DSLR Photography Basics - From Auto to Manual | Evangelos Anagnostou | Skillshare

DSLR Photography Basics - From Auto to Manual

Evangelos Anagnostou, Filmmaker and Photographer

DSLR Photography Basics - From Auto to Manual

Evangelos Anagnostou, Filmmaker and Photographer

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13 Lessons (1h 3m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Course project

    • 3. How your camera works

    • 4. Exposure Settings

    • 5. Balancing Exposure

    • 6. Composition

    • 7. White Balance

    • 8. Focus modes

    • 9. Lighting

    • 10. Photo editing tips

    • 11. RAW vs JPEG

    • 12. Full Frame vs Crop Factor

    • 13. Conclusion

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About This Class

New to photography? Learn the basics, and take awesome pictures! 

Join the photographer  Evangelos Anagnostou (@evangelosang) as he analyses the very essentials of photography. Start loving the manual mode and take full control of your DSLR or mirrorless camera. You will learn how to balance the exposure triangle by selecting the right shutter speed, aperture, and iso settings. Discover the power of the composition and get creative with the course project! 

     Key Lessons Include:

  • How your camera actually works? 

  • How to choose the right camera settings? 

  • How to get sharp focus in every situation? 

  • How to set your white balance? 

  • Understanding the power of the natural light

  • How to get an eye-pleasing composition?

  • Photo editing tips, while I am editing 3 of my photos 

  • Why to shoot in RAW and when to shoot in JPEG 

  • When to buy a crop sensor camera and when a full-frame one? 

This class is perfect for : 

  • Beginner photographers that want to start their journey in Photography
  • Intermediate photographers who want to expand their knowledge and go the extra mile. 
  • You  that you just want to take better photos!

Meet Your Teacher

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Evangelos Anagnostou

Filmmaker and Photographer




Hello people, I am Evangelos!


Join in while I am teaching you :

1. DSLR Photography Basics - From Auto to Manual

2. How to create Minimalistic Instagram stories and promote them for success !

3. How to grow organically your Instagram and monetize your content 

4. How to Vlog! (Complete Guide)

Support me and use my link and get 2 months of Skillshare for free: 2MONTHSFREE 

I am a professional videographer and photographer based in London . I am passionate about directing, filming and editing my stories. I am making commercial videos for brands, while I am capturing people.  Besides that, I am an online marketer helping companies understand the power of s... See full profile

