Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Mastering Photography: Eric Kim
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Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Mastering Photography: Eric Kim

Learn Everything about Composition, Technique, Style, Editing, Marketing, Branding, Social Media, Monetization and More!
Highest Rated
4.9 (55 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.
386 students enrolled
Created by Eric Kim
Last updated 5/2018
Current price: $139.99 Original price: $199.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 6 hours on-demand video
  • 79 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Master your camera and phone’s technical settings to make breathtaking photographs.
  • Make great photographs of your everyday life from portraits, selfies, and in street photography.
  • Create stunning dynamic compositions with diagonals, curves, and unique perspectives.
  • Edit and post-process like a pro to craft a stunning portfolio.
  • Build a dedicated online following with the best marketing, branding, and social media techniques.
  • Monetize your photography as a profitable side-income or full-time living.
  • You don’t need any prior knowledge of photography or technical camera settings. To succeed in this course, you just need to have a passion for learning more about photography.
  • Any camera will work for this course. You can use your phone (iPhone, Samsung, Android), a DSLR (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax), or a mirrorless camera (Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Leica).
  • You will learn how to edit photos on your desktop/laptop with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, and VSCO on your iPhone, iPad, or Android device. You don’t need any software downloaded in advance, we will walk you through an easy step-by-step to install Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and VSCO.

If you want to quickly jump start your photography skills and take them to the next level, this course is for you. Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Photography will teach you the ins and outs of photography technique, help you master the fundamentals of composition, and empower you to create breathtaking images on your camera or mobile device. Go from A to Z in photography and shoot stunning photographs this seamless learning experience.  

In this course, you will learn how to:

  • Select the best camera and lenses for your photography needs
  • Make better photographs of your everyday life (regardless of how busy you are)
  • Master essential composition techniques to create more dynamic images
  • Direct and expertly frame your subjects in portrait photography
  • Make timeless black and white photographs and color photographs that pop
  • Capture “decisive moments” and tell better stories in street photography
  • Conquer your fears and shoot street photography like a pro
  • Take better selfies of yourself, and make great portraits of your friends and family
  • Transform ordinary objects and make them look interesting and beautiful

Along the way, you’ll also learn about the exposure triangle (the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO) and when to use flash or natural light. You’ll also gain an intuitive sense of what to look for when making photograph. You’ll learn about the rule of thirds, the golden triangle, and other dynamic composition techniques to create truly stunning photographs.

In the second part of the course, you’ll learn how to post-process your images in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and the VSCO app on your mobile device.

You’ll master:

  • The pros and cons of RAW vs JPEG
  • How to choose your best photographs to edit/post-process
  • How to organize, manage, and safely backup your photographs on the cloud
  • The best filters in VSCO to apply to your phone photos
  • How to create your own presets in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC
  • How to use presets to create your own signature look in photography

This course will inspire you to immediately make better photographs with 5 engaging and entertaining demos, as well as 8 practical and fun activities to empower you. Regardless of how busy you are, you will have the opportunity to start making better photographs of your everyday life, and start sharing them with your friends, family, and followers. This course will also provide you with unique branding and marketing strategies to begin monetizing your photography.

Learn how to:

  • Build a dedicated following on social media and make your own photography website/blog
  • Publish and share your work with creative confidence
  • Stay inspired and continue to innovate in your work
  • Integrate profitable monetization and pricing strategies

The reason why you will enjoy this course is because my teaching style is down-to-earth, friendly, practical, and also philosophical. I know how busy you are, so in this course I will only provide you with the essentials of photography, for you to immediately start making great photographs that wow you and your viewer. When I started off in photography, I had a difficult time mastering the fundamentals of my camera, technical settings, and making better compositions. Therefore, I have distilled all of my lessons in photography, to make your learning experience as seamless and fun as possible.

Don’t miss this opportunity to finally start learning how to make great photographs. Let’s start making great photographs together, today!

