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Photography - 101
(the very basics)
Before we
get started…
- These are only very simple explanations
- I could be wrong!
- Mainly aimed at digital users
- Slideshow will be up on my website
Let there be light!
All photography
is based on light
Exposure is the total
amount of light allowed
to fall on the film/image
sensor
Too much light creates an
over-bright image with
white spots: parts of the
image are Over-Exposed
Too little light creates an
under-bright image with
black spots: parts of the
image are Under-Exposed
Getting the ‘best’ exposure can be difficult in scenes with contrasting light
Exposure can be controlled
mainly through two lens settings:
Aperture…
… and
Shutter
Speed
Aperture is the size of the gap
light is let through in the lens –
similar to an eye’s pupil
High f-stop =
Low aperture =
Small gap =
Less light =
Lower Exposure
Low f-stop =
High aperture =
Large gap =
More light =
Higher Exposure
- Aperture is
measured in f-stop
numbers (e.g. f/2.1
or f/8.3)
- The higher the
f-stop, the lower
the aperture, the
smaller the gap
(and vice versa)
Shutter Speed is the length of time the camera’s
lens shutter is open – in other words, how long the
camera spends taking the picture
- Long shutter speeds spend more time letting light in, which can help
in dark environments and create artistic blur effects with movement
- Short shutter speeds spends less time letting light in, which allows
for quicker pictures and the ability to ‘freeze time’ in great detail
Long Shutter Speed Short Shutter Speed
- To get a good exposure on manual mode, you have to
make sure the aperture and shutter speed balance
each-other out correctly for the sort of photo you want
- Most digital compacts/SLRs on automatic mode will judge
the aperture and shutter speed for you when taking a picture
– but you can still change an exposure compensation
setting to alter what it thinks is ‘correct’ if it gets it wrong
On most SLRs you can switch
on: Aperture Priority (you
pick the aperture, the camera
picks the shutter speed), or -
Shutter Priority (you pick the
shutter speed, the camera picks
the aperture – compacts usually
have this too) -
depending on which is most
convenient for what you want
Remember: Practice
makes perfect!
Blurry Blues
Have to be careful – blur is not always obvious at first!
Can be caused by low light, fast movement, unsteady camera,
falling out of focus, using long zoom, slow shutter speed…
- Use a tripod or lean against something firm
- Switch on self-timer or use a remote control
(some cameras have anti-shake technology)
No Macro Macro
Make sure
you’re in focus
and focusing on
the right part:
auto-focus
sometimes gets
confused
Switch on macro
mode (and use a
macro lens on
SLRs) when
shooting close-
ups
Focus
The longer a picture is being taken, the more chance there is that
movement/unsteady camera will cause it to blur – so a fast shutter
speed is desirable for sharp snapshots (remember you will have to
compensate the aperture to keep it in good exposure)
Using flash creates enough
light to allow a fast shutter
speed – very good for
capturing movement, but short
range and can lose
background
ISO affects the camera’s
sensitivity to light:
Low ISO = less sensitive to light,
slower shutter speed (likely to blur
in low light, but little grain)
High ISO = more sensitive to light,
faster shutter speed (less likely to
blur, but more grain)
No flash Flash
Low ISO
High ISO
Getting the Light Right
Getting a picture that’s not too bright or dark is about getting the
right exposure – so make sure your aperture and shutter speed
are suitable for the situation (and balancing each-other ‘correctly’)
Shorter
Shutter
Speed
-
Shorter
Exposur
e
Longer
Shutter
Speed
-
Longer
Exposur
e
Longer shutter speeds (or long exposure) capture more
detail in dark scenes and can allow for more elaborate ‘light
trail’ effects (though you might not want one or the other, in
which case you could balance it with the aperture differently)
Remember aperture,
shutter speed, flash and
ISO all combine to
affect the image – be
careful not to forget what
you’ve set them to!
No Flash Flash
Flash can be essential for
getting snapshots in the
dark, but can lose shadows,
reflect off surfaces and lose
‘depth’ of colour
Low ISO Low ISO, Long Exposure High ISO, Long Exposure
Digital cameras sometimes get confused trying
to recreate colours, and the picture goes a
different tint because the camera’s idea of white
is off – so we can change the white balance
setting to compensate:
-Automatic: Usually guesses correctly, but not always
-Custom: Focus on something white for it to remember
-Tungsten: Indoors, under tungsten/incandescent/bulb lighting
-Fluorescent: Under fluorescent lighting
-Daylight/Sunny: Outdoors on a bright day
-Cloudy: Outdoors on a cloudy day
-Flash: To compensate for flash
-Shade: In shaded areas
Framing the Scene
- Digital screens/viewfinders tend to be more accurate in
framing the pictures you take
- Don’t always (or never) shoot
your subject in the centre of
the shot – laying the scene out
according to thirds can be
more interesting/satisfying
- You can use Photoshop or other digital imagery
software to crop unwanted bits out of your photos
- Vary between landscape and portrait
- Try to keep the horizon/background
objects lined up straight (unless you are
throwing them off for artistic effect)
- Try zooming/not zooming where it
might not be expected
- Rather than capturing
the whole of something,
try taking a strange
angle and shooting just
part of it (perhaps close
up in macro mode)
Final things to remember…
These are only
guidelines –
every rule has
an exception! Always
remember
your framing
and exposure!