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1. Introduction: I'm going to teach you the basics of photography so you can take actually better pictures, and progress as a photographer. My name is Evangelos Anagnostou, and I'm a videographer and photographer who loves shooting people and landscapes. In today's course, we will discuss the basics of photography. From understanding how our camera works, we will be able to understand what is exposure, and how we can get the optimal exposure for a great picture. I really think that photography, it's not rocket science. It's not that difficult. Once you have figured out the basics, and with loads of practice, trial and error, you will be able to take awesome pictures. But let's have a throwback. That's me, a 14 years old kid, buying my first compact camera, and start documenting my life. At that time, my photos suck. I didn't know how to set my camera settings. I was shooting in auto mode, my composition was really bad, and I wasn't telling any story. It wasn't until I understood the basics of photography that I started to improve my photos. After exploring what is composition, and once I learned the technical stuff of photography, what is aperture, what is shatter speed, what is ISO, only then I started having creative control over my photos. The goal is that you must be the one who decides how your photos will turn out. Briefly now, in this course, we will find out how to pick the right camera settings for getting an optimal exposure, how to use manual and auto-focus successfully, what is white balance, and how we can adjust it. How to get a visually interesting composition, and in this part guys, we will have a cool course project. How to manipulate the light. Also, I'm going to give you some cool editing tips while I'm editing photos from scratch to finish. We will also find out why it's better to shoot in RAW, and when to shoot in JPEG, and if it's better to buy a full-frame camera or a crop factor one if you are just starting now. To conclude, this course is made for anyone who wants to improve their photography skills and actually be able to take better photos. Now, if you don't have a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, it's still fine. Your smartphone also works since the fundamentals or photography are the same for every camera. Let's celebrate photography. Let's get started. 2. Course project : It's time for our course project. I did the very same project back on 2018 when I was taking a photography course in the University of Lapland and this project guys helped me massively to compose my photos better so I highly recommend it to you as well. The project is to look at hard copies of magazines or newspapers that you already have available in your home. Find five photos that they are striking and inspires you cut them out with a scissor, stick them to the wall of your room, or paste them to your journal and it can be any type of photo, street photography, fashion, portraits, landscapes, architecture, anything that you like. Being able to watch daily some cool art that excites you, makes your brain familiar with the composition of these photos. That will help you subconsciously to apply this style of composition in your own photos as well. I think it's really important to see and feel once in a while some printed photography. Since these days, the majority of the photography that we interact with is in social media. Plus with this way you are creating a lovely art corner in your room. When you're done with the five photos, take a picture of that collage you just have created share it with me and the community by coming back in this course and posting this photo collage in the project section. Would love to give you my feedback. Feel free as the times goes by to expand your collage with new interesting photos. Go and impress me with your cards and your selections. I can't wait to see what you will come up with. 3. How your camera works: Let's explain quickly how a DSLR and how a mirror-less camera actually works. This is an important part because if you understand how your camera works, you can be a lot more creative with your photography. What does DSLR stand for? DSLR means Digital Single Lens Reflex camera. Digital because, it's a digital camera and we are not using film. Single lens because we just have one single lens in front of the central and then reflex because the light coming from the lens hits a mirror, bounces up into a prism, and then ends up in the viewfinder from where we can see precisely what the lens is seeing at that particular moment. Starting from the beginning, that's a camera body and that's a lens. Light enters the camera through the lens, then lenses have multiple glass elements that they can focus the light on the film, or in our case, on the camera sensor, which is positioned inside the camera body. Now, if you turn the zoom ring, then the glass elements of the lens are moving as well and that results to a change of magnification of what you are capturing. There is another ring on your lens, the focus ring and when you are making adjustments, other parts of your lens are moving that control what part of your photo are in focus. Now in the middle of the lens, there is another mechanism that is called aperture. Aperture has multiple blades that can open up or close down, allowing more or less light to enter into the camera sensor. When the aperture is wide open, then more light is entering and hitting the sensor from multiple different directions, creating a shallow depth of field on the other hand, when you are closing that aperture, less light is entering, hitting the sensor from one straight direction, creating a deeper depth of field but we will dive deeper in the next chapter, learning how aperture works and how it affects our photo creatively. Now when you are pressing the shutter button, then the mirror flips up allowing the light to continue its journey to the camera sensor. Right after the mirror is up, the shutter opens, exposing the sensor to the light. When the exposure is over, the shutter closes and the mirror moves back to the previous position, allowing us to look again through the viewfinder as we did before. In the final stage, the light is hitting the camera sensor and the projected image is recorded. A mirror-less camera now works with the exact same way, but there is no mirror between the camera lens and the camera sensor. Also, instead of the optical viewfinder we have within electronic viewfinder that uses the actual sensor in order to preview what we are going to capture. 