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Online Digital Photography Course

Digital Photography I

In this course, you'll build a foundation in fundamental photography techniques. You will gain control over your camera's manual settings, learning how to balance the elements in the Exposure Triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture/F-Stop. You will discover how to set White Balance appropriately, create depth of field, and capture motion. We will explore composition concepts to help you make your photographs more interesting and effective and equip you for the types of adjustments photographers make to adjust to different lighting conditions. To give you experience in some important genres, you will gain practical experience in shooting different kinds of portrait photographs and sports/motion photographs.

Digital photography course image 

Learn the basics of digital photography

Instructor-Led Course

Feedback from design professionals

Creative Projects

Stretch your skills, grow your portfolio

Learn at Your Own Pace

Self-paced and scheduled programs available

Course Outline

1 - Controlling Your Camera

We will begin by exploring how your camera and camera software works, with an emphasis on the role of shooting RAW. We'll discuss the purpose of the main Exposure Modes: Auto, Manual, Program, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority, and how to use your light meter in in Manual mode to ensure that your images are not over- or underexposed. A special focus will be on how to use the elements in the Exposure Triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture/F-Stop) to achieve a balanced exposure. You will learn how to identify a correct exposure, with detail in the brightest whites and darkest shadows.

2 - Aperture and Shutter Speed

We explore the basics of using aperture size to create depth of field. The class will examine how to use shutter speed to create frozen motion or motion blur, and how to avoid the dreaded camera shake. We will explore how to adapt your Exposure Triangle choices to troublesome shooting scenarios and how to use white balance to avoid color cast issues caused by different lighting scenarios.

3 - Rules of Composition

What makes a good photograph? In this session we will introduce the six principles of composition used by professional photographers: simplicity, negative space, framing, symmetry and asymmetry, use of line, point of view and perspective.

4 - Lighting Scenarios

How can we see and use light? In this session, we'll explore the source and the attributes of the different kinds of light: hard, soft, diffused, and specular. We will look at the major differences between natural light, artificial light, and ambient light, and how this affects our approach.
We'll investigate how to identify and adapt to common natural lighting scenarios, exploring three techniques for using fill-flash to improve lighting indoor and outdoors and addressing some pitfalls of mixed lighting.

5 - Portrait Photography

We will look at the characteristics of different kinds of portrait photograph, both posed and candid portraits, exploring tips for different situations. A focus will be on examining best practices for achieving good light in portrait photographs, with guidelines on how to pose and direct portrait photography subjects to create natural-looking and effective images.

6 - Capturing Motion

Did you know that shutter speed can be used for creative purposes? This session explores how (and why) shutter speed is used to freeze or blur motion in photography. We will examine techniques for freezing action to capture a moment in time and blurring motion to convey the speed of moving objects. We will explore what cameras, lenses, and accessories are used to achieve professional results and examine the application of motion photography techniques in sports photography, providing tips on how to get started.

Course Outcomes

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Identify the purpose of the main Exposure Modes: Auto, Manual, Program, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority.
  • Adjust the elements in the Exposure Triangle (ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture/F-Stop) to achieve a balanced exposure.
  • Identify the attributes of a correct exposure, with detail in the brightest whites and darkest shadows.
  • Use white balance to avoid color cast issues caused by different lighting scenarios.
  • Use aperture size adjustments to create depth of field.
  • Use shutter speed to create shots with frozen motion or motion blur.
  • Identify and apply six principles of composition used by professional photographers: Simplicity, Negative Space, Framing, Symmetry and Asymmetry, Use of Line, Point of View and Perspective.
  • Identify the attributes of the different types of light, hard, soft, diffused, and specular and sources of light: natural light, artificial light, and ambient light.
  • Identify and effectively adapt to common natural and artificial lighting scenarios.
  • Identify the characteristics of different kinds of portrait photograph.
  • Apply best practices for achieving good light in portrait photographs.
  • Apply strategies for posing and directing portrait photography subjects to create natural-looking and effective images.
  • Identify and apply techniques for freezing or blurring action in sports or motion photography.

Course Registration

Interested in this course? Scheduled and self-paced enrollment options are available. Ask Admissions about taking this course as part of a degree or certificate program.

Course LevelClasses startRegistration FeeTuition
Degree course
3 credits, 15 weeks
Jan, Apr, Aug$200$510/credit
Vocational course
60 clock hours, 3 months access
Enroll today, start tomorrow$50$949
* Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for updates to course or program content.

Software and Supplies

To take this course you'll need:

  • Computer with Internet connection.
  • Digital camera with adjustable ISO and adjustable white balance features.
  • Adobe Photoshop or equivalent program.
  • Basic experience in the above software.

Who’s Teaching

Course developed by Felicia Kieselhorst

Getting Started

Enrolling online is easy and convenient.

Chat with our knowledgeable admissions staff to select course and program options.

Complete your registration entirely online.

Related Programs

Did you know? You can take this course as part of an award-winning certificate or degree program.