Photography Masterclass: Your Complete Guide to Photography

The Greatest Online Professional Photography Class: How to Take & Sell Photos for Beginners & Advanced Photographers
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  • Lectures 233
  • Length 14 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • 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 1/2015 English

Course Description

This online photography course will teach you how to take amazing images and sell them, whether you use a smartphone, mirrorless or a DSLR camera.

This course is designed to teach you the ins and outs of photography, even if you have little to no experience with it, to help create profitable images that help you stand out from the crowd and sell.

Master Photography Techniques to Create Extraordinary Images and Boost Your Freelancing Income.

While there are plenty of photography courses that focus on specific styles or how to use gear, it's hard to find a comprehensive course like this one, which is for beginner to advanced photographers.

This course is designed for all levels of photographers who want to improve their skills, take stellar images, and make money with their photos.

Just a few of the things you'll learn:

  • Understand How Cameras Work and What Gear You Need
  • Master Shooting in Manual Mode and Editing Photos
  • Follow Our Photo Adventures and See How We Shoot Photos Ourselves
  • Use Stabilization, Composition, and Lighting
  • Learn How to Sell Photos or Start a Photography Business

Improve Your Photography Techniques, Acquire Clients, And Make More Money

Regardless of what your level of experience is or what type of camera you use, this in-depth course is designed to provide you with everything you need to take your photography skills to the next level.

Whether you prefer taking photos of nature, animals, or people, a great photographer knows how to compose a shot, light it, and edit it. By honing these skills, you can sell your photos so you can turn your passion into a career. This course shows you how.

Unlike other photography classes that are more limited in scope, this complete course teaches you how to take amazing photos and how to make money by selling them.

Contents and Overview

This course is aimed at teaching photographers what it takes to improve your techniques to earn more money.

You'll start with the basics and tackle how a camera operates, the types of cameras and lenses available, and equipment you'll need for accomplishing your goals. You'll then dive into the different styles of photography you can focus on.

You'll learn about your camera settings, including how to shoot in manual mode. You'll use stabilization tools and master how to properly compose and light a scene. You'll even learn how to take great photos with a smartphone or tablet and how to edit images.

So you can sell your photos, you'll learn how to brand yourself, create a portfolio and website, and find freelance work or a full-time position. Gain insight into licensing, fair use, and more. And if you want to get into wedding photography, you'll learn how to start your own business.

By the end of this master course, your confidence as a photographer will soar. You'll have a thorough understanding of your camera and gear so you can use them to their fullest potential to take unforgettable photos and start a profitable photography career.

About the instructors:

Phil Ebiner started teaching online courses in 2012, and now has over 135,000 happy students on Udemy learning all sorts of things from photography to video making. Phil worked as a photographer at a private college a few years ago doing event coverage, marketing & advertising, and social media.

Sam Shimizu-Jones has been taking photos his entire life. Growing up in Santa Cruz, CA, he fell in love with photography skating around town. Since then, he's traveled the world taking photos for business and pleasure. Most recently, Sam worked as the photographer for Floating Doctors, a medical non-profit working in Panama.

What are the requirements?

  • Students need to be excited about learning photography, as you will learn best with a mind ready for action!
  • No fancy camera is required, but some sort of camera (even a smart phone) would help you learn as we prompt you to take action with practice lessons.
  • A computer with the capability to edit photographs is also ideal if you want to follow along in the Photo Editing section. We'll be using Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and other free applications to edit, and we'll show you how to get free trials to follow along.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • You will know how to take amazing photos that impress your family and friends
  • You will know how the camera truly works, so you can take better photos using manual settings
  • You will know how to photograph in different scenarios like photographing kids, landscapes, panoramas, wildlife, and much more
  • You will know how to edit your photos like a professional
  • You will know how to compose images beautifully with basic photography rules
  • You will know how to make money with photography
  • You will know how to light your subjects with flash and natural lighting
  • You will know how to take better photos with your smart phones
  • You will know the history of photography

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is for anyone who wants to take better photos
  • This course is for beginners who want to become a skilled photographer
  • This course is for moms, dads, kids, grandparents, and anyone else wanting to document their lives in a more beautiful way
  • This course is for amateur photographers wanting to improve their skills and start a business
  • This course is for anyone who wants to learn how to edit photos professionally
  • This course is for anyone who wants to make money with photography

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 to the Course

In this video, we'll talk about what this course is all about, why you should take it, and who should take it!


