The Camera Workshop - For DSLR Beginners | Tori Aaker | Skillshare

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The Camera Workshop - For DSLR Beginners

teacher avatar Tori Aaker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Camera Workshop - Welcome Video

    • 2. Camera Workshop - Why Manual Mode

    • 3. Camera Workshop - Camera Zones

    • 4. Camera Workshop - Aperture

    • 5. Camera Workshop - Shutter Speed

    • 6. Camera Workshop - ISO

    • 7. Camera Workshop - White Balance

    • 8. Camera Workshop - Extras

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About This Class

But you don't know how to use it. The settings are overwhelming and when you try to figure it out, the photos don't look good. 

The Camera Workshop is a simple online course that teaches you to to confidently take beautiful photos, in an instant. 

Your teacher Tori Aaker, spent 8 years as a full-time portrait and wedding photographer. She started out just like you, and taught herself how to use the DSLR through days of research, trial, and error.

You'll learn about:


-Shutter Speed


-White Balance

-Tips and Tricks

Get that DSLR camera out, dust it off and let's begin!

What you'll need: A DSLR camera

Meet Your Teacher

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Tori Aaker


Hello, I'm Tori.

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1. Camera Workshop - Welcome Video: Welcome to the camera workshop. I'm so excited to have you joining me and I can't wait to share what I know with you. I spent eight years working full time as a portrait and wedding photographer, and I loved it. I'm self taught and spent a lot of time figuring out how to make my camera do what I want it. Sharing my gifts and talents was others is something I love to dio. I look forward to sharing with you what I've learned in my time researching, learning, taking classes, shooting, editing and so on. I've learned how to make the camera do what I want. In an instant. I started out, though just like you, with no clue, I can relate to the frustrations you might be experiencing. When it comes to using your DSLR, I can't wait to share. So let's begin 2. Camera Workshop - Why Manual Mode: in the camera workshop. We will go through settings on the manual mode of the camera. Manual mode will give you the best results of any shooting option your camera has. The reason you'll be using manual mode is because you will have ultimate control over what you're images come out looking like to begin, you'll want to turn on your camera and turn the dial or the settings to em or manual. Each camera is a little different based on the maker, so your settings and dials maybe in different areas of the camera. You will have to find those wherever they are, and some of them are accessed through the menu, some through the buttons, some through pressing a button and a dial at the same time. So take some time to figure that out. I have a Canon five D Mark three, which is a professional model. You probably have a consumer model, something like a can and rebel or a Nikon D 3500. Those were great, and the settings will just be in different places that you'll have to find. Make sure you have a memory card in your camera so that you can look back at your images as we go through the course in this course will go over aperture shutter speed I s O and white balance. 3. Camera Workshop - Camera Zones: So we're first going to talk about the zones of the camera camera zones, basic verse. Creative. So our 1st 1 is the basic zone, and that is basically the automatic mode. You turn your camera on and you just start taking pictures. You don't really care what they're gonna look like. You just need a picture really fast or you're not trying to get any certain effects. You're just turning it on and taking a picture Totally fine. Um, but you don't have really any control of what your picture turns out looking like. Then moving on. We have the creative zone of the camera. That's manual mode. Uh, a V TVP ate up and so on. So a B is aperture. Priority TV is trotted priority. And basically those two, um, options or modes. Are you keen? Either set the aperture and the camera does the rest, or you can set the shutter speed and the camera does the rest. Though you only have control over those those settings and not the other ones. So in this workshop were specifically covering manual mode with in manual mode, we will be setting each of the camera settings. Ourself will get the best results that way. Then we have flash, which is not entirely its own, like setting or mode, but it definitely plays a part, so your camera probably has a built in flash, but in this workshop we're not going to use it. We're going to try and get properly exposed and, well, the images without the flash. When you are using modes other than manual, oftentimes your flash will pop up on you and it may try to go off. But when you use manual mode, you shouldn't have that problem unless you're flash is turned on. My camera does not have a built in flash, so I won't be addressing the flash part of it any further in this workshop. Just know that you can turn it off and you don't have to use it. The only reason I normally use a flash on my camera is if I'm photographing in a really dark room. I need it, or I'm photographing something like a wedding reception, which again is a dark room. So in a basic mode, your fash will probably pop up automatically. And in the creative mode, the flash would pop up when the flash button is pushed or turned on 4. Camera Workshop - Aperture: all right, Here's our first setting. It's aperture. Defined is a space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, especially the variable opening by which light enters a camera. So