Photography: Basics and Introduction
Updated: Apr 26
Introduction to Photography
Photography is an art form that has been around for over a century. It allows us to capture moments and memories in a way that no other medium can. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned professional, there are some fundamental principles of photography that you should keep in mind to create stunning photographs. In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of photography, including composition, lighting, post-editing, basic principles, photography styles, and tips. But it’s mostly basic and an introduction to every segment of photography, you will learn the basics of photography, not the technical part.
What is photography
Photography is the art of using a camera to capture light in order to generate an image, typically using a digital sensor or film. With the right equipment, even light waves that are invisible to the human eye, such as UV, infrared, and radio, can be photographed.
So let’s dive into the basics.
The exposure triangle is a term used in photography that refers to three important settings that determine the brightness and sharpness of a photo. These settings are aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The aperture controls how much light enters the
camera through the lens. Shutter speed controls how long the camera's shutter stays open, allowing light to enter. ISO controls how sensitive the camera is to light. These three settings are closely related, and adjusting one affects the other two. By understanding the exposure triangle, photographers can create well-exposed images with the desired level of brightness and sharpness.
Shutter speed is a photography term that refers to the amount of time that the camera's shutter is open, allowing light to enter and hit the camera's sensor. It is measured in fractions of a second and controls how motion appears in a photo. A fast shutter speed (like 1/1000 second) captures crisp, still images, while a slow shutter speed (like 1/10 second) creates motion blur. Adjusting the shutter speed can change the brightness and sharpness of a photo, making it an important tool for creating the desired look of an image.
Aperture also affects the depth of field, which is the range of distance in the image that appears in sharp focus. Aperture is a photography term that refers to the opening in the lens of the camera through which light enters. It is measured in f-stops, such as f/2.8, f/4, or f/16, and controls the amount of light that enters the camera. A wide aperture (like f/2.8) creates a shallow depth of field, blurring the background and keeping only the subject in focus, while a narrow aperture (like f/16) creates a deep depth of field, keeping everything in the foreground and background in focus. The aperture is an important tool for controlling the brightness and sharpness of an image, as well as for creating artistic effects by manipulating depth of field.
ISO is a photography term that refers to the sensitivity of the camera's sensor to light. It is measured in numbers, such as ISO 100, ISO 400, or ISO 3200, and controls the brightness of the image. A low ISO setting (like ISO 100) is less sensitive to light and produces a sharper image with less noise or grain, while a high ISO setting (like ISO 3200) is more sensitive to light and produces a brighter image but with more noise or grain. ISO is an important tool for adjusting the exposure of an image in different lighting conditions, and for achieving the desired balance between brightness, sharpness, and noise. However, using a high ISO setting can also result in a loss of detail and image quality, so it's important to use it judiciously.
Composition in photography refers to the way visual elements are arranged within the frame of the photograph. It involves making deliberate decisions about how to position and balance different objects or subjects within the image to create a visually appealing and effective photo. Composition is an essential aspect of creating striking and engaging photographs, and it can be achieved using various techniques such as the rule of thirds, leading lines, framing, symmetry, and contrast. A well-composed photo not only accurately captures the subject but also guides the viewer's attention toward the intended focal point and conveys the desired message or emotion. Strong composition skills are essential for capturing photographs that are both aesthetically pleasing and effective in communicating the photographer's vision.
Using composition in photography involves making intentional decisions about how to arrange the elements within the frame to create a visually pleasing and effective image. Here are some techniques that can help improve your composition skills:
Rule of Thirds: Divide your image into thirds both vertically and horizontally, and place your subject at one of the intersections or along the lines. This creates a more dynamic and balanced image.
Leading Lines: Use natural or man-made lines to draw the viewer's eye toward the subject. These lines can be roads, fences, or even shadows.
Framing: Use natural elements such as archways or branches to frame your subject and create a sense of depth and dimension in the image.
Symmetry: Create a sense of balance by placing your subject at the center of the frame or using symmetry to divide the frame into equal halves.
Contrast: Use contrasting elements, such as light and dark or soft and hard textures, to create visual interest and emphasize the subject.
Fill the Frame: Get closer to your subject and fill the frame to create a more intimate and impactful image.
Remember, these are just a few techniques to consider when using composition in photography. The most important thing is to experiment and find what works best for your particular subject and style.
Camera modes in photography refer to the different settings on a camera that allow photographers to control various aspects of the image such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
There are several common camera modes:
Auto Mode: The camera automatically adjusts all settings to take the photo with no input from the photographer.
Manual Mode: The photographer controls all settings such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
Aperture Priority Mode: The photographer sets the aperture and the camera adjusts the shutter speed and ISO to obtain the correct exposure.