This document will show you what sections will help you achieve your personal goals.


To introduce you to the Photography Masterclass, we want to show you how exposure works - a basic lesson you'll need to become a great photographer - in less than 3 minutes. Don't worry, if you don't completely understand, we dive deep into every aspect of exposure in a later lesson.



Download a complete guide to photography for beginners. It's a great companion to taking this course. The downloadable guide contains images (but no animated GIFs). You can see the GIFs in the lesson itself.

Section 2: Drop Auto - Understand Exposure

In this video, Phil introduces you to what you'll learn in this section.


In this video, Sam explains what exposure is - a basic principle of photography.

The dictionary definition says -

In photography, exposure is the amount of light per unit area (the image plane illuminance times the exposure time) reaching a photographic film, as determined by shutter speed, lens aperture and scene luminance. In digital photography "film" is substituted with "sensor".


In this video, Sam explains what aperture is, how to change it, and how this affects exposure.

The dictionary definition says -

A space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera.


These charts will help explain what aperture (aka iris or f-stop) is, and how it works.


In this lesson, we'll cover the basics of shutter speed and how it effects your exposure.


Check out this amazing video of a slow motion camera shutter.


In this lesson, we'll cover what ISO is and how it effects your exposure.


In this lesson, we'll cover the exposure triangle, bringing everything we've learned in the past few videos into focus.


Check out this diagram to help you understand how the exposure triangle works. Hopefully these examples will give you a better idea of why you use the exposure triangle to get creative shots!


In this photography demonstration, Sam explains how he gets proper exposure using the manual controls of his camera.

Practice setting your exposure in 3 different locations.

In this lesson, Sam shows you how to use the camera's light meter to help get proper exposure.

4 questions

Test your knowledge of exposure!


Here is a chart from Nikon that explains the different types of metering.


What is a histogram?

It’s basically a graph that visually represents the exposure of each pixel in your image. On the left side of the graph, the blacks and shadows are represented. On the right side, the highlights and brighter areas are represented. The middle section includes mid-tones. The higher the peak in each section means the more pixels at that exposure.

The graph goes from 0-255 (0 being black and 255 being white). And each tone is one pixel wide on the graph. Check out the visualization below. You can see that there are lots of brights in this image (without even seeing what the image is!).

How can we use the histogram?

First, we can tell if the image is well-exposed. If the graph has pixels going from 0 to 255 (from black to white) without any crazy spikes, then you have a well-exposed image.

The first image to the left is a good example of this. The second image will be over-exposed (too bright), and the third image will be under-exposed (too dark).

Section 3: Photography Basics

In this lesson, we'll cover the basic process of how a camera works.


In this lesson, we'll cover the basics of the inside of your camera.


Check out this chart of sensor sizes to give you a visual idea of the difference!


In this lesson, we talk about the difference between RAW & JPEG file formats.


In this video, we'll demonstrate what shooting in RAW means - a photo with A LOT MORE information!


Check out this chart of white balance symbols to help you identify the options in your camera.


In this lesson, we'll cover what burst mode is, how to turn it on with your camera, and creative uses of burst mode.


Here, we provide you a chart and basic information about using scene modes on your camera.


In this lesson, we'll cover depth of field - and what focus is.

Section 4: Drop Auto - Focus, Depth of Field & Low Light Photography

In this video, we'll give you a quick tip on how to adjust the viewfinder focus if it is blurry.


