EasyDSLR Digital Photography Course for Beginners
4.4 (710 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
9,294 students enrolled

EasyDSLR Digital Photography Course for Beginners

Take dramatically better photos by learning the basic principles you need to master your DSLR camera
4.4 (710 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
9,294 students enrolled
Created by Ken Schultz
Last updated 5/2013
Current price: $23.99 Original price: $34.99 Discount: 31% off
5 hours left at this price!
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
This course includes
  • 4.5 hours on-demand video
  • 3 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Give you an understandng of Basic Photography Principles
  • Give you an Overview on how DSLR cameras are used
  • By the end of the course you will understand your camera better, you will be off AUTO and taking dramatically better photos.
  • DSLR - Digital Single Lens Reflex Camera or DSLT (Sony) to get the most out of the Course.

Most new DSLR camera owners use very little of the potential of their cameras. (DSLR = Digital Single Lens Reflex). The thought of moving off AUTO can be daunting. To really get creative control over your photos you need to grasp some basic photography principles - it's not 'rocket science' - but it is essential. This course is to fill that gap in knowledge so you can get into the more creative modes of your camera and start taking better photos. Over 4 Hours Training.

If this Course seems a little too Basic for you check out my Advanced Course for more Creative topics -  EasyDSLR Digital Photography Course: Advanced

Recent Member Comment "I'm blown away with how much knowledge I'm retaining when I walk away from each video. It's exactly my learning style as I'm very much a visual person." Andy Rose UK

CHAPTER 1: Getting Started gives you an orientation of the course and introduces The Photo Triangle - which is the foundation that most of the concepts in this course rest on.

If you are totally new to DSLR cameras you can watch CHAPTER 2: DSLR Overview where I give you a quick tour of What a DSLR camera is, it's benefits and essential items in your DSLR kit.

The major portion of this course talks about the 3 Main points to a great photo - The Photo Triangle:

  1. FRAME - compositon and perspective
  2. LIGHT - Tonal values and color
  3. FOCUS - what's in Focus

You can Download the Printable PDF version of the Photo Triangle in Chapter 1 to have on hand during the course.

Having a solid foundation is key to understanding how the settings interact to create a great photo. In this course I cover Composition, the 3 important settings affecting Exposure: ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed, White Balance, Focus and Depth of Field, Flash basics and Diffusers.

These are some of what you will Discover:

  • What Essential Items you need in your DSLR Kit
  • The Photo Triangle – my secret weapon to explaining the Basics
  • To Compose better Photos using the same Principles DaVinci, Botticelli, Van Gogh and many more used
  • How to use Auto Focus Points to create better Composition
  • What Crop Factor has to do with Framing your Subject
  • The importance of Lens Choice and Focal Length
  • Exposure and ISO and why it matters
  • How to get off AUTO
  • A powerful Tool - in your camera – that ensures perfect Exposure
  • How Aperture effects your photos
  • Creative use of Shutter Speed
  • 2 causes of Motion Blur … how to ‘use them’ or ‘lose them’
  • Pan Method of enhancing Speed in your Photos
  • Introduction to Exposure Compensation and Bracketing
  • Why we need White Balance
  • What is Light Temperature … why it’s useful
  • Using White Balance Shift
  • How to set Custom White Balance
  • My Best Method for using Autofocus Points
  • Hybrid Auto/Manual Focus Method
  • What is Depth of Field
  • 3 Main Effects on Depth of Field
  • How to Isolate your Subject
  • 3 Main situations to use Flash … it’s not just for Night Shots
  • The best Tool for better Flash Photos

I am confident that you will be much more comfortable using your DSLR camera and will be taking better photos by the end of this course.

Who this course is for:
  • Beginner to intermediate Photographers
Course content
Expand all 18 lectures 05:08:09
+ Getting Started
3 lectures 17:41

This video gives you an introduction to EasyDSLR Digital Photography Course and it's creator Ken Schultz. Includes a discussion of the benefits of DSLR cameras and a tip for photographing quick events with unpredictable timing.

Preview 10:49

This Video gives you an Orientation and Overview of the EasyDSLR Course for Beginners. It includes an important introduction to the Photo Triangle which is used as a Foundation to discussing the important concepts and settings of your DSLR camera.

Orientation to the Course

The Photo Triangle illustrates the 3 Main concepts in getting a great Photo. Camera settings and other values are overlaid showing their influence on different components of an image.