4. Exposure Settings: The word Photography derives from the ancient Greek words phos or light and grapho or write. Photography means writing with light, while the art of writing, it's all about to tell a story with a good way. That's the gaze with photography as well. Instead of thinking this readable words about a story, we are choosing the right amount and the right quality of light so we can capture a great photo. Here comes the exposure. Exposure is the amount of light that reaches your camera's sensor. It determines how dark or how bright your photos will turn out and there are three main settings in your camera that affects the exposure, the aperture, the shutter speed and the ISO, to be honest, exposure is a confusing topic even for experienced photographers. Remember that we are not just trying to take a photo with a correct brightness because this thing can be done as well from our cameras when we're shooting in auto mode, we want to achieve a proper exposure but also at the same time, we are taking advantage of the secondary unique creative effects that the shutter speed and the aperture have. Our mission is to balance the shutter speed, the aperture and the ISO. The rest of the photo feels and looks good. Let's start with shutter speed. Shutter speed is the amount of time that the shutter remains open, exposing the camera sensor to light. We are measuring the shutter speed with seconds and the most common range of shutter speeds runs from 30 seconds up to one eight thousandth of a second. As we explain, when we are pressing the shutter button, the light is passing through the lens, the mirror is flipping up and the first shutter curtain is falling down, exposing our central to the light. This will happen for the amount of time that we chose by setting shutter speed. When the exposure is done, the second curtain is released to cover the sensor again. Let see and hear now together, how is to have a fast shutter speed. I will set my shutter speed to one four thousandth of a second. It's pretty fast. In this case, we are not allowing a lot of light to reach our sensor. Now I want to demonstrate how is to have a slow shutter speed. Let's set our shutter speed to two seconds. Let's hear this again. It's much slower so we are allowing lots of light to enter our camera sensor. Lets see now what is the secondary creative effect that shutter speed offers to a photo and this effect is to freeze or blur the motion. By using a fast shutter speed, we can freeze the motion without having any blur at all like this photographer who was able to freeze the moment using a fast shutter speed and catching this cheetah snap. From the other hand, using slow shutter speed, we can showcase motion blur on the moving parts of the scene that we are shooting. For example, these large trails needed a slow shutter speed in order to be captured. Now this diagram showcases the relation between shutter speed, light and motion. Using a fast shutter speed, less light is reaching the sensor and we are freezing the motion. Using a slow shutter speed now we are letting more light to reach our central but we are blurring the motion. Another thing that we can control with shutter speed is the camera shake. Even if we are trying to hold our camera stable to get the shot, there is always some subtle camera movement unless we are using the tripod. If you are getting a blurry pictures or when you are shooting handheld, then the solution is to increase the shutter speed. Have a faster shutter speed. I would recommend something like one hundred and fiftieth of a second in order to have a crisp result. An extra tip is that when you are shooting with a long focal length lens, like a telephoto lens, you should use an even faster shutter speed in order to avoid the camera shake. However, nowadays, many lenses have optical stabilization and some camera bodies, they have the technology that is called IBIS, like in body image stabilization, a technology that move the sensor inside the camera in order to compensate for the camera shake. Combining these methods of stabilization allows us to shoot with slower shutter speeds. Despite all these new image stabilization technologies, I highly recommend you to put your hands in your camera, play with your shutter speed settings and the different lenses that you have and then examine the photos that you are taking. Every camera is different and with different lenses creates different results. As we said, aperture of a lens is the opening through which light passes on its way to the sensor. By controlling the aperture we are controlling how much light is recorded on a photo. The larger the aperture, the more light is recorded, when the aperture is smaller then less light is reaching the sensor. Aperture is shown by the symbol F, F2.8, F3, F4, F6, F11, and if we actually examine a lens, we can see that by changing the aperture, opens up and closes, allowing more or less light to enter. One thing that causes a lot of new photographers confusion is that large aperture where lots of light gets through, have smaller F-stop numbers, where smaller aperture, where less light is getting through, have larger F-stop numbers. Now, except from light, aperture controls secondary and creatively the depth of field. Depth of field is the distance that is, sharp around your focus point. As you will see in the diagram, larger apertures results in a shallow depth of field, where less is sharp, while smaller apertures will result in greater depth of field where more is sharp. Let's see an example here. I took this photo with a wide 2.8 aperture and that's a small F-number creating a small, a shallow depth of field. You can see that the background is blurred and just our model is sharp, popping out of it. I took again the same picture but now with a larger F-number, F16, and you can see that we are getting a greater depth of field having our model and more of the background in focus. We can see that the fountain now is sharper. I see many new photographers shooting wide and going always for these broken photo. But I think that we should be creative and shoot it with the whole range of apertures especially in the beginning. For landscape photography, we are using smaller apertures with high F-numbers, usually from F13 up to F22, for example, just because we're needing focus everything from the foreground to the background. This is also called the storytelling apertures because we are revealing a lot of information in the picture that they can potentially tell a story. For street photography and moving subjects, I'm using middle apertures from seven approximately to 11. With this way, I have a safe medium depth of field and this gives me flexibility because more of my photo will be in focus. I have more chances that my subject will be in focus, and at the same time with this middle aperture, I can get also some blurry background. Finally, when we want to create isolation for our subject, we can shoot with a wide aperture with a small F-number like from F4 to F1.2 and with this way we are getting a shallow depth of field, which is really useful for portrait photography, for example. These technique is also handy when our background is ugly or destructive and we want to hide it. One rule that is not really popular is that your lens selection can impact the depth of field. The greater the magnification of the lens is the shallower the depth of field it creates and vice versa. This practically means that if you are shooting of the same subject with a 24 millimeter lens at F4 and with the 200 millimeter a telephoto lens. Again, at F4, you will get a shallower depth of field, you will get a more blurry background when you are shooting with a 200 millimeter lens. Let's now talk about ISO, the third factor that can affect our exposure. ISO describes the sensitivity of our camera sensor. ISO is represented by a number starting from ISO 100, a low ISO, and it can go as high as ISO 25,000 or in some cases even higher. The higher the ISO is, the more sensitive is essential, so our photo turns out brighter. For that reason, ISO can help you take photos in darker environments and be more flexible for your aperture and shutter speed settings. However, the light contribution of the ISO to the image comes with a cost, the digital noise, the more we are increasing the ISO, the more noisy, more grainy our picture will become. I took these pictures that they are showcasing. How by increasing the ISO, our image is getting more and more grainy and noisier. The general rule is that we should give the ISO as low as possible. You should only raise your ISO when you are not able to give brightness to your image by using aperture and shutter speed. Now that we have examined what shutter speed, aperture and ISO is, and how they are affecting our photos, let's now examine them all together. In the next lesson, we will see how we can balance the exposure triangle by combining these three elements. 