Basic Photography

You wish to join the expanding whirlwind of photographers, then? Here are some tips to help you prepare for a successful first photo shoot.
You probably have this notion that you should look like one of those photographers you see in the movies or paparazzi groups you see in the news when you think about what equipment to get. To your relief, all you really need to have is a camera that is portable and has good color reception, or in other words, will capture the colors for you. You no longer need to settle for a point-and-shoot camera because there are so many options available on the market today. You can now purchase a DSLR for one-half of its original price. For a beginning photographer, I recommend a DSLR, as this type of camera allows you to set manual controls and experiment with other settings that can expand your photographing range in ways not possible with a point-and-shoot. Canon, Nikon, and Olympus are the most popular. I have faith in these three individuals. Nevertheless, if we’re talking about options and versatility, I’d opt for a Canon, as not only do they have a larger selection of lenses for DSLRs, but their cameras are also more compatible with lenses from other brands.

Manual Controls
You will notice that a camera has an abundance of settings. If you consult the manual for your camera, you will discover that there are programmed settings from which you can easily select. There are landscape, portrait, and macro photographs. These configurations are simply preset or programmed combinations of the two elements I refer to as Manual Controls. Therefore, allow me to explain aperture and shutter speed. As with aperture, shutterspeed is a range of numbers. The previously mentioned programmed settings are simply preset combinations of these two. The portrait mode has a large aperture and a slow shutter speed, while the landscape mode has the opposite. But for greater adaptability, I strongly advise you to utilize Manual Controls. This allows you to choose the aperture and shutter speed for any given photograph at any time.

The aperture is the size of the shutter’s opening. To cut to the chase, the smaller the number, the larger your aperture, and the more light that will be captured in your photograph. Shutterspeed functions similarly to aperture. The smaller the number, the longer the shutter will remain open for light absorption. Aperture relates to the diameter, whereas shutterspeed relates to time. Given this, an aperture of 2.8 and a shutter speed of 10 will produce an extremely bright image. In contrast, an aperture of 9 and a shutter speed of 1000 will produce a very dark image. It is up to you to determine the ideal combination of these two to capture your image. This knowledge will allow you to take photographs even when your programmed controls are unable to do so.

Construction and Composition
Everyone can tell whether a picture is good or bad simply by looking at it. But how can one determine whether something will make a good photograph? This is the challenge that you, as a photographer, must face. What others may find interesting may not be interesting to you, and vice versa. Due to our reliance on your creativity and so-called “eye” for photography, I can only leave you with two things in this department: Make sure everything is within the frame and leave as little dead space as possible. Check the available light (avoid harsh lighting) and the direction from which it is coming. Light pouring towards you will cause your subject to appear black, while light pouring from behind you will cause it to appear too bright. Check your frame to ensure that everything within it is necessary. Will it distract the audience from your primary topic? Is it intriguing enough to be included in my photograph? Should I instead take a tight shot? These are some of the questions you should ask about your frame.

When purchasing a camera body, a kit lens is typically included. If it does not come with a kit lens, you should purchase one before moving on to more complex lenses. Kit lenses encompass the standard range of aperture values. However, I won’t delve too deeply into this because you don’t want to be overwhelmed by the complexity of your lens in addition to the complexity of your camera. To give you a general idea, there are various types of lenses. Lenses can vary in their aperture ranges and their construction materials. There are lenses designed specifically for smaller apertures. There are lenses made from both plastic and glass. Those made of glass have superior color reception to those made of plastic.

Post Production
This section is optional, but the majority of breathtaking photographs I’ve seen recently have been post-processed to some degree. Using any of the graphic design software, post-processing entails some level of enhancement. Adobe Photoshop is a highly popular program. It wouldn’t hurt to learn the fundamental enhancement techniques, not to completely alter your image, but rather to clean up the image, enhance the colors, and sharpen the subject. This will be useful when you send your photos to an online printing service and view the final product.

Photography is both a highly technical and highly customizable subject. Each photographer incorporates his or her own unique style into their photographs. The equipment’s capabilities are limited. But it ultimately depends on how you want others to perceive a common object or viewpoint. As a final comment to beginning photographers, allow me to share a phrase I used to carry with me whenever I went shooting: “safety in numbers.”

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