I introduce the Photo Triangle in the Previous Video and the settings will be dealt with in the appropriate Videos in the course.

(See Page 2 for the Key)

The Photo Triangle And Key
2 pages
+ DSLR Overview
4 lectures 27:30

In this video I talk about DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras compared to “old school” film SLR and Point and shoot cameras.

This Video covers:

  • Benefits of Digital Cameras in general
  • The strengths of  DSLR cameras over Point and Shoot cameras
  • Quick Tour of a DSLR

I don’t go through every feature and control as I will address those in the relevant sections in the DSLR Basics module.
In addition to the features mentioned in the video, DSLR cameras have connectors for:

  • Wired remote shutter releases
  • USB connection to your computer
  • Audio visual out
  • HDMI out on the newer cameras (for direct connection to a HD Television or Monitor for reviewing images and video and also Live View feed)
  • External microphone connector on newer video capable DSLR cameras.

Refer to your DSLR manual for all the buttons, controls and connectors for your particular camera.

What's a DSLR?

In this video I talk about some essential items for your DSLR kit.

The next 'lecture' has the DSLR essentials Checklist.

The Gold Videos and "Let's get Creative" sections refers to the Advancd Course - EasyDSLR Digital Photography Course: Advanced

DSLR Essentials

A list of Essential items in your DSLR kit as well as useful extras.

DSLR Essentials PDF
1 page

UPDATED: 2012 Digital SLR Buyer's Guide. What Camera to Buy and Must Have Accessories. 

Use this link if you are having trouble loading in Udemy interface - New DSLR buyer's Guide 2012  

Please Note: The links to products are not 'Live' in the Udemy Interface - you need to download from the link above to get the Live Links.

Compares Canon and Nikon DSLR Models and other useful accessories for your kit. Now includes Canon T4i (650D), Canon 6D, Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EOS-1D X, Nikon D3200, Nikon D600, Nikon D800/800E, Nikon D4.

Preview 47 pages
+ Composition
1 lecture 38:50

In this video I talk about Composition, Lens Choice and Perspective in framing your subject.

This video goes through the first point on the Photo Triangle - FRAME and includes explanations of:

  • Focal Length
  • Lens Choice
  • Crop Factor of DSLR sensors – how these relate to framing your subject.
  • The “RULES” of Composition
  • What “RULES” can improve your photo composition overnight
  • How Focus points on DSLR cameras can help you Compose your photos better
+ Exposure
3 lectures 01:11:54

In this video I introduce Exposure – which is part of the LIGHT corner of the Photo Triangle

I will describe Exposure, including:

  • Exposure Metering Modes
  • Dynamic Range of your DSLR Sensor
  • The super important Histogram
  • “Correct” Exposure can be an Artistic Choice
  • How ISO fits into exposure and what values to use

You may need to look in your Camera Manual to find the particular modes and settings I mention as they may have different names and positions for different manufacturers.

Please Note: Some DSLR Cameras (for example the Nikon D5100) don’t have a Histogram in Live View Mode. You can still see the Histogram after taking a photo in Playback mode. Please check your camera manual to see if it has the feature.

I mentioned a Test Scene in the video that shows the noise levels at different ISO settings. I used a rectangle from the scene below (click on image for larger size) to examine noise. When you click on the image it will open in a different Tab or Window and you may have to click on the image in this new window to see the Full Size image.

ISO Comparison Test Scene

The image below (click on image for larger size) shows the noise levels at different ISO settings.

ISO Comparison Image

Tip: With Cameras with AUTO ISO option you can usually set the upper limit in the Menus – check you manual – That way, if you are worried about noise – you could limit ISO to 800 or 1600 and still have the convenience of AUTO.

Intro and ISO

In this second video in our Exposure section I describe Aperture – which is one of the key settings that affect Exposure (in the LIGHT corner of the Photo Triangle)

You will learn:

  • What is Aperture
  • The Light Path to your DSLR Sensor
  • The Lens “Speed” or Aperture rating of your lens
  • Aperture Priority Mode (finally getting off “Auto”)
  • Affect of Aperture on Depth of Field (more details in Depth of Field video in Focus section)

Once again – you may need to look in your Camera Manual to find the particular modes and settings I mention.

Aperture values are a ratio and the smaller the number the larger the Diameter opening as shown in the example below.

