Basic Photography: A Guide to Using Point-and-Shoot Cameras
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Basic Photography: A Guide to Using Point-and-Shoot Cameras

Learn how to use use your point-and-shoot camera with confidence and take great photos.
4.7 (16 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,051 students enrolled
Created by Pong Lizardo
Last updated 6/2017
English
Price: $25
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
Includes:
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 9 Articles
  • 4 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Make better photos by learning how to use your point-and-shoot camera.
  • Unlock the "DSLR-like" capabilities of your point-and-shoot camera.
  • Forget Auto Mode! Take advantage of various shooting modes (M, A, S, P, C), it's easy!
  • Start making better photo with a simple composition technique.
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • Mid to high range point-and-shoot or compact camera (sometimes referred to as "advanced" point-and-shoot cameras) or any camera that has a mode dial (the dial that has M, A (Av for Canon), S (Tv for Canon), C (U for Nikon), P or similar). The brand and make doesn't matter all cameras function the same way.
  • Students need to be enthusiastic to learn how to use their camera; you'll learn best when your mind is ready to learn.
  • Students are expected to practice and experiment on their own.
  • Your camera's user manual (recommended but not required).
Description

Having a solid knowledge on how to operate your compact or point-and-shoot camera is the key to making great photos. If you don't know how to use your camera, how can you expect to make great photos? If you've just bought your camera or if you're "stuck on auto" and don't know what The Mode Dial does, then this course is for you.

High-end point-and-shoot cameras make great photos, but the problem is you actually need to use the camera's various options and features to achieve this better quality (hint: it's not auto). A typical high-end or mid-range point-and-shoot camera is built like a DSLRs, which makes it complicated for beginners to use. So I designed this course with beginners and casual shooters in mind, using simple non-technical language. We only talk about the important stuff in this course, no complex fluff, so you can go out and start using your camera with confidence.

This course focuses heavily on how to use your camera, not on the artsy-side of photography. I will explain a feature and then show you how I personally use it.


WHY THIS COURSE?

While there are a lot of basic photography courses out there that will give you highly technical in-depth information, you won't find a course as straightforward as this one. I believe that less is more, especially for beginners. More only confuses and overwhelms beginners. More technical knowledge comes as the student grows with his or her camera. You'll learn enough to use your camera and gain experience, but I will not overload you with information.

If you're ready to unlock your full potential, enroll now! And see what you can really do with your camera!

Who is the target audience?
  • Beginners who wants to know how to use their cameras.
  • Students who want to get out of auto mode but have no clue what M, A, S, P, C does.
  • Students who are ready to get out of auto mode.
  • Students with minimum creativity.
Curriculum For This Course
28 Lectures
02:35:59
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Let's Get Started!
5 Lectures 25:42

STUDENTS, WELCOME! I first want to introduce you to our course. It's important that you have an idea of what you enrolled into.

Keep in mind that its mandatory that you experiment and play around with your camera. This is the only way for you to learn.

In each lecture, I will give you an explanation of a specific concept or feature then I will show you how I personally use the feature. This way you get an overall idea of how things work and you could just copy how I do things.

Preview 04:56

Let’s talk about our cameras. Each brand and model will have a different layout and position of buttons and dials. We need to orient ourselves first before we begin.

Make sure that you have your user manual handy or download it online.

Our Cameras
08:24

To understand how to use your camera and the functions of your camera's buttons and dials, you need to understand how your camera works. This is a very important lecture that will set the stage for the other lectures. Understanding how your camera works will make it easier for you to follow along the entire course.

How Cameras Work
04:54

KEY CONCEPT: Stability is important when you're making photos. Improper camera handling technique may create instability--unintended arm movement, micro shakes from the hands etc--and cause camera shake.

SUMMARY: Like all tools, there's a proper way of handling/using your camera. And in this lecture we talked about these camera handling techniques to avoid camera shake. Proper camera handling is composed of 3 things:

  1. Posture - having a proper posture creates a stable base to shoot from.
  2. Grip - a firm grip that is not too tight or too loose reduces micro hand movements.
  3. Arm Position - further stability is achieved by positioning the arms properly.


