YouTube Recommendation: Marc Levoy – Lectures on Digital Photography

Marc Levoy - Lectures on Digital Photography

When you start looking into the theory of photography, you soon realise that it is quite easy to become lost in detail. The exposure triangle alone just doesn’t do it. How does the image get to the sensor in the first place? How does the camera see colours? How do we see them? Where does image noise come from? You can either search for the answers to any of these questions individually – or you grab the comprehensive package provided by Marc Levoy.


Marc Levoy is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Stanford and now works for Google. From 2009 to 2014, he taught a University course titled “how cameras work, and how to take good pictures using them”. In the spring of 2016, he gave an adapted version of this course at Google, which thankfully was recorded and made available online. 18 lectures, altogether more than 22 hours of video material. This is the course description given on the homepage:

An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, and computational photography. We will also survey the history of photography, look at the work of famous photographers, and talk about composing strong photographs.

The lectures are easy to follow; the image and audio quality is very good. Even more important, he does not lose himself in gobbledegook, even when going deep into the finer details. He never loses the golden thread, and that is what makes the entire package so interesting.

The lecture’s Homepage does not only provide the links to the 18 YouTube videos, it also runs all applets used in the lectures, including instructions, as well as all of the assignments if you want to give it a try yourself!


Recommendation: This is a must-see!

What I’ve learned: A lot 🙂 In particular, it helped me understand a lot of technical background as well as explaining contexts which are easily missed when just looking into individual aspects. Of course you can use the course schedule to pick out the topics you’re most interested it, but I strongly recommend taking the time to watch the entire course over time.


Wishing you interesting hours,
– Jochen =8-)

Title image: Screenshot from Homepage

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