in basic terms and opening in the lens, which light passes through, aperture will determine how much light comes into the camera. Think about a pupil of the eye. When there's low light, your people grow toe, let more lighten. And if there is lots of light, the pupil shrinks to not let as much light in. Aperture also will determine the blur of images or what's called depth of field. I normally use depth of feel as my determining factor in which aperture I select. So when you're sending your aperture, you have to consider two things. A lower aperture or low number lets in lots of light into the camera. It also means less will be in focus now. Higher Apertura number will not let as much light in, and in turn more will be in focus. So they worked together. But the kind of opposite the aperture numbers come with decimal points. You may also see it written out as f slash 2.8. That is an aperture number, So it is important to note that these numbers that you can set are determined by the lens. As far as how low you can put your aperture, you should be able to look down on your lens and see the number on the lens, like around the ring of it on the outside of the lines. If you have a consumer model camera, your lens that came with your camera will probably go as low as 3.2. Aperture is always my starting place. When I turn on my camera, I have an idea of what I want my photo to look like, either with a blurry background or having more and focus, and I set the aperture based on that. Remember that this is the setting that can make the background of pictures blurry or not. When I'm photographing people, I typically want them to be the main focus of the image, and I want the background of the image to be blurred or the foreground and the background. It works basically on a plane from you to the door. Some of the stuff could be in focus, and some of it could be blurry. So when you're setting your aperture, keep that among. I'll generally start with an appetizer of 2.8 or 3.2, and this is the best way to learn to take photos on your camera with different apertures. So we have some examples here. This 1st 1 is an image of this flower. Blue monitory in just the bloom is in focus. The background of the image is completely blurry, So this photo was probably taken with a very low apertura something like F 1.21 point four or 1.8. The photo is also pretty bright when you set your aperture. Remember that I know if I want things in a photo to be blurry or not. I use my aperture for that first over determining how much white will be let in. Although that is a factor, then going to our next slide here. This photo of the mountains was taken with a high aperture. Maybe have 12 F 16 F 22 something really big. You can notice how much isn't focus over a long distance. The trees in the corner closer to the viewer are in focus and so are the mountains so far back in the picture. Now let's practice. Hold your camera in your hand. Turn it on to manual mode. The first thing that you're going to dio is set it at the lowest aperture that it can go to maybe 3.2. You're gonna take a picture, and then you're gonna turn up your aperture and take a picture, and then you're gonna turn up opportunity and take a picture. And as you increase your aperture and make the number higher, more of your picture will be in focus. But your pictures will also be getting darker as your aperture gets higher. 5. Camera Workshop - Shutter Speed: okay, It's time to talk about shutter speed. Shutter speed is how fast the lens closes and also effects the amount of light that will come into your photo. The faster the shutter closes, the darker the images will be because it didn't allow as much light to come into the camera . Cheddar speed works right alongside aperture and getting the proper exposure of your photo . So if you were practicing your aperture and you couldn't seat any of your photos, so it was like all black or it was all white on your screen when you went to look back at it. That's because your shutter speed wasn't properly set yet. Shutter speed is the second thing I set all my camera. Some people are different and more technical, but for me, battle depends on the light in the area that I am taking photos. I tend to shoot on the brighter side, where my images look a little bit brighter. And so when I am looking into my camera at the light meter in the viewfinder, I know I am in the right range for a light coming in or at the right shutter speed. If I take a picture and looks okay on the screen. That's why normally dio or two if the light meter is pointing just past the zero in between the zero in the one. Once the shutter speed is set, you can take a photo and see what it looks like. If the photo is too dark, you will slow down the shutter speed, and if the photo is too bright, you will make the shutter speed faster. Shutter speed numbers include the little slash mark, which looks something like one slash 200 or one slash 400 that actually means, for example, one slash 200. It's a fraction that actually means that the shutter is closing at 1 2/100 of a second. If you have a bright sunny day and you are shooting on a low aperture that's already letting in a ton of light in dear camera, then your shutter speed will be really fast if you have a sunny day. But you are taking a photo that will have a lot of things and focus. We're using a higher aperture. You will have a slower shutter speed. This is because the higher Apertura what's in less light, so your shutter speed needs to be slower. Slower shutter speeds increase the chance of blurred objects if their movie so remember that a slower shutter speed will let in more light than a faster shutter speed. So the 1st 1 is a very slow shutter speed of 1/40 1/40 of a