Excited to have you,


Who this course is for:
  • Passionate hobbyists who wants to take better photos of everyday life.
  • Photographers who want to quickly learn how to make better photographs using the fundamentals of composition.
  • Beginner photographers who want to take their photography skills to an intermediate or advanced level.
  • Hobbyists who want to take more dynamic, compelling, and unique pictures. People who want to push their visual eye to create more artistic and creative images are a great fit for this course.
  • Photographers who are curious how to monetize their photography, and build a profitable online photography business.
  • This course is not a good fit for professional photographers who want to learn studio or advanced lighting techniques in photography, or people who want to learn about every function and feature of Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom CC.
Course content
Expand all 71 lectures 05:59:56
+ Introduction: How to Make Better Photos of Everyday Life
3 lectures 08:51

Dear friend,

Welcome to Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Mastering Photography! This will be your unique chance to mastering the fundamentals of photography for yourself, to make better photographs of your everyday life.

In this introductory lecture, I will share an overview of the course and what we will cover-- from exposure, composition, and framing and all the way to branding, marketing, and monetization.

Let's get started!


Preview 03:36

In this lecture we will talk about 3 essential composition tips for you to make better photographs:

  1. Diagonals
  2. Clean background
  3. Perspective

Preview 03:45

In this fun activity, we will practice shooting a diagonal composition, and shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes.

Preview 01:30
+ Setup & Equipment
7 lectures 40:35

The purpose of this course: How to best use the camera you already own. You don’t need to buy any new equipment or lenses for this course. The camera you already own is the best camera, whether it be your phone, mirrorless, or DSLR camera.

For this course we will use Adobe Lightroom Classic CC on your desktop/laptop, and if you don't have it already, you can download a free trial. We will also learn how to use VSCO on your mobile device.

Let’s get started!



What is the best camera for you?

In this lecture I overview the different cameras for photography: Phone cameras, APS-C cameras, Full-frame, Digital Medium-Format, and Film Photography (35mm and medium-format 120 film).

What is the Best Camera for You? Phone, APS-C Cropped Sensor, and Full-Frame

In this lecture I cover different types of lenses, focal lengths, and full frame and crop-sensors. Part 1/2

What is the Best Lens for You? Part 1 Overview of Lenses - Prime, Zoom, Wide...

In this lecture I cover different types of lenses, focal lengths, and full frame and crop-sensors. Part 2/2

What is the Best Lens for You? Part 2 Focal Length Comparison

This lecture is an analysis of the pros and cons of RAW vs JPEG and a basic overview of Lightroom.

Pros and Cons of RAW vs JPEG

Download and installation instructions for Adobe Lightroom Lightroom Classic CC:

  1. Go to Adobe website for a trial version of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC (search Google, or use the external resources link here on Udemy)
  2. On Adobe website, click "Free Trial"
  3. Signup with your First Name, Last Name, Email
  4. Note: Password must have at least one number or symbol, and both lower-case and upper-case.
  5. Download Adobe Lightroom Lightroom Classic CC, and install on your computer.

How to Download and Install Adobe Lightroom CC on Your Computer

How to signup for ERIC KIM FORUM:

  1. Go to http://forum.erickimphotography.com
  2. Click "Login or Join" in top-right corner
  3. On right side, create username, add your email address, password, and click 'I agree to the Terms' and click "Join"
  4. Go to your email, and confirm your account by clicking the confirmation link.
  5. If you don't see email verification message, check your 'Spam' folder.

Activities will include link to share your photos and give/receive feedback on ERIC KIM FORUM.

If you have any issues with signing up for the forum, try a different browser (Firefox and Chrome work best), leave a message in the Q&A forum or message us directly.

Excited to have you in the forum,


Optional: Register for Free Eric Kim Forum to Share Photos and Receive Feedback
+ Composition, What to Look For, and How to Make Better Photos
11 lectures 01:15:16

This section is my favorite-- how to make better photos. We will learn how to compose better scenes, how to use the viewfinder/LCD screen of your camera to frame better. 

