Photography Lessons

photography lessons for precise focusing on tree bark

These are free photography lessons introducing you to your camera’s settings.  They’re at a suitable level for newcomers and cover the technical aspects in the clearest way possible, using notes and videos to explain the essentials of what you need to know.  As you work your way through the notes, and the photography lessons you will show how to navigate your way around the camera and understand how different terms relate to photographic outcomes.  The understanding gained here will set you up for our workshops.  Alternatively, you can learn these lessons on location at our Summer School.

The lessons include available shooting modes, exposure control, histograms, autofocus, focus point, depth of field (DOF) ISO, metering, white balance and setting up your camera’s menu system.  There are also two in-depth videos explaining the relationships between ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed – the exposure triangle.  Matthew Sergeant here does an excellent job in keeping it non-technical using diagrams.  You should be able to cover everything in a couple of hours but it will take time afterwards practising with your camera for everything to sink in.

I suggest working through the settings no less than seven to ten days after taking the course, so your understanding becomes embedded. If you find that there are some sticky areas which you can’t quite fathom and your photos reflect this, then do get in touch with me and we can set up a free Skype or Zoom call.


Often you can’t tell if a photograph has camera shake until you enlarge it.  So to avoid being disappointed when you get home and review your images, it’s essential in certain conditions such as wind to check for shake, by zooming in on the back of your screen after you’ve taken it.

F stops, Shutter speeds, Metering modes, Program ( Fully Auto Exposure), Manual, AV or A (Aperture priority for maximum depth of field, TV or S (shutter priority for “stop-action” faster shutter speed), Icon modes, ISO, White Balance (WB), Focus, Metering and Flash.

The camera has two methods of controlling the amount of light coming in.  The first is via the shutter speed which is how long the shutter (an electronic curtain) is open for.  The second is the aperture, which is situated in the lens, which can be opened and closed.  A video section explains the exposure relationships between the two.

Still part of exposure control, the histogram is a graphical representation of your exposure tones from darkness on the left to brightness on the right.  Photographers use this to ensure their photographs have good detail in both the shadow and highlight areas.

Whilst most digital cameras have auto focus capability, there are options to set your camera’s focus system depending on the type of photographic subject you’re aiming at.  In the lessons both video and text, we will run through these features and explain when to use manual focus.

Referred to in shorthand as DOF, depth of field relates to how much of the scene, from immediately in front of the camera to infinity is sharp and in focus.  If you’re experienced in using smartphones, then you’ll note how everything is sharp.  A by-product of camera phone development is the appearance of a large DOF, through the necessity of a short focal length and small sensor size.

Getting to know your camera course is available via the Google Document here: COURSE FOR BEGINNERS