5. Balancing Exposure: Since we have understand the elements of exposure; the shutter speed, the aperture and the ISO, understanding how we can balance the exposure comes naturally. The question now is, how do we know that the amount of light that entering the camera is optimal? Not too much, not too little? Well, the answer is with a light meter, almost all cameras nowadays have a light meter and we can see that on the top of the camera, on the monitor of the camera, and also in the viewfinder of the camera. When the indicator is on the left minus area, that means that we are underexposed. When it is on the right plus area, that means that we are overexposed, and when it is on the middle at zero, that means that our exposure is theoretically optimal. Light meter can do this by taking the brightest part of the scene and the darkest part of the scene, giving you the average. When your camera is in auto mode, it's using the light meter in order to give you pictures with proper exposure. However, our goal is to shoot in manual mode. Having a look at our light meter, we are picking the right amount of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO for our photo. But now on that step you must be wondering what is the right combination of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. Let's take it step-by-step. In the beginning, you have to ask yourself, what is the most important exposure element for the photo that you want to capture. Is it the shutter speed? Is it the aperture or is the ISO? Do I want to manipulate the motion with freezing or showing motion? Or I want to showcase the depth of field; shallow or greater depth of field? If the motion is more crucial to you, you will start by adjusting this other speed. From the other hand, when you want to highlight your depth of field, you will start by setting your aperture. Let's see now these decision-making process with real examples. I took this picture in central London, photographing the proposal of this sweet couple. I wanted the couple to be isolated from the background because I wanted the full attention on them. The guy's ready to reveal the ring and I am setting my camera to take this picture.Aperture is the first setting that matters to me. I will set it at 2.8, the widest on my lens. This gives the photo a lot of light, and at the same time, a shallow depth of field. The photo is still dark because the sun have just set. I'm making this other speed slower, setting it at one to hundredth of a second. This allows more light to be captured and at the same time, I'm freezing the motion, avoiding as well, the camera shake. Now I still need more light, but I have maxed out my aperture. Also, I cannot use slower shutter speed because then I will have unwanted motion blur in my picture. To get the proper exposure now, I will increase the ISO a little bit, I'm going to set the ISO at 400 ISO. The indicator in the light meter is on the middle now, my exposure is balanced, so I'm pressing the shutter button to capture the shot. Let's balance together now, one more picture. Our model is walking out of the sea and the waves are hitting the shore. There is motion in this shot and we want to freeze it. That's why we are setting first our shutter speed. We will set it at one-five thousandth of a second. Using a fast shutter speed freezes the action and is giving us a sharp image. However, we are not allowing a lot of light to hit the central because the shutter speed is really fast, so we need more light. Then we will set the aperture at 3.2, a relatively wide aperture that allows lots of light to hit the sensor. It will also separate the subject from the background and the foreground. Finally, since the light meter shows that we already have a balanced exposure, we will set the ISO at 100. We don't need any more light. Remember that we are using the ISO only as a last resort. That's guys, the mindset on balancing the exposure, consider what's the most important for your shot to control motion or depth of field. Accordingly set the shutter speed or the aperture first and the ISO in the end, as a last resort, if you want to add more light to the shot. 6. Composition: Let's now talk about the composition of your photos. Composition is simply how you arrange the elements in your frame. Composition is really crucial because it's a way of guiding your viewer's eyes towards the most important elements of your photo. A good composition can make a brilliant picture even out of an ordinary subject in a plain environment. On the other hand, a bad composition can ruin a photo despite how interesting the subject can be. When it comes to composition, it is something hard to teach, and it takes a long time to learn. It has a subjective nature, and most of the time there is no right or wrong composition. Everything is open for interpretation. Let's now talk about some compositional concepts and tips that they can improve dramatically your photos. In the first place, it's important to move your camera. Every photograph has two key factors; the position of the subject and the deposition of the photographer which is the same with the position of the viewer. Now if you change one of these, you're changing how your shot feels, and what story it tells. Always take your shots from different positions and try different angles. If you make just one step in the side, may be a beautiful shape will be revealed on the background, and then maybe this thing will complement your overall shot. Also, think carefully about what angle you will use. This is a really powerful way to determine what do you want your viewers to think and feel when they see your shot. Shooting from above the eye level of your subject can make your subject feel vulnerable or weak, but also can make the viewer feel really powerful. The viewer is a privilege observer and not a part of the scene. However, if you shoot from the eye level, you are part of the scene. You are familiar with your subject and you feel close with your subject. A shot that is taken below the eye level of the subject creates the impression that the viewer is looking at them from a lower perspect. This type of shot can give the impression to the viewer that the subject is more powerful, heroic, or even dangerous. Another interesting concept is the Rule of Thirds. Rule of Thirds originates from painting and was invented by the English painter Joshua Reynolds. Reynolds refers to the Rule of Thirds as a general principle for the balance of light and dark in an artwork. It will later be transformed into the grid system that we know today. The Rule of Thirds states that any photo should be broken into a grid, with two vertical and two horizontal lines creating nine equally proportioned boxes. Then you should place the important elements of your shorts on the lines or at their intersections. This results in dynamic, interesting compositions that draws the viewer's eyes across the scene. Another tip for when you are applying the Rule of Thirds is that you should give your subject space to look to or move to into the scene, because this way, it feels a lot more natural. In