In this video, we'll cover how to use auto-focus on your camera.

Read more about Nikon's auto-focus feature's here.


These diagrams and photos will help you understand what depth of field is.


In this lesson, we'll cover how to use your camera's manual focus.


In this lesson, we'll cover how to photograph fast objects and get sharp images.

Practice using the skills in the previous lesson about shooting fast objects.

In this lesson, we'll cover how to properly shoot in low light situations.


In this lesson, we'll cover how to take photos at night!

In this photography demonstration, we'll talk specifically how to take better photos in low light situations.
It's another practice session! Shooting photos inside isn't easy, and you need to practice shooting photos when you don't have much available light. Again, post your photos to the course page when you're done!

In this lesson, we'll cover what we learned in this section of the Photography Masterclass.

Section 5: Composition - Shoot Better Photos

In this lesson, we'll cover what we'll be learning this section of the Photography Masterclass.


In this lesson, we'll cover the basics of composition - what's in your frame?


In this lesson, we'll cover one of the most popular rules in photography - the rule of thirds.


In this lesson, we'll cover when it is a good idea to throw out the rule of thirds, and how to do it!


Take a look at some examples of photos that use the rule of thirds, and some that break it!


In this lesson, we'll cover how changing your perspective really affects your photography.


Check out these images that show how changing your perspective really plays a big role in the feeling that your photograph gives.


In this photography demonstration, Sam practices his own compositions and walks you through the entire process.

2 questions

Test your knowledge on the basics of composition!


Your photography tells a story. Just like you, it has a mood. Capture different moods with different types of photographs.


In this lesson, we'll cover the difference between a wide angle and telephoto photo.


Check out these images that help visualize the difference between a wide and telephoto lens.


In this lesson, we'll cover backgrounds, and how backgrounds play a big part in your photography.

Section 6: Creative Compositions

In this lesson, we'll cover how to properly shoot a panoramic image with your smartphone or DSLR.


In this lesson, we'll cover how to position your subject.


In this lesson, we'll talk about two types of focusing on details.


In this lesson, we'll cover how to use focus and depth of field to get creative photos.


What is bokeh? In this photography tutorial, we'll talk about what bokeh is (and isn't). Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke and means a couple of things. It means 'blur' and it means the 'quality of blur.'

Most people tend to think of bokeh as simply the round spherical shapes that happen when you have lights in the background of a photo. It is much more than that, and in this bokeh tutorial, Sam and I will try to explain it.


What is macro photography? Macro photography is a really cool type of photography where you are able to focus on a subject very close to your lens. This makes them seem 'larger than life.' Be it a bug or flower, macro photography allows us to see the minute details.

One definition of macro photography states that it is when the subject is actually bigger the size on the camera sensor. Macro lenses have a unique ability to focus closely on a subject and magnify it to larger than life.


In this lesson, we'll cover basic color theory and how it plays a big role in photography.


In this lesson, we'll cover the difference shooting black and white photos makes.

Take a walk outside, and start snapping some photos. You'll never know what you'll find!

In this lesson, we'll cover what we learned in this section of the Photography Masterclass.

Section 7: Live Demonstrations - Real & Raw Hands-On Photography

Welcome to this new section where we get really real with you. We'll be going out and shooting photographs in a variety of situations. These videos are a great follow-up to all of the theoretical lessons. Now you can see us actually shoot photographs and understand our method - from exposure to composition.


In this photography demonstration, we go down to Echo Park in Los Angeles and practice shooting photos of a fountain.


Be a part of the future of this course.

In this photography demonstration, Sam gives you some tips on street photography.
In this photography demonstration, Sam practices shooting portraits of our friend Caleb.
In this photography demonstration, Sam practices shooting a flower in low light. He gives advice on how to get super sharp focus.

In this photography demonstration, Sam practices shooting water down at the LA river.


In this video, while Sam and I were shooting some live demonstrations, we respond to a student question asking about how much of photography is done in camera vs. when editing.

