Beginner's DSLR Photography - Get Off Auto Mode

Learn how to confidently take photographs in aperture and shutter priority modes without missing any shots.
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  • Lectures 17
  • Length 30 mins
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
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About This Course

Published 7/2014 English

Course Description

Are you stuck on Auto or Program mode? Has no one been able to explain apertures and shutter speeds to you? This course will teach you how to take control of your camera to shoot in aperture or shutter priority modes.

You will first learn what exposure is, and how your camera controls it using aperture, shutter speed and ISO. Then you will learn what both aperture and shutter speed are, why they are important and how you can confidently control them using aperture and shutter priority modes without missing your photos.

The course is designed to get you quickly and efficiently off auto and nothing else. You will get 30 minutes of concise video tutorials containing everything you need to know and nothing that you don't, quizzes to check you have understood each section, and 4 practical exercises to complete. Everything is replicated in the course workbook, so you don't need to take notes as you go through the videos.

This course is for you if you are a beginner DSLR user and want to understand exposure, aperture and shutter speed. You know you can get better and more creative shots if you go off auto, and you want a step-by-step hands-on guide showing you exactly what to do, when and why.

What are the requirements?

  • You need a DSLR camera and its manual
  • You need to know how to download your photos to a computer so you can look at them on a big screen
  • You need to know the basic operations of your camera - switching it on, using a memory card, taking a photo

What am I going to get from this course?

  • By the end of this course you will be able to shoot confidently in both aperture and shutter priority modes.
  • In this course you will learn what exposure is, and how it is affected by the shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings on your camera.

What is the target audience?

  • Beginner DSLR users who want to be able to shoot confidently in shutter and aperture priority modes, without risking missing any photos.
  • This course will appeal particularly to people who enjoy step by step learning, where each section builds on the previous one, with a clearly obtainable goal in mind.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

Introduction from Emma. This course is designed to give you the confidence to move your camera off auto.


Overview of the course, including what does it mean to go 'off auto'? What's the difference between auto, program, creative and 'off auto' modes?

Section 2: Section 2: Exposure

Exposure is the amount of light that hits the camera sensor. In this lecture I explain exactly how this happens, and why you need to understand it before you can move off auto.


How the camera controls exposure (aperture, shutter speed, ISO), and how you can take control of at least one of the exposure decisions. Overview of what aperture, shutter speed and ISO are.


Using aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create the correct exposure, and how they balance each other.

Make sure you do the quiz in the Workbook at the end of the Exposure section before you move on.

Section 3: Aperture

The aperture is one of the ways that the camera controls exposure. In this lecture I explain where it is, how it is measured and what f-stops are.


The aperture is one way of affecting the exposure of a photograph. It has another effect on photographs as well, and this lecture explains this in detail - depth of field (or the amount of the photograph which is in focus).


Aperture priority mode: In this lecture you will learn how to go off auto to take control of the aperture, in order to control the depth of field.


First aperture exercise: how aperture affects the depth of field. Step by step instructions to set up a depth of field exercise using household objects.


Second aperture exercise: how to blur a background using a large aperture.

Complete the quiz in the Workbook at the end of the Aperture section before starting the next section.

Section 4: Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the 2nd of the 3 ways that the camera controls the exposure. In this lecture I explain shutter speed in detail, including how it is measured.


This lecture explains the effect that shutter speed has on a photograph apart from affecting exposure: motion blur and camera shake.


Learn how to go off auto to take control of the shutter speed, in order to control the amount of blur or camera shake in the photo.


First shutter speed exercise: how shutter speed affects motion blur - how to freeze the action.


Second shutter speed exercise: how shutter speed affects motion blur - how to blur the action.

Section 5: ISO

What ISO is, and why you can mostly ignore it.

Section 6: Conclusion

Next steps - how to practise what you've learned, how to learn about your own camera's limits, and when you will be ready to move on.

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Instructor Biography

Combining 10 years as a professional photographer with a postgraduate degree in education, I teach photography like no-one else. My courses include exactly what you need to know (nothing more, nothing less). I teach you how to build on your existing knowledge and move step by step to your current goal.

I started my career as a lawyer, and spent 15 years practising banking law. A true multi-potentialite, as soon as I left the City to look after my kids, I immediately retrained and ran a successful portrait photography studio. I have added food and product photography to my portfolio over the years, and now specialise in commercial and fine art flower photography.

Knowing that I wanted to teach, and not prepared to teach badly, I invested 2 years completing a masters degree in education. I learnt how to teach online, how to take advantage of each learner's individual levels of motivation, and how to teach a single subject to students with a range of learning styles.

I'm based in Surrey in the UK, and alongside my photography studio I teach in-person workshops to florists and flower artists. I also run photography workshops for the UK's National Trust, a body set up in 1895 to preserve the UK's heritage and open spaces.

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