There’s a lot
more to learn
and discover!
PRACTICE
MAKES
PERFECT!

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Photography 101-presentation

  • 1. Photography - 101 (the very basics)
  • 2. Before we get started… - These are only very simple explanations - I could be wrong! - Mainly aimed at digital users - Slideshow will be up on my website
  • 3. Let there be light! All photography is based on light Exposure is the total amount of light allowed to fall on the film/image sensor
  • 4. Too much light creates an over-bright image with white spots: parts of the image are Over-Exposed Too little light creates an under-bright image with black spots: parts of the image are Under-Exposed Getting the ‘best’ exposure can be difficult in scenes with contrasting light
  • 5. Exposure can be controlled mainly through two lens settings: Aperture… … and Shutter Speed
  • 6. Aperture is the size of the gap light is let through in the lens – similar to an eye’s pupil High f-stop = Low aperture = Small gap = Less light = Lower Exposure Low f-stop = High aperture = Large gap = More light = Higher Exposure - Aperture is measured in f-stop numbers (e.g. f/2.1 or f/8.3) - The higher the f-stop, the lower the aperture, the smaller the gap (and vice versa)
  • 7. Shutter Speed is the length of time the camera’s lens shutter is open – in other words, how long the camera spends taking the picture - Long shutter speeds spend more time letting light in, which can help in dark environments and create artistic blur effects with movement - Short shutter speeds spends less time letting light in, which allows for quicker pictures and the ability to ‘freeze time’ in great detail Long Shutter Speed Short Shutter Speed
  • 8. - To get a good exposure on manual mode, you have to make sure the aperture and shutter speed balance each-other out correctly for the sort of photo you want - Most digital compacts/SLRs on automatic mode will judge the aperture and shutter speed for you when taking a picture – but you can still change an exposure compensation setting to alter what it thinks is ‘correct’ if it gets it wrong On most SLRs you can switch on: Aperture Priority (you pick the aperture, the camera picks the shutter speed), or - Shutter Priority (you pick the shutter speed, the camera picks the aperture – compacts usually have this too) - depending on which is most convenient for what you want Remember: Practice makes perfect!
  • 9. Blurry Blues Have to be careful – blur is not always obvious at first! Can be caused by low light, fast movement, unsteady camera, falling out of focus, using long zoom, slow shutter speed…
  • 10. - Use a tripod or lean against something firm - Switch on self-timer or use a remote control (some cameras have anti-shake technology) No Macro Macro Make sure you’re in focus and focusing on the right part: auto-focus sometimes gets confused Switch on macro mode (and use a macro lens on SLRs) when shooting close- ups Focus
  • 11. The longer a picture is being taken, the more chance there is that movement/unsteady camera will cause it to blur – so a fast shutter speed is desirable for sharp snapshots (remember you will have to compensate the aperture to keep it in good exposure) Using flash creates enough light to allow a fast shutter speed – very good for capturing movement, but short range and can lose background ISO affects the camera’s sensitivity to light: Low ISO = less sensitive to light, slower shutter speed (likely to blur in low light, but little grain) High ISO = more sensitive to light, faster shutter speed (less likely to blur, but more grain) No flash Flash Low ISO High ISO
  • 12. Getting the Light Right Getting a picture that’s not too bright or dark is about getting the right exposure – so make sure your aperture and shutter speed are suitable for the situation (and balancing each-other ‘correctly’) Shorter Shutter Speed - Shorter Exposur e Longer Shutter Speed - Longer Exposur e Longer shutter speeds (or long exposure) capture more detail in dark scenes and can allow for more elaborate ‘light trail’ effects (though you might not want one or the other, in which case you could balance it with the aperture differently)
  • 13. Remember aperture, shutter speed, flash and ISO all combine to affect the image – be careful not to forget what you’ve set them to! No Flash Flash Flash can be essential for getting snapshots in the dark, but can lose shadows, reflect off surfaces and lose ‘depth’ of colour Low ISO Low ISO, Long Exposure High ISO, Long Exposure Digital cameras sometimes get confused trying to recreate colours, and the picture goes a different tint because the camera’s idea of white is off – so we can change the white balance setting to compensate: -Automatic: Usually guesses correctly, but not always -Custom: Focus on something white for it to remember -Tungsten: Indoors, under tungsten/incandescent/bulb lighting -Fluorescent: Under fluorescent lighting -Daylight/Sunny: Outdoors on a bright day -Cloudy: Outdoors on a cloudy day -Flash: To compensate for flash -Shade: In shaded areas
  • 14. Framing the Scene - Digital screens/viewfinders tend to be more accurate in framing the pictures you take - Don’t always (or never) shoot your subject in the centre of the shot – laying the scene out according to thirds can be more interesting/satisfying - You can use Photoshop or other digital imagery software to crop unwanted bits out of your photos
  • 15. - Vary between landscape and portrait - Try to keep the horizon/background objects lined up straight (unless you are throwing them off for artistic effect) - Try zooming/not zooming where it might not be expected - Rather than capturing the whole of something, try taking a strange angle and shooting just part of it (perhaps close up in macro mode)
  • 16. Final things to remember… These are only guidelines – every rule has an exception! Always remember your framing and exposure! There’s a lot more to learn and discover! PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!