What Makes the Image Work, Part 2

In The Craft, The Life Creative, Thoughts & Theory, Tutorials &Technique, Workflow & Technical Issues by David121 Comments

This past Sunday, I introduced you to a photograph of mine and sent you to my blog to discuss it, asking questions about the decisions I made and the effect of those decisions. I’ll keep this message short because I said most of what I want to say in the video I’m about to show you. But if you missed that first article, you can still see it here.

However, I need to quickly tell you about the context for this video. In my quest to help you do more than just use a camera and make the strongest photographs you can, I’ve created a new course, ImageWork, and the video you’re about to see is the complete first lesson. I created ImageWork to address one simple need: the necessity of photographers understanding the incredible possibilities of our tools to change the look and feel of our photographs.

This isn’t a sales pitch; I’ll tell you everything about the course on Sunday. For now, I just want to introduce you to the idea of how to look at making images a little more intentionally, all the way from vision or intent to decisions made with the camera and to the final image in the digital darkroom (in this case, Adobe Lightroom, but this is about why the changes were made and what effect they have, and can be applied no matter what program you use). It’s how these choices all work together that make a final photograph.

Watch the complete first lesson of ImageWork here for free and watch me discuss the image I sent you last Sunday

Click here to watch Episode 01 of ImageWork and unpack the making of Turkish Coffee, the image I invited you to explore with me here on Sunday.

Did you watch the video? I’d love to hear what you think. And if you have questions, I’d love to answer them and take the discussion as far as you’d like in the comments below.

This Sunday (assuming you’re a subscriber to my emails) I’ll send you more details about the remaining 17 video lessons that make up the brand new ImageWork course and introduce you to the bonus resources. And to say thank you for always being first on board to use the resources I make, I’ve set up introductory pricing for you that makes this the best valued course I’ve made to date. I’m super excited about this one.

I’ve learned a lot in the last few years when it comes to making educational resources, and I think that hands down, this is the most practical course I’ve ever offered. I can’t wait to show it to you. Until then, whether you intend to enroll or not, this one’s on me—I hope it gives you some insight. When I asked my beta team to review it earlier this summer, they said they couldn’t believe how much I’d crammed into just the first video. Once they saw the rest of the course, they were even more excited. This is my strongest, best reviewed course so far.

I promised I’d draw a random winner from those who participated in discussing what makes the image work. The prize is a full enrollment in ImageWork (and ImageStory, too, but more on that later) and that winner is Lisa Mage. I’ll be reaching out to enroll Lisa in the new ImageWork course the moment I open things up on Sunday.

I know that for many of us, this has been a slow time in terms of making the photographs we love so much. But I also know that for many of us, this is a fantastic time for learning.

For the Love of the Photograph,


  1. I love the video and I’m working my way through the “Find your Voice” E-Book. Learning a lot about myself there! If there is a course, I would be very interested, but I couldn’t find it looking through the website(s) and unfortunately, I had not subscribed in September. Is there a course? If yes, where can I find it? Thanks, and keep up the great work, I really love your inputs!

    1. Thank you, Eilwen! I have sent an email to you privately about the course.

  2. Pingback: Monday Missive — September 21, 2020 | RichEskinPhoto.com: Nature, Fine Art and Conservation Photography

  3. In regards to the 7 choices in camera, how quickly are you running through all of them? My guess is if it isn’t all intuitive that one would indeed miss the “decisive moment” as illustrated in the Turkish coffee bar. I guess if a particular scene gets played over and over you’d have the luxury to chew over the many possibilities and even try out various techniques.

    1. Hey Steve – Sure, until it’s intuitive we all miss things, but intuition is trained and the more comfortable we are with our tools and the ways in which we think about using those tools, the more intuitive it becomes. But there’s also something to be said for being aware of things long before the moment happens. You walk in and are drawn by the light, for example, and you start making decisions about possible EV combinations. You see people moving and get a sense of the flow and you start making choices about story and point of view, and composition and the kinds of moments that are possible. You sketch it out, try one moment, then another. In my experience scenes like this are rife with possibilities that repeat themselves, so you linger, and as you do you get more chances, you tweak things, you try again, and your eyes become a little more open to what’s going on. Anyone that sees a scene like this, fires off one shot and walks away is missing so much potential. There is very rarely only one decisive moment, and often if you wait longer you find they get better as you get more and more perceptive of the scene.

  4. Thanks very much indeed. This was a really useful exercise as it showed what you did and why in a way that can be applied in any graphics program.