second. The middle one is 1/80 and the last one is 1/1 60. The aperture remained the same throughout each photo. Let's practice. So set your aperture first on your camera, then set your shutter speed. You can take a picture with whatever center speed it's already on. If the photo looks too dark or its black, you only to slow down the shutter speed. And if the photo is white or super right, you will need to increase your shutter speed to a higher number. You can play around with those, take your own examples, take some practice shots, play around with it and see what happens 6. Camera Workshop - ISO: The third setting we're going to talk about is I s l I S O is the measure of the camera's ability to capture light digital cameras convert the light that falls onto the image sensor into electrical signals for processing a little bit of history for you before we get into the basic terms. This setting was not available on film cameras and was basically already built into the film in film cameras. A photographer would buy the film based on the I s L. A in the setting that they were going to be photographing and then use that film. Depending on where they were taking photos, they had to be all on their game a lot more. So let's talk about kind of actually use this. Eso is again related to how bright the image will turn out, which goes for most settings to get a properly exposed image. So when you go to pick out an S o setting, remember, they correlate to the brightness of the image. The higher the number of bridal your photo will get. The starting number of 100 is the lowest option. Now you don't want to use I s o really high all the time. And here's why, as I eso increases the quality of the photo decreases. This is because it adds artificial light into an image. Think about it this way. You can take ah 100 little fireflies and toss them into the photo. That's what I eso is. 100 fireflies will brighten up your image just a little bit. You could have 200 fireflies and it will frightened of your picture even more. You could out 1000 fireflies and then your photo is much brighter than 100 fireflies. So those numbers, Corley. But here's the kicker. Has you add those fireflies into the picture? The quality of your picture will decrease because the fireflies are getting in the way and fireflies end up looking like grain in an image. Grain is going to mean that the picture is not going to be as sharp or clear looking. It might even look a little bit pixelated, but you'll see it as you zoom in. So imagine a picture with it s so setting of 100 you had 100 fireflies into your foot. It brightens up your picture just a little bit increased to 203 104 100. And each time you increase, it gets brighter. More fireflies, making it brighter each time. If you're I s O gets too high, your picture is going to look really grainy and just not be as clear. It's gonna look fuzzy, and the clarity will be compromised. It just takes away more of the image quality each time it's increased. Sometimes it's necessary, but if you don't have to use it on a higher setting, you can avoid it, and your pictures will be much better looking. The isso initial setting is 100. This is fine. Don't worry. It won't affect your image quality at the base setting. You will want us that your eyes. So after you have already set your aperture and have already sent your shutter speed, you'll use it when you know your photo may need to be a little bit brighter than what those two settings combined can give you. So let's practice. Turn on your camera and set your aperture to 3.2 and your shutter speed toe one over 400. It's like something in the room. You want to take a picture of you're sort of speed may need to change a little bit, so set your eyes so to 100 take a photo of something in the room and now increase your eyes . So do 400 and take the same photo. And then you can see how the eyes so with 400 is a little bit brighter than the one with 100. That's the way I eso works. They correlate the numbers as they get higher, gets brighter. It can artificially brighten your images, providing with you with properly lit images. Let's take some time to remember and be sure to practice. So here's some examples. I so 500 sl 12 50 I sl of 3200. The aperture. It was the same and so was the shorter speed on each of the images. So you can see as the I S O increased. So did the brightness of the image. If you were to zoom in, though, on these pictures you would see that the quality of the image on the highest eso is not as good is the one with the ISO off 500. There will be a lot more grain in that image with the ISO of 3200 and as just a rule of thumb, I try to avoid going over and I s o of 1600. Now, depending on the model of camera that you have, how much I s o quality is contained in the picture is all over the board as faras your camera model. So professional models can handle a little bit higher SL then, like the consumer model cameras. So that's why I said I've tried to avoid going over 1600 I would recommend that for you also. 7. Camera Workshop - White Balance: way to go on making it this far. If you can work on aperture shutter speed and I sl your set. So what we're covering now is called White Balance, which is matching the image color to daylight. White Balance is one of my favorite controls on the camera. It can take your pictures from looking so average and eating help in post processing, toe looking really awesome right off of the memory card. I always try to get my settings perfect in the camera, so I don't have to spend so much time editing afterwards and can get images sent over to the client really fast. I'll be showing you a chart of settings, but this setting is best understood. If you see it for yourself on your camera