We will talk about simple composition tips like diagonals, curves, figure-to-ground, and talk about the difference between taking and making a photo.

We are all visual artists, and the purpose of making great photos is a CREATIVE ACT! "Taking" a photo is stealing a scene, but "Making" a photo is more creative and comes from your soul.

We will teach you how to take the best possible photo with your phone, or the camera you already own.

Let's jump on in!



How do you choose your subject-matter and what to photograph?

First of all, ask yourself: "What do I want to photograph?"

I suggest taking 'everyday life photos' -- photographing the world around you.

Everyday Life Photography: Introduction to Personal and Street Photography

This lecture covers the essential parts of composition: subject, framing, and depth. 

Essential Photography Composition Terms: Subject, Frame, Orientation, Position

To make better compositions, look for leading lines, and have good balance/proportion in your scene.

Composition is important: it adds meaning, depth, movement, excitement, and meaning in your photos.

Composition is: "The arrangement of visual elements inside your frame."

However you decide to frame your subjects dictates your composition.

Introduction to Composition: Framing your Subject and Directing Viewer's Eyes

This lecture covers essential composition techniques and composition grids such as negative space, rule of thirds, golden rectangle, and fibonacci spiral.

What to Look for in Composition: Figure to Ground, Rule of Thirds, and more

In this fun activity we will sketch one of our compositions. Here are the steps:

  1. Photograph a scene.
  2. Select 1 photograph and draw its composition on a separate piece of paper.
  3. Optional: Use sketching app like 'Procreate' if you prefer.
Activity: Sketch your Photograph Composition

This lecture demonstrates five different techniques of composition: diagonals, low-angle perspective, high-angle perspective, curves, clean background, exposure compensation, and clean edges.

Five Composition Techniques: Diagonals, Perspective, Curves, Background & Edges

In this fun live demo, I show you how I frame and compose my images using diagonals, perspectives, curves, clean background, and clean edges.

Live Demo: Five Composition Techniques

This lecture is a primer to color photography and color theory.

Composition Techniques and Color Combinations for Color Photography Part 1

Look for color-combinations when you're out shooting photos. By putting different colors together, you enhance both the colors in your frame.

Composition Techniques and Color Combinations for Color Photography Part 2

In this lecture we will talk about how to make better black and white photos using the techniques of figure-to ground and contrast.

Techniques for Stunning Black & White Photos: Figure-to-Ground, Contrast, Flash
+ Master Lighting, Exposure, and Focus
11 lectures 29:49

Welcome to this section on how you can master exposure and lighting in your photography! 

  • Photography means: "Painting with light." You cannot make photos without light. In this section we will cover:
  • Exposure Triangle: Aperture, shutter-speed, and ISO, and how each of these variables affect the others.
  • Adjusting your exposure-compensation to make more dramatic photos.
  • When should you listen to your meter, and when should you shoot manually?
  • How can we adjust our exposures with our phones, with iPhone and Android?

You excited? Let's get started!



This lecture is an introduction to the 'Exposure Triangle'.

Exposure: How bright or how dark your photos are.

The Exposure Triangle is a balance of:

  1. Aperture
  2. Shutter-Speed
  3. ISO
Exposure Triangle: Relationship between Aperture, Shutter-Speed, and ISO

When should you shoot in automatic mode (Program mode) versus fully-manual?

In Praise of Program Mode: Shooting in P Mode, Automatic, or Manual Settings

In this fun demonstration, I show how exposure-compensation changes the brightness/darkness of your photo.

Exposure Compensation

In this fun activity you will have the chance to practice exposure-compensation by taking 3 photos of the same scene, with 3 different exposure compensations. Photograph something outside or inside your home. This activity shouldn't take you more than 1 minute.

Activity: Make 3 Different Exposures (Normal, Bright, Dark)

In this live demo, we will show you how changing the aperture will affect the depth-of-field and focus in your photos. We will cover how to make backgrounds with bokeh or "blurred backgrounds."

