Digital Photography for Beginners with DSLR cameras

4.6 (2580)
Learning paid
2.5 hours course
Course by Udemy
What will you learn?
Instructions on how to hold your camera correctly, which will help you to get sharp photographs.
Sound advice on how to choose the right camera lens for each situation.
The necessary confidence to change the most important camera settings correctly at the right time, which in turn will allow you to get perfect photos every time.
The ability to compose photos that are well balanced and very pleasing to the eye.
The skill to spot creative photographic opportunities that will make your photos stand out from the rest.
The ability to take stunning photographs that tell stories of your vacations, adventures and functions, capturing memories in the process.
About the course

<< The first of five digital photography courses by Villiers Steyn >>

UPDATED in October 2019!

Master the most important settings on your Canon or Nikon DSLR camera and learn how to look at your surroundings through new, more creative eyes, so that you too can take magazine-quality photographs of your friends, family, vacations, events and anything else that is beautiful and important to you.

Learn how to take Beautiful Photographs with your DSLR Camera

  • Learn what equipment is necessary and how to use it correctly
  • Master all the most important camera settings
  • Become aware of different light sources and how they influence the look of your photos
  • Develop and eye for striking composition
  • Learn to look at your surroundings with more creative eyes

Develop the ability to capture moments and memories

Ever wonder how the pros get those stunning shots? Believe it or not, most of the breathtaking photographs you see in magazines and online every day are photographed with DSLR cameras just like yours. DSLR cameras are powerful tools that give you the ability to take stunning photographs that capture all those special things you see and moments you experience – photos that you will cherish for the rest of your life. The key to success is to use the camera correctly and that's what you will learn in this course.

As a beginner, you may feel overwhelmed and intimidated by all the camera's dials, buttons and settings, but that will be a thing of the past once you've completed this course. My goal is to fill you with confidence, not only when it comes to choosing good settings, but also when you compose your images. By the end of this course, you too will take stunning photos with your DSLR camera.

Content and Overview

This course is divided into two broad components: first we cover all the technical aspects, like camera equipment and support, as well as the camera's most important settings. After that we look at the artistic side of photography, which focuses on light, composition and creativity.

It has been structured in such a way that you won't ever feel overwhelmed by technical jargon, complicated camera functions or obscure principles. The aim is to keep everything as clear and simple as possible, and this was achieved by tackling each important photographic element separately in short and concise lectures that last between 2 and 5 minutes each. The majority of lectures consist of both teacher-style video clips (where I explain a setting, principle or tip) and slides, both of which contain photographic examples and audio (where I interpret each photographic example).


How to use your Camera Equipment:

  • How to hold your camera correctly, which helps you to get sharp photos every time.
  • Which lenses to use for which photos, so that you can best capture a specific subject or scene.
  • How to change lenses correctly in order to prevent irritating dust spots from forming on each photograph.
  • What your DSLR camera's limitations are and how to compensate for them when you're photographing scenes with high contrast.
  • Why and when you should support your camera on tripods and bean bags.

How and when to change Camera Settings:

  • Different Shooting modes (which allows you to be more creative).
  • File size and format (ensuring that you take the best possible quality shots).
  • White balance and Metering mode (which allows you to influence the 'warmth' or 'coolness' of your photos and the way that the camera exposes what it sees.
  • Drive mode (which allows you to shoot like a pistol or like a machine gun).
  • Auto focus mode (which tells the camera whether you're photographing something standing still or something that is moving).
  • Auto focus point selection (which allows you to focus on either the whole subject or scene, or on a very specific part of it).
  • ISO (which allows you to take sharp photos in low light conditions)
  • Exposure compensation (which allows you to quickly make a photo lighter or darker).
  • How to influence the depth of field in your photos in Aperture Priority.
  • How to freeze action or capture movement in Shutter Priority.
  • How to use the little pictures, or Scene selections, on your camera's Shooting mode dial.

How Light influences your photos:

  • How to take colourful, representative images in front light.
  • How to highlight detail and texture in side light.
  • How to capture dramatic back light images that contain silhouettes and golden rim light.
  • How to take photos in diffused light on overcast days.
  • How to use your camera's built-in flash effectively.

What perfect Composition is:

  • When to change the camera orientation from horizontal to vertical.
  • How to blur the background of a perfect portrait photos in 4 easy steps.
  • How to apply the Rule of thirds to ensure beautifully balanced photos.
  • Where to leave the correct amount of space in your photos.
  • How to draw your viewers' eyes into your photos with the help of leading lines.
  • How to compose striking images by changing your angle.
  • 5 simple steps to perfect composition!

