Secrets of Better Photography

Secrets of Better Photography

Learn to take outstanding photos and get the best results whether you are using a DSLR, a point-and-shoot, or your phone camera. Each lesson contains exercises and assignments that will help you apply new techniques to your own camera and make a distinctive difference in your photos.

6 Weeks Access / 24 Course Hrs
  • Details
  • Syllabus
  • Requirements
  • Instructor
  • Reviews



Secrets of Better Photography will teach you how to take outstanding photos. Whether you use a DSLR, a point-and-shoot camera, or your phone for your photography, you will learn how to get the best results from your camera.

This hands-on course will teach you how to choose the right photographic equipment to compose images with style. You can take your camera out of auto mode after learning about lighting, motion, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. You will also explore common photography topics, including portraiture, children's photography, pet photography, and digital editing.

Each lesson includes exercises and assignments, so you can apply what you learned to your own camera. By the time you finish, you will see a difference in both your photographer's eye and your photos.


In this first lesson, you will learn how to see the subject of each photograph—before you press the shutter button. This information will provide a solid foundation for the rest of the class.

As you learn more about the technical side of photography, take a look at the options available in camera equipment. Whether you have a point-and-shoot camera or the latest digital SLR, you will gain a better understanding of the equipment and tools photographers use.

Returning to artistic elements in this lesson, you will learn how to develop your photographer's eye and incorporate compositional guidelines as you take better pictures. This information will provide a solid foundation for the rest of the class.

Light is the essence of photography. This lesson explores how to control and use light to your advantage. You will compare the advantages of natural light, available light, and artificial light and see when you will want to use each to capture the special effects you're after. You will also learn how to use the ISO and white balance settings on your camera to make the most of the light you have.

This lesson delves into the options for using your camera and other tools to get sharp, crisp images. Photography often requires compromise to accommodate conflicting priorities, and after this lesson, you will be able to decide what's most important to you. You will also see how to test your lenses and cameras and evaluate your equipment.

Using manual exposure settings opens up a whole new world of professional and creative options. In this lesson, you will begin an exploration of how to get the most out of your camera's features, starting with Aperture Priority and the control it gives you over depth of field.

You will see how to capture motion in this lesson. Whether you want to freeze the action of fireworks or merge a waterfall into a velvety illusion, shutter speed is the key. Setting your shutter speed gives you the control you need to get the images you want, and it's easier than you might think. You will have lots to practice with as you finish this lesson.

In this lesson, you will learn the tricks of portrait photography. Whether you're working professionally or just as the family photographer, these techniques will help you take better portraits. You will see how to pose people so they look their best, when to use digital editing, and how various lighting techniques will help you create pleasing portraits.

Photographing children, pets, and groups is a challenge for even the most seasoned professional photographer. In this lesson, you will learn some techniques and strategies to bring out the best in your pictures.

Now that you know how your camera works and what you want to do, it's time to take a look at how to handle challenging situations. When the light is low, or the subject just seems out of reach, you want to know how to get the shot. This lesson focuses on how to use your tools and knowledge to beat the challenges and come away with the pictures you're after.

Photojournalism is a fascinating field for photographers. This fast-paced world presents challenges of its own. In this lesson, you will see how the pros handle this type of work and learn how to get started in the field.

Digital editing is a real bonus for photographers. In your final lesson, you will learn about the basic and artistic editing techniques available to all photographers, as well as some of the technical issues of digital photography.



There are no prerequisites to take this course.


Hardware Requirements:

  • This course can be taken on either a PC, Mac, or Chromebook.
  • A digital or film camera.

Software Requirements:

  • PC: Windows 8 or later.
  • Mac: macOS 10.6 or later.
  • Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.


  • Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.

Instructional Material Requirements:

The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.


Beverly Richards Schulz

Beverly Richards Schulz is an award-winning photographer and graduate of the New York Institute of Photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies from UC Berkeley and a master's degree in Adult and Continuing Education. For the past 10 years, Schulz has taught at the University of San Francisco. With more than 15 years teaching experience, she has written over 30 digital photography and digital editing courses. She co-authored the book "Photoshop Elements 14—What's New?"


From day one, I felt the lessons were providing valuable information and techniques that have improved my ability to take pictures. The supplemental information was invaluable. Although I did not contribute to the discussion groups, I did review them and found a lot of information and positive feedback from the instructor and assistants. Great course, thank you.

I really enjoyed this class and feel like I learned a lot, thanks to Eric and everyone else for all the helpful feedback! I'm looking forward to getting out and putting everything I learned into more consistent practice, as well as taking more classes in the future.

I really improved my photographic skills. My husband said that my photos look like they were taken by a pro. (Prior to this course he wouldn't comment!!) I enjoyed the instructor's writing style. She made the online course feel much more personal by sharing her own experiences. The TA's responses were prompt, pleasant, and helpful. Thanks!

This is the second photography course I have taken with Beverly and feel she is an excellent instructor. I have really enjoyed the assignments after each lesson and appreciate the feedback on the photos from her or one of her assistants.

This course exceeded my expectations! I loved it, and am sorry it has come to an end! I set out to learn the manual settings on my DSLR, and I learned that as well as so much more. I was frustrated with only using my Auto setting before this class, now I'm excited about my camera and all that I can do with it. I found Beverly to be a very good instructor, and Kimberly to be a great TA! Having the chance to interact with fellow students by reading their comments and seeing their photos is immeasurable. Thank you so much for a wonderful course!

This class was great! Many times I have tried to learn photography from books and I just was not successful. This class did the trick. Now I understand how it all goes together. I wasted several years trying to teach myself. Thank you so much.

This was a great course. It covered the areas I needed to work on, including when and how to use Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority modes. I look forward to taking the Travel Photography course.

I have taken a photography class before, but this course was a nice improvement on that one. I like how the instructor is so very practical in her advice. I like that she understands that novices need some time with the auto settings and Aperture or Shutter priority settings. I feel comfort in using these, but I know in time I will be ready to go totally manual. I thank the instructor for her encouragement to just try what is available on the camera for beginners like me.

This course was excellent. I have taken two courses on digital photography and have learned more than I ever thought I would in this course. My Canon T2i camera is no longer a "point and shoot" camera. I now know how to change settings to get the pictures I am after. I am trying to put to use all the things I have learned by taking more pictures and re-reading the areas where I need more understanding. Thanks for developing this program. I have enjoyed this class and will use the information for many years to come.

Great course! I learned a lot! I'm so pleased that I now understand shutter speed and aperture and know how to use shutter priority and aperture priority on my camera.

I needed a refresher, and this course included everything and more that I knew about photography. A great summary and a great help to me to reinforce the basics again. I have a new found confidence in my photography and I’m looking forward to the next course.

Self-Guided Course Code: T9234
Instructor-Moderated Course Code: eph