Live Demo: Aperture

This lecture discusses when you should use natural light or a flash?

Live Demo: Flash vs Natural Light

For this activity, let's experiment using your flash. This activity is optional. Use the flash that is integrated on your camera, or use the flash on your phone camera. 

Activity: Make 2 photos with Natural Light and Flash

This live demo is an introduction to focusing (automatic and manual).

Focus: directs the viewer's eye, and tells them what to look at, and what is important in the scene.

Live Demo: Manual Focus and Autofocus

This live demo will show you how to focus and adjust exposure on your iPhone, Samsung, or Android device.

Phone Photography: Focusing and Exposure

"I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day." - Vincent Van Gogh

If you're busy with your day-job, and have a hard time shooting during the day-- realize you can shoot great photos at night! This lecture covers night photography tips such as ISO, flash, silhouettes, and blur.

Practical Techniques and Assignments to Photograph at Night and in Low Light
+ Techniques to Capture Decisive Moments
12 lectures 01:21:04

In this section we will talk about how you can capture "the decisive moment" in photography -- moments which are personally meaningful to you.

We will cover:

  • Interesting interesting scenes, and follow your intuition in photography 
  • Shoot better selfies of yourself
  • Capture more dynamic perspectives
  • Make better photos of everyday life, and street photography

What is a "decisive moment" in photography, and why is it important? After watching this lecture you will learn the best camera settings to use to capture personally-meaningful moments to you.

Decisive Moments: How to Know When to Click the Shutter

In this lecture we will cover practical tips and guidelines on how to shoot better portrait photos. You will learn how to interact and guide your subject, and reveal their soul with you lens.

10 Techniques for Portrait Photography

How do you interact and guide your subject in portrait photography? In this fun live demo, you will see how I make a portrait of my mother, and capture a beautiful portrait of her in the best light. I will give you practical tips in terms of how to look for the light, and how to capture the soul of your subject.

Preview 03:49

In this fun activity you will practice directing your subject when shooting a portrait. You will find a subject to photograph and shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes. You will look for a simple background, find a simple background, and have them look in different directions (up, down, left, right). 

Activity: Photograph a Portrait of Someone You Know and Directing Your Subject

"Honor thy selfie."

Why is it important to shoot selfies? By shooting a selfie, you can track your own progress in your own life, and you are always the best subject to photograph. You can record your own life via your selfies, and also the more comfortable you are photographing yourself, the more comfortable you will be in photographing others.

7 Selfie Photography Techniques

Street photography is great because you can photograph the beauty of everyday life. This lecture covers street photography settings, subject matter, and techniques.

5 Street Photography Techniques

Why is street photography so scary? Sometimes we feel like we are upsetting our subjects, or bothering them. But realize-- street photography is a beautiful act of capturing the joy of everyday life.

Street photography doesn't need to be shot candidly-- you can interact with your subjects and ask for permission.

## How to Channel Your Fear

Street photography is about channeling your fear in a positive way. By photographing what you're afraid of-- you are more likely to make good street photos.

The best way to defuse a negative confrontation: Smile and say "Thank you"


## 1. Pretend like you're shooting something (behind) your subject

Your subject will assume you're photographing something else.

Take lots of photos of the scene, and try to get eye contact with your subject. Also when you pretend like you're photographing something behind your subject, crouch down. This will make you look smaller and less threatening.

If you're caught photographing someone, just say: "Isn't this place so interesting?" and point out the background.

Pro tip: Take a photo, take a step closer, take a photo, take a step closer (and don't make eye contact with your subject).

Assignment #1: Don't make eye contact in street photography for an entire day


## 2. Ask for permission

When you feel afraid, compliment your subject, and ask them: "Do you mind if I make a portrait of you?"

With compliments: be specific. Figure out which specific details you will compliment your subject.

Engage with your subject, and you can get your subject to laugh, and make a more interesting street photograph.

A lot of street photographs look like they were shot without permission, but they were actually shot with permission.

