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Fundamentals of Photography

Lesson 66 of 107

Natural Light: Mixed


Fundamentals of Photography

Lesson 66 of 107

Natural Light: Mixed


Lesson Info

Natural Light: Mixed

So, mixed lighting. A little bit like the spotlighting that we talked about before. And in this case, it's a mixture of some sunlight, and some shadows in there. It could be some overcast situations. These are fleeting moments, and I treasure these moments when they come because they don't come around very often. They can be very, very dramatic. And you do have to be ready for these things. And so your subject may not be completely illuminated properly. You're just gonna have to work with it as best you can. There's gonna some subjects it just doesn't work well with. You do have to be careful of those blown-out highlights and the blocked-up shadows. It really depends on the photo that you're looking at and you're trying to capture. They come and go very quickly, so you have to kind of anticipate and maybe bracket really quick just in case you've got the wrong exposure in here. You wanna have a good collection of images to come back with it. So this is typically gonna work best early an...

d late in the day when it's not too drastic of a change in the level of brightness from the sun to the shadows. And oftentimes, you wanna be protective of those highlights. You don't want to overexpose them in most cases. What I have found is that there's usually relatively short periods of time that it works, and then it just disappears on you. So on the Brooklyn Bridge, sunlight coming in, we've got a lot of shadows in here. The sunlight's fine here, but just a little bit later in the day, half an hour later, it just becomes too bright and the shadows become too dark, and the scene is not possible. I was down in California, working in the Redwoods, and I know in the Redwoods, they're a tall, cluttered environment, and I really wanted an overcast day. And funny thing was, in California, apparently they don't have overcast days when I'm down there. It's always sunny. And I got down there and I was going through some of the trails when I first arrived, and I didn't even take a photo. It was just like, this is a disaster of an area, because it was just bright sunlight, deep shadow, and every photo is just visual overload, is was it is. So it's like, okay, gotta get up. Not the crack of dawn, but well before that, so I gotta get out there right at dawn, because as that sun's low on the horizon, it's nice, even lighting in there. And then as soon as the sun starts to hit, which is right about now, I gotta little bit of time to work with because there's a few highlights that I can deal with in here. But half an hour later, pack it up, time to go home. It just gets too contrasting here. If you're wondering what it looks like when it's bad, this is a bad photo, okay? This is the contrasty lighting that you get in the middle of a bright sunny day. This is actually in a park in Seattle. It's one of the few places in Seattle that has never been built upon. It's really never been touched. It's just kinda the original Seattle, you might say. And it was actually a really nice scene, but it's terrible, terrible lighting. Coming back on a cloudy day, it's much, much easier to see. Just in case you're wondering, I did use a polarizer on this. A polarizer can be very effective in the forest. And that's because even on a cloudy day, polarizers work when there is a significant light source coming from a single direction. Now the light source is this big cloudy sky. That sounds kinda opposite to what I just said. The single light source is that it's basically filtering through the trees, and it's coming down at a very direct angle. It's not coming in at any of these other angles. And so if I'm shooting 45 degrees to that angle, it has a very good impact. And so especially as I kinda shoot down here, there is a lot of reflections that I'm taking off by using a polarizer in the forested environment on a cloudy day. And so that's one of those. I didn't really originally think of that 10 years ago. I wasn't doing that very much, and so now I know better, and it's a good time to have that polarizer out there and working.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

As a photographer, you will need to master the technical basics of the camera and form an understanding of the kind of equipment you need. The Fundamentals of Digital Photography will also teach something even more important (and crucial for success) - how to bring your creative vision to fruition.

Taught by seasoned photographer John Greengo, the Fundamentals of Digital Photography places emphasis on quality visuals and experiential learning. In this course, you’ll learn:

  • How to bring together the elements of manual mode to create an evocative image: shutter speed, aperture, and image composition.
  • How to choose the right gear, and develop efficient workflow.
  • How to recognize and take advantage of beautiful natural light.

John will teach you to step back from your images and think critically about your motivations, process, and ultimate goals for your photography project. You’ll learn to analyze your vision and identify areas for growth. John will also explore the difference between the world seen by the human eye and the world seen by the camera sensor. By forming an awareness of the gap between the two, you will be able to use your equipment to its greatest potential.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Photographic Characteristics
  3. Camera Types
  4. Viewing System
  5. Lens System
  6. Shutter System
  7. Shutter Speed Basics
  8. Shutter Speed Effects
  9. Camera & Lens Stabilization
  10. Quiz: Shutter Speeds
  11. Camera Settings Overview
  12. Drive Mode & Buffer
  13. Camera Settings - Details
  14. Sensor Size: Basics
  15. Sensor Sizes: Compared
  16. The Sensor - Pixels
  17. Sensor Size - ISO
  18. Focal Length
  19. Angle of View
  20. Practicing Angle of View
  21. Quiz: Focal Length
  22. Fisheye Lens
  23. Tilt & Shift Lens
  24. Subject Zone
  25. Lens Speed
  26. Aperture
  27. Depth of Field (DOF)
  28. Quiz: Apertures
  29. Lens Quality
  30. Light Meter Basics
  31. Histogram
  32. Quiz: Histogram
  33. Dynamic Range
  34. Exposure Modes
  35. Sunny 16 Rule
  36. Exposure Bracketing
  37. Exposure Values
  38. Quiz: Exposure
  39. Focusing Basics
  40. Auto Focus (AF)
  41. Focus Points
  42. Focus Tracking
  43. Focusing Q&A
  44. Manual Focus
  45. Digital Focus Assistance
  46. Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)
  47. Quiz: Depth of Field
  48. DOF Preview & Focusing Screens
  49. Lens Sharpness
  50. Camera Movement
  51. Advanced Techniques
  52. Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance
  53. Auto Focus Calibration
  54. Focus Stacking
  55. Quiz: Focus Problems
  56. Camera Accessories
  57. Lens Accessories
  58. Lens Adaptors & Cleaning
  59. Macro
  60. Flash & Lighting
  61. Tripods
  62. Cases
  63. Being a Photographer
  64. Natural Light: Direct Sunlight
  65. Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight
  66. Natural Light: Mixed
  67. Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light
  68. Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light
  69. Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light
  70. Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light
  71. Quiz: Lighting
  72. Light Management
  73. Flash Fundamentals
  74. Speedlights
  75. Built-In & Add-On Flash
  76. Off-Camera Flash
  77. Off-Camera Flash For Portraits
  78. Advanced Flash Techniques
  79. Editing Assessments & Goals
  80. Editing Set-Up
  81. Importing Images
  82. Organizing Your Images
  83. Culling Images
  84. Categories of Development
  85. Adjusting Exposure
  86. Remove Distractions
  87. Cropping Your Images
  88. Composition Basics
  89. Point of View
  90. Angle of View
  91. Subject Placement
  92. Framing Your Shot
  93. Foreground & Background & Scale
  94. Rule of Odds
  95. Bad Composition
  96. Multi-Shot Techniques
  97. Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction
  98. Human Vision vs The Camera
  99. Visual Perception
  100. Quiz: Visual Balance
  101. Visual Drama
  102. Elements of Design
  103. Texture & Negative Space
  104. Black & White & Color
  105. The Photographic Process
  106. Working the Shot
  107. What Makes a Great Photograph?


a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!


Dear John, thanks for this outstanding classes. You are not only a great photographer and instructor, but your classes are pleasant, they are not boring, with a good sense of humor, they go straight to the point and have a good time listening to you. Please, keep teaching what you like most, and I will continue to look for your classes. And thanks for using a plain English, that it's important for people who has another language as native language. Thanks again, Juan