About this Specialization
100% online courses

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible Schedule

Flexible Schedule

Set and maintain flexible deadlines.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Hours to complete

Approx. 7 months to complete

Suggested 4 hours/week
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English...

Skills you will gain

Social MediaPhotographyCopywritingWriting
100% online courses

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible Schedule

Flexible Schedule

Set and maintain flexible deadlines.
Beginner Level

Beginner Level

Hours to complete

Approx. 7 months to complete

Suggested 4 hours/week
Available languages

English

Subtitles: English...

How the Specialization Works

Take Courses

A Coursera Specialization is a series of courses that helps you master a skill. To begin, enroll in the Specialization directly, or review its courses and choose the one you'd like to start with. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. It’s okay to complete just one course — you can pause your learning or end your subscription at any time. Visit your learner dashboard to track your course enrollments and your progress.

Hands-on Project

Every Specialization includes a hands-on project. You'll need to successfully finish the project(s) to complete the Specialization and earn your certificate. If the Specialization includes a separate course for the hands-on project, you'll need to finish each of the other courses before you can start it.

Earn a Certificate

When you finish every course and complete the hands-on project, you'll earn a Certificate that you can share with prospective employers and your professional network.

how it works

There are 5 Courses in this Specialization

Course1

Cameras, Exposure, and Photography

4.7
1,722 ratings
481 reviews
Welcome to Course One of Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR! In these first 4 Modules you will gain the knowledge and the confidence that will help you make good choices as you consider qualities of the camera you own, and the qualities of the other types of digital cameras you might be considering. You will learn about the basic functions that most digital cameras have in common. You will also go beyond the "technical" matters and learn about how you can make exciting pictures by emphasizing the aspects of Frame and Vantage Point to interpret old subjects in new ways. Discovering accessories that photographers find useful, and the types of camera bags from mini to carry-on sized, is also in store for you. You will also make your first photographs and, if you are a subscriber to the specialization, upload pictures to the web gallery and start interacting with your fellow learners in our "Gallery." Let's get started with Module One!...
Course2

Camera Control

4.7
796 ratings
184 reviews
Welcome to Course Two of Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR! Now that you have a broad understanding of the various types of cameras, the importance of setting up Menus and Functions to gain control in your photography, and the difference between Auto and Program exposure modes, you are ready to move into even greater Camera Control! In these 4 Modules we will concentrate on gaining the knowledge necessary to make use of Exposure Modes, Light Metering, Effects of various ISO settings, Lens options, using Shutter Speeds to convey aspects of Time in both documentary and creative ways, and exploring the controlled focus effects that Depth of Field Principles make possible. You will also continue to make new photographs and, if you are a subscriber to the specialization, continue interacting with your fellow learners as you share photographs for Peer Review. You will also confirm your knowledge through completion of quizzes and written responses. Let's get started with Module One!...
Course3

Principles of Photo Composition and Digital Image Post-Production

4.7
530 ratings
118 reviews
Welcome to Course THREE! In the first two Modules you will gain a more professional-level understanding of the Design Elements that artists have used throughout history to create successful compositions. Arranging the Elements in ways that lead viewers through their compositions is an essential craft for photographers no matter whether their subject matter is pure documentary or vividly exotic personal expression. In Modules 3 & 4 we survey the essential elements of post-photography image management, using Adobe(tm) LIGHTROOM(tm). Image adjustment software designed for Smartphone photographers rounds out the Course. Since even photographers whose mainstay is a high-end DSLR also must admit to Smartphone use occasionally, and photographers who only use a Smartphone will usually admit that they want to step over to a "regular" camera at some point, there is something for everyone here! Let's get started with Module One!...
Course4

Photography Techniques: Light, Content, and Sharing

4.8
383 ratings
87 reviews
Welcome to Course FOUR! In Modules 1-4 you will cover the final elements of the Specialization necessary to round out this introduction to the fundamentals of Photography, and prepare you for creating your own exciting project in the Capstone! You have come a long way since the beginning of this journey from Smartphone Basics to DSLR and Beyond. Just think of all the information you have absorbed and put to use in your assignments and quizzes, and the confidence you have gained that you CAN control the camera to make pictures you are proud to share. Here in Course Four you will start by gaining knowledge related to content in photography, from fact to fiction, documentary to purely expressive. Next you will learn principles, tips, and techniques for using the essential element of Light in Ambient/Natural settings. The flash/strobe unit, whether it is built-in to your camera or an add-on "hotshoe" model, will finally be something you, not the camera, controls! You will prove to yourself that those former mysteries of Controlled Continuous and Strobe lighting will no longer be mysterious, as you apply your knowledge to creation of assignment photographs in various situations. Sharing those pictures in Peer Review will give you the opportunity to learn from your fellow photographers' solutions to lighting challenges, and to gain insight into your own work and creative approaches too. There is an important word to share about Peer Review assignments for this course. As photographers who have accomplished the quiz and photography requirements of Courses One through Three, you have the knowledge and capability to create quality photographs at a much higher rate of success, and in a much shorter time, than when you began. You have also proven that you are a dedicated Learner, someone who has a passion for photography and is willing to put forth the extra effort necessary to accomplish your goals. This Course is the last before the Capstone Course, in which you will be tasked with creating a project over a 2-month period of dedicated photography. The Peer Review photography assignments have been structured with both your advanced capabilities and dedication in mind...in other words, they will require both! Be prepared to allocate more time than you have in previous Courses for the assignments, because they will take more time and because you will really enjoy them! Course Four ends with an overview of methods for finalizing your pictures in print form, including simple but effective matting techniques, and in web page designs as well. The pleasures and perils of sharing in social media sites are also yours to discover. Protecting your copyrights by understanding that concept and the ways that you can assert them, being careful about blogs and other outlets, and recognizing you are part of a community that respects the individual's creative effort, well that is important knowledge to have in preparation for the Capstone too! Let's get started with Module One!...

Instructors

Avatar

Peter Glendinning

Professor
Art, Art History, & Design
Avatar

Mark Valentine Sullivan

Associate Professor
Music / Innovation Hub

Industry Partners

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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....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes! To get started, click the course card that interests you and enroll. You can enroll and complete the course to earn a shareable certificate, or you can audit it to view the course materials for free. When you subscribe to a course that is part of a Specialization, you’re automatically subscribed to the full Specialization. Visit your learner dashboard to track your progress.

  • This course is completely online, so there’s no need to show up to a classroom in person. You can access your lectures, readings and assignments anytime and anywhere via the web or your mobile device.

  • This Specialization doesn't carry university credit, but some universities may choose to accept Specialization Certificates for credit. Check with your institution to learn more.

  • Each regular course is designed to last 1 month, with Learners having 2 months to complete the Capstone project, a total of 6 months.

  • A new section of this course launches every 2 weeks!

  • This is an introductory course in photography, for Learners who have any model digital camera from a Smartphone to a DSLR. Experience in photography is not required, but a desire to gain control of the camera to produce successful photographs is!

  • Yes, it is important to take the courses in order as each one builds on knowledge conveyed in those previous to it.

  • Learners who complete the Specialization will be able to complete creative and practical projects in photography utilizing their new knowledge of the foundational principles of photography techniques, composition, and expression. They will be prepared to advance their knowledge in photography in more narrowly focused future coursework or workshops.

  • Industry Partners are industry-leading providers of photography-related products and services, all of which have been used by Peter or Mark or both in the course of their own practice. The Industry Partners are supporting Coursera Learners who subscribe to the Specialization (all 5 Courses), by providing substantial educational discounts normally only available to full-time students.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.