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Online Photography Course
The Nikon D5000 Camera

Become a better photographer today!

Join 's Course: 4-Week Short Course: The Nikon D5000 CameraLearn how to use the various features and functions of the Nikon D5000 to best effect. This unique 4-week online course - taught by photographer and author Simon Stafford - is devoted to this exciting new SLR camera - successor to the highly popular Nikon D60 and D80 camera models. This class will help you discover how to derive the most from your D5000 and, at the same time, increase your proficiency as a photographer.
Key Features

  1. File formats, Metering, and Exposure
  2. Custom Settings & Control of Color
  3. Creative Command
  4. Additional Camera Features and Accessories

  • Designed for any student who would classify their experience and knowledge as fitting in to the Beginner to Serious Hobbyist bracket.
  • Understand the features and functions of your camera to help you use it effectively. Learn about the settings and photographic techniques you can use for creative photography with your D5000 camera.
  • Learn about metering, exposure control, and file formats
  • Explore the custom settings and learning how to control of the color, contrast and saturation of your pictures.
  • Learn to exercise creative control using shutter speed and lens aperture.
  • Explore features such as Live View and video recording.
    Includes an introduction to using flash and other camera accessories.

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: Simon  Stafford Simon Stafford
Simon Stafford first became interested in photography while a university student. Completely self-taught, he talked his way into a job as the photographer for the university's weekly newspaper and has been shooting pictures ever since. His photographs have been used widely in newspapers, books, calendars, and magazines, and he has also enjoyed numerous successes in many photographic competitions.

Simon has built up a wealth of experience over the past thirty years in both film and digital photography. Throughout his photographic career he has used the Nikon system extensively, adopting digital photography at an early stage with the release of the Nikon D1 camera during 1999; he has being using digital cameras exclusively since 2004. He completed his first book, The Nikon Compendium, during 2003. With nearly 400 pages and Simon's own extensive photography of Nikon cameras, Nikkor lenses, and Nikon system accessories, it represents a comprehensive history of the Nikon system for the user and collector alike. He has also written over twenty books on the Nikon camera system for the Magic Lantern Guide series, published by Sterling Publishing.

He is involved in a wide variety of photographic projects, which include leading his own photographic workshops and, tutoring workshops for Tatra Photography, contributing illustrated articles to leading U.K. photography magazines, he is also Technical Editor to Nikon Owner magazine.

A Couple of Photos by the Instructor

© Simon Stafford 

© Simon Stafford 

Course Outline


Lesson 1: File formats, Metering, and Exposure
Topics include:
- A discussion on the principal differences and attributes of Raw & JPEG files, including why, when, and how to use them.
- Learn how each metering mode (Matrix, centre-weighted, and spot metering) works, and when to apply them to ensure you achieve the best possible exposure.
- Understand how adjusting the sensitivity (ISO equivalent) setting on your camera influences the metering system, and affects final image quality.
- Learn how to take control of your camera, and have the confidence to ditch the 'point and shoot' program modes!
- Learn how to override automatic exposure control, and appreciate how manual exposure can help you express your creative vision.
- Understand how to interpret the histogram display.
Assignment: Demonstrate control of exposure by shooting a picture of a subject with very light tones, and another with very dark tones.

Lesson 2: Custom Settings & Control of Color
Topics include:
- The custom setting menu allows you to configure your camera so it operates just as you want it to. Explore what these settings do and how to use them to best effect.
- Understanding the concept of color temperature, how it applies to the white balance control, and its use for technical and creative purposes.
- An explanation of color mode, and how appropriate selection depends on the intended use of your pictures.
Assignment: Shoot a scene lit by daylight, and another lit by artificial light using automatic white balance, and a pre-set white balance value.

Lesson 3: Creative Command
Topics include:
- Using the Picture Control System to manage the in-camera processing of your image files
- Learn how to select shutter speed and lens aperture values for creative purposes (including a description of the panning technique).
- Understand when and how to use auto-focus (AF), including the various AF options, and identify those situations where manual focus may be preferable, or even necessary.
- A discussion on the effective supports you can use for your camera, including hand holding techniques, tripods, and others.
Assignment: Shoot a moving subject and a static subject to show creative use of shutter speed and lens aperture.