general, it's extremely important to consider how your photo feels like a whole. Rule of Thirds doesn't look good all the time. Sometimes your subject maybe look better on the center, and some other times your photo could turn out to be empty and unbalanced if you don't counterbalance it. One more thing that can also improve your composition is to pay attention to the edges. Always watch the borders of your frame. Try not to cut people in half when they are on the edges. Try not to cut buildings, trees, and other parts of the body. These feels abnormal and can distract the viewer from the main subject. The next technique of composition that I want to talk about is leading lines. Leading lines are one of the most simplest ideas in composition, but also one of the most powerful. That's because we are using elements within our environment to create a visual pathway that leads our viewers eyes to the main subject. The world around us is full of lines and we should exercise our brains and our eyes in order to distinguish them and implement them in our photos. For example, this road is not a concrete structure, but rather a series of parallel lines that they guide the viewer's eye to the mountains in the background. Again, all these lines in this sky fire room are leading successfully to the model. Another important thing is that leading lines are more effective when they are diagonal lines or curving lines, because these kind of lines can break the square format of your photos and they help the viewer's eye to cross the entire frame, making your photo more powerful. One more powerful compositional strategy is to fill the frame. If your shot is in danger of losing impact because the background is busy and noisy, crop around from your main point of focus. Doing so, you are eliminating your background so all of the attention goes on your main subject. This can work well with portraits when you're trying to capture something more intimate. Now, we will do the exact opposite of filling the frame. We will live a lot of negative space. Leaving a lot of empty negative space around your subject can be very visually interesting, creating a sense of minimalism and simplicity. Using the compositional technique of negative space, we can create a photo that feels dramatic leading our viewer's eyes to the smaller area, to the positive space area where our main subject is. Leave negative space and don't be afraid to remove distracting elements from your frame. In conclusion, when it comes to mastering your composition, I think that it's really important to get inspired by the work of other photographers. Doing our course project will make you gradually familiar with the kind of the composition that excites you because having those photos constantly around you will give you a lot of opportunities for seeing them. I would also advise you to start one compositional technique at a time and then go out and shoot and re-shoot it, this composition that you're studying currently, and then move to other compositions. Focus on something, master it and then continue with something else. 7. White Balance: So what exactly is white balance? To answer this, we need first to explain what color temperature is. First of all, every light source has a color. For example, a sunset is warm and golden, while a rainy day is bluish and cold. The artificial lights on our homes have different other color temperatures. Some lights can be cooler, closer to blue, and other can be warmer closer to orange. That guides the color temperature. It is measured in Kelvin and it ranges between 2,000 Kelvin to 10,000 Kelvin. With 10,000 Kelvin the warmest and with 2,000 Kelvin the coldest, and with daylight temperature being somewhere in the middle at 5,500 Kelvin, but why we need the white balance? Well, if you're appointing your camera at a white surface that is reflecting bluish light, your eyes can see it as a white surface, but your camera sees it as bluish light. This happens because our eyes can adapt in the varying colors of light in a process that we don't even realize is happening. From the other hand, we have to tell to our cameras, at what light they are looking at. That's because they can only record the actual wavelength of light, hitting the essential. In short, white balance is the process of balancing the temperature of the colors in our camera so it can represent light as accurately as it seems in real life. If a photo is too warm, your camera will cool down the picture by adding more blue. If your photo is too cold, the camera will warm up the image by adding more orange. Most of the times I have my white balance set it up to auto mode because it's doing a good job. However, when we want to have the full control or when we are photographing or filming places with multiple light sources with different color temperature, then we have to help our cameras and set the white balance manually. In every camera there is the white balance menu with the Kelvin scale where we can set the white balance manually by selecting the exact Kelvin number that we want to shoot with. There are also the preset options like the daylight, the shade, the cloudy, the tungsten light. However, there are no fixed rules of how we must set our white balance. There is not any obligation for documenting the colors with exact temperature. So for example, if we're photographing a sunset, we can increase, actually the white balance and the sunset will appear even more warmer, golden, nicer. Don't forget that photography is an art and we can break any rules if these things help us to tell our stories better. 8. Focus modes: Let's now talk about focus modes. Depending on what you're photographing, you need to use a different focus mode. In short, there are two types of focus modes; the auto focus and the manual focus. With the auto focus, we're telling to the camera processor to focus the lens for us, while with the manual focus, we are doing the same process by ourselves. Personally, most of the times I'm using auto focus because nowadays auto focus is really accurate and reliable. However, manual focus comes handy when I'm shooting video and I want the full control of the focus manually to control it with my hands and be really precise and also when we're photographing in low light situation, then the auto focus most of the times can't hold really well, and then we use again the manual mode. For example, I found really handy the manual focus when I took this astrophotography, northern lights photo. It was really dark and I had to do four retakes, focusing and refocusing manually, until I have the stars in that focus. Now let's examine a little bit of more of the auto focus mode. We can either select the one-shot single auto focus mode or the Servo continuous Autofocus mode for continuous focusing. Every manufacturer calls it a little bit differently, but they all do basically the same function. One-Shot or single Autofocus means that you lock your focus and as long as you are half pressing the shutter button, the focus point is not going to move, it locks. This mode is perfect for static subjects like when you're shooting, state portraits, for example. Because if you want to recompose your shot, you can keep half pressing the shutter button and move your camera without losing focus. However, be careful because if the model that you are shooting moves even a little bit forward or backward, then you are in danger of losing the focus, and then you have to focus again. From the other hand, with Servo or continuous Autofocus mode, as long as you are half pressing the shutter button, the focus is going to move continuously and you're tracking your subject. So you can use this mode when you are shooting action or sports, or kids playing around or wildlife. Basically, in every situation that you need to track your subject. 