Camera Handling
07:10

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Exposure & Common Shooting Modes
5 Lectures 26:21

KEY CONCEPT: Photos are created by light that enters the camera. Exposure refers to how you control the light that enters the camera, therefore exposure is the key concept that you must remember and understand in photography.

SUMMARY: Exposure refers to the light that enters the camera and hits the sensor and this light can be controlled through exposure values. We can change how we interact with these exposure values by changing the mode dial.

Exposure is controlled through by exposure values: Shutter Speed - determines how long the sensor gets exposed to light. Aperture - determines how much light the sensor gets exposed to. ISO - determines how sensitive the sensor is to light.

Exposure
07:28

SUMMARY: The auto automatically adjusts the exposure values for you. That may be convenient, but it doesn't allow you to take advantage of the camera's features to make better photos. The manual mode on the other hand let's you adjust all exposure values but it's not easy, slow, and cumbersome to use. Therefore, the auto and manual mode is not recommended.

Auto vs Manual Mode
11:47

SUMMARY: The P-mode or Program Mode (U-Mode or User Mode for Nikon) is like Auto Mode on steroids. It gives you the convenience of Auto Mode while making other options and features available to you to play around with.

IMPORTANT: Explore and experiment on these features and options that become available to you. Try selecting certain options and see what's different. This way you can familiarize yourself with these features and see what works for you.

Program Mode
06:17

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Basic Modes And Controls--Forget Auto!
7 Lectures 43:42

KEY CONCEPT: The shutter speed controls the amount of time the sensor gets exposed to light. Think of shutter speed as not only a handle on exposure but also something that is connected to motion.

  • High shutter speed numbers = more exposure = freezes motion. 
  • Low shutter speed numbers = less exposure = expresses or blurs motion.

SUMMARY: The S-mode (Tv for Cannon) is like Auto Mode but with the option of adjusting the shutter speed. You can adjust the shutter speed and not worry too much about exposure.

USAGE: You use S-mode or prioritize the shutter speed when:

  • You're taking moving objects.
  • You want to freeze subjects in mid-motion.
  • You want blur line and ghosting.
  • You're getting camera shake.
  • You're shooting on a moving object like a car.
Shutter Speed: Fundamentals
10:14

INSTRUCTIONS: Watch the activity in full. After watching, follow the instructions and do the same thing I did in the video.

GOAL: Learn by doing things--have a "feel" for the S-Mode and shutter speed work in relation to motion and exposure.

IMPORTANT: There are several things you need to keep in mind before you begin:

  • Don't hold your camera when you shoot the coin. We need to remove your micro hand movements to see the effect of slow shutter speeds on motion.
  • Do this in a well-lit environment so the camera don't have to "struggle" to get the proper exposure. The brighter the environment is, the better.
  • Do your best to spin the coin with the same speed from one photo to the other. The amount of blur depends upon the speed in which the subject is moving in relation to your shutter speed.
Shutter Speed: Activity
06:22

KEY CONCEPT: The aperture or lens opening is the adjustable hole at the back of the lens. It controls the amount of light that the sensor gets exposed to. Think of the aperture not only as a handle on exposure but also something that is connected to how blur and sharpness.

  • High f-numbers = smaller aperture = less exposure = sharper background. 
  • Low f-numbers = bigger aperture = more exposure = blurrier background.

SUMMARY: The A-mode (Av for Cannon) is like Auto Mode but with the option of adjusting the aperture or lens opening. You can adjust the aperture and not worry too much about exposure.

USAGE: You use A-mode or prioritize the shutter speed when:

  • Low f-numbers for portrait photos and blurring backgrounds.
  • High f-numbers for landscape photos and sharper photos.
Aperture: Fundamentals
08:23

INSTRUCTIONS: Watch the activity in full. After watching, follow the instructions and do the same thing I did in the video.

GOAL: Learn by doing things. Since each camera have a different lens, you need to know how how much your particular lens blurs the background of your.

IMPORTANT: There are several things you need to keep in mind before you begin:

  • Don't hold your camera when you shoot the coin. We need to remove camera shake to see the effect of the aperture on our photos.
  • Do this in a well-lit environment so the camera don't have to "struggle" to get the proper exposure. The brighter the environment is, the better.
  • Have the same amount of distance between your random objects. If you can't see the background blur increase the distances.
Aperture: Activity
07:03

KEY CONCEPT: The ISO controls how sensitive the sensor is to light.

