This online course is 6 weeks long, followed by a 2-week period to complete the final exam (online, open book). Lessons are released on Wednesdays and Fridays of each week. You are not required to be online at any specific time. You register and pay on our website and instructions on how to access your course will be emailed to you immediately after registration.

The actual time commitment involved in completing any given lesson can vary significantly based on a number of factors including reading speed, familiarity with the topic, related experience, the amount of time spent completing optional assignments, and involvement with discussion board. For planning purposes we suggest setting aside 2 hours per lesson as a starting point.

Mastering Your Digital SLR Camera

Mastering Your Digital SLR Camera

Get control of your digital SLR camera!  In this course, you'll break through the technology barrier and learn how to use your DSLR to take beautiful photos.

You'll start out by learning about the many features and controls of your DSLR and look at the lenses you need for the kind of photography you enjoy. Next, we'll explore exposure controls.  You'll learn about metering, exposure compensation, managing aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.  You'll find out how to use these features to get the right exposure for every shot.

Then we'll turn our attention to flash photography, managing camera controls, photo files, and even working in manual mode.  With these skills, you'll be able to take your photography to the next level. Finally, the course explores high dynamic range photos and how to master those difficult and tricky exposure situations.

By the end of this course, you'll truly be a DSLR master, and most of all, you'll be able to use your camera to take the photos you've always dreamed of.


Week 1 Wednesday - Lesson 1

Getting to Know Your Digital SLR Camera
In this lesson, you'll explore the basics of your DSLR camera. We'll take a tour of the DSLR, examining the different parts, buttons, and controls, and we'll also explore the exposure mode options you can select for different shooting situations. We'll discuss some general maintenance and housekeeping issues with memory cards, batteries, and cleaning—and by the end of this lesson, you'll feel empowered to get started with your DSLR camera!

Week 1 Friday - Lesson 2

Zooming In on Lenses
Today we'll explore DLSR lenses. One of the most important features of the DSLR is the ability to change lenses based on shooting conditions. You'll find out how lenses work, and we'll discuss some of the most common DSLR lenses and in what shooting conditions those lenses can help you get the best photos. We'll also talk about common lens filters and how they can help protect your lens and improve your photos.

Week 2 Wednesday - Lesson 3

Seeing Clearly: Exposure, Focus, and Metering
Do you know how your camera sees a photo? In this lesson, you'll learn about the three components of exposure—aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You'll also learn about metering modes and how your camera uses these to determine the correct exposure for a photo. We'll discuss autofocusing and how your DSLR determines focus, and you'll find out how to manage autofocus and solve some common focusing frustrations!

Week 2 Friday - Lesson 4

Going Deep: Using Aperture
We've talked briefly about aperture in earlier lessons, but in this lesson, we'll go deep into aperture. You'll learn how this aspect of exposure controls how much light enters the camera, and you'll discover how to control this light to affect the quality of your photos as well as certain focusing effects. We'll discuss how aperture is measured and how to use the Aperture mode on your camera, and before you're finished with this lesson, you'll have a chance to take some photos and practice using aperture!

Week 3 Wednesday - Lesson 5

Speeding Up and Slowing Down With Shutter Speed
Today we're going to talk about shutter speed—a second aspect of exposure. Shutter speed controls the amount of time that light enters the camera when you take a photo. You probably equate shutter speed with fast-action shots, such as sports photos. A fast shutter speed can stop action, but a slow shutter speed also offers a world of shooting opportunities. We'll explore both fast and slow shutter speeds in this lesson, as well as the Shutter Priority mode.

Week 3 Friday - Lesson 6

Getting Bright With ISO
In this lesson, we'll explore how ISO settings affect camera exposure. ISO manages the camera's sensitivity to light—the higher the ISO setting, the more sensitive. While ISO appears to be an easy fix for potentially dark photos, it can be a tricky setting to use. Today, you'll learn all about ISO solutions, as well as potential ISO problems, and you'll see how to manage ISO on your DSLR.

