Improve your Photography

Learn why AUTOMATIC mode can fail, and how to use MANUAL mode to TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR CAMERA.
3.7 (26 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a
course's star rating by considering a number of different factors
such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the
likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
438 students enrolled
Take This Course
  • Lectures 23
  • Length 1.5 hours
  • Skill Level Intermediate Level
  • Languages English
  • Includes Lifetime access
    30 day money back guarantee!
    Available on iOS and Android
    Certificate of Completion
Wishlisted Wishlist

How taking a course works


Find online courses made by experts from around the world.


Take your courses with you and learn anywhere, anytime.


Learn and practice real-world skills and achieve your goals.

About This Course

Published 12/2014 English

Course Description

Designed for photographers who are using their camera's 'automatic' settings and are ready to progress to full manual control. You may be just starting out, in which case it’s a great idea to learn all about manual skills straight away - or you may have been using your camera for a while and getting great results on automatic ninety percent of the time. This course will help you fix that elusive ten percent that’s not currently working out the way you want!

The lectures in this course are clear, concise, and short! They're designed to give you maximum information in the shortest possible time - for people who want to improve their photography in a short space of time.

You’re going to learn how to set shutter speed, aperture, ISO and white balance as well as how to choose the correct lens and settings to control sharpness.

You'll finish this course with a much greater understanding of exposure and the skills to override your camera's automatic settings to improve your images.

Main areas covered by this course:

Relationship between shutter/aperture/ISO

Light readings - Incident and reflected

18% grey card readings

Depth of field and how to control it

Why the ‘auto’ settings on your camera sometimes fail

Lighting - Backlit subjects, reflectors, fill in flash.

When is auto best?

Colour temperature and White balance settings

Focus – manual or auto?

How to ‘get it right’ in camera rather than photoshop.

What are the requirements?

  • You will need to own or have access to a camera that has full manual control.
  • It doesn't have to be a full DSLR as many compact cameras and hybrid models also boast full manual modes.
  • A separate flashgun is useful for part of the course but not essential.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • Confidently use "manual" mode on your camera.
  • Understand exposure and the relationship between shutter/aperture/ISO
  • Know how to create the "correct" exposure in different situations.
  • Select the correct lens and aperture to blur or retain background detail.
  • Get the maximum quality from their own camera/lens combinations.
  • Balance the light using flash/reflectors to obtain a well exposed photograph.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is for photographers who are primarily using their cameras in one of the 'automatic' modes.
  • It's for photographers who get the shot 80% of the time... but don't know why the other 20% is wrong.
  • For photographers who let the camera do the work, but know that they could improve their images if they take full control.
  • Photographers who already use manual mode and are looking for advanced techniques should not take this course.

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 "Take Control of Your Camera" course

Switching your camera from its automatic settings to full manual control will help to take your photography to the next level.

The topics covered include:

  • Getting your exposure right.
  • The relationship between Shutter speed, iso and aperture.
  • Depth of field
  • White balance

This course will increase your photo success rate in tricky situations which you'll be able to handle with ease.

Section 2: Module 1 - Exposure

Module 1 is all about the basics of exposure:

  • Shutter speeds, iso settings and apertures - what are they?
  • How does your camera measure the light
  • Why does it sometimes get it wrong?

These are the core skills that once mastered will remain with you for ever.


Exposure - or how bright/dark and image is. The three factors that affect are...

  • Shutter speed
  • Aperture
  • iso setting

At the end of this lecture you'll understand what each one is, and why you need it.


Cameras have lots of 'automatic' modes, but they're all based around the four basic settings of:

  • P - Program mode
  • A - Aperture priority mode
  • S - Shutter priority mode
  • M - Manual

This lecture will outline the differences between them, and why each may be useful to you.


How does your camera know what exposure to set? This lecture will cover...

  • Reflective and Incident light metering - what's the difference
  • 18% Grey scale cards
  • Why does automatic sometimes fail in bright light or dark conditions?

You'll learn through practical demonstration why your cameras automatic modes can be fooled.


How do the three factors that determine exposure interact with each other?

  • Opening the aperture by one f-stop doubles the amount of light for the exposure.
  • Halving the iso sensitivity makes the exposure half as bright.
  • Doubling the shutter speed (i.e. 1 second to 2 seconds) makes the exposure twice as bright.

You'll learn about the linear way in which aperture, shutter speed, and iso work so that you'll be able to change them in conjunction with each other to maintain a correct exposure level.