      1. English – Italian google translation: David, it is painful that you are no longer social at least for the moment. I can’t translate this site and I don’t know English well. Unfortunately your latest book is not yet in Italian, and I am waiting for it a lot because “inside the frame” is a masterpiece that made me seem to be where you were: Nepal, India, Tunisia .. I love photographers like you, who don’t get trapped by technique and technology and with each page I felt more and more like you. I’m a big fan of yours.

  5. Love this first video. Something I have been looking for, namely the use of an image to demonstrate the various techniques.

    Thank you

  6. David, I’m so happy you’re back at the lecturn. For me, the timing is perfect. I’ve just done intensive courses on LR/ACR technique because, as one of the Vulnerable, I’m deep into my archives instead of deep outside. Now your clearly demonstrated and generous Whys will complement perfectly the Hows I’ve been practicing. And partly makes up for a project using the Travelling Lens I’d planned out for this Spring for Ottawa, where I live … next year, I hope. Awesome job in this first lesson!

    1. Author

      HI Kay! So nice to see your name in the comments. I hope you’re well. I too am one of the more vulnerable (Type 1 Diabetes) so I’ve gone almost nowhere, except riding my bike and though it took a pandemic, I’ve never been healthier. 🙂 Thanks so much for the kind words. The course comes out on Sunday and I’m so excited to make it available to you!

  7. Hi David

    Jim Wood in Sequim across the water from you. I just watched the first lesson of Image Work. Incredibly informative. I can really see how you make an image pop. I really like the courses I have taken from you and this looks like the one that can really make a difference in my photos. thanks for taking the time to do this

    1. Author

      Hi Jim! I’m waving across the sound, can you see me? Thanks for the kind words. I’m practically holding my breath until I release this this Sunday. Been a busy 8 months! I hope you’re well!

  8. David! This series is a great idea. You’re providing an easy technical structure ~7 & 7 ~ and then explaining the ever-so-important “why” of your photos, “why” they work, with this easy structure. I trust that by the end of this series people will ask “why” they are making a photograph, what they hope to say, and then apply this easy structure to determine “how” to do that. So well done. Kudos to you.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Scott. I’ll take my kudos where I can get them! 🙂 Hope you and yours are well over in Europe right now.

  9. Awesome video!! Thank you for sharing these seven important factors to consider before shooting and editing. You have made it so easy for anyone to comprehend and follow through. I love the logical flow yet creative method that you have always presented. The key is to focus more on the thought process behind each action taken. First WHY then into the HOW.
    Love your education materials. Totally a big fan of yours!

    1. Author

      Thanks for that, Jasper. Going into a launch like this and releasing your baby into the wild for the first time is a little nerve-wracking, even when you’ve done it a million times. Appreciate the encouragement very much! It’s people like you for whom I make this stuff, so the enthusiasm is a good sign! 🙂

  10. A very helpful video about how to capture and image and then process it. Excellent explanations.

  11. First, five words: Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden.

    Second, excellent video! I love the seven and seven idea, and I look forward to seeing the offer on Sunday!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Randy! Any particular album you’d specifically recommend? I’m always up to learn and Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert blew me away!

      1. Well if we are going into the Music arena and you like Koln
        consider Ludovico Einaudi – “7 days walking” A terrific listen. I choose this for periods of reading, working and studying.

        To me the backstory is reminiscent to Monet variations returning to the same places.
        “In January 2018, Einaudi frequently went on walks in the Alps, “always following more or less the same trail.” He revealed that during the heavy snow, his “thoughts roamed free inside the storm, where all shapes, stripped bare by the cold, lost their contours and colours,” allowing him to construct the “musical labyrinth” present on the records.[6] The composer also took a series of polaroid pictures, inspiring him to write seven volumes of music, each portraying a different aspect of his journey.[7] He consequently recorded the albums from September to October that year in Schloss Elmau in Germany, and the Air Studios in London.[6]

        1. Author

          Thanks, Roy! I’ve got 2 or 3 of Einaudi’s albums but not this one. I love good music but a good backstory is even more captivating. Off to check it out right now! Thank you!

  12. Thank you David. I appreciate you willingness to guide us to the light. Also appreciate comments regarding EV. Looking forward to Sunday

  13. David! Thank you for making concrete, specific and “out loud” the things I have learned to do intuitively over the years. So well done! I look forward to sharing this approach.

  14. I loved the video. I love the way you merged creative expression with technology and taught each point in your edits to bring out the parts of the image that best express your vision. It was very helpful and I look forward to what more the course offers!

  15. David, sou um apaixonado pelo seu modo de ensinar fotografia… Inclusive já tenho um livro seu traduzido para o Português. Infelizmente meu inglês é ruim, por isso tenho dificuldade de acompanhar os seus vídeos. Você não tem atrancrição deles? Seria mais fácil traduzir um texto a um védeo.