9. Lighting: Let's now talk about lighting. Lighting is a huge complicated topic that we won't analyze it deeply in this course. My goal here is to give you some insights and guidance in terms of light. So you can be more confident to go out, see light better, understand light and maximize its potential. Light is vital for photography because we felt like there is no photo. The kind of light source of your photographs will affect their character and their mood. Generally, we can categorize the light to natural light and the artificial one. In this case, in this course, we will stick to the natural light for many reasons. Because firstly, it's free, the sun is abundant and very easy to find. You don't have to buy extra equipment, lights, fluxes, et cetera. The other reason that I want you to concentrate on natural light is because it gives us variety. Taking the same photo during the golden hour and during the noon, will give you completely different results and then because it just really feels good and natural. It's a really gentle light. Natural light is any light that is created by the sunlight. Ambient light, now, it's considered natural light as well. It's the light, for example, in our houses, coming through the window. In order to understand better than natural light, we will examine its attributes and how these attributes affect our photos. We will point out four attributes of light; the temperature, the direction, the intensity, and the quality of light. Let's start with temperature. As we discussed on the white balance lesson, the light's temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale from the cooler bluish end of the spectrum to the warmer orange one. Color temperature changes throughout the day depending on the time of the day and the amount of clouds in the sky. At dawn, the sky appears light-blue. At sunset, the sky appears orange and at dusk, the sky appears violet blue. The intensity of light, it's a measure of its brightness and determines how much light there is on a photo. You can estimate how intense is the light based on the balance between the shadows, the darker areas of your image, and the highlights, the lighter areas of your image. The gap between the highlights and shadows is what we call contrast. Light is more intense in the mid-day when the sun faces the subject overhead. Pictures taken that time of the day, mostly have high contrast and strong shadows. However, if we try to take pictures in the morning or in the afternoon, they will not be that contrasting. When it comes to quality, light can be hard and direct or soft and diffused. The smaller the light source is, the harder the quality. As the light source spreads and becomes bigger, the quality of the light becomes softer. Another thing that affects the quality of light is the distance between the light source and the subject. In the midday, because the sun is closer to the earth, the light is more hot and direct while in the morning or in the afternoon, the light is much softer. Let's now talk about the direction of the light. The direction of the light changes because of the sun's movement. Since the sun is below the horizon at the dawn and dusk, almost horizontal at sunset and sunrise, and it is high and vertical at midday, photographing at this completely different times of the day, produces completely different photos. Look, for example, this huge shadows that we can have only when the sun is setting. In conclusion, there is not bad and good light. The light is either suitable or not suitable for you. For finding the best light that you can get, if you just have to determine the kind of images that you want to create, then just decide what time of the day can help you taking those amazing pictures that you have on your mind. 10. Photo editing tips: Let's now edit together. Photo editing is also important because it determines how your photo will look in the end. Editing is a great way to set yourself apart and differentiate your work from the work of the other photographers. We can say that the with editing, you are creating emotions with colors. I really think that with editing, you can amplify the message of your story. There is not right and wrong edit, but generally, a good philosophy for editing is that your final result should be look natural. If somebody immediately thinks that your photos look fake, then maybe there is a problem unless you want the colors to look overprocessed. For this case, I'm going to use Adobe Lightroom in order to edit, to recreate two of my photos. If you don't have the Lightroom, it's still fine because the majority of the photo editing programs have the same basic functions. Here we are, I want to edit those two photos. I'll open Lightroom and then I'm going to file and create a new catalog. Let's name it, letsedit, and let's create it. If we go to the desktop, a new folder, letsedit is created and in this folder I kept all the information, all the changes that we are going to make in our new Lightroom catalog. Let's now go back in Lightroom and let's drag and drop our two photos inside the program. Click the import now and now our photos are imported in Lightroom. I took this photo in Rhodes Greece in the Anthony Quinn beach while I was photo shooting these cruise boat. I took this picture in London behind the St Paul Cathedral while I was doing a fashion photo shooting. Let's start with this one. This one was a challenging shot because my assistant who would light up the model, couldn't make it that day. The background, the cathedral is much brighter than my model, but I am deciding anyway to take that shot. I'm setting my exposure in a way that I can give as much light as I can in my model while in the same time, I am not overexposing completely. I'm not burning my background. Enough said, let's fix this photo together and let's go to develop. Here in the develop mode, we will spend the majority of our editing time since I rarely use this map, book, slideshow print, and web sections. In this right-hand sidebar, there are the post-processing sliders where we are making our edits. Before starting to change your main sliders like the exposure, the contrast, the highlights, the shadows, the whites, go down in the lens correction sections here. Click remove chromatic aberration and find the lens that you shot this picture, for me it was the Tamron SP 24-70 millimeter and with this way you are eliminating the drawbacks of that particular lens, the distortion and the more things. Now, as we said with this method, we are eliminating completely the vignetting and if we want more vignetting, it's good to come back in the end of the edit and add it manually by moving this slider. Continuing now with the basic edits, we're going all the way up and here we can see the temperature that it sets that warmth of color in your image from colder to warmer, but we will change the temperature with another way later in this edit. I will leave the exposure at zero, the contrast at zero, then I will decrease my highlight so I can fix a bit my overexposed background. I will increase my shadows at approximately 60, so this way am giving dynamic raids in my image. I will increase now my whites by 10, and then I will also increase a bit my blacks, let's say 10. Hitting this last