Assignment #2: "10 No Challenge" -- approach a bunch of strangers and ask for permission to make their portrait. You must keep asking for permission until you get 10 people to reject you. This will help build your confidence.


## 3. Lingering technique

When you're shooting street photography, keep your camera glued to your eye, keep clicking, and move on.

By lingering, you will feel more calm, and your subject will actually be less suspicious of you.

When you see an interesting scene: don't think too much. Keep lingering, and keep clicking.

Assignment #3: Take at least 10 photos of every scene. Keep your eye glued to your viewfinder or LCD screen. Don't take 1-2 photos and run away. Linger, hang around, and keep shooting to build your confidence in your street photography. 

3 Assignments to Conquer Your Fears of Shooting Street Photography

In this fun activity you will try out the 'fishing technique' in street photography.

  1. Walk around and pick a background or scene.
  2. Wait for 1 subject to enter the frame and shoot multiple photos of the scene.

Optional: choose 1 best photo and share to Eric Kim Forum.

Optional 2: Share on social media with hashtag #erickimcourse

When shooting this assignment, look for interesting billboards, and colorful backgrounds. 

Have fun!


Activity: Make a Street Photograph with the Fishing Technique

In this advanced street photography live demo, I show how to compose a photo, shoot from a perspective, and work the scene. Excuse the noise, we are live in the streets of Japan to show you the exciting action!

Advanced Live Demo: Composition, Perspective & Working the Scene in the Streets

This lecture introduces everyday photography and helps you find 'beauty in the mundane'-- beauty in the everyday, and ordinary.

Everyday Photography: How to Find Beauty in Everyday Life

If you have a passion for geometry, shapes, forms, and cities-- architecture photography is for you. In this lecture you will learn how to make more dynamic and epic compositions of architecture.

13 Architecture and Urban Landscape Photography Techniques
+ How to Edit and Select Your Best Photos
7 lectures 35:17

What is the difference between editing and post-processing? 

  • Editing: Choosing your best photos
  • Post-Processing: Adding filters, adjusting colors, and exposures afterwards.

Having the discipline to choosing your best photos is one of the most challenging things in photography.

We will cover:

  • Using Lightroom to quickly flag, organize, and export your photos. 
  • File management, cloud storage (Dropbox), and workflow.
  • Building your visual eye to quickly choose your best photos.

You excited to get started? Okay, let's go!



This lecture covers the important task of Editing (choosing your best photos). Don't mistake this with "post-processing" (adding filters, presets, and turning your photos to black and white).

The Art of Editing: Image Selection

In this lecture I will share personal tips on how I choose my best photos, based on principles of composition and emotional content. 

How to Choose Your Best Photos: Composition and Content

In this lecture you will learn a basic overview of Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, and master the fundamentals to quickly choose, flag, and export your photos.

Import Photos into Lightroom: Import, Flagging, Export

In this lecture we will cover the 'small thumbnail test' to quickly look through, flag, and export your photos.

Editing with "Small Thumbnail Test" to Quickly Look Through and Flag Photographs

In this fun activity, you will practice the thumbnail test to choose your best photos.

Activity: Use the "Thumbnail Test" to Choose your 3 Best Photos

How do you organize all your great photos, and safely backed up?

In this lecture we will discuss how I keep everything synced on Dropbox and how to mange your files.

File management
+ How to Post-Process Your Photos
8 lectures 36:57

What is the difference between post-processing and editing? How can you make images that 'pop'? Are filters/presets "cheating?"

In this section we will cover:

  • The fundamentals of post-processing: the art of adding your own aesthetic taste to your photos
  • How to create your own unique 'look' and style
  • The art of black and white photography
  • How to create your own presets and filters to speed up your workflow
  • How to think and see like an artist, and make photos that bring you joy.

You excited? Let's go!



What is post-processing and why is it important? How can we post-process our photos?

Post-processing: The art of processing your photos after you've shot them.

