Learn how to use your DSLR

This course teaches you the intricacies of your digital camera (DSLR) to help you become a great digital photographer. Learn about your digital camera’s key features and how (and when) to use them to take full control over the look of your images. Finally, discover important composition techniques that professional photographers use to create beautiful, memorable photos.


1. Introduction


Don’t be daunted by the thick manual and all the buttons and dials associated with your new digital camera. We are here to help you step-by-step so you can discover how all of your camera’s features work together to help you produce fantastic images. In this introduction, we will explain you what you're going to learn in this course and how you're going to learn it. You're already on your way to become a better photographer!

2. Your camera


The first thing you probably notice about your new DSLR camera is that it is fairly large, with a lot of buttons and dials. This lesson provides you an introductory overview of your DSLR camera and all of its features – so you can learn when, where, and how to use each one to create better photos.

3. Understanding auto-modes


Auto modes are predetermined or user-defined settings that the camera uses to help calculate the settings to use to capture an image. This lesson teaches you what they are and how to use them – which will help you cut down the time spent fiddling with your camera, so you can spend more time photographing.

4. Lenses & File Formats


We know… boring! But understanding lenses and file formats will come in handy, for now to ensure you have the right size and type of file for your photos, depending on what you are planning to do with them (print, enlarge, email, etc.). If you are already finding that your kit lens that came with your camera is frustratingly limited, this lesson will help you determine the “right” lens for the types of photography you are interested in.

5. Taking Better Photos


Now that you know how to turn your camera on and take a photo, it's time to learn a few pointers for taking better photos. This lesson will help you identify great photographic opportunities so you have can create memorable photos. Say goodbye to snapshots – from this point on you’ll be creating art!

6. Exposure explained


When you compose a photograph your camera captures the image by selecting shutter speed, aperture, and ISO sensitivity to make an “exposure”. Each of these settings affects the amount of light that is captured or let into the lens, and also changes aspects of the image, as you will soon learn. Discovering the intricacies of exposure will help you solve image-capturing difficulties – such as when an image is too dark or blurry.

7. The exposure triangle


Hopefully by now it is clear how each part of the exposure, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO sensitivity affects the image your camera captures, but how do they work together? Think of it as a triangle, each setting can both affect your exposure, as well as the settings of the other two aspects. This is one of the most important photography concepts; once you have a thorough understanding of how exposure works you’ll see a remarkable improvement in your images.

8. Measuring exposure


When you compose a shot you’ll notice a marker underneath the exposure indicator. The goal is to get the indicator as close to “0” as possible for a correct exposure. In the semi-automatic modes your camera will automatically adjust various settings to get the exposure correct; however, depending on your composition you can override these settings to adjust your exposure lighter or darker. In this lesson you’ll learn how to take control of exposure, so you always end up with an ideal image.

9. Good bye automatic modes


Although convenient, the automatic modes offered by your DSLR are quite limiting. Odds are that you have already experienced a situation where they provided you with less than stellar images. Now that you have a firm grasp on the elements that make up a good exposure (shutter speed, aperture, and ISO) you will learn in this lesson how to switch over to the semi-automatic and manual modes for more creative control over your shots.

10. Going manual


Once you're used to the semi-automatic modes and their capabilities it's time to move on to full manual mode. In this lesson you’ll learn how to use manual mode to can set the shutter speed and aperture independently for full creative control over your images.

11. White Balance & Color Temperature


Now that you have a handle on the camera settings needed to capture your image, it's time to delve deeper into the settings and situations that will give you the best image possible. One of these is white balance, which controls how the overall color of your images will appear. By learning how to set your camera’s white balance settings you’ll end up with consistently better images in the “color” you are looking for.

12. Natural & artificial light


One difficulty that newer photographers often encounter is working with different types of light. Too dark, too bright, color temperature issues, etc., can be enough to frustrate even the most patient photographer. Hopefully this section can help you avoid some common difficulties that may arise when working with different lighting situations.

13. Focal Points


Have you ever looked at a photo or painting, then walked away and couldn't remember a few minutes later what it was about? Likely the scene was lacking a focal point, something that stuck out amongst the rest of the image to provide a point of interest. This is one of the key composition rules in photography: have a focal point. Learn how to identify focal points in this lesson, as well as how to compose your image so your focal point takes center stage.

14. Taking it further


Now you know that a focal point will make your image more interesting, and where to put your focal point for the most impact, that’s it right? Of course not! There are many other methods to give your focal point (and your image) more impact. Although you may not be able to use all of these tips in every image, the additional techniques learned in this lesson will to help you images with lasting impact.

15. Balance & Contrast


These two concepts can prove challenging - both to understand and put into practice. However, once you have a grasp of balance and contrast you will find that your photos improve dramatically and you have less of a sense of "something's not right" with your images. In this lesson we’ll talk about these two concepts and how to incorporate them into all of your photographs.

16. Portrait & landscape photography


While nearly all of the above tips can be used for any type of photograph, most new photographers can benefit by getting a few specific tips for the type of photography they are interested in. In this lesson we’ll give you some important tips to improve your portrait and landscape photos.

17. Project


This project is a great way to develop your skills by practicing. We will ask you to upload photos to showcase your work. Your tutor will provide you specific feedback and share with you some advice on how you can take better photos. It’s like having a personal photography lesson, without the hefty price tag!