How to become a more Creative photographer:

  • How to use reflections in your photos.
  • What a natural frame is and how to find and use it in your images.
  • How to incorporate different complimentary colours in your photos.
  • How to use repetition effectively in your photos.
  • How to highlight the size of something by incorporating and element of scale, and finally,
  • How to tell a story with your photos.

Take a moment to view the course Promo Video, as well as those lectures that have been made available as free previews.

Keep in mind, if you're not happy with the material, there's a 30-day no-questions-asked full money back guarantee! So don't hesitate and enrol today, and watch as photography quickly becomes your new favourite hobby…!

“Villiers's presentation skills are superb and better than anything else I've attended or enrolled in before. Not only is his technical knowledge of his subject outstanding, but he is also willing to share practical advice accumulated over years."

Helgard de Preez – South Africa

At the end of this section you'll have a clear overview of all the course material. And to get the ball rolling, a fun ice-breaker lecture called "Spot the mistake" has been included in this section.
This lecture serves as a welcome to the course and contains a brief overview of what you can expect. At this stage you are probably tempted to skip to the fun, more creative lectures in Section 5 and onwards, but it's best to rather go through the whole course without skipping lectures.
Overview of the course.
This lecture provides a more in-depth look at what you can expect to learn from each of the eight sections of which this course is comprised, namely.
  • Section 1: Introduction to the course and what you'll need to get started.
  • Section 2: Camera Equipment
  • Section 3: Camera Settings
  • Section 4: Aperture and Shutter speed
  • Section 5: Light
  • Section 6: Composing your shots
  • Section 7: Creative photography
  • Section 8: Course summary
Lecture 3: What you need with you.
In this lecture, I list everything you will need to have with you for the duration of the course.
Ice-breaker: Spot the mistake!

This lecture comprises an exercise in identifying common mistakes that new or amateur photographers often make, but which are easily corrected with a better understanding of the settings and functions on a DSLR camera.

Camera Equipment
You will know what photos to take with specific lenses, how to eliminate camera shake by supporting your camera and holding it correctly and how to overcome the limitations of your DSLR camera.

The equipment you use doesn't need to be top-of-the-range for you to get great shots. In this brief introduction to Section 2, I run through the questions you can expect to have answered in the lectures that follow on DSLR cameras, lenses, and other useful photographic equipment, namely:

  • What is the difference between a DSLR and a compact digital camera?
  • Which camera make is best?
  • Is my camera good enough?
Is my camera good enough? Different makes and models.

In this lecture I briefly discuss Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras and why this course focuses on these brands specifically. In the Supplemental Resources you'll find two external links to Wikipedia that list all the Canon and Nikon camera models, allowing you to compare your camera's specifications with others.

The most important thing to remember is that your camera is good enough! The challenge is to learn how to use it correctly...

Choosing the right lens for the right occasion.

Lenses are by far the most expensive facet of photography, whether you've chosen photography as a hobby or a career. This lecture explains which lenses work best for which types of photography, for example: why wide angle lenses are best for landscape photography and indoor marketing shots, while zoom lenses are better for portrait photographs and other shots that look best with a blurred background. We also take a look at the correct way to change lenses to minimise damage to your camera body.

How to hold your camera correctly when taking photos.
In photography, how you stand can influence your photograph as much as what settings you use. In this lecture, I provide a brief demonstration on the correct stance and positioning when holding a DSLR camera and an explanation as to why this is so important.
Do I need a monopod, tripod or beanbag?

In this lecture I discuss why photographic supports are necessary indoors or in low light conditions. I also explain the differences between monopods, tripods and beanbags, what situations they're likely to be of use, as well as the advantages of using supports to get sharper shots.

The limitations of your DSLR camera.

A good photographer knows that it takes more than an understanding of your camera settings to get the best shots. In this lecture I discuss the differences between what we see and what the camera 'sees', and demonstrate how to compensate for these differences by getting a firm understanding of your camera's limitations and how to work around them to get the best photographs possible.

  • You need a Canon or Nikon DSLR camera (the kind that has interchangable lenses) - any model will do.
  • You don't need any prior photographic experience.
Villiers Steyn
Villiers Steyn
Professional Photographer, Travel Journalist, TV Presenter
Udemy courses are suited to professional development. The platform is organized in such a way that it is experts themselves that decide the topic and when the course will start. All supporting documents are made available to you for lifetime access. On this platform, you can find a course on about any subject, and that is no exaggeration – from a tutorial on how to ride a motorcycle, to managing the financial markets. The language and the course format are established by the teacher. This is why it is important to read the information about the course carefully before parting with any money.
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