Photography Basics is easy to learn. This tutorial section covers the fundamentals of the photography camera, that is, the basic controls inherent to all cameras, film and digital alike, and it will help you understand valuable photography principles you need know to capture the quality images you want.
The Digital Photography Basics section that follows this one, is all about the digital technology features that has been incorporated into those cameras.
If you are new to Photography and you have a digital camera, then both of these sections are for you.
Perhaps one of the more common questions for the new photographer is : "What camera settings do I use to take this picture". In reality there is no such thing as one correct camera setting for any single situation, you are the creator of the image you are about to capture, and how you wish to express that image is all about the camera controls we talk about here in this section Photography Basics.
The evolution of photography has always been steeped in math, physics, and chemistry, but for today's photographer it's all been greatly simplified. So much so, that today, we only think in abbreviated form of these disciplines and physical properties.
Throughout this tutorial you might see a light dusting of those sciences where it helps to clarify important concepts that every semi-serious photographer should know about.
The numbers next to the page links on this page are just a suggestion of the order you could progress through reading this photography basics tutorial to build solid understanding photography fundamentals.
Randy Smith Photography © 2011.
We are often drawn to a photographic moment by seeing the beautiful interplay of light, so at least in this situation, capturing that quality of light becomes the most important point for those pictures, so strive for that.
In the above photo of the Dall Sheep, the sunlight illuminating the soft thick winter fir coats was a critical element of that picture. The exposure had to be carefully controlled to capturing those soft shaping features. The shutter speed had to be fast enough to still my holding a 300mm lens, and the aperture needed to be small enough to carry relative focus from the rocks in the foreground to the snow laden mountains in the background. All of these elements are clues what needs to be done to capture a good image, and I might not get a more than a couple of shots at it.
Naturally part of the challenge to photography is learning how to control the way light is captured in your photos.
There are three primary controls that we use to physically control the amount of light during each exposure. They are Shutter Speeds, Apertures and ISO setting. More than just exposure controls, these photography basics, are the primary tools for your photographic expression, and a means of managing the technical quality aspect of photographic results.
There are other tools that we might think of as accessories, but they are essential secondary controls for controlling light during the photographic capture. They would be items like the tripod, remote camera releases, filters like the Polarizer and neutral density blending filters, and there is the light augmentation controls like flash or hot lights, Reflectors, screens or diffusion.
For right now we will focus on the primary controls for the process for capturing light and forming personal expression in your pictures.
For a proper exposure, these three settings (Shutter, Aperture, and ISO), are like a triad of balance, they all need to be set in balance with each other, and adapted to the requirements of the existing light.
When I say these three exposure controls need to be in balance with each other, I am implying that they work together with each other for capturing the desired result. The ideal exposure result could be the metered exposure suggestion, or it could be an underexposure or even an overexposure from what the light meter suggests. That's all part of photography, using your skill and senses to capture the kind of image you want.
If you are shooting a digital camera then the LCD screen and Histogram will be your good friends. I will show on this website many ways you can learn how to interpret the light meter's results, how to compensate for it, even when to avoid using it, all for the benefit of getting the right exposure.
The first thing we need to do is get a good handle on the unique characteristic properties of our exposure controls. The links below will take you to specific pages that cover aspects of these camera controls that you will work with. When you have covered one page topic, then return here to be directed to the next camera photography control.
Aperture: There is a lot to comment on this simple Iris like feature that resides in your lenses. What is Aperture(1) will introduce you to what this is and how it works as a light exposure control, we also talk about Aperture Numbers, we introduce the 1 Stop of Light concept, and how you can Memorize the Aperture Numbers.
Photography basics - Aperture, DOF
Randy Smith Photography © 2011.
The Creative expression of the Aperture is called Depth of Field or DOF, and it results from a physical property of light traveling through different sizes of the lens aperture openings you have selected. This can help you have focus at only one distance from you, or it can allow you to carry focus through a range of distance, from a point near you, and continue through to a farther distance point into your scene. Understanding Depth of Field(2) begins this discussion, but there is more say on this topic to come. First it is important to introduce you to a phenomenon called Circles of Confusion and the Plane of focus.
As you begin to use DOF you will notice that the closer you focus on a subject the shallower the effect of DOF becomes. So I share close focusing techniques using DOF, and how to use the DOF Preview Button on this link, Depth of Field Examples(3).
A Funny thing about DOF is, that the more you apply to your image by narrowing the aperture beyond a specific point, you get more DOF but your resolution of details begins to be diminish, a problem known as Aperture Diffraction. So there are times when you don't want to not take DOF as far as you are able to. I introduce this and Airy Disk on the link Pinhole Aperture(11) because this effect is just what is happening with the pinhole camera and why it will never resolve sharp details.
Shutter Speed and Aperture(4) is how we manage to balance the exposure between these two exposure controls. We talk again about the 1 stop of light principal as it applies to shutter speeds, and introduce the Shutter Speed Numbers and how you can memorize them easily. We also introduce Equivalent Exposures or Reciprocity and where this begins to break down as a principle when using film, an effect known as Reciprocity Failure. Digital does not experience Reciprocity failure.
The concept of a Shutter Speed if vary simple to understand, Fast Shutter Speed(5) is capable of stoping motion or limiting motion to the greatest effect of the action within your image. I take you through several different speeds of stoping action with a Shutter Speed Guide so that you get the feel of where you need to be in order to capture the action the way you want it to look in your image. We'll also talk about some important techniques like the Hand Held Rule, and some pointers on Panning with the Action. There is guidance on Image Stabilization and I show you how you can calculate the Distance of travel of Objects in Motion, sometimes this can help in pre-planning of a shot.Slow Shutter Speed(6) is used for primarily showing motion in your pictures, something that we as physical beings, don't get to see without the use of this amazing ability to see a span of time in one image. Slow shutter speeds also give us the opportunity to capture beautiful qualities of light that exist in dimly lit low light situations, and so slow shutter speeds deserves a page all to itself. I will also introduce Basic Dalight Exposure or BDE, this is a way of relating to long shutter speed exposures and is based on principle of the Sunny 16 Rule. We have an Exposure Guide here also and we talk about photographing Water Falls, Fireworks, and Star Trails
Camera ISO(7) is the exposure adjustment that calibrates the light meter of your camera for the film you are using, or in digital cameras, it allows you to increase or retard the sensitivity of the image sensor to light so that you can shoot in varied light brightness situations.
Photography basics - Randy Smith Photography © 2011.
How the color in images is actually captured in photography is important for understanding many principles in photography from Adjusting Color Correction in the digital camera before shooting a picture, or to understanding the display on your color monitors, to many editing principals you will encounter. Color Images(9) will also relate to your understanding of how the digital image sensor works and records color. We'll talk briefly about nature of the (B&W) image, Color in Film and Color in Digital.
Hyperfocal Distance(10) is apart of DOF but it applies to using DOF in a vary specific way of carrying sharp focus from infinity, up to some point nearer to you that you wish to remain relatively sharp. Often photographers will choose focus at infinity for showing distant features, in doing this they run the risk of loosing valuable foreground details they may want fairly sharp in the photo. This can be a mistake when it comes time to enlarging a picture that you want to see on your wall because of an out of focus foreground will look much worse enlarged. We'll show you how you can limit some of this effect. I also provide and Hyperfocal Distce Formula so you can calculate and make some tables for your lenses. I also provide a few down loadable Hyperfocus Distance Tables you are free to use.Most of this section pertains to the fundamentals of photography basics in film and digital alike. There are a few more topics, but we'll cover them under the Digital Photography Basics and Photography Exposure sections.
& Slow Shutter Speed
And Story behind it!
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