    1. Author

      Muito obrigado, Adib. Parece que você está pedindo uma transcrição escrita dos vídeos. Lamento dizer que agora não tenho nenhum. Deixe-me pensar um pouco, pois pode não ser difícil de fazer.

      1. David, seu único livro traduzido para o português que encontrei foi “A foto em foco”, que diga-se de passagem é o melhor livro sobre fotografia que já li!
        Tens alguns outro título traduzido para o português?
        Espero que esteja bem.

        1. Muito obrigado pelo seu email. Espero que isso se traduza bem para o português.

          Sim, tenho outros livros em português. Aqui estão dois que posso encontrar:

          Ferramentas Visuais. 60 Lições Para Fotografar Melhor (Portuguese Brazilian) Paperback – Jan. 1 2016

          Falando Fotograficamente: Crie Imagens Poderosas Com o Dominio da Linguagem Visual, David DuChemin | Jan 1, 2015

          Talvez o Google possa ajudá-lo a encontrá-los em uma loja no Brasil?

          Boa sorte e obrigado por ler minhas palavras!

          Pelo amor da fotografia,

  16. I agree with the positive comments above and with your team’s assessment regarding the amount of pertinent, succinctly presented content in the first video. I have learned to expect nothing less from your educational material (-: With all the options out there, I know the information you offer and the method of presentation is worth my time, energy and money. Thank you, again.

  17. I enjoyed this first class and looking forward to the details on the rest of the course! I love hearing photographers talk about the process and the decisions made at the time taking (making) a photograph.

    1. Author

      Hey Steve. Thanks for that. I’m super excited to finally be getting this out to you. I keep hearing it’s my best course yet (actually the best 2 courses) and I’m hoping that rings true for everyone that takes them. Thank you!

  18. This was really great David, as always! I’ve followed your content for over ten years and keep loving it 🙂 This one was so full of insight in just 20 minutes! Looking forward to more! I was also wondering if you have also developed some resources on how to interact with people or the subjects to build the image? Here the bartender and the person grabbing the coffee are quite central and the timing of their actions. Here I was wondering if you spoke with the people in the picture before and whether they knew you were taking the photograph? How about after the photograph? Just curious to know that as well and learn from your experience. Thanks!

    1. Author

      HI Tina – Thank you! I did discuss this kind of thing in my course about travel photography – The Traveling Lens. It’s ultimately about connection (when it can happen), and most of all respect and compassion. I never hide. I always give a chance for people to see me, and I always do what I can to treat them as I would hope others treat me. It means sometimes they say no. That’s OK. In this case I was really close and I was with a fixer that was known at the cafe and who told them what I was up to. Then you just stay the heck out of the way as best you can and don’t over-stay your welcome. 🙂

  19. David, I love the idea. I don’t use Lightroom, but most of what you’ll be discussing is easily transferrable. I look forward to this new course.

    1. I enjoyed watching your video. Your approach is friendly and yet one is drawn to listen because of the tone of your voice and non-technical choice of words.

    2. Author

      Hey Kirk. Thanks. Yeah, I did intentionally ask a non-Lightroom user from the Vision-Driven if he’d beta test this for me from an “I don’t use LR” perspective and he (CaptureOne user) said he found the principles easily transferable, which of course thrilled me because it’s the principles I’m trying to teach, not the sliders and buttons. If you know the why you can always figure out the how. Also the how always changes. Even in the middle of this darn thing suddenly Adobe changed the interface and added tools! Exasperating. 🙂

  20. Hi David,
    I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that it’s the aesthetics of image making that make me fall in love with photography over and over again. It’s such a steadfast love that has lasted through the years. Yet, I have continually felt lost and overwhelmed in the seemingly endless but required forest of technical know-how. Have found myself going down the same paths, trying to make it all “stick in my brain!”

    You’ve helped me realize a key reason as to why I’ve not gotten very far along this technical path and feel mostly daunted about learning editing skills: it was all dry abstractions! Taking a compelling photo, understanding the details with a mentor, and experiencing how the aesthetic and technical interweave is practical, engaging and grounded learning.

    I’m so excited about your offering! Thank you!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Lisa! I’m probably just as excited to be finally putting it into your hands. You sound a lot like me – more in love with the photographs than the tools of making them. I think some people enjoy one more than the other and while I love the creation, it’s the final photographs that made me fall in love with this craft. See you Sunday!

