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Beginning Photography: The Bare Bones

Become a better photographer today!

Join the Photography Course: Beginning Photography: The Bare Bones Make your digital pictures look better, and even dramatic, in this course for beginners. Bare Bones Digital Photography - by photographer and author Robin Nichols - is perfect for anyone who has just bought a digital camera, as well as those who have been shooting for a few months but feel they need a starter course. Robin will demonstrate, in the clearest terms, how to apply basic compositional rules to your picture-taking to make your shots appear more dramatic. An experienced photographer, writer, and teacher, Robin is the publisher of Australia's largest-selling specialist digital photo publication and is also the author of several books.

Key Features

  1. General Overview of Digital Photography
  2. Setting the Camera to Record 'Best Quality'
  3. Simple Composition Tips: Taking Great Family Portraits
  4.  Improving Your Photo Shot Success Rate
  5. Common Shooting Problems (and How to Avoid Them)
  6. A Different View: Shooting Close Up
  7. Software Magic
  8. Techniques for Printing Knockout Pictures

  • Learn basic skills for your digital camera.
  • Improve your picture-taking abilities.
  • Use basic software techniques.

$396.00 USD

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 an expert instructor.
  • Get your photos evaluated.
  • Join students from around the world.
  • Go far beyond any book or DVD.
  • Make great pictures, again and again!

Examples of Student Photos


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

Suzanne H. Bull
© Suzanne H. Bull
Suzanne H. Bull
© Suzanne H. Bull

Course Outline


Lesson 1: General Overview of Digital Photography
Its advantages and disadvantages, common misconceptions, 'function' vs. 'art', things you can do with a digital camera, software, other gear required to make it more enjoyable, plus basic shooting tips and techniques.
Assignment: This is a course for "newbies", so we'll make it easy to kick off: No limitations on subject. Let's see how everyone's shots shape up!

Lesson 2: Setting the Camera to Record 'Best Quality'
Learn how to use the basic camera settings so you always get best possible image quality. (exposure, file compression, using the LCD correctly and resolution settings).
Assignment: Shoot a series of images that form a cohesive subject photo group or mini-gallery.

Lesson 3: Simple Composition Tips: Taking Great Family Portraits
Simple rules that are guaranteed to make your family snaps more memorable, looking professional and a lot more fun. (avoiding crooked horizons, subject cut-off, filling the frame, zooming in and out).
Assignment: Shoot a series of shots, using wide-angle, telephoto, off-center compositions.

Lesson 4: Improving Your Photo Shot Success Rate
Learn how to use specific camera settings to ensure you get more consistent results from your photography. (basic exposure settings, ISO settings, contrast control, using scene modes, flash on/off).
Assignment: Show the same subject snapped with and without the flash to see if the "no flash" version looks better without the nice blast-in-the-face effect.

Lesson 5: Common Shooting Problems (and How to Avoid Them)
Learn why these problems occur and, more importantly, pick up basic techniques for fixing them ... minimizing blur, under/over-exposure, focus failings and missed shots.
Assignment: Experiment in sequence mode. Also capture either a very light or very dark subject and try out exposure compensation.

Lesson 6: A Different View: Shooting Close Up
Use your macro settings to create a fascinating and different point of view in your subject matter. (using Macro mode).
Assignment: Shoot close-up pictures. "Close up" refers to your being physically close to the subject, rather than using your super duper zoom lens to enlarge the subject! So take care not to be too far from the subject.

Lesson 7: Software Magic
Learn how easy it is to transform your pictures from "just OK" to brilliant, with easy-to-follow software fix-ups. Simple introduction to how basic software programs work and how it can be used to transform a photo into something to be proud of.
Assignment: No need to rush out and buy Adobe Photoshop Elements or Corel Paint Shop Pro. Submit digital shots that you've managed to "improve" using simple software enhancement techniques.

Lesson 8: Techniques for Printing Knockout Pictures
Preparing photos for printing at home, resolution issues, changing colour, contrast and brightness for maximum impact in print.
Assignment: Experiment with further image-enhancing techniques, either with the software you have or with a free download program.

Review: Voting on Best Work

© Robin Nichols 

© Robin Nichols 



  • Digital camera (with, at least, various shooting modes or some degree of manual override).
  • Imaging software (can be a free download program or the one that came with your camera, as well as Photoshop or Elements).
  • Tripod will help, but is not required.



Is this course intended for beginning, intermediate, or advanced photographers?
This course is perfect for anyone who has just bought a digital camera and wants to get the best results from it. This might also suit digital photographers who have been shooting for a few months but feel they need a "bare bones" refresher course to get them back on track and fill in some gaps in their understanding.  

Do I need to own a digital camera?
Yes, yes, yes! This class is for digital camera users only. However, it's not really suitable for anyone borrowing a camera from work or a friend, because this might not be the camera you end up buying and could therefore cause confusion.  

How much time will I need to spend on this course each week?
That's your choice, but I can say that, if you want to learn anything well, it requires practice with a little dedication and time. You could complete each weekly assignment in an hour a week, but an hour a day might be more appropriate. Some might be lucky to get that shot straight off; others might have to shoot more to get a satisfactory result. In short, the more you shoot, the more feedback you can get, and the more likely you are to learn.  

What sort of digital camera do I need to complete this course?
You can use any sort of digital camera providing it has either a range of scene modes available (i.e., landscape, portrait, and macro), or it has some degree of manual override (i.e., semi-auto - 'S' and 'A' - and manual - 'M' - metering modes). In short, almost all but the cheapest of digital camera will be fine. 

Do I need any other gear to finish the course?
Yes, you do. I'd recommend a tripod. This can be one of those cute 5-inch high portable models or a full-on professional model. You don't have to spend a lot of cash! You will also need some basic software. We show examples using Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0, one of the best third-party software programs on the market, but it is possible to complete the brief software section using one of the free download programs available, or even using the software that came with the camera!  

Will this course lead on to other more challenging courses?
Yes, definitely. This is a "bare bones" type course, so you should see an immediate improvement in your digital photo results. But this still leaves plenty of room for improvement in other, more advanced courses.  

Does this course use Adobe Photoshop as its base software?
Definitely not! You can use the software that comes with the camera (which is often quite good) or you might want to buy Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0 (at approximately US$99), or download a free photo-editing program (for example, from  

© Robin Nichols 

© Robin Nichols 

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 evaluated 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. For our 4-week interactive 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. Due to the highly interactive nature of this kind of course, after the second lesson has been sent out, no refunds will be given.

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