and practice, my balance is the cameras attempt at making any light source appear the same color as daylight or basically what your eyes seeing. This is one of the first places you should book when you feel like you're color on image isn't not right. The color on your image can vary for so many reasons, and so that's why wife found is so important. Yellow and blue green and magenta. These colors together can give you full control over your image, color, how they turn out and how easy it is to at it. Afterwards, most people roller revert to auto white balance, but there are still many other options to change the color of your images. These will be icons on your white balance menu, so I have personally used Telvent every time for full control. But let's take a look at this chart and we'll walk through them and I'll explain them to you. So they're technically are nine white balance settings, but we will really just be covering eight of them. So the 1st 1 is auto white balance, which again? Just like an automatic setting. You set it on auto and the camera does it for you and picks Which one is best for this setting that you're in? This will obviously be different than one that you set yourself, because this is just the camera trying toe D I Y. It. The next one is the son icon or daylight, and so if you're photographing in sun, it tries to match basically the color temperature of the sun. And let's talk about color temperature. So on a scale from dark blue to ah, very warm yellow, each of those blue Teoh yellow. Each part on that scale has a number so really, really blue tones. Very cool images are going to be really low, probably unlike around 2500 and 3500. Then, as you get towards the middle of that scale, will get around 5000 and then is you go really up higher into the yellows and really warm. You'll get closer to 10,000. As you see on this chart. Here, it says, daylight is on average, 5600 Calvin that case hands for Calvin, which is color temperature. Daylight around 5600 shadows are like in the shadow. So say you're standing on the side of a building and everything looks pretty blue and pretty cool. So the camera will do its best at compensating for that very cool light that it is encountering, and it will set the Calvin to 7000. Now, if you're in a cloudy situation, you could send it to the cloud in the Calvin setting would automatically go to 6000 known Tungsten is like a basic lightbulb in your house. And so if you've ever taken a picture on your phone, even on your camera like we're using, your picture would probably turn up pretty yellow. And so the Calvin for the tungsten white balance setting will automatically revert to 3200 which will automatically cool that picture down pretty low to compensate for all the yellow light that those tongues involves are giving off. Then you have your fluorescent, which kind of can give a green hue into the photo. But it's also going to be kind of cool. So that's going to set its Calvin at 4000 and then your flash of your flash goes off. Normally, that goes a little bit of a cool tone, and so that's going to go to 5500 Kelvin. Then you have your custom white balance, which you have to use a white balance card to use, and that's it's pretty technical. I don't personally use that. It's mainly for using um, like in studio flash me and the light and stuff like that. So we're not going to refer to that one, because that's a lot more complicated and probably over your head. So is over my head. I always leave it at that, Um, and then K stands for Kelvin, which is user to find. I use that every single time, and that is where you can set the color temperature based on the image and the images that you're taking in your setting, and it gives you basically full control over your white bones. It's definitely my favorite and something that I encouraged every single photographer to use. So many people don't use it, and they are truly missing out. Let's go take a look at our white bonds examples. As you can see on the photos here, we have all eight settings that we're going to talk about. So auto, sun, shade, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent flash and Calvin again. The best way to do this, and to see for yourself, is to take a photo on your camera, change all of the settings, take a picture of the same thing and see how defects Then I would go into that particular situation, which your wife balance can handle like a sunny situation, a shady fluorescent, a tungsten and then use that weapon setting in that particular location that you were photographing and you can see how the camera compensates that light. The best bang for your buck on this will probably be photographing something inside your house with the light on and setting it to the tungsten setting and then also maybe in a store, which might be kind of weird. But if you took a picture inside of a store, you could see how those flourescent lights are compensated for on your camera. For this, I would really love if you could work on the Kelvin setting, because that will give you the best result. So Calvin lets you set the warmth of the images with a custom number on average, I would say mine is around 6400 but that totally varies based on where you are. It even contained from shot to shot. If you're just looking to quickly take a couple photos and it's not super important, I to go with one of the settings that we just discussed, especially if you're in a hurry. Like I said, on average, around 6400 is where my Kelvin is set at. I would say that's probably a fairly good starting point, but you will want to adjust it, of course, based on where you are. Numbers for Calvin are in the thousands lower numbers. Like I said before, give a bluer tone and higher numbers will