  21. I REALLY liked the way you explained your choices, how the decisions were made in achieving a particular goal. I found the information and delivery really helpful. And you were right – I picked up new Lightroom tricks to try!
    I was intrigued that ISO is not one of the 7 factors. I struggle often with choices about ISO (and exposure compensation).
    I will be watching this video a few times over and sharing with friends!
    Thank you 🙂

    1. Genevieve Rousseau
      Thank you very much ..Vraiment très intéressant et je regarderai cette vidéo plusieurs fois cette vidéo pour bien assimiler le travail à faire

      1. Author

        Je vous en prie, Genevieve. Merci d’avoir pris le temps de regarder la leçon.

    2. Author

      Thanks, Megan. I’m so glad it connected with you. As far as ISO goes, the cameras these days are so good I almost don’t think about it. I don’t like Auto-ISO because I prefer to set things myself but ISO is the last consideration for me (usually) because aperture and shutter are (usually) so much more important to the look of the image. 10 years ago I would freak out if I got close to ISO 800 but now I don’t think twice about 1600 or 3200 depending on the camera as long as I nail the exposure. It’s when using High ISOs that we get tempted also to underexpose a little, just to squeak out that last couple stops of light but then adjusting it in Lightroom later means it gets too noise. It’s not usually the ISO that makes it noisy but the attempt to lighten a too-dark image made at higher ISO.

  22. Very much enjoyed this introduction to your new course. Enough so I quite watching a Stanley Cup hockey game. Your adjustments were easy to understand which is what I like.

  23. I’ve been searching for just the right course and I believe I have found it! You definitely have a gift for teaching, inspiration, and encouragement of the creative spirit! I appreciate your dedication to connecting with your viewers, readers, and listener. I’m excited for this next adventure!

    1. Author

      Fantastic, because I’ve been trying to make just the right course for you, Kathy! 🙂 I’m thrilled that you see the joy I take in teaching and encouraging the creative spirit. It’s my calling and it means the world to know I’m not the only one who sees it! 😉

  24. wow. This could not come at a more perfect time for me. I’m in the process of making sure I am much more intentional. I have taken several Lightroom courses and your video is better than all of them. I know the mechanics, but have struggled with putting the process together. This video was truly an eye opener for me! Thank you~

    1. I watched your video. I liked. Can’t wait until your email arrives on Sunday. I love how you make the connection for those of us most familiar with an analogue darkroom so that we can take the leap to a digital darkroom. Thanks for your love of the photograph, it always shows. In your courses, books, and this new video is no exception (although it is exceptional) you encourage our creative selves.

      1. Author

        Thank you so much for that, Lynda! It truly means the world to me! I see my job as a bit of a creative instigator, so it’s nice to see it shows. 🙂 Thank you!

  25. Image/Work good ! I can DD saying “expression is too important, we better not be Image/ messin’ around”

    I have purchased and enjoyed three DuChemin courses. Started with Vision Collective email distant learning. With Compelling Frame I enjoyed having the video deliver a segment of the lesson. With Master Your Craft I found I messed the video dimension.
    Both courses were solid with plenty of high value learning. I also realize that I like the bundle and the repeating rhythm of each lesson. For example Exercises/Practice, Study the Masters, Go Deeper, oh and the relentless questions.

    My friend MN & I each signed up and made a bi-weekly study with exercises individually and then review together habit. Along the way we would find a book or two to read & study 1-2 chapters/week. What a life-luxury. The learning in all of this activity was deep and superb. It might take us 12 months to complete the 18 lessons. That was totally fine we just stepped ahead in sync at our very own pace!

    I skipped over Travelling Lens as it felt too specific for my interest. With the fall coming I feel that I am ready for another course immersion.

    I see that Image/Work has videos ;-). I expect more master and hope for more Exercise and opportunity to go Deeper. Oh and maybe a few more relentless and provocative questions.
    If Image/Story can open up the ‘Story’ Gordian knot it would be a lovely and welcomed thing.

    signed watching & waiting RrR

    1. Author

      That’s awesome, thank you so much, Roy. I think you’re going to be thrilled with these two courses when you see them. Almost everyone so far has said they think they’re the best I’ve offered.

  26. David, I haven’t taken one of your courses yet, but I follow your work from afar, well not that far. I’m in Crescent Beach. The photo you challenged us with intrigued me and I began thinking about my collection of images. Why did I take this shot? What did I see in this setting? Can I see it now, years later?
    Your explanation of the process using the double ‘7’ considerations worked for me. I can’t wait to go back to my older photos, although many are jpeg format before I bought a better tool, and look again at my process: ‘Why did I take this shot?’

    1. Author

      Thanks for that, Graham. You’re so close you should almost be able to see me waving at you! I’m thrilled the video helped – thanks for letting me know!