  • High ISO numbers = more sensitive sensor = more exposure = more grains
  • Low ISO numbers = less sensitive sensor = less exposure = less grains

SUMMARY: The sweet spots in the ISO scale are: ISO200, ISO400, ISO640 and ISO800. The ISO in your camera is a left over from the film days, where each film has an ISO number.

USAGE: We've automized the ISO so that you don't have to worry about using a high ISO that would grainy, low-resolution photos. This way you only have to think about the aperture and/or shutter speed.

Preview 10:40

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Special Controls
4 Lectures 18:32

SUMMARY: The C-mode or Custom Mode (U-mode or User Mode for Nikon) allows you to save your preferred settings directly on the mode dial. You will develop certain preferences for certain features and settings as you gain experience because you will develop your unique photography style. The C-mode makes it easier and more convenient for you to access these settings so you don't miss a moment.

USAGE: You use C-mode when you have specific features and settings that you use all the time and want to access them quickly and easily.

Custom Mode
10:05

SUMMARY: The Exposure Compensation Dial is a quick and easy way to modify exposure in your camera. You don't have to change your shutter speed, aperture, or ISO to make your photo darker or brighter, all you have to do is turn the mode dial.

USAGE: You use the Exposure Compensation Dial to quickly modify or compensate for lack or too much exposure.

NOTE: Not all cameras have this feature and not all cameras implement this feature the same way. Your camera still changes the exposure values when you compensate for exposure.

Exposure Compensation Dial
07:44

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Putting it All Together
5 Lectures 32:32

SUMMARY: This is how I determine when to use A-mode or S-mode: I use A-mode whenever I want to make photos of people or whenever I want to blur the background. I also use A-mode when I want to make landscape photos. I use S-mode when I'm shooting sports or any subject that is moving.

When to Prioritize Aperture and Shutter Speed
07:48

KEY CONCEPT: Rule of thirds is the simplest and one of the most effective way to compose your photos.

SUMMARY: Divide your frame with 2 vertical line and 2 horizontal lines--making 9 equal sections in the frame. Put the focus of your composition where those lines intersect. You also put horizon lines in landscape photo as close as possible to the horizontal lines.

You can also compose by filling up 3 sections with your subject and leaving 6 section with the background of supporting subject. You can also do the reverse, fill 6 sections with the subject and the rest relatively blank.

Composition: Rule of Thirds
05:19

This is an overview of the various options and features found in most cameras. In this lecture, I intend to give you an idea of wha these options and features are and what they do.

Miscellaneous Features & Options
18:43

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Congratulations!
2 Lectures 09:10

Now it's time to tie everything together. In this lecture, you'll learn how to use the different shooting modes in conjunction with exposure. As I've mentioned one too many times, controlling light is the key to photography.

BONUS: Mastering Exposure
07:44

Au revoir! I hope that you've learned as much as I enjoyed creating it. If you've taken some value in this course I will greatly appreciate a good review, maybe a 4 or 5 star! But if not I would appreciate a good constructive criticism of my work. This is my first course and your positive feedback will help me improve this course and will also help me develop better courses for you in the future.

Thank you!

Final Thoughts
01:26
About the Instructor
Pong Lizardo
4.7 Average rating
16 Reviews
1,051 Students
1 Course
Let's keep things simple.

Hi! I'm Pong Lizardo. I'm a graphic designer. I work in an advertising agency and I've been freelancing on the side for over 10 years. My design skills and being artistically inclined served me well in life.

I learned most of the things I know and developed the skills I have by myself. I was not fortunate to have Udemy back in the day. I had to deconstruct and develop the skill of learning. Lucky for you, you've got Udemy and you've got me! I'm here to share everything I know so you don't have to waste your time learning things by yourself.

I've done the hard part of finding easy and simple ways to learn graphic design skills (that includes photography, illustration, computers skills, web design, paintingsculpting, art, design, etc.), so that you can acquire the skills and knowledge that you need as efficiently as possible. I make the daunting task of learning these skills simple, easy, and fun!