button, we can see that before and if we hit it again, we can return to where we are right now. We can say that there is already a big difference in our photo, but let's continue the editing. Let's now increase just a little bit the clarity by let's say 5, and let's leave the vibrance and the saturation at zero for now. In this step we will use the crop and straighten tool so we can change the aspect ratio and the angle of our photo. In this case, I don't want to change my aspect ratio because it will change completely my composition, and I don't want that so I will leave it as shot. But then in the angle we can change it manually or better we can just hit the auto and then it fix the angle automatically, then click done. Now I want the colors to pop a bit so I'll increase just a little bit, the vibrance, something like 10 and I'm not doing this with saturation because it's a lot more flattering if we do that with vibrance. I would recommend you to play with saturation only when you want to make your photo black and white. Here is the tool of tone curve that represents all the tones of your image. By adding these points, you can manipulate your tone curve with different results. However, take care of not overdo it because you can have some crazy results. In this scenario, I'm not going to do anything with tone curve since the photo is already recovered because I had over exposure. I don't have that much room for make changes in the tone curve. At that point, we can see that our model still needs a little bit more light in order to be balanced with the exposure of the rest of the photography. We need to do a partial change and we will use the Radial Filter, this one here, we click it. Then we will try to create a circle and then move the circle down. Notice that if you hit the zero, this red thing can go away and this is just an indicator on where you are applying the effect. We will make more narrow the circle, turn it a little bit, move it, make it taller, wider. Let's increase the exposure in that particular red area, let's say by 0, 38 and we can see here in the navigator how this affects our photo. If we zoom now we can see that our model is much more lighten up. But I still need to light her up in her face, so I will click again in the Radial Filter and I will add a circle right in her face. I'm trying to match the circle with her face. That looks good. I will increase here the exposure with 032, for example. Let's also increase the sharpness by eight. Click "Done" and see its much better. One tip here is to not overdo it with a radial filter because it can look really abnormal. Now, I want to make my photo a little bit more deer by taking some light out of the sky and make it darker. In this case, I will use the graduated filter here and I will draw a line and then turn the line and again in this redish area I will apply my effect. Increasing and decreasing this line makes the filter more or less gradual. Let's leave it somewhere here. Let's make it straight. Again, if you look at the navigator, you can see the result. Here is the overexposed and here is the underexposed. Let's decrease it as we set the exposure just by minus 036. Let's also decrease the highlights by minus 21. Hit "Done" and you can see that difference now. Let's now move on the HSL. HSL stands for Huge Saturation in the Luminance. Hue deals with the actual color tones of the image, like shifting color tones to a different tonal range. Saturation deals with the power or the saturation of a specific color, while luminance deals with the brightness of a certain color. For this picture, I would like to change the hue of blue and make it something like minus 20, not too much. I will increase just a little bit the luminance by five. We can see here how the color tone of her clothes has changed just because of the hue. Let's now move to the red color. We can see that the construction is mostly redish and let's increase the luminance. Let's make it 60. That looks good. Now, once in a while I highly recommend you to hit the L button one time and one more, two times, so you can see undistracted, what do you have created so far. Now we will use the split toning so we can adjust the white balance of only the highlights or the shadows. That's a great creative tool because it creates a film look. Basically now I will increase my saturation to the fullest so I can see the full effect of the split toning. Then I will select my hue and let's go for this lovely yellow. Then of course now I will decrease my saturation, something like this. Let's now end our edit with adding a little bit of vignetting that draw our eyes to the center. I will also now increase just a little bit the grain so I can enhance this film look. Let's go up again in the basic sliders and let's maybe increase just a little bit more the shadows. That looks good. If we hit it now this last button we can see the before and the after, and I think that difference is obvious. I'm happy. Let's go and edit our next photo. Let's now edit this picture. In my eyes, it already looks good, but we will do some minor adjustments to make it even better. Let's start with a crop and straighten tool, and then let's move the angle a little bit so we can make the composition even more dynamic. Hit the enter. Let's see what we can do with the temperature. I think I would like it a little bit warmer. The exposure is fine. Let us now reduce the highlights because we can see here in the boat that it's a little bit overexposed. By dragging down the highlights we are removing a little bit of light. Let's increase a little bit the shadows to give more dynamic grains. Let's leave the whites like that and let's increase the black slightly. I will increase the clarity by eight and then I will use the vibrance to make the colors pop a little bit. Just a bit, something like six. That's fine. We won't mess up with the tone curve. Going now to the HSL, I want to change the colors of the sea and make them just like that, minus 25, it's fine. Now I will increase a little bit the saturation at something like 15, and the luminance at something like 20. I won't mess up with the split toning because I already like the temperature of the photo. Going down to the lens corrections, I will remove the chromatic aberration but I will not enable any profile corrections because I'm already happy with the result. Now, I will go up again in the hue actually and I will check again the hue because I think it looks a little bit fake the water. I want to decrease less the hue at something like 13. Yeah, I think that looks better. Now in this step, I want to make the red a little bit less powerful. I will go to the red and I will decrease the saturation and I will increase slightly the luminance. Now, I still think that the boat is a little bit overexposed. I will use this tool, the adjustment brush, and of course I will increase the size so I can cover the boat and we drag it. I will actually paint with this brush the boat and then I will make it a little bit smaller to reach this part here. Now I will decrease just a little bit the highlights and just a little bit the exposure, just minus ten, nothing too much. It looks better. Now, I want to focus a little bit more on these people here and here, and I want to make them a little bit more clear. I will use again the adjustment brush. I will mark them and I will increase slightly the clarity, let's say 35, click "Done". Let's hit now this last button to see the before and now the after. I'm really happy and I am going to export this