In the above example going from f/8 upwards (right to left) – each value doubles the amount of light on the sensor – these are going up by 1 Stop or 1 EV ( Exposure Value).  Most DSLR cameras have smaller settings in between each stop letting you change values by 1/2  or 1/3  stops (EV). In your viewfinder whole numbers on the Exposure scale are at 1 Stop (EV) increments.

This is an introductory course so I have not gone into too much depth. I want you to get the basics quickly so you can get out there and take better photos.

For those who want more detailed information Click here (it has a lot of technical details on Aperture).

Preview 09:43

Shutter Speed demystified and its effect on Exposure.

This is the third video in our Exposure section.  We will look at Shutter Speed – another key setting that affects Exposure (in the LIGHT corner of The Photo Triangle).

You will learn:

  • What is Shutter Speed

  • Shutter Priority Mode
  • Manual Mode (now you’re really off Auto!)
  • Affect of Shutter Speed on Sharpness and Blur
  • 2 Causes of Motion Blur – How to ‘use them or lose them’
  • Pan Method for enhancing the sensation of Speed

With an Introduction to:

  • Exposure Compensation
  • Exposure bracketing

Once again – you may need to look in your Camera Manual to find the particular modes and settings I mention.

In the video I talk about the general rule that to get a steady shot with a certain focal length lens – like a 100mm it’s best to use 1/100 sec Shutter Speed or faster. You also need to consider if you have a full frame sensor or cropped sensor camera. If you have a cropped sensor DSLR like a Canon 60D your 100mm lens has the same magnification as a 160mm on a full frame DSLR so it’s best to use 1/160 sec or faster for steady shots – unless you have image stabilization (vibration reduction).

Just to Clarify: It’s best to think of Shutter Speed as FAST (small slice of Time) or SLOW (long slice of time). Confusion comes from the fact that Shutter Speed is given in Seconds (or fractions of a second) NOT actually a Speed value but a Time value (I guess that is why Canon use Tv mode – Time Value). So the smaller the number or duration of Time the FASTER the Shutter Speed. Basically, they don’t mention the Distance covered over Time (required for Speed value) because it’s always the same (the height of your sensor).

To add to confusion – the Shutter Speed in the viewfinder is usually in whole numbers (with or without a ” symbol). In the viewfinder 500 will actually mean 1/500 sec, 0″4 means 0.4 sec and 30″ means 30 sec. In some way this helps because a Larger Number without the ” symbol means a Faster Shutter Speed. At Slow Shutter Speeds, when the ” symbol comes into it the Larger the Number the LONGER the exposure.

Learning Shutter Speed will be a spring board to really Creative photos. Understanding how it works and what effect it has on your photos is fundamental to understanding photography

Shutter Speed
+ White Balance
2 lectures 32:27

Explanation of White Balance and DSLR White Balance settings.

In this video we will look at White Balance – the key setting that affects Color (in the LIGHT corner of The Photo Triangle).

You will learn:

  • What is White Balance?
  • Why do we need White Balance?
  • Light Spectrum and how it fits on the Electromagnetic Spectrum
  • White Balance Presets
  • Color Temperature or Kelvin and the color temperature of different kinds of light.
  • Setting Kelvin
  • Using White Balance Shift to correct white balance

Once again – you may need to look in your Camera Manual to find the particular modes and settings I mention.

White Balance Basics

Beyond the Basics.  White Balance Bracketing and Setting Custom White balance for accurate color.

In this video I go into more advanced White Balance settings.

You will learn:

  • White Balance Bracketing
  • Two methods of setting Custom White Balance
  • Using Color Histogram to understand Custom White Balance
  • What to use in Tricky Situations
  • Why perfect White Balance is not always what you want – creative use of white balance

The Custom White Balance accessories I used in this Video are:

Make sure that you get an Expo Disc that fits your largest Diameter Lens – that way you can hold it over the front of your smaller lenses too.

Custom White Balance
+ Focus
2 lectures 23:56

Auto Focus Modes and Manual Focusing.

In this video I go into the Basics of Focusing.

You will learn:

  • Autofocus Modes
  • Types and Selection of Autofocus Points
  • My best method for using Autofocus Points
  • Hybrid Method of Manual focus
  • Focusing using Live View – is it too Slow?
  • Manual Focus and Live View

In this video I show you how to Choose Focus Modes on a Canon 60D – Please look in your Camera manual to find out where the settings are and what Modes you have on your Camera.

Focusing Basics

Depth of Field explained and how to control it.