Section 8: Quick Tips for Better Photography

In this lesson, we'll cover what we'll be learning this section of the Photography Masterclass.


In this lesson, we'll give you 5 tips to instantly improve your landscape photography.


In this lesson, we'll give you 5 tips for setting your subject in a portrait.

Get outside and take some pictures. Use the tips we've given you to improve your nature & landscape photos. Then share them with the class!

In this lesson, we'll give you 5 tips to instantly improve your portrait photography.


In this lesson, we'll give you 5 tips to instantly improve your portrait photography lighting.


In this lesson, we'll give you 5 tips to instantly improve your photography of kids.


It's time for another practice session! Take some photos of your kid (or pet if you don't have a kid... or any other family member for that matter). Use the tips we gave you to take better photos than you have before.

It's time for another practice session! Take some photos of your kid (or pet if you don't have a kid... or any other family member for that matter). Use the tips we gave you to take better photos than you have before.

In this lesson, we'll cover what we learned in this section of the Photography Masterclass.

Section 9: Lighting - How to light your photos

In this lesson, we'll cover what we'll be learning this section of the Photography Masterclass.


In this lesson, we'll explain what light is! How awesome is that?!


In this lesson, we'll explain the different light sources you have available to you for your photography.


In this lesson, we'll cover the Kelvin scale - a rating system for light temperatures.


Check out this chart and image that explains light temperatures.


In this lesson, we'll cover how to set your white balance. This is how your camera reads light to make sure the colors in your photos look natural.


Learn what three-point lighting is, which is the basic lighting set up for any photographic or film portrait.


Here is an article that includes diagrams that explains three-point lighting.

5 questions

Test your knowledge about light!


In this lesson, we'll cover the ways to use ambient light - or whatever light is available to you.


Here are some sample photos that we've taken to show you the beauty of natural light. Most of these photos were shot during Golden Hour (the hour before sunset).

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Instructor Biography

Phil Ebiner, Best Selling Instructor, 215,000+ Students

My passion is inspiring people through online courses. I love learning new skills, and since 2012 have been teaching people like you everything I know. Through my online learning business, Video School Online, I create courses that teach you how to become the better version of yourself with all kinds of skills.

What would you like to learn?

Would you like to make money teaching online courses?

Would you like to build your own 6-figure business?

Would you like to learn motion graphics in After Effects?

Would you like to learn how to shoot & edit videos like a pro?

Would you like to take better photographs?

Would you like to design better presentations, create a great resume, colorize black & white photographs, brew beer, adopt a cat, edit photos in Lightroom, launch a freelance career?

If you want to do any of these things, just enroll in the course. You have a 30-day money back guarantee if you don't like it. And I'm always improving my courses so that they stay up to date and the best that they can be. Check them out, and enroll today!


I've always tried to live life presently and to the fullest. Some of the things I love to do in my spare time include mountain biking, nerding out on personal finance, traveling to new places, watching sports (huge baseball fan here!), and sharing meals with friends and family. Most days you can find me spending quality time with my lovely wife and our cat.

In 2011, I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in Film and Television Production at Loyola Marymount University - one of the top 10 film schools in the country. While there, I was fortunate to make documentaries in Switzerland, Germany, Mexico, and India. After graduating, I worked at Participant Media shooting and editing short-form documentaries for their website TakePart. I followed that stint with a contract at Stanbridge College where I discovered online learning. I helped pioneer their online school there. Most recently, I spent 2 years working at University of California Berkeley with the media team. Throughout this time I built my Video School Online brand to teach others the skills that I have. In May of 2015, I left the 9-5 world to make my own path. Since then, I've made more money, worked fewer hours, and only have done the things I love each day.

I want to show you how to be a better creator, make money from your creations, and live the life you dreamed of.

