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Online Photography Course
Perfect Digital Exposure

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: Perfect Digital ExposureWhether you're photographing at the beach, in the snow, or in your own backyard, you can learn how to handle every exposure situation with confidence. Join master photographer and author Jim Zuckerman for an exciting online adventure in Perfect Digital Exposure. Among the specific subjects to be covered: how to meter light, capture creative backlit images, expose for snow and bright sand, photograph in low light, and more. After completing this 8-week course, you'll never again say: I hope my picture turned out. You'll know it turned out!
Key Features

  1. The Built-in Camera Light Meter
  2. Protecting Highlights
  3. Taking Light Readings
  4. Exposing for Backlighting & Shooting into the Sun
  5. How to Expose on Snow and Bright Sand
  6. How to Expose in Low-Light Situations
  7. Exposing in Extreme Contrast
  8. Digital Solutions to Bad Exposures

  • Learn how to expose correctly in normal, as well as difficult, lighting situations.
  • Get inspired to produce awesome images.

What You Get


You get direct feedback on your photos from world-acclaimed, professional photographers. You can learn photography in this way from anywhere in the world.  
  • Learn at your pace, with structure.
  • Be guided by a real pro instructor.
  • Get your photos critiqued every week.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!



Photography Instructor: Jim  Zuckerman Jim Zuckerman
Few people are able to spend most of their time pursuing their passion in life. I'm one of them, and I feel blessed to have had a love affair with photography since I began taking pictures.

In 1970, I decided to abort my intended career as a doctor in favor of photography and have never regretted it. Photography has enriched my life more than I can tell you. My career has taken me to over 60 countries, and I've seen and photographed wondrous things.

I specialize in wildlife and nature, international travel, and digital effects. In addition, I also shoot nudes, photo- and electron microscopy, children, and other subjects that stimulate my visual or emotional sensibilities.

For 25 years, I shot a medium format camera, specifically the Mamiya RZ 67, for its superior quality. When I would lecture, Iíd project the large, glass mounted transparencies, and it was really an incredible experience to see the brilliant color saturation and resolution of these slides. However, I went digital in 2004 because the technology finally equaled or surpassed medium format. I now shoot the Canon 1Ds Mark II digital camera with a variety of lenses.

I am the author of 12 books on photography. My work is sold in 30 countries around the world, and my images have appeared on scores of magazine and book covers, calendars, posters, national ads, trade ads, brochures, and corporate promotions.

For many years I've led photography tours to exotic places. These include Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Burma, Greece, The Czech Republic and Slovakia, Spain, Morocco, and Peru.

A Couple of Photos by the Instructor

© Jim Zuckerman 

© Jim Zuckerman 

A Couple of Student Photos


View photos by previous students. You can make pictures like this too!

Robert  Olsen
© Robert Olsen
Robert  Olsen
© Robert Olsen

Course Outline


Lesson 1: The Built-in Camera Light Meter
How meters work and how they are fooled.
Assignment:  Upload 3 to 5 photos taken on Program mode. Make no exposure compensations and show examples of where your in-camera meter was successful and where it failed due to the reasons discussed above. It's perfectly fine to use photos taken before this course began, and Photoshop manipulation is fine, too, as long as you don't alter the exposure.

Lesson 2: Latitude in Digital Picture Taking
Assignment: Upload original digital captures done in RAW mode where you underexpose by -2/3 f/stop. Convert the shots to Photoshop or TIFF files without any tweaking at all. Then convert another version of the same three images where you use the slider bars in the Raw converter to tweak the exposure to make it correct. Pay special attention to the highlights - don't lose detail in them.

Lesson 3: Taking Light Readings
Assignment: Submit  pictures and indicate where the middle gray (or medium toned) area is from which you'd take a spot reading. 

Lesson 4: Extreme Backlighting
Assignment: Upload shots showing compositions that include the sun as well as subjects with strong backlighting. In your caption information, tell me from which part of the images you took your reading. If you let the camera read the light automatically, explain your rationale and tell me if you're happy with the results. It is certainly OK to use Program mode if you wish for any of the pictures, but if you do, justify it.

Lesson 5: How to Expose on Snow and Bright Sand
Assignment: Shoot something white or very light and expose for it correctly. This could be snow, a white on white still life, a bridal portrait in white against a white background, or maybe a shot involving a sunny day at the beach. Explain either with words or with a red circle on the image from which part of the composition you took the light reading.

Lesson 6: How to Expose in Low-Light Situations
Assignment: Upload pictures taken in low light conditions. Any subject and any situation are fine, outside or indoors. Explain briefly in the caption why you used or didn't use a tripod, and note your ISO. If you don't own a tripod, you can improvise by resting your camera on something solid.

Lesson 7: Exposing in Extreme Contrast
Assignment: Submit photos of extreme contrast situations and tell me which of the solutions you used, and tell me whether or not you think the exposure is correct. It may take you a little time to come up with scenarios that are very contrasty, but they are everywhere if you pay attention to light and shadows.

Lesson 8: Recovering Highlights
Photoshop techniques for saving blown highlights and black shadows.
Assignment: Take two images that have lost detail in the highlights and replace the solid white areas with detail and texture. This assignment is not about the quantity of images that you submit, it's about the quality of your work and the attention to detail.

Review: Voting on Best Work

© Jim Zuckerman 

© Jim Zuckerman 



  • Digital or film-based camera
  • The ability to control exposure settings



Who is the course intended for?
Itís intended for photographers of all levels as long as you understand the basic fundamentals of photography: how your camera works and f/stops and shutter speeds.  