Depth of Field (DOF) is a key concept to understand and master to become more creative with your Photos.
One of the real benefits of a DSLR over Point and Shoot cameras is ability to create really Narrow DOF to Isolate your subject. The Larger sensors and Larger Apertures (discussed in the Video above) of DSLR cameras result in much Narrower DOF compared to Point and Shoot cameras. This fine control over DOF is what gives DSLR cameras the Creative edge.

In this video you will learn:

  • What Depth of Field is
  • The 3 Main effects on DOF
  • The effect of Aperture
  • The effect of Focus Distance
  • The effect of Focal Length
  • How to Isolate your Subject
  • What is Hyper focal Distance?

Full Frame DSLR Cameras: Larger Sensor Size allows Narrower Depth of Field so a Full Frame Sensor camera like Canon 5D Mark II will have Narrower DOF than a Crop Sensor DSLR like Canon 60D or Nikon D3100. That’s the reason why you can get a more Isolated subject on Professional Level DSLR cameras.

View the Image file in Extra Resources to see the Effect of 3 Different Apertures on the Depth of Field in the scene in the video.

Depth of Field
+ Flash
2 lectures 42:54

Flash Photography is a huge topic with entire books and courses dedicated to the subject. So this video is an introduction to Flash Photography giving you the most common scenarios where you would use flash. I show you some examples with tips to using flash in each of these situations.

In this video I go into the Basics of Flash Photography.

You will learn:

  • 3 Main situations to use Flash

  • Flash used when there is not enough light
  • The use of Fill Flash
  • Balancing the background by using Manual Exposure.
  • Using Flash to Freeze Motion
  • Creative use of Flash to Freeze Water
  • Brief description of First Curtain and Second Curtain Flash firing
  • Flash Exposure Compensation

Check Your Camera Manual: I touched on a few Flash settings:Like ETTL (Evaluative Through The Lens metering) where the Flash uses your DSLR metering system to calculate the Flash output, Flash Exposure Compensation and choice of First or Second Curtain Firing. There are a bunch of other settings that were beyond these introductory Videos like the use of Flash Exposure Lock (FE Lock) and Flash Exposure Bracketing. Check your manual for the flash settings on your camera.

For those of you who want to jump into some more serious Flash Photography using External Dedicated Flash units I would recommend the following equipment.



These are required if your DSLR does not have built in Wireless Flash Triggering System

The second Pocket Wizard High-end system has Transceivers - which can act as both Transmitters or Receivers

Recommended Flash Courses:
If you want to go further with your Flash Photography, especially Off-Camera Flash, then I highly recommend Phil Steele’s Online Video Course.

Flash Basics

Getting more pleasing Flash Photos with the use of Diffusers.

Flash Diffusers create Softer Light by making a larger surface and scattering the light from the flash unit. I prefer the softer light of Flash used with Diffusers. When I was a professional Wedding Photographer I used Diffusers most of the time to create more flattering light on brides – using external Flash.

In this video I go into the Basics of Flash Diffusers.

You will learn:

  • An introduction to Wireless Flash Technology
  • Light Quality – Hard versus Soft light
  • Using On Flash Diffuser
  • Comparison With and Without Diffuser
  • Lighting Tip: Lighting from slightly above is more flattering
  • More Creative use of Flash - Off Camera
  • Recap of Photo Triangle covered in this Course

Once again for more Creative Flash Photography, aside from a Diffuser, a Dedicated External Flash (Speedlite or Speed light) is recommended.




These are required if your DSLR does not have built in Wireless Flash Triggering System

The second Pocket Wizard High-end system has Transceivers - which can act as both Transmitters or Receivers

Recommended Flash Courses:
If you want to go further with your Flash Photography, especially Off-Camera Flash, then I highly recommend Phil Steele’s Online Video Course.

How to Shoot Professional-Looking Headshots and Portraits on a Budget with Small Flashes Excellent Course for Professional Flash shots with an affordable setup.

This concludes the Videos for this Course – I hope that gives you a good overall grounding in the Photographic Principles so you can experiment with your DSLR and start to get better photos.

The reference to Gold Member Videos is for the more advanced Creative Videos which will soon be available as a follow up course on udemy.

Thank you for joining me :)

Best Wishes with your Photography

Flash Diffusers
+ Recap
1 lecture 02:57

This short video discusses what you should get out of this Course.

If you are Ready to continue your Journey to more Creative Photos dive into EasyDSLR Digital Photography Course: Advanced

Course Recap