Instructor Biography

Sam Shimizu-Jones, Cinematographer / Photographer

With a focus on cinematic beauty and human connection, Sam specializes in capturing peoples’ cultures and lifestyles. His affinity for traveling has led him to work on productions of all types and sizes across the United States, Western Europe, Central and South America. His travels abroad have taught him invaluable lessons in rural cinematography, multilingual interviews, and what it takes to capture stories while on the road.

Born and raised in the skateboard and surf culture of Santa Cruz, California, Sam found his passion for photography and filmmaking at a young age while making extreme sports videos with his friends. At Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television, he was educated in many aspects of filmmaking but focused on cinematography, directing, and documentary film.

Today, Sam looks to further explore the art of photography and new technologies of cinematography, expand his production company, Will Call Cinematic and continue to explore cultures around the world.

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Picture Perfect — How to Shoot Like the Pros

Context Is Key: Beyond the Frames of Famous Photos

We are all familiar with famous photographs of celebrities, artists, and athletes that show them in all their glory. But have you ever wondered what was going on behind the scenes? Artist Hannah Rothstein shows us that there is a story behind every image — just not the story you imagined...

Check out the tutorial below, where you’ll learn some of the skills used in the original powerhouse photos. Or you can really channel your inner Ansel Adams with an in-depth photography course, which breaks down the techniques used by famous photographers.

Not everyone can have the golden shutter skills of Annie Leibovitz or Robert Doisneau. But even if photography isn't your forte, there are a few simple tips you can follow to make each photo you take have maximum impact with minimal effort. Using the famous photos featured in the art above as examples, these tips will get you on the road to radder photos in no time.

  • Claim the
    Whole Frame

    No matter what your subject is, it needs to dominate the space. Instead of making Dali's face a small dot on a big background, the photographer got up close and personal with his subject, creating a photo that really grabs the attention.

  • In with
    the New

    In this classic photo, Ansel Adams shares a rare (at the time) image of a pine in Yosemite. Seek out the unnoticed and unusual as a subject for your photos. If you’re taking a shot of something ordinary, make your angle, composition or approach extraordinary.

  • Play
    with Patterns

    Create repeated motifs within your photo’s frame. In the Abbey Road photograph, a proliferation of triangular shapes gives the image a whimsical quality and a striking visual presence. The uniformity of the stance of the Beatles and the stripes in the street add visual interest and cohesion. (Need more proof? Check out the blinds in Hepburn photo.)

  • Compose Carefully

    The Rule of Thirds is used to create dynamism and energy in otherwise static images. This classic rule of composition breaks the frame into a 3x3 grid. Here, Adams’ image places main focal points at the intersection of the tri-part grid. Follow this guideline in your photos, and you’ll greatly up your photography ante.

  • Heads Up!

    When working with portraits, keep the faces toward the top of the frame, as exemplified in the Hepburn portrait. Placing heads at the top of the image uses space efficiently and draws our focus to the most engaging part of the image, the face.

  • Don't
    Say Cheese!

    The Dali and Hepburn photos demonstrate how intriguing an image can be when its subject isn’t captured with the obligatory smile. Candid expressions have power. See if you can capture your subjects in an authentic state.

  • Keep
    Backgrounds Basic

    When you cut out background visual noise, your focal image becomes stronger. How eye-catching would this Phelps photo be with lane buoys and spectators? What would the Dali image look like against a bookshelf or messy art studio? Part of what makes these photos stand out is the unity of the dominant image.

Photography Tutorial and Illustrated Photography developed by Hannah Rothstein for Udemy

Artist Bio:
Hannah Rothstein creates. Born with a contagious can-do attitude, Hannah tackles art through a limitless list of mediums. 98.921% of the time, her work focuses on finding clever, humorous ways to look at ordinary objects and ideas. Hannah currently lives in San Francisco. She has partnered with Udemy to share her creativity and in the Udemy spirit, teach others to do so as well. You can learn more about her work here.

Credit: Share to inspire but please respect this work and credit back to this page.