Coursera Course Review: Cameras, Exposure, and Photography

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Coursera is a website that offers online courses on various subjects such as computer science, business communications. I recently learned that Coursera has a photography class – “Cameras, Exposure, and Photography” taught by professors at Michigan State University. I like taking pictures, so I decided to take this class. This was my first time to enroll in classes online, so I decided to write a review.

What Is This Course About?

The course I took is actually the first course of a series called “Photography Basics and Beyond: From Smartphone to DSLR Specialization.” It consists of 5 courses, each of which is 4 weeks.

The description says “You will learn about the basic functions that most digital cameras have in common.” Now that I have finished this course, I can say that this is accurate. Stuff covered in the course seemed something basic that everyone who wants to get into photography should know, but none of them was too advanced, so it was easy for me to follow. I had a feeling that some people who have been playing with their cameras for a long time might find this class too easy.


Each class is 79 dollars, and if you pay for 5 classes together, you will get 10% discount, so it is 284 dollars for 5 classes.

This seemed expensive to me because I can buy a book or DVD that teaches the basic of photography for less than half the price of the class. At the same time, if I go take guitar lessons or cooking classes, it will probably cost about $100 a month. So, I figured that it is okay for me to spend $79 for a month course on photography. I was not sure if I will want to continue, so I decided to pay only for the first class.

Why Taking Classes Online Is Better Than Learning from a Book

Each week consisted of about 1-1.5 hours of video lectures followed by quiz, and I also had to take some pictures, submit them, and review other people’s work. I would say I spent about 2-3 hours each week.

I didn’t think this would be a lot of work, but it actually kind of is. I have to make sure I finish watching all the videos and submit my work by the deadline each week.

I think this was the benefit of taking an online class over buying a book and read it myself; If I was working on a book by myself, I would never spend more than 10 minutes a week. Having a deadline really made me stop being lazy and work on the materials.

Beginner Friendly Course

I believe that this class is meant for people who never learned anything about cameras before. The professor explained everything in detail and used a lot of examples and figures so it is easier to understand.

You can also take this class without having an expensive DSLR. Some of the lectures were about how to take better pictures with smartphones. The professor also went over cameras of all sorts of prices ranging from affordable ones that are less than 200 dollars to a few thousand dollar professional cameras. He explained the benefit of each camera.

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Overall, I enjoyed the first class. I learned a lot about my camera and how to take better pictures. The picture above is one of my works that I submitted.

I am going to be busy for the next few months, but once I have some time, I am planning to take the next 4 courses, and I am sure that I will enjoy them.

About The Author

nipponomiaCo-Founder, Writerヒデノリ




Born and raised in Tokyo. Moved to MN at the age of 19.
Having survived four winters there, I have moved to California.

Currently working as a software engineer in the Bay area.

I enjoy rock climbing, and I love traveling abroad! My profile picture was taken in Morocco :)

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