Beginners and Intermediate Photography: How Cameras Work

Understand what main controls do and take full control of your camera
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (10 ratings)
527 students
English [Auto]

Learn about the basic camera controls
Learn how ISO, shutter speed, and aperture affect an image
Learn how to set up a digital camera before going out to shoot
Gain thorough understanding and confidence in using the camera


  • No prior experience is needed


During your photographic journey, you may encounter many different types of cameras but they all operate on the same principle. The camera is essentially a dark box. At the front of this box is an aperture, or an opening, that allows the light to come in, and at the back of the box is a photosensitive material that captures the image formed by this light.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you are having a hard time making sense of all the controls on your digital camera. Modern cameras are extremely sophisticated and they come with loads of buttons and automated functions that can be very difficult to make sense of unless you have an understanding of the underlying principles.

This short course will help you understand and demystify the main controls of the photographic camera- the ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. By the end of it, you will clearly understand what each control does, how it affects the image. You will understand how these three main controls form what is known as the exposure triangle, and how they are interrelated. This understanding will allow you to use your camera with confidence, help you reverse-engineer images of other photographers, and help you turn your ideas into photographs.

Who this course is for:

  • The course is aimed at beginners and intermediate photographers who wish to develop a solid understanding of how cameras work

Course content

1 section6 lectures34m total length
  • Introduction
  • ISO
  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • Setting Up the Camera
  • Using the Built-In Light Meter


Ismar Uzeirovic
  • 4.7 Instructor Rating
  • 10 Reviews
  • 527 Students
  • 1 Course

I’m a photographer with 15 years of experience teaching photography to undergraduate university students.

I specialise in documentary, street, and portrait photography. My favourite subject are people, while my work often revolves around the theatre of street life in cities and themes of urbanisation and climate change.

I studied on a Master's Degree in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography (2012/2013), and a Postgraduate Diploma in Photojournalism (2000/2001) at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.

I have 15 years of experience teaching photography to undergraduate students at the University of Roehampton in London (2006-present). I also worked as the Library Assistant at Network Photographers (2000-2001), which was the UK's preeminent photographic agency specialising in documentary photography, and as a Digital Imaging Manager at FM Model Agency (2003-2006), one of London's top small modelling agencies.

During my professional career, I have worked with numerous commercial clients, collaborated with other artists, and most recently made two trips to Bangladesh where I worked as a Visiting Researcher at the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Dhaka.

I live and work in London.