Photography Primer

Photography is one of the most rewarding hobbies a person can have. Capturing a special moment in time is a precious thing. Modern photography has made it easier than ever to take breathtaking pictures of your family, friends or to explore your artistic inclinations. Once you learn a few basic rules you will find that you can open up a plethora of creative options and extend your powers of personal expression.

In general terms there are 5 basic principles to photography: Composition, focus, aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

Composition: This is the way the elements are arranged in an image. The rule of thirds is usually a good rule of thumb. The rule basically divides the image into six parts to guide you in composing your shot. Many cameras have the option of turning these grids on in the image to help aid you. Of course, rules are meant to be broken and once you get the rule down you can certainly compose your own crazy shots and experiment to see what you can come up with.

Focus: When your subject in your picture is very sharp it is commonly said that it is in focus. When a part of the image is blurry it is said to be out of focus. In most semi-professional and professional cameras there is a focus ring that you can turn to help you get your subject in and out of focus.

Aperture: When you think about aperture it helps to compare it with your own eyes. It is essentially the part of the lens through which light travels. Like your eyes, your camera’s aperture should be wide open when there is very little light and small under extremely bright conditions.

Shutter Speed: This is basically the exposure time or the amount of time the shutter is open which allows light into the sensor. If you have a fast shutter speed you can freeze the action, if it is slow it can create a blurred effect.

ISO: This is the sensitivity of your camera to light. The lower the number the less sensitive to light your camera is. Conversely, the higher the ISO the more sensitive. Just be careful how you use it. In dark conditions, a high ISO, while making the image brighter, can also add unwanted noise.

These five aspects of photography can be confusing and overwhelming at first. But once you get familiar with them, they will become second nature and give you so much more creative freedom.

You can also always use the automatic functions which will provide you with predetermined settings. In other words, the camera can basically do all the work for you. However, more often than not your camera will take a picture the way it thinks you want the picture and not the way you envisioned it in your head.

If you learn these basic principles of photography you will find that your creative potential is boundless and will ultimately give you more control and power to take the pictures you want.


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