Automatic exposure cameras are so good today, so why should I take an exposure class? Why canít I just depend on the camera to determine the correct exposure?
Automatic exposure meters built into cameras are machines that are programmed to handle average lighting situations. There are many situations, however, that fool meters into over and underexposure. This course will enable you to recognize when meters are fooled and what to do about it. Also, youíll learn how to fix bad exposures after the picture has been taken - when youíve assumed itís too late to fix washed-out highlights and black shadows with no detail in them. If they can be fixed, this course will show you how to do it.  

What kind of equipment will I need to complete the photo assignments?
Any kind of camera is fine as long as you can adjust the shutter speeds and lens aperture. Even though the title of the course indicates the focus will be on digital cameras, if you have a film camera and a means to scan your pictures into a computer, you can take the course, too.  

Can we use digital editing software like Photoshop or Elements to alter our photos?

Do you hire an assistant to help you write the critiques, or do you do them all yourself?
Jim is the only one who writes the critiques. You are getting 35 years of experience in the feedback you receive each week.  

© Jim Zuckerman 

© Jim Zuckerman 

Do I have to be online at any specific time?
No, you do not need to be online at any specific time. The lessons are sent to your email and you are also provided the Campus Square - where you interact with your classmates and instructor. This is also where you upload your photos to be critiqued by your instructor. The instructors are very punctual and respond quickly.

Will I have access to the instructor to ask questions during the photo course?
Absolutely! Students can ask questions in the special Q&A forum set up in the course's Campus Square, or can ask the instructor via email.

Do you offer a money back guarantee?
Yes. We are confident that you will fully enjoy our courses. All the same, for our 8-week classes, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent out. If for any reason, you are not satisfied and let us know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #3 is sent, you will be promptly refunded.

For our 4-week courses, we offer a 100% money back guarantee before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent out from BetterPhoto. If for any reason you are not satisfied and you let the ordering department know that you would like to withdraw before the Wednesday that Lesson #2 is sent, you will be refunded within 7 days. After the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

Still have questions about this course? Ask Us

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Only $396.00 USD  Click to Verify - This site has chosen a thawte SSL Certificate to improve Web site security  We accept Visa and Mastercard  We accept American Express

At a Glance
8-Week Photo Course
Category: Lighting / Exposure

$396.00 USD
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Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Read all 35 reviews

Course Reviews:

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Stephanie Lewis
Stephanie Lewis
member since: 11/27/2009
I would highly recommend this course. Jim is a very effective teacher -- generous in sharing his experience and knowledge in both his lesson plans and critiques. His lessons are full of practical information. His critiques are very thorough. There is no cutting and pasting going on here. And he's very accessible to an engaged group of students. While on occasion it might take him a little time to get all of the critiques done, (well worth the wait) he follows-up on questions promptly. I think about things before I take a photo now that I didn't think about before I took this course. I found it to be a really worthwhile investment.

- 11/9/2011 5:01:10 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
Steve Leinbach
member since: 3/19/2008
Great class, Jim offered helpful critiques. I would recommended this course to anyone interested in improving their ability to correctly expose difficult scenes

- 11/9/2011 2:30:00 PM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Shelia Earl
Shelia Earl
member since: 7/30/2008
My only regret is that I waited so long to take this course. It is fabulous! Jim is a great insturctor. His critiques were very precise and pushed me to do better with each lesson. I have taken other courses from him, but this one was the best ever! The interaction among the students was so instructive; I felt like I had more than one instructor. Jim also shared many hints/tips throughout the course - one of my favorites was about using the ballhead on your tripod to take pictures in places that do not allow a tripod!! If there was ever any doubt about a technique he was trying to explain to me in a critique, he would upload a picture as an example. I am very visual when it comes to learning so this was above and beyond in my opinion.

- 11/9/2011 9:10:40 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Paul N. Swepston
Paul N. Swepston
member since: 6/11/2010
Life changing experience. I am not kidding. My only complaint is that when I decided to take another class from Jim, the were all sold out! Jim gives good, thoughtful reviews and suggestions and even shows how you can improve your photos by uploading your photos with his suggested manipulations.

- 7/6/2011 9:20:48 AM

5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5 5 out of 5
BetterPhoto Member Richard W. Steppy
Richard W. Steppy
member since: 4/20/2011
I have been reading a lot of magazines that have hints from Jim. That is what prompted me to take this class and my expectations were surpassed. The lessons were easy to understand and Jim was quick to answer any questions I had. I will be taking more classes from Jim.

- 6/29/2011 4:17:56 PM

Read all 35 course reviews...

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More Delighted Customers:

"This course has been a wonderful learning experience for me. I now know how to think about exposure and notice different light conditions... The lessons and assignments were clear. Your critiques were helpful and informative. They encouraged me and pushed me on to the next step in my learning. I also appreciate your gentle humor. Many thanks!" -Anita Bower 

"Jim, you are an instructor extraordinaire!! Thank you so much for all of your critiques, praises... I feel like I have learned a lot and also become a better photographer because of your constructive criticisms and ideas." -Diana R. Lemieux, previous student of Jim's 

"BRAVO, JIM! Not only is Jim a great photographer, with all the know-how we need, but he can express himself very well in written form. His lessons are interesting, understandable and very valuable. His critiques are always valuable, never hurtful. I have much more confidence now that I can take correct exposures in many challenging situations." -Walter Falk 

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