photo. Bingo, we are ready. That was guys the process of editing my pictures. Remember there is no right and wrong edit. However, take care of not overediting your photos so they don't look fake. 11. RAW vs JPEG: RAW versus JPEG, what's the difference? Both of them have their advantages and disadvantages. But let's find out what is better for you. Most likely, JPEG will be your cameras default format because the manufacturer don't want to bother the beginner photographer with the extra steps of photo editing. JPEG is processed inside the camera and then it's completely ready to be used. You can post the photo right away in social media, you can print it and you can use it however you want. When you are shooting in JPEG, the camera adds blocks, contrast, noise reduction, sharpness, and then it enter the photo file into a JPEG, a compressed JPEG. Why it's already processed? You don't have a lot of flexibility to edit furthermore your photo and make changes. A great advantage of JPEG format is that it's much smaller from the RAW one. Most of the times, JPEG is three times smaller and that means that you can save a lot of space on your memory cards and on your hard drives. Also, you can shoot a lot more photos in burst mode before your memory buffer is full. Let's talk now about RAW format. Well, when you shoot in a RAW, you are capturing almost all the information from the sensor. So you are done with your shooting, you are transferring your files into the computer, and you will find out that the RAW files are flat and dark and you cannot use them right away. You cannot print them and you cannot upload them to your social media. You have to edit them first. That's also the biggest advantage of a RAW file. You are able to process a RAW images in many ways. You're required to use a photo editing application like the Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, so you can edit your RAWs and then finally export them to JPEG files. Shooting RAW gives you a higher quality image and greater flexibility when you are editing. Also with RAW, you are getting wider dynamic range and color gamut. For highlight and shadow recovery now, when you have over or under exposed a photo, the RAW file can do a great job. But let's test this thing together. I took this photo shooting in both RAW and JPEG formats and I overexpose it intentionally. Then, I tried to fix both of them. As you can see, I was able to recover my overexposed RAW file but not my JPEG file. The difference is huge and that's the magic of shooting in RAW. What I am personally doing is that I am always shooting in RAW. While there is no question for my client work, I'm shooting in RAW even when I'm shooting for friends and family. That's because you never know when you will get an amazing shot that you will want to edit it furthermore. The only situation that I'm shooting in JPEG is when I want to deliver the photos instantly, in a live competition for example. If you also sometimes need to shoot in JPEG, makes sure that you are using the correct white bottom settings and the correct exposure because then you will be limited in the post-production. 12. Full Frame vs Crop Factor: Full-frame versus crop factor. What are the difference between the full-frame sensors and the crop factor sensors? But what is full-frame? The term full-frame refers to the sensor size that has the same dimensions as the 35 millimeter film format from the pre-digital late, while the 35-millimeter film format has been the standard in film industry since 1909 due to its balance in cost and image quality. From the other hand, a crop factor sensor is every other sensor that is smaller than the 35 millimeter full-frame camera sensor. Common types of crop sensors are the APS-C and the Micro four-thirds sensor. Let us now examine the other differences between a full-frame camera sensor and the crop factor camera sensor, aside from their differences in physical size. A major difference is the field of view. Full frame cameras have a larger field of view. If you take a photo from the same distance with the same lens, with a full-frame camera and the with a crop factor one, the crop sensor camera will capture a tighter field of view. But let's see that in practice. I used my 50 millimeter lens on my full-frame camera, taking a photo of this sprayer. Then I attached the very same 50 millimeter lens on the crop sensor camera and I found out that the full-frame camera is indeed giving me a larger field of view. Also in general, a full-frame camera can provide a better low-light performance. With the full-frame sensor being bigger than the crop one, that also means that each individual pixel in the full-frame sensor will be also bigger. While in a crop sensor, manufacturers have to fit the same amount of pixels in a much smaller area, and this will possibly lead in more digital noise in challenging lighting circumstances. However, as technology advances, we are seeing crop factor cameras that they can handle digital noise better in low light conditions. Another advantage of a full-frame camera is that it will have a shallower depth of field than a crop factor camera. Shallow depth of field means, as we said, that we will have a photo with Boca, with a blurred background. That happens because in order to reach a set and field of view unit, the lens with a longer focal length when we are using full frame cameras. From the other side, using a crop factor camera can be very effective for telephoto photography and that's because we are gaining extra reads from the crop sensor multiplier. A 50 millimeter lens on a full frame camera gives a 50 millimeter field of view, but the same 50 millimeter lens on a crop factor body will give us 50 times 1.5 is 75 millimeters field of view. This can be very useful when you are shooting sports, wildlife, photojournalists, and generally, what do you want to get closer to your subject. Another advantage of a high-end crop factor camera is that it can provide similar quality with a full frame one at a cheaper price. In conclusion, there is not only one answer in the question, should I buy a full-frame or a crop factor camera? I would advise beginners to start with a crop sensor camera. The entry level models are cheaper, lightweight, and you can still take some great photos. Learn camera and make the most of it before you consider upgrading to a full-frame model. However, if you want more pro features, better ergonomics, and better overall performance, then you should choose a full-frame model. 13. Conclusion: Congratulations, you have made it to the end of the course. Now that we have talked about the exposure elements, the lighting, the composition, and generally the basics, you have a solid base that you can work on top of it. Now it's time for you to go out and shoot and reshoot and see your photos and publish them, share your photos, get feedback, and then improve them. Print your photos, stick them to the wall, give them as a gift, and also, of course, be inspired by other photographers. That's the only way guys that you can improve as a photographer. For me, it was super fun to work on this project and I hope that you enjoyed too. Also, don't forget to do your project, make your collage, share it with us, get inspired, and inspire us. If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them. Also, I would really appreciate to give me your feedback and leave a review for this course. It really helps this way, its credibility to grow. Thank you guys for taking this class. Take care, keep shooting, and see you soon.