About this Course
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Approx. 17 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week...


Subtitles: English

Skills you will gain


100% online

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.

Approx. 17 hours to complete

Suggested: 5 hours/week...


Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

5 hours to complete


Welcome to the Module One of Course One, where we will begin our journey together to gain the knowledge and skills that will help you take control of your photography! The world of digital photography presents so many "tech" options that it can be quite confusing. Throughout this Course and Specialization, we will be sorting through the various functions, menus, and also the good old focus and exposure and camera craft aspects, so you can build a foundation for success. We'll start with some Basics, and keep building!

9 videos (Total 64 min), 7 readings, 5 quizzes
9 videos
MEET THE COURSE: an overview by Mark and Peter2m
Basic Elements of Photography: CAMERA/LENS14m
Basic Elements of Photography: SENSOR/SHUTTER8m
Basic Elements of Photography: SHUTTER+APERTURE=EXPOSURE8m
Workflow of Digital Photography step-by-step6m
Full Auto Shooting Mode!6m
7 readings
Websites for your viewing pleasure: L'oeil de la photographie and ASMP and PDN!10m
Peter Glendinning websites/Instagram10m
Mark Valentine Sullivan - social media photography sites10m
About the Peer Review Process10m
Some additional info on the history of photography!10m
Learn more about your professors!10m
Private FACEBOOK group for our Learners!10m
4 practice exercises
QUIZ 1.1.114m
5 hours to complete

Camera capabilities: differences and similarities

In Module Two we will survey different types of digital cameras that are in widespread use today, discuss their different capabilities and characteristics, and help you determine which might be most appropriate for the uses you plan to make of your photographs. Whether you need to make photographs to capture the important moments of personal experience with friends and family, or need to make photographs for purposes related to your employment or small business, you will find an overview of information to help you here. Along with the time you spend learning about cameras, you should continue to experiment with your own camera and your own interest in photography!

10 videos (Total 119 min), 1 reading, 6 quizzes
10 videos
A Basic Vocabulary of Capabilities20m
Capabilities of Point & Shoot and Compact Cameras13m
Capabilities of DSLR Cameras16m
Capabilities of Mirrorless Cameras13m
Apple iPhone 6 Camera9m
Samsung Galaxy 6 Camera9m
Three essential Smartphone accessories7m
Program Mode and ISO settings for greater control9m
"Working a Scene"13m
1 reading
About the Peer Review Process10m
5 practice exercises
Point & Shoot and Compact Cameras8m
DSLR Cameras6m
QUIZ 1.2.120m
Mirrorless Cameras6m
QUIZ 1.2.216m
2 hours to complete

Setting up yourself and your digital camera: Menus, Settings, and baggage!

In Module Three you will be guided through the critical steps of "Setting Up" your Digital Camera. Digital cameras of all types offer many options to choose from, allowing you to customize the way the pictures are recorded and to be more successful in achieving your goals in photography. This is NOT just a checklist of functions, simply guiding you as to which buttons to push! You will learn the practical significance of what the settings mean and how they impact the way a picture looks, and how your camera works. You will understand not only HOW but also WHY! Whether you have a brand new camera or have been making digital photographs for a while, this information is critical to your success.

7 videos (Total 84 min), 4 quizzes
7 videos
Setting Up the Camera - Part 25m
Setting Up a Digital Camera Part 3a 1.3.34m
Setting Up a Digital Camera Part 3b 1.3.421m
Camera Setup Four9m
Camera Bags, from Mini to Carry-On Sizes19m
What is in PG's BAG?13m
4 practice exercises
Camera Set Up 24m
Quiz 1.3.112m
Camera Set Up 310m
QUIZ 1.3.220m
4 hours to complete

Picture Decisions: The Vantage Point and Frame

In Module Four we will turn to concepts related to the way photographs look, and how practical decisions that are unique to photography can have dramatic effect in terms of what their creative content might be. We examine the aspects of Vantage Point and Frame as essential choices that must be made by photographers no matter what their ultimate goal for image-making. We also introduce the Peer Review process for paid-Learners, and the ways we can learn about our own ideas through using "terms of art" in written reviews the photographs of fellow Learners.

7 videos (Total 87 min), 3 readings, 3 quizzes
7 videos
The effects of Vantage Point choices.16m
Responding to Photographs8m
The Frame: what to include, or exclude.8m
The Frame and composition13m
The Frame and Content19m
Mark & Peter each discuss their own VP and Frame Photos 1.4.710m
3 readings
About the Peer Review Process10m
Garry Winogrand: Frame, Vantage Point, and Content10m
The History of Photography in 5 Minutes10m
2 practice exercises
Vantage Point4m
529 ReviewsChevron Right


started a new career after completing these courses


got a tangible career benefit from this course

Top reviews from Cameras, Exposure, and Photography

By RDec 23rd 2017

This course was very informative and provided just the right amount of challenge for me to stretch my creativity and newly obtained knowledge. I enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next course.

By MESep 12th 2016

Very good coarse...I am now taking #3 soon be finished, its just keeps getting better all the time...its so good I may move to Michigan, .... but then who would root for USC (Trojans- the real USC



Peter Glendinning

Art, Art History, & Design

Mark Valentine Sullivan

Associate Professor
Music / Innovation Hub

About Michigan State University

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 150 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges....

About the Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization

Whether your camera is a Smartphone or DSLR, a Compact or Mirrorless model, you will learn to gain control of exposure and understand fundamentals of composition, while exploring documentary and creative concepts to make the kinds of photographs you have always wanted. This Specialization covers a broad range of fundamental principles in photography, from camera control to principles of composition and creativity, providing you with a foundation for growth in making photographs you’ll be proud to share. In the Capstone you will develop a final project of photographs related to your individual needs, whether practical or purely expressive, and share ongoing feedback with fellow learners. In addition to the awarding of a Certificate of Specialization from Michigan State University, each Learner who subscribes to and completes the entire Specialization, including Capstone, will receive substantial discounts on equipment, accessories, and membership benefits through Industry Partners from among the premier manufacturers of photography equipment: Fracture, Gary Fong, Gyst, Lensbaby, LensPen, Lume Cube, Photo District News, PhotoVideoEdu.com, Pixsy, and Think Tank....
Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you enroll in the course, you get access to all of the courses in the Specialization, and you earn a certificate when you complete the work. Your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.