Lesson 4: Additional Camera Features and Accessories
Topics include:
- Additional camera features: an introduction to using Live View and shooting video with the D5000
- Lenses: choosing and using different focal lengths (fixed and 'zoom' types), Vibration Reduction (VR) lenses, and the advantages of wide aperture lenses.
- Flash: a discussion on using an external Nikon Speedlight flash, why taking the taking the flash off camera is often a good idea, and how to apply the fill-flash technique.
- General accessories: batteries, remote release, close-up lens, right-angle viewer, and memory cards.
Assignment: Shoot a picture to show either the creative use of a lens, or flash.

© Simon Stafford 

© Simon Stafford 



  • Either a Nikon D5000 camera (and preferably the manufacturer's instruction manual for cross-reference purposes), or a desire to learn about and/or own the D5000.
  • A working knowledge of basic camera controls, such as the shutter speed & lens aperture, and how they interact, plus some previous shooting experience.
  • Any image editing software that can open and process the JPEG image files produced by the D5000, which is just about all digital image editing software.



Can I take this class even if I don't own a Nikon D5000 SLR camera?
Yes, although the course lessons and the assignments are geared toward assisting an owner of a D5000, anyone with an interest in this camera model is welcome to sign up. 

Do I need any particular software program to take this course?
No, the course will concentrate on the camera, its features, functions and controls, together with accessories such as lenses, and flash units. You are free to use whatever image editing software you are familiar with to prepare pictures prior to posting them for critique. Virtually all image editing software will be able to handle JPEG files recorded by the D5000. 

I already own a Nikon D5000 camera and I am getting good results. Why should I take this course?
If you are 100-percent satisfied with the camera and the images you are producing, you may not need to take this course. However, if you wish to step outside the 'comfort zone' of point and shoot photography and become more proficient photographer using your D5000, have specific questions about its features and functions, or are experiencing problems with some aspects of its operation, this course can help. 

The D5000 is a mid-range camera packed full of features; I do not want to be overwhelmed, so what skill level is required?
All you need is a basic working knowledge of camera controls, for example how the shutter speed & lens aperture interact, and some shooting experience. If you do encounter a problem, you will have ample opportunity to discuss it with the instructor. 

© Simon Stafford 

© Simon Stafford 

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.

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4-Week Short Course
Category: CameraCourses

$198.00 USD
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Average Customer Rating: 5 out of 5
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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 Sarka Cerna
Sarka Cerna
member since: 7/13/2012
I have taken 2 courses with Simon Stafford - Nikon D5000 and Composition - and I have learned so much. ... I have recommended BetterPhoto to many people who are into photography, and they are beginners as I am. ... Simon was great in the way he commented on my pictures. Thank you for giving this opportunity in order to learn from so many great photographers!

- 9/14/2012 5:29:07 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 kathleen h. mccarthy
kathleen h. mccarthy
member since: 8/2/2011
Simon Stafford is exceptional. The materials provided are comprehensive and complete. His critiques are very helpful and straightforward. I learned many things in the course that were practical and I will use forever. I would recommend this course to anyone.

- 8/31/2011 1:01:04 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 Deanna Starbuck
Deanna Starbuck
member since: 5/1/2011
First off, I’d like to thank you for all your help and instruction this past month! This course has exceeded my expectations! I came in expecting to learn how to use my Nikon D5000, but I’m leaving with that knowledge, plus much more valuable knowledge about photography in general. I thought all the assignments were all perfect. They were not too complex or difficult that I didn’t feel I had the time to complete them, yet they contributed to a much deeper learning. I felt transformed after completing each assignment and had many “ah ha!” moments. This course has also deepened my love for photography. So thank you again for helping me along my photography journey.

- 6/7/2011 9:02:46 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 Art Anders
Art Anders
member since: 3/3/2011
Great course and Simon is a patient and knowledgeable instructor. His critiques are fair and honest. I have already signed up to take his 4 week composition class.

- 4/22/2011 9:54:53 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
William M. Schlupp
member since: 3/22/2010
Excellent course. Walks you through beginner lessons custom designed for your camera's controls. Insightful critiques really helps drive the learning experience. Best thing I can say is a immediately signed up for Simon's next course !

- 4/30/2010 1:35:18 PM

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