Week 4 Wednesday - Lesson 7

Making the Most of Flash Photography
I promised we'd talk about flash photography, and here we are! In this lesson, you'll explore your DSLR's flash options. You'll learn about using and controlling the on-board flash, and you'll also learn how to use an external flash with your DSLR's hot shoe. You've likely heard that professional photographers use natural lighting, but professionals also know how to use a flash when they need it. We'll discuss how to get the best photos using your flash, and you'll learn the professionals' tricks as well!

Week 4 Friday - Lesson 8

Managing Photo Files, Editing, and Movies
This lesson is all about editing photos and shooting movies on your DSLR. Your camera organizes photo information and stores the photos you take on memory cards. This way, you end up with a digital photo you can use on a computer or print. But how does this work, and what options do you have? What about resolution? What if you take a shot you love but just need a quick editing change to it? Your DSLR can help you with all of these issues, so today we'll spend some time in the DSLR's menu options!

Week 5 Wednesday - Lesson 9

Working With Manual Mode
Manual mode is an exposure mode on your DSLR that lets you make all of the decisions. You get to choose the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO . . . basically, anything you can configure or change, you can do it in manual mode. The good news is that manual mode gives you complete control over your camera. The downside is that there's a bit of learning curve that comes with control. In this lesson, you'll learn how to master manual mode and use it in a variety of shooting situations. To be a great DSLR photographer, manual mode is a must!

Week 5 Friday - Lesson 10

Getting Better Exposure
Your DSLR is a sophisticated tool that can help you take great photos. But the DSLR can only capture what you choose for it to capture. As such, a poor photo through the viewfinder will be a poor photo it its final form. For all of the bells and whistles, your DSLR needs a human—a photographer—to capture great photos. In this lesson, you'll explore how to get better exposure through composition, managing available light, and working with a few additional DSLR features: the histogram and exposure bracketing.

Week 6 Wednesday - Lesson 11

Shooting HDR Photos
In the previous lesson, you learned about a helpful feature called exposure bracketing. With exposure bracketing, you can take several identical photos using different exposures. This way, you can choose which photo looks best. Exposure bracketing also offers another option—shooting high dynamic range (HDR) photos. With an HDR photo, you combine all three exposures from the bracketed shots, creating a photo with a higher range of color and exposure than you could capture otherwise. We'll explore this in today's lesson, and you'll have lots of opportunities to practice as well!

Week 6 Friday - Lesson 12

Mastering Difficult Shooting Situations
Even though your DSLR is a wonderful camera, there are a few specific shooting situations that are always difficult to master. In this final lesson, we'll explore the three kinds of photos that give DSLR photographers the most trouble: fast-action shots, macro shots, and low-light photography. The good news is your DSLR can help you master these shooting situations if you know how to use the camera's tools and features, and in this lesson, you'll see how to put these features to work!
Any digital SLR camera.  Point and shoot digital cameras are not compatible with the course content. Windows XP or newer OS; Mac OS X or newer OS.
Course Details
This course is fully online, you require internet access and an email account. The course duration is 6 weeks, followed by a 2-week period to complete the final exam (online, open book). Lessons are released on Wednesdays and Fridays of each week, for a total of 12. You are not required to be online at any specific time.

In addition to the specific lesson content, there is a discussion board with each lesson and often there is an optional assignment to apply the learning.

Following each lesson, there is a short multiple choice quiz. Your score on these quizzes does not count towards the final mark but completing these helps solidify your learning as well as prepare you for the final exam.

The final exam is an open-book, multiple choice exam and you need to achieve a minimum of 65% on the final exam to pass the course. There is only one opportunity to pass the exam. A certificate of completion from Ed2Go is available for printing immediately upon successful completion of the course and a certificate from the University of Waterloo will be emailed typically 1-2 weeks later.

Many of the Ed2Go courses are eligible towards the various online certificates offered by WatSPEED.

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