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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: The Beginner Photographer’s Crash Course

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Hello, I am Khara Plicanic and welcome to the beginner photographer's crash course. There's one thing though I want to make sure that everyone gets right up front, and that is the idea that cameras don't take great photos, people do, right? And in fact, you do. Or you will after this course. (laughs) Maybe you've been struggling with that. So the idea behind this class is that I want to make everyone comfortable with their camera. Sometimes, especially if you're new to photography or you're new to DSLRs in particular it can feel incredibly overwhelming, and to be honest, when I bought my first DSLR many years ago, I left it in the box for like a week because I was afraid of it. And that was even coming from years of dark room experience and already being familiar with photography, but the camera itself was just so overwhelming that it sat for a long time. So our goals for this course are to banish the fear. I want to make sure everyone just is comfortable with the camera, we're gonna d...

o that by learning your way around the camera. I think just a lot of times we feel clumsy, at least I know if I have a new piece of equipment and I don't know my way around or feel like I know what buttons do and this setting and all of that I just am overwhelmed right off the bat and it tends to be a little bit scary. So we're gonna learn our way around the camera, and the result of that is that after this course you will more confidently and consistently make better images, and the key is, with any camera, Whatever camera you have. So you don't have to go buy some new fancy camera, you may have one that you haven't opened yet (laughs) or that you've barely touched, or maybe you're in the market for a new one, but whatever camera you have, we're gonna be talking about how to use it better, and you'll get more consistent results. Because the truth is, the cameras not what matters, its knowing how to use it. And to prove that point I have this comic strip from one of my favorite artists Aaron Johnson, its called What The Duck if you've never seen it, check it out at But here's this little duck and he's got this very fancy camera and he says, "Yeah, this baby's loaded with all kinds of things, GPS, infrared scopes, digital voice recorders, all kinds of stuff, even wifi and heat-seeking thermal sensors, and a coffee maker. Now say cheese." and it turns out his subjects behind him. (laughs) and I thought that was so great because a lot of times people are chasing a newer camera and they think that's gonna solve all their problems as just, "I need a better camera or a different camera," but its really not about the equipment. In fact, it turns out that if you really know what you're doing and your really want to, you can take a great photo with an oatmeal box as your camera. And if you think I'm making that up, I've actually done it way back in my high school photography class we made cameras out of, our day one activity was make a camera out of an oatmeal box. And if you want directions or you wanna see what images look like if they're captured with cardboard, check out Alright, so what are we gonna be talking about in this course. We have five different segments. The first segment is gonna be about understanding exposure, so that's what we're gonna be doing today, we'll have a different lesson each day this week running through Friday. So today we're gonna be talking about understanding exposure; what does that mean. What is an exposure, what factors influence an exposure and change the way that exposure looks, 'cause a lot of times when you're taking pictures its the exposure that might not work out for you, especially if you're in auto mode, that can be very confusing for the camera a lot. So if we learn more about exposure and how it works then we can better understand the camera's approach, and we can boss it around and get better results. So that will be understanding exposure. Then next we'll be talking about shooting modes and scenes, some cameras have scenes, some have modes, some have both, what is that all about? We'll be looking into that. Camera functions and settings. So the cameras actually have a lot of built in tools that help you achieve whatever it is that you're trying to achieve, but most people just have no idea what they are, what they do, or even how you access them. So things like white balance, exposure compensation, being able to control your focus points so you can actually focus the camera on what you want to focus the camera on. So those are all really important things. Image size, resolution, and format, right? So if you've ever photographed something and had it printed and it didn't look very good, maybe it looked more like a mosaic instead of a photograph, then it looks like you may need some help with image size. So we'll talk about what that is and how resolution is involved with that, and things like JPEG versus raw format. People have a lot of questions there. Last but not least we will be talking about lenses, what to look for when you're choosing a lens, the impact it can have on your photos, and then we'll also be talking about the next steps. So once you've taken the photos, what happens next. So we'll walk through an overview of the download and organize and output process. One thing I do want to point out is, although this course is going to be talking in a high birds eye view of how the functions work, so we'll be talking about exposure compensation; what it is, when you use it, how to use it, but I don't have your camera here or your manual for your camera. So I can tell you generally where these things are going to be found on most cameras, but of course, if you just can't seem to find it you may have to check your manual. You don't have to read the whole book, but the manual, of course, is not everyone's favorite reading material, I don't know why. I actually like reading it, but maybe that's just me. But if you are looking for a function, that despite my best efforts to guide you there, maybe your cameras kinda funny; I mean all the manufacturers are different, they call things differently sometimes, and they all tuck things in different places. So what might be a button on one camera might be in a menu on another one. So we'll talk about that and I'll probably get most people really darn close, but if you just can't find it check your manual, alright? And as we go through the week I'd love to hear from people, so give me a shout out, you can find me on Facebook and I'm very active on Instagram too, so come say hello and let me see what images you're making.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Bonus Video - Shooting In Natural Light HD
New Camera Setup

Ratings and Reviews

Kate Ambers

Khara is awesome! She really breaks down how the camera works, photography terminology, and technique. She does it all with a fun and entertaining personality and really makes it easy to understand what you are learning! I love this course!!! So worth it!

Holly Cooper

Loved this course and have recommended it to a friend who is looking to purchase his first DSLR. This course is perfect for beginners or someone who is self taught and who has picked a few bits up along the way; Khara then puts all these little bits of information together. I feel like the pieces have come together for me and I have taken my best/favourite photographs after watching these videos. Thank you CL and Thank you Khara x


I’ve taken a number of excellent courses from Creative Live, and this very thoughtfully organized, well taught class took me from “I love photography but I’ll never get how to do it” to “wow I get it!” It created a huge shift (finally!) for me. There is an intelligent simplicity that really does make for lightbulb moments. I’m extremely grateful for this class. Now I can go back and watch the others courses again and they will make much more sense and I can apply what I learned here.

Student Work