Shutter Priority Mode: The photographer sets the shutter speed and the camera adjusts the aperture and ISO to obtain the correct exposure.
Program Mode: The camera automatically sets the aperture and shutter speed, but the photographer can adjust other settings such as ISO and exposure compensation.
Each mode has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of mode depends on the photographer's preference and the situation. For example, Auto mode may be useful when you need to quickly take a snapshot, while Manual mode may be more appropriate for creative control in a more controlled shooting environment.
Focusing in photography refers to the process of making the subject in your image appear sharp and in focus. There are several methods for achieving focus, including:
Manual focus: The photographer manually adjusts the focus ring on the lens until the subject appears sharp.
Autofocus: The camera automatically adjusts the focus to keep the subject in focus.
Continuous autofocus: The camera continuously adjusts the focus as the subject moves, ensuring that it remains sharp.
Single autofocus: The camera focuses once when the shutter button is pressed halfway, then locks the focus until the image is taken.
Selective focus: The photographer chooses to focus on a specific part of the image, creating a shallow depth of field and blurring the background.
Achieving proper focus is essential to creating a sharp and clear image, and the method used will depend on the photographer's preferences and the situation. In general, it's important to pay attention to the focus point and adjust as necessary to ensure the subject is in focus.
Flash is a device that emits a burst of artificial light used to illuminate a scene in photography. Flash can be used to fill in shadows, freeze motion, create catchlights, and add creative effects to an image.
To use Flash effectively, you can:
Use a diffuser to soften the harsh light of the flash.
Bounce the flash off a ceiling or wall to create a softer, more diffused light.
Adjust the flash intensity to avoid overexposing the subject.
Use a flash gel to change the color temperature of the flash to match the ambient light.
Use a flash bracket to raise the flash off the camera and create more directional lighting.
By experimenting with flash and considering factors such as flash intensity, direction, and color temperature, photographers can create stunning images using this powerful tool.
Lighting is an essential aspect of photography that can make or break the quality of your photos. It is the manipulation of light to create the desired mood, ambiance, and style of a photograph. The purpose of lighting is to enhance the subject's features, highlight specific details, and create visual interest.
Here are some tips on how to use lighting in photography:
Understand the different types of lighting - natural light, ambient light, and artificial light - and how they can affect your photos.
Determine the type of mood you want to convey in your photos and choose the appropriate lighting setup to achieve it.
Use light sources that are suitable for your subject and the environment you are shooting in.
Position the light source correctly, either in front, behind, or to the side of your subject, to create the desired effect.
Use light modifiers, such as diffusers or reflectors, to control the light and soften or enhance its intensity.
Experiment with different lighting setups and angles to create different looks and feels.
Lighting can be used for various purposes in photography, such as to highlight a subject's features, create a dramatic effect, or set the mood of the photograph. It can be used to illuminate a subject's face, shape, or texture of an object, or create shadows for a more dynamic composition.
By adjusting the intensity, direction, and color of the light source, photographers can create different moods and feelings in their photos. For example, harsh and direct lighting can create a dramatic and intense feel, while soft and diffused lighting can create a romantic and dreamy atmosphere.
In conclusion, lighting is a vital tool for photographers to create compelling and engaging photos. By understanding the different types of lighting, using the appropriate setup, and experimenting with different angles and modifiers, photographers can create stunning photos that convey their desired mood and style.
Camera settings are the various controls and adjustments that a photographer can make to the camera in order to capture an image. These settings include:
Shutter speed: The length of time the camera's shutter is open, which affects how motion is captured in the image.
Aperture: The size of the opening in the lens through which light passes, which affects the depth of field in the image.
ISO: The camera's sensitivity to light, which can be adjusted to compensate for low light conditions.
White balance: The camera's adjustment for the color temperature of the light source, which can affect the overall color of the image.
Focus: The camera's adjustment of the sharpness of the image.
These settings can be adjusted manually or set to automatic mode, depending on the photographer's preference and the shooting conditions. For a beginner photographer, it's best to start with the camera's automatic settings, which will choose the optimal shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, and focus for the scene. This will allow the photographer to focus on framing the shot and getting comfortable with using the camera.
As the photographer becomes more comfortable with the camera, they can start experimenting with the different manual settings. For example, they can try adjusting the shutter speed to create motion blur or freeze action or adjust the aperture to create a shallow depth of field for a more artistic effect.
It's important for beginners to experiment with the different settings to understand how they work and how they affect the image. They can take photos of the same scene with different settings and compare the results to see the differences. This will help them to develop their own style and preferences for how they want their photos to look.
It's also important for beginners to understand the basic principles of exposure, such as the relationship between shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. This will help them to make informed decisions about which settings to use in different lighting conditions and to achieve the desired exposure.