give you a more yellow tone. Calvin is accessed through the menu on your screen, or maybe even on the top of your camera, but probably in image settings, probably the same menu as your eyes. So or you might have a white balance. But also the best way to see this, like I also sent previously for each setting, is to take a photo and look at it, then change it and taking on our shot. Change it. Take another shot so you can send it to 4200. Take a shot, set it to 5600 and then you'll see that the image got a little bit warmer and then maybe crank it up all the way to 8000 and see how much warmer that image turnout. We'll go from looking blue to really warm and yellow. Using Calvin for me has made the biggest difference in my images, looking amazing, coming right out of the camera 8. Camera Workshop - Extras: we're going to go through file types, memory cards, shooting tips, equipment and focus points. So let's begin with file types, so you can either pick from a J peg image or a raw image. Those air both file types J peg images have compressed information details. Air lost their lower quality, and they're harder to edit. Raw images capture all image data. They give them most detail. They're very creditable images, and they give you the highest quality. So if I have a really hard situation that I am photographing, I will definitely want to be taking my images in the raw format. Because then when I go into my post processing and editing the images, I will have full and complete control over editing and have a lot more options and workability with the image when I'm going in to fix little details or colors, um, and stuff like that. Whether your camera takes a SD card or a sea of card totally depends on the camera model that you have. Neither one is wrong or right. It's just different. So East worked the same. But there are various speeds in space sizes that you can pick from So start with the size of the memory card and how much memories on it and then pick the speed of it. So the speed will depend on how fast the memory card can recording image. And sometimes, if you were shooting really, really fast, say you took like eight pictures. Quickly, quickly, quickly, quickly. Sometimes the camera can, like, stop taking pictures, and sometimes I could be problematic. So that is when you would want a fast their speed memory card. So normally professional models will take a sea of card and consumer models taken SD card. But regardless, I will recommend you at least have an eight gigabyte memory card. So now far shooting tips use natural light. Be close to windows when you're inside. This will give you the most white and the most natural looking images. And if you need Teoh, you can put a piece of white paper or white board well the opposite side of the window to bounce light back onto whatever you are taking. A photo of next would be turned off the lights. Eliminate other color temperatures that air in the room. Those color temperatures that we talked about with white felons will totally play an effect on how your images come out looking like when you're taking photos inside. Of course, you could go outside and have great results with your images, but that's not always possible. So when you are inside and you're photographing is setting, I always would recommend turning off the lights and just using whatever natural light you can Next. Just have fun. It's OK to take a lot of burrows while you're learning. Practice makes perfect you also. I want to make sure that whoever you're photographing, especially when you're photographing people, feels calm and relaxed. And getting someone to feel that way while you're taking a photo of them will definitely take practice. But you can totally get there. Always. Just have little small talk and make them laugh. Equipment. This can be exciting for seven people, especially if you're looking to pursue photography a little bit more so lenses will provide the most variation in your camera gear. There are tons of options out there for different lenses in each lens can provide a different look for your photos. If you are looking for a new lens, I would recommend a 50 millimeter 1.4, especially if you want to photograph people more. A 50 millimeter 1.4 would be referred to as a fixed ory prime lens. Now this means that the winds just stays at that focal ing and does not zoom in or out. We talked about flash before, but sometimes it can be useful. So getting an external flash can be beneficial for photographing events inside, but otherwise may not be necessary. So if you plan on taking photos inside or at events, you could definitely invest in a flash that I would for sure. Make sure you know what you're doing before you go and spend several $100 on it. Okay, let's talk about focus points. This may be where you're getting hung up on some of your images, turning out blurry. Your best results will come alongside using your focus points properly. When you set your focus point on an object that you want to be in focus, you can just about bet that that image will be sharp. The number of focus points will very, but you can move a single focus point or group of them around in a particular area of the frame. Whenever you are photographing a person, make sure that you are focusing on their eyes or face. If photographing a group of people, you will change. The focus points for just about every photo every time, and especially when what you're photographing moves. There's also auto focus and manual focus options on the lens. It's like a little switch. And unless you are doing artistic work or trying to be super kind of like technical or maybe photographing in a really dark situation, you won't want to use the manual focus. You'll want to use the auto focus or a F mode.