  27. Thank you very much David! I appreciate that you share this video and I completly watched it even if I am a French speaker (I live in Quebec and in France, half / half) I am learning English and I understand more an more. My question is: Will this formation «What makes the Image Work» be available with subtitles in French? Is this formation the same one than «Révélez votre âme de photographe» you offer in collaboration with Laurent Breillat ?
    Thanks a lot for your answer

    1. Author

      Bonjour, Annette. Merci pour votre question. Je suis désolé de dire qu’ImageWork ne sera pas en français pour le moment. Je vais demander à Laurent s’il aimerait l’offrir au monde français (peut-être pourriez-vous lui dire que vous voulez qu’il fasse ça!) Mais cela dépendra de lui. J’espere!

    2. Hello Annette 🙂

      Je passe par là du coup j’en profite pour répondre ! Merci pour ton enthousiasme, ça fait plaisir 🙂

      Ce n’est pas la même formation que Révélez votre Âme de Photographe (dont le titre original est “The Created Image”), ni que Regard Nomade (qui s’appelle à l’origine “The Traveling Lens”). Je n’ai pas encore eu l’occasion de voir ImageWork en entier, donc je ne peux pas confirmer avec certitude que je voudrai effectivement l’éditer, mais honnêtement vu la qualité de la première vidéo, c’est très très probable 😀

      Cela dit j’ai un planning chargé sur les prochains mois, avec les masterclass de Masters of Photography qui sortiront bientôt en français, comme tu le sais peut-être. Il y a un gros travail dessus, qui durera au moins pendant les 6 prochains mois, donc je pense que si je sors ImageWork en français, ce sera doute dans 9 à 12 mois.

      Donc si jamais tu parles assez bien anglais, je ne peux pas te demander d’attendre aussi longtemps, fais-toi plaisir maintenant 🙂 Sinon, et bien sans doute rendez-vous en 2021 !

      1. Laurent, ne penses-tu pas que cette formation de David devrait en partie aborder les thèmes de “Sublimez vos photos”. Positionnement à travailler.

      2. Thank you very much David for your answer, et merci Laurent pour le complément d’information. Je vais ré-écouter attentivement la vidéo pour évaluer si je comprends suffisamment.
        Au plaisir

  28. Excellent video! My photography instructor/mentor (who is a big fan of yours) was discussing intent and taking more control over our creative choices. Your video just summarized and wrapped up a lot of that info in a slightly different package but actually made it all much more clear. What a great concept this is for a course. I am looking forward to hearing more about it. I think I FINALLY understand “the basics” and want my images to go to the next level going forward. Sounds like you have a few thoughts on that! Carry on!

    1. Author

      Thank you Lisa. What a wise mentor you have. She is to be commended for her exceptional taste. LOL. 🙂 I’m thrilled to hear the first lesson of ImageWork was helpful to you. Only 3 more days and then the whole thing (and more!) will be released!

  29. Hi David
    Many thanks for the first episode of what I think will be a wonderful and interesting course. I believe it will compliment another of your courses – The Compelling Frame – which I purchased. Looking forward to putting my Lightroom software to more creative use using your seven considerations in the digital darkroom.
    In short, roll on Sunday !

    1. Author

      Thanks, Michael. You nailed it. I designed this course to be a strong compliment to the Compelling Frame and together with ImageStory (more about that on Sunday) I think it’s going to be keep a lot of people busy and learning for a while. I think I’m as excited as every one else about this course (courses, actually) going live! Thank you for the enthusiasm!

  30. Great and learning video. Echoing a previous message: Great to have a lesson or two in black & white. Regardless-many thanks for what you do. Mike

    1. Author

      Hey Mike. You got it! Black and white? Check! I’ve got several images in the course that serve as conversation starters about different black and white work as well as duo-tone additions.

  31. Enjoyed this very much, David. I think a lot of us would learn a lot about the thinking behind the making of an image, both in-camera and on-monitor. This applies to the technical aspects and perhaps more importantly, the aesthetic aspects – we often will favour the aesthetics over the technical (e.g. allowing the shadows and/or the highlights to show no data – Ansel Adams will roll in his grave!).
    One thing I may add (and you alluded to it near the end) is knowing when to end, when to stop tinkering, sit back and say “enough”. Then go for a drink (I like scotch too), and come back to the image later (hours, days, years?) – and ask “am I finished?” (and not to mention, “will I ever be?”)

    1. Author

      Dennis! Am i right in thinking you were the man who introduced me to Keith Jarrett? Keep an ear open for episode 044 of A Beautiful Anarchy. Full on gratitude expressed to you in that episode. And yes, knowing when to end is important. Let’s go get that whisky together!