With practice and experimentation, beginner photographers can gradually develop their understanding of the different camera settings and how to use them effectively to capture stunning photographs.
There are many different types of photography, each with its own style, techniques, and subject matter. Here are some common types of photography and tips on how to use different styles for different types of photography:
Portrait photography: This type of photography is all about capturing the essence of a person. For portrait photography, it's important to use a shallow depth of field to create a blurred background and make the subject stand out. Lighting is also key - natural light can be used to create a soft, flattering effect, while artificial light can be used for more dramatic effects.
Landscape photography: Landscape photography is all about capturing the beauty of nature. Wide-angle lenses are often used to capture sweeping vistas, and a tripod can be used to keep the camera steady for longer exposures. It's important to pay attention to lighting and weather conditions, as these can greatly affect the mood and atmosphere of the photo.
Street photography: Street photography involves capturing candid moments of people in public places. For street photography, it's important to be unobtrusive and blend in with the surroundings. A fast shutter speed is often used to freeze motion, and a wide-angle lens can be used to capture the scene.
Wildlife photography: Wildlife photography involves capturing images of animals in their natural habitat. Telephoto lenses are often used to capture the subject from a safe distance, and a tripod can be used to keep the camera steady. It's important to be patient and observant, as animals can be unpredictable.
Still life photography: Still life photography involves capturing images of inanimate objects. Lighting is key in still-life photography, as it can greatly affect the mood and atmosphere of the photo. A tripod can be used to keep the camera steady, and a shallow depth of field can be used to create a blurred background and make the subject stand out.
Sam Kolder - Instagram
Peter Mckinnon - Instagram
Brandon Wolfel - Instagram
By understanding the different types of photography and their unique techniques and styles, beginners can experiment with different approaches and find what works best for them.
Post-editing is an essential step in modern photography. In the post-editing process, photographers use various software tools and techniques to adjust and enhance their photos. Here are some basic photo editing techniques that beginners can use to get started with post-editing:
Cropping: Cropping is a simple and effective editing technique that can help you remove any unwanted elements from your photo or to change the composition of your photo.
Adjusting exposure: Exposure refers to the brightness or darkness of a photo. You can adjust the exposure to make the photo brighter or darker using the exposure slider.
Adjusting contrast: Contrast refers to the difference between the brightest and darkest parts of a photo. You can adjust the contrast to make the photo more vibrant or dramatic.
Adjusting saturation: Saturation refers to the intensity of the colors in a photo. You can increase or decrease the saturation to make the photo more or less colorful.
Sharpening: Sharpness refers to the clarity and crispness of a photo. You can use the sharpening tool to make the photo more sharp and clear.
Noise reduction: Noise refers to the grainy or pixelated effect in photos. You can reduce noise using the noise reduction tool.
Color grading: Color grading refers to the process of adjusting the colors and tones of a photo to create a specific mood or atmosphere.
Creative effects: You can also use creative effects such as vignettes, blur, or selective focus to enhance the mood of your photo.
There are various software tools available for photo editing, including Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and GIMP. It's essential to choose the right software that suits your editing needs and preferences.
To improve your post-editing skills, it's essential to experiment with different editing tools and techniques. Practice editing your photos and try different styles to find your preferred editing style. Over time, you'll develop your editing style and become more comfortable with the editing process. Remember that photo editing is a personal preference, and there is no right or wrong way to edit a photo.
In conclusion, photography is an art form that can be enjoyed and appreciated by people of all skill levels. As a beginner, it's important to remember that practice makes perfect and to not be afraid to experiment and make mistakes. Here are some photography ideas, tips, and tricks for beginners to help them understand photography in general:
Start with basic equipment: A good camera doesn't necessarily mean an expensive camera. Start with a simple camera and learn the basics before investing in more advanced equipment.
Practice, practice, practice: The more you practice, the better you'll become. Take your camera with you wherever you go and look for opportunities to practice your photography skills.
Learn the fundamentals: Understanding the exposure triangle, composition, and camera settings are fundamental to mastering photography.
Experiment with different styles: Try different types of photography to find what you enjoy most. Experiment with different lighting, angles, and settings to find your unique style.
Use natural light: Natural light is often the best light for photography. Experiment with different times of day and the direction of the light to create different moods and effects.
Edit with purpose: Post-processing can enhance your photos, but it's important to not overdo it. Use editing software with purpose and keep the final result in mind.
Don't compare yourself to others: It's easy to get discouraged when comparing your photos to others. Remember that photography is a personal journey, and the most important thing is to enjoy the process and be proud of your progress.
With these ideas, tips, and tricks, beginners can take their first steps towards mastering photography and discovering their unique style. Keep in mind that photography is a journey, and the more you practice and experiment, the more you'll discover about yourself and the world around you.