pro in my dreams, and ready to shoot manual. John's teaching style is on point, and his detailed visuals are a huge plus. My first shots post this photography kit course, I thought were great for my first educated shoot, and shockingly, I even received and email from one of the sponsors of the surfers I captured, asking if they could use my image for their sites and publications. Not bad for a newbie. Though, my intent was never a business purpose, I did not know if I should charge a small fee, or give it for free. I don't mind free as it's not my business, yet I don't want to ruin it for any professional photographers in town doing the same thing that are charging. Perhaps another course to help me with that. I highly recommend courses by John Greengo! Thank you so much, John!

Megan Wagner

John is extremely articulate and is a great teacher with lots of visual aids and metaphors to help understand photography. I have been doing photography for a few years now and this class was a tremendous help in boosting my knowledge and refreshing my memory in multiple aspects of photography. The graphics that John uses are helpful and he even goes through images and asks which settings would be best to use and will go through the why. He makes things easy to understand and is very clear about the information he provides. I am so glad I took this course and I would highly recommend it even to an experienced photographer. Thank you John Greengo!