      1. I am hoping that the Keith Jarrett reference is to the Koln Concert and the documented struggles, even large hurdles, the artist endured before and during this concert.
        Covered in the book “Keith Jarrett _ the man and his music” – Carr, Ian or more recently in the August Premiere Guitar magazine article by John Bohlinger.
        It connects so marvelously with the lessons about constraints and the value of work.
        If not, you have it now!

        1. Author

          Exactly so. What a concert! What a story! Episode 044 of my podcast will air on October 18 and it’s about this astonishing story. How did I live this long having never heard that music?!

    2. I am really looking forward to this course. If the first lesson is any indication, it’s exactly what I’m trying to do in my photography in retirement at age 81. I worked in a camera shop during my high school years . After an academic career in theoretical and applied biomechanics, I’m feeding the artsy side of my life. This course seems to be perfect for what I’m trying to accomplish.

      1. Author

        Thank you, Don. I hear this more and more from folks closer to your age than mine and you have no idea how inspiring it is. Anything I can do to help you feed that part of you is why I work as hard as I do, and if I can be still learning, still fanning the creative parts of myself to flame, as you are, in 30+ years, I’ll consider it a life well-lived. 🙂 I hope the course helps!

  32. Even as an experienced photographer I find it fascinating to see you reveal your editing choices. I appreciate being stimulated to consider alternate approaches to mine in refining images.

    1. Author

      Thanks, Owen. It’s all about possibilities and creative thinking. The more possibilities we’re exposed to, the more creative options open to us. Glad this was helpful!

  33. Oooooo, this looks like a fun class! I am excited to see your thought process as you work through the production process in your images. David, thanks for putting together what looks like another great course. I’ll be signing up when it goes active.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Jason! I had a lot of time on my hands over the last 8 months and I think it worked out well for everyone. I think this is the strongest course (there’s actually 2) I’ve done and because Covid has been so hard on everyone I’ve tried also to make it the best introductory pricing I can. Sunday is coming!

  34. As always an incredibly insightful way to think about both ‘in camera’ and post. I can’t wait to experience the course.

  35. So I set the shutter speed (e.g. 1/30) and the aperture (e.g. 2.8) then adjust the EV to lighten or darken the image. First, I’d have to guess at the EV adjustment, make a sketch photo, check the histogram, and repeat until I got the image I want. Second, I shoot in Manual Mode so I didn’t understand how I can set the shutter speed and aperture then adjust EV without affecting one of those two setting unless EV adjusts ISO. So I read the manual (I do read the manual, unfortunately at times it leaves me with a blank look on my face) and here’s what it says “In mode M, exposure compensation affects only the exposure indicator: shutter speed and aperture do not change.” cue the blank look. How do you interpret that; a) the EV changes the ISO, b) the EV has not affect, or c) what do you think?
    PS – I took my camera out, set the SP & A, adjusted the ISO to “center the needle” for the “proper” exposure and made a photo. Then I adjusted the EV to +5 and made another photo, then repeated for EV -5. When I compared the histograms there was, maybe just maybe a slight change but I’d say virtually no change,
    I’m sorry this is so long winded. Please share your thoughts on how I can set the shutter speed and aperture then adjust the brightness/darkness in camera. Thanks, oh and I did enjoy the video and great to hear someone discuss aesthetics not just technical.

    1. Author

      Thomas – I’ll take my best crack at this with you. First, it’s important to remember that EV (the overall exposure value you choose that is a combination of the ISO, Aperture, and Shutter) is not the same thing as EV Compensation which is the button on the camera that allows you to tell the camera when it is in any of the Auto or Program modes (including manual mode but using Auto-ISO) that you want it to adjust (compensate) the exposure (overall brightness or darkness) up or down. Exposure Value and Exposure Value Compensation are different, but problematically people somewhere along the line started called EV Compensation just “EV”. So, to your point (as I think I understand it) if you are COMPLETELY in manual (aperture, shutter, and ISO) then the EV Compensation does nothing. In your case you set it all manually. You are your own EV Compensation. Depending on how you meter (I basically ignore the meter and use my histogram) it could be that the camera is telling you one thing and you need to over-ride it. Just like with EV Compensation in an auto mode, except now it’s your job to do that. I suspect all this confusion is simply the too-common blending of very different ideas – EV and EV Compensation. Does that help at all? I’m happy to keep hammering this out. 🙂

      1. Thank you, your comments reinforce what I think I understand about setting exposure. I do shoot in completely manual. If I were in one of the auto modes, say aperture priority, I can set the shutter speed to 1/30 and the ISO but the camera determines the aperture for the “proper” exposure. If I wanted to darken it a bit and adjust the EV compensation to say a negative 1 what I’m telling the camera to do is to make the aperture smaller by one stop. Something similar can be said for shutter speed priority. What I’m trying to say, I think, is if I’m in A or S priority mode first I can’t set both A & S, I can only set one of them, second when I adjust EV compensation I’m really only forcing the camera to change either A or S, depending on which mode I’m in. Sorry for beating a deceased equine just trying to clarify my point that is to achieve my aesthetic vision I may have to compromise on A or S settings for the given light. Thanks again.