The Importance of Post-Processing and Developing Your Own Consistent Style

How do you post-process your photos in Lightroom? I will show you the simplest workflow to make photos that pop.

How to Post-Process Your Photos in Adobe Lightroom

We will cover how to import Lightroom presets, how to apply them, and how to create our own custom presets.

Presets are like camera film. It allows you to think less about your post-processing, and helps speed up your own workflow, to have a consistent look.

How to Add Presets to Your Photos in Adobe Lightroom

In this lecture we will cover how we can best post-process our RAW photos to beautiful black and white images.

How to Convert Your Photos to Black and White in Adobe Lightroom

In this lecture I will give you a live demo how to add filters to your iPhone, iOS, Android, and Samsung photos, and adjust the brightness, exposure, and contrast of your photos, to beautify your photos.

Phone Photography: Adding Filters, Converting Photos to Black and White

In this fun activity we will use Adobe Lightroom to quickly process your photos into stunning black and whites. 

Activity: Convert your Photo into Black and White in Adobe Lightroom CC

I will show you a live demonstration how to install VSCO app on your device, and how you can post-process your photos with the best VSCO preset/filters.

VSCO is free to use, and there is also a paid option.

"A6" preset is my favorite in VSCO, and best simulates the look of color film. This is a paid option.

Phone Photography: Install and Use VSCO to Add Presets to Your Photos
+ Photography Branding, Marketing, and Monetization
8 lectures 40:43

Have you ever wanted to monetize your photography, or build a following?

  • This section you will learn:
  • Photography monetization strategies
  • Photography branding
  • Marketing techniques
  • Social media overview (Facebook, Instagram) how to gain more followers/likes
  • How to promote yourself as a photographer
  • We will build our own photography website/blog
  • How you can differentiate yourself from other photographers

Ready to get started? All right, let's go!



What is social media, what is it, and how can we best use it as photographers?

Social Media for Photographers

Why should we make a photography website/blog when we already have free social media options like Facebook and Instagram?

Benefits of Having a Photography Website / Blog

In this demonstration I will show you how to make your own wordpress.com website/blog, and how to customize it to look best for photography.

How to Make Your Own Website / Blog on Wordpress.com

What is branding and why is it important for modern photographers?

Why is Branding Important?

What is social media, and how can we best leverage social media?

Building Your Brand & Audience: Social Media Strategies, Followers, and Likes

We will discuss photography monetization strategies: do I need to make money from my photos, and how do I creatively monetize my photography?

Monetization Strategies for Modern Photographers: Services, Prints, & Education

What are practical tips and strategies on building your own photography business, and how can you monetize? This lecture covers Google SEO, pricing, and selling products and experiences.

Photography Business & Entrepreneurship: Google SEO, Pricing, and Marketing
+ Conclusion: Creative Confidence
4 lectures 11:24

In this section we will talk about creative confidence-- how to have confidence in yourself, how to choose your own photos, and how to publish your favorite photos.

We will also discuss how you can stay inspired in photography, and to always retain your child-like enthusiasm in photography.

You will learn:

  • Inspiration from other visual arts
  • How to cross-pollinate your interests
  • How to continue to flourish as a photographer, regardless of your situation in life.

You're almost there-- let's go!



What is creative confidence, why is it important, and how can you be creatively confident?

Why?: The more confident you are, the more productive and motivated you will be in your photography.

Creative Confidence: How to Confidently Publish and Share Your Art

How to innovate in your photography: cross-pollinate your various interests.

Cross-Pollination: How to Stay Inspired and Innovate in Your Photography

The final lecture-- excited to have you here. Here are additional resources to help you continue to grow, evolve, and stay inspired in your photography.

  • Remember: photography is about fun, joy, giving you the inspiration to travel, and go on adventures. 
  • Think of yourself like a photography teacher-- share your wisdom with others. Volunteer at local schools to teach them photography.
  • Photography is the ultimate form of self-empowerment. 

When you're shooting, always shoot with a grateful heart, and always smile :)


Parting Words and More Resources