A practical demonstration of exposure compensation and how it can be used to improve automatic modes, then a switch over to full manual mode! You'll see how there are several ways to achieve the correct exposure using different combinations of aperture, shutter and iso settings on your camera.


You may have seen the 'histogram' feature on your camera and wondered what it's all about! Well, wonder no more - This lecture will show you what it's for and how, together with something called 'flashing highlights', it can be used to check your exposure in tricky lighting situations.

12 pages

A slideshow summary of the main points covered in Module 1 - Exposure

Section 3: Module 2 - Lens choice and controlling sharpness

Getting the exposure right is important.... but you've also got to make sure that the right parts of your photo are as sharp, or as blurred, as you want. This module will show you how!


Why do photographers need so many lenses? What does focal length mean?

At the end of this lecture you'll know why you choose different lenses for different situations and how the 'focal length' relates to different angles of view.


Autofocus is great! But there's different settings... so which should you use?

At the end of this lecture you'll understand the different settings, and know which to choose for each photo.


How much of your photo is sharp? How much do you want to be sharp? That's the Depth of Field.

It's a powerful tool which enables you to draw attention to, or away from, different areas of your photo.

At the end of this lecture you'll understand how Depth of Field can be used creatively when shooting.


Three factors affect depth of field:

  • The size of the sensor in your camera
  • The focal length of the lens you're using
  • The aperture your using to shoot the photo

At the end of this lecture you'll know which factors you can control, and their effect on Depth of Field.

3 pages

The Hyperfocal distance is a simple, but often misunderstood, concept that once mastered is an incredibly useful tool when trying to maximise sharpness within an image. This simple slideshow graphic explains the concept in a way that makes it accessible to all photographers.


A practical demonstration of how Depth of Field can be controlled by selecting different apertures.

At the end of this lecture you'll understand exactly what a different the choice of aperture can make to the Depth of Field in your photos. You'll understand the zone of sharpness and how it can be positioned within your photos by selecting the correct aperture and focus point.

8 pages

A slideshow summary of the main points in Module 2 - Lens Choice and Controlling Sharpness

Section 4: Module 3 - Balancing Light and Colour

Light! It's all about light! This module will show you how to control light, particularly in a backlit situation when your camera can easily be fooled.

You'll also learn how to set the correct white balance on your camera to achieve the result that you want.


Balancing light in a backlit situation is a skill thats vital to learn. This lecture is a practical demonstration of how to control the light using a reflector to achieve a balanced exposure using backlighting from a window.


You've probably seen professional photographers using their flashguns outdoors, and wondered why. Chances are, they were using a technique called fill flash, or fill-in flash. This is a practical demonstration of how to use fill flash when your subject is illuminated from behind.


Why do colours change in your photos when you use different lighting? It's all to do with the white balance setting on your camera. This is a practical demonstration of how you can match the white balance setting to the light source, and what happens to the colour when you don't!

6 pages

A slideshow summary of the main points covered in Module 3 - Balancing Light and Colour

Section 5: Next Steps
The next steps in your photography training...
2 pages

Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed

  • Loading
  • Loading
  • Loading

Instructor Biography

Paul Cooper, Photographer at Bailey Cooper. Director of Qualifications at Master Photographer's Association.

Since founding his own photography business in 1995 Paul has gained many awards - including the top accolades of UK Photographer of the Year from the Master Photographer's Association AND from the British Institute of Professional Photography.

Paul has served as the Commercial Sector Chairman of the MPA/BIPP's qualification team and has previously received a Presidential Award from the MPA for his services to the Photographic Industry. As a result his work is marketed worldwide and he is in regular demand as a photographic speaker and judge both in the UK and internationally.

Paul shoots commercial images for advertising and packaging, press and PR images for the newspaper and magazine industry, and lots of 'people' shots: Fashion shoots, corporate portraits, and family groups are all undertaken with the same flair and creativity that stems from Paul's passion for photography.
In 2011/2012, Paul was elected National President for the Master Photographer's Association - a title that he was honoured to receive. Currently, Paul is the MPA's Chairman of Qualifications for Associate and Fellowship submissions. He was also delighted to be asked to undertake the role of Chairman at the BIPP's 'Open' competition judging for 2013, and was presented with an Honorary Fellowship from the Master Photographer's Association in 2014.

Ready to start learning?
Take This Course