  36. I’ve watched hundreds of ‘how to’ videos and actually do understand each of the 14 steps you mentioned. But for the first time, ever, it all actually made sense and I could finally see how everything really worked together – particularly in the post processing section. I’m not sure exactly how you made it so much clearer than everyone else but whatever you did, It worked. Thank you/

    1. Author

      I am so pleased to hear this, Judith! Fantastic! I think I’m becoming a better teacher as I try to put myself back in the shoes of learners. Thrills me to hear you tell me it’s working! 🙂 Thank you!

  37. I love how you are explaining things clearly, but still not focusing on the technical. Or rather how the technical is only a tool to express what you want, the story you want to tell, which is the most important thing to think about.

    What I like the most about this picture is : it looks like a painting (I mean it as a compliment). Probably because of the beautiful light or because the gold coffee machine looks awesome (oh the texture!) and exotic… making some mythical brew out of a modern thousand and one nights fairytale (how my nespresso machine looks dull in comparison). The vantage point seems very low to me, reinforces the impression of a small child wandering in a fairytale…. or maybe I just really need a good cup of coffee !

    1. Author

      Thanks, Fep. All this talk about coffee has me wanting to grind some beans! I’m glad this approach is working for you and I take your compliment as intended – thank you!

  38. Very Well Done! I think a lot of focus is put on the “how” and not enough on the “why” so this is wonderful! I look forward to the rest!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Tara! I tried really hard to make sure this course focused on both the How and the Why and when the Why was being discussed that it always served the How.

  39. Great execution on that video! Simplifying done correctly takes wisdom. It bodes well for the course and I’m sure it will be a no-brainer purchase for me (I like money back guarantees. Hint, hint.)

    I really like the concept of following a photo through the thought process. It’s not exactly “soup to nuts,” because we aren’t there in the Istanbul cafe with you when you took the shot (I wish!) so I guess it’s more like “appetizer to mignardise.” Perhaps printing is like the dessert –i.e. not necessary but lovely? Anyway, you get the idea.

    Excited now for the big reveal. Good luck.

    1. Author

      Mignardise? Oh now you’re just showing off! 🙂 I love it when i learn a new word! Thanks for that, John. And thanks for the excitment. Revealing a new thing (on which I’ve worked for 8 months!) is a fearful thing and it’s nice to have such great people in my corner. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a sudden craving for some tiny little desserts! 🙂

    2. Author

      There is absolutely a money-back guarantee. Your trust is more important to me than your money, John.

  40. This is excellent. I love seeing people’s decision making in post production, and learning new techniques. I hope you’ll also cover post in black and white!

    1. Author

      Hi Pat! Always nice to see your name and face. 🙂 Yes, there will absolutely be lessons about black and white tools and effects (I think 5 lessons include discussion partly about this), along with some duotone/split toning. I tried to cover as many bases as I could!

  41. EV EXPLAINED!! Finally.
    Or finally understood.
    Jeez Louise. Thank God.

    Not to get ahead of you to ask for the next thing, but it’s the one I’ve always asked you for, the replies to which seem to be a koan:

    Photography Nuts and Bolts
    Camera 101 – concepts for language-y people already more prone to thinking about aesthetics than physics.

    Yes, I can read the manual. I have. And David Busch’s expanded manual. And Rocky Nook books. Ansel Adams himself. And simpler general audience NatGeo books using concepts I half get to define more compound concepts that sound simple but ultimately become a chain of familiar words that still don’t translate to true conceptual understanding.
    Heck, I’ve watched a Great Course by another truly great photographer telling me photography is not about the gear as he demonstrates 95% of what’s possible with his gear.

    The math and spatial parts of my brain have always limped, David. The result has never been sexy.
    I’ll be far more able to make use of your creative expertise once someone/something helps level the foundation. Your recommendation re where to seek out teaching of the fundamentals would mean a lot to me.

    1. Author

      Hey Chris. Well I’m glad that helped. When we remember that EV is the overall exposure we choose – in other words, how bright or how dark, then the connected tech concept of EV Compensation (ie, that button on the camera with the plus and minus) becomes simpler. It’s just a means of telling the camera, I want you to figure out the exposure but please make it one stop lighter or one stop darker (as an example). As for other concepts, the so-called nuts and bolts, this is an interesting idea. Can you give me an idea of some of the other concepts or techniques you’re struggling with?

  42. Hi David, Thank you for this excellent resource. From the very first educational resource that I saw from you about learning to “see”, I’ve admired your creative vision and artistry. I look forward to seeing and learning more! Kind regards, Fred Benjamin

  43. Congratulations – you have really nailed it! You have successfully distilled the most important considerations in making and processing a photograph into a 7 and 7 simple step process. Well done and thank you David!

    1. Author

      Thanks, Ginny. At times when you teach you need to oversimplify it a little but I’m hoping this new way of looking at things will help tremendously as people make decisions about their own images. I’m glad I nailed it for you! 🙂

  44. I’m embarrassed that after many years doing photography as an amateur I could not put into words what it takes to make and image that captures the viewer in the way you do in this video. I feel very comfortable with the tools, but to infrequently set my goals as clearly. Looking forward to Sunday

    1. Author

      Don’t be embarrassed, Don. The reason I created this course is because this is such a common hole in the way we learn photography and I’m convinced that as people get beyond the tools and start learning this stuff it will take their photography in whole new directions! It took me a long time to articulate this, so I’m hoping it’ll help!

  45. Finally, someone who makes sense about imagery. The right emphasis on the artistry and feeling rather than the tools is a refreshing and much appreciated approach. Thank you!! Thank you.

    1. Author

      Ha! That might be the first time I’ve been accused of making sense. 🙂 Thank you, Dennis. I know my voice is an odd one in the photography world but I’m glad there are some that see the sense in it. Thanks!

  46. Thank you so much for this video. To have you verbalize the decision process in-camera and in-development is very useful, reinforcing your fundamental messages of intentionality and creativity. To follow along in the origination and creation of the final image is far more helpful than an encyclopedic knowledge of the technical tools alone. Thank you.

    1. Author

      The honour is mine, Rick. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I can’t wait to release this thing into the world on Sunday!

  47. Excellent inspirational teaching lesson, thank you!! I am missing in your 7 points the “Metering Mode”. It is a difficult choice for me so far and I would love to see your decision on each photo. Will this be included in your following video course?

    1. Author

      Hi Petra. When I discuss EV or Exposure Value I am discussing the overall exposure decision of the image, or the choice to follow the meter, or ignore it. I do things a little differently as I mostly ignore the meter and instead pay close attention to the histogram which is much more accurate in terms of telling me where the light values are, in the image, and not just what they are. Where this matters – and it is often the biggest decision we make – I discuss it in detail, but it’s never about which metering mode but about why I chose the exposure I did, usually relative to the histogram and the look of the image.

  48. Thanks, David! As a non-LR user, I always wonder how these workflow decisions translate to other apps (the oft-ignored PS Elements, in particular), which is why I rarely look at post-processing videos. Would this course still be applicable to other apps?
    (I know you’ll say yes!) 😁

    1. Author

      Yes! 🙂 See? That was easy.

      Hey, Lori. One of the things I did before I made this course was poll a huge chunk of my readers and something like 98% of them used Lightroom, so that’s what I used. But this is NOT a Lightroom course and I was conscious to discuss the post-production in terms of what changes were made to the look of the image, more than exactly which buttons and sliders. And then in beta I made sure to recruit someone who didn’t use LR (he used Capture One) and ask if if he felt the principles were transferable, and he said absolutely they were. If you use LR, PS, ACR, or to PSE you should easily understand what I’m talking about, though some of the ways in which you accomplish these effects might just need some creative thinking to adapt to your specific tool. I don’t use PSE or I’d give you a much more specific answer.

  49. YES! LOVE IT! I’ve been a fan for a long, long time. You never disappoint. And, I really love how vision has always been the key for you. It is so much more meaningful, I think, to discuss the why before the how. Also, you have this gift of inspiring that original passion (compulsion?) to make photographs within my heart–every time I watch one of your videos, read your words, or hear them. You ROCK!

    1. Author

      Liz, you just made my day! Thank you! I work so hard on this stuff, so it’s tremendously gratifying to hear that it resonates. Thank you!

  50. I really enjoyed watching your videos. Clear, precise and straightforward. Can’t wait until the image course is completed. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    1. Author

      Thank you, Raul! You don’t have long to wait. The course is done and ready and will be be open for enrollment this Sunday morning. I’ll send you a note by email!

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