BEGINNERS GUIDE TO PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Feb 27, 2019
  • Kateeba derrick
  • Rank 8 in Group II : Emerging Career Options
Category I : Photography

 

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BEGINNERS GUIDE TO PHOTOGRAPHY

When you think of photography there is a high chance that you are thinking of attributes of lifting the camera, pointing and shooting. For the most part, you may be right since modern photography has become synonymous with social media apps like Instagram and SnapChat which have tipped the photography scales with smartphone cameras that getting better with each generation of iteration. The camera modules on most modern smartphones have become powerful that some of them now rival professional DSLR cameras. This can be seen where many smartphone original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) like Apple, Samsung and Huawei are pushing the camera capabilities of their smartphones to the edge. Many of them have implemented and replicated several features that digital cameras have to offer like image stabilization (optical and digital), depth-of-field commonly known as "Bokeh" and even night modes for better low light performance using long exposures on phones like the Google pixel 3 and the Huawei mate 20 pro. This vastly reduces the digital noise in the photos taken at night in form of grain.



However, the art of photography is mainly pursued by individuals who are highly passionate about it. Then there is the biggest portion of people who do it for recreational purposes snapping a photo or two now and then. The element of photography envelopes a lot of aspects and as such it’s not limited to 'pointing and shooting' as this step is considered by professional’s to be the easiest of the bunch in the photographing process. First of all, you need to choose an object to shoot (model) for example people, landscapes, animal, architecture etc. Then you decide on the appropriate pose for the photo in case you are dealing with human or easily mobile subjects to bring out the best-expected results and be properly illuminated. This is done with the main photography elements of pattern, line, shape, colour, texture and form in mind. As a matter of fact, every photograph has the above aspects embedded in it either knowingly or unknowingly. When all is done, then comes the point of clicking the picture and here most modern smartphones are well preset with automatic settings to just point and shoot. The phone does all the hard work for you in the background. This is achieved through a series of lab tests that the phone manufacturer’s carry out in-house to determine the best camera calibration settings for average users. This means that the whole process of photo calibration to set things like exposure, white balance, ISO, aperture, shutter speed is done behind the curtains without user effort and as thus they are easy to use by amateur and beginner photographers.



Digital cameras and some smartphones also offer the option to change the settings manually (PRO) to user preference and this in most scenarios gives the best results. With this, you can fine-tune the photo to your basic taste and like with things like temperature, white balance, ISO, aperture, saturation and hue are at your disposal. However, there are three major aspects to photography that need to be understood for photography and these are ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed and they are fairly simple to learn and understand





                Aperture basically is deciding how much light enters the camera to hit the image sensor by controlling a small set of round blades that open and close to let more or less light into the camera. The blades are shaped like an octagon and spin counterclockwise to open and let more light into the image sensor. To close, they spin clockwise to let less light into the image sensor of the camera. This is essential if you are faced with extreme scenarios like taking photos in the bright sun or at night in the dark. The sizes of the aperture are measured in f-stops and as a rule of thumb, the higher the aperture size, the smaller the aperture hole and the lower the aperture size or number, the wider the aperture hole on the camera. So an aperture of f/16 means the aperture is small and the aperture of f/2.8 means that the aperture is wide open. This can be applied practically by setting larger f-stops for brighter scenes like bright sunsets and smaller f-stops for darker conditions like night time while taking the photo. The aperture also decides the depth of field in the photo also known as the “Bokeh effect”. This is where if you are shooting an object a few feet away, the foreground of the image is well separated from the background by slowly blurring the background to create perspective in the photo.



                Shutter speed is also another aspect to consider and this just describes how fast a cover rolls over the image sensor to allow light to hit it for a split second. As a result of this, it is measured in fractions of a second like 1/30, 1/125, 1/1000 etc. Here, slower shutter speeds can take photos of dark scenes and faster shutter speeds do better in bright scenes and areas. This is because a slower shutter speed takes longer to cover the image sensor allowing lots of light to hit it creating better images, especially in the dark with limited light. This means that a darker image is produced using faster shutter speeds as this allows less light to reach the sensor. In scenarios where you have fast moving targets like running children, animals, cars, athletes and others, faster shutter speeds are preferably recommended as they capture motion with less motion blur. This is the reason why all sport and athletic photographer’s use high shutter speeds and you can physically hear the shutter clicking very fast with each moment they take the photo.



                ISO is a control that sets the exposure of your photo by making your camera image sensor extra or less sensitive to light. Its mainly done using the camera software and the higher the ISO number, the brighter the picture. Lower ISO numbers like 100 produce darker pictures but this should be increased with ease as higher ISO numbers present problems to the photo like digital noise in the photo making the photos look grainy. This can easily be tested by using a smartphone camera at night as many of the photos will be grainy since the phone is trying to compensate the darkness of the scene by bumping up the ISO values on the camera which creates the virtual noise in the images.



In the end, even with proper mastering of all the concepts of photography, shooting ready to post images is a very rare case as most of the images taken will need to be edited (Post Processing) to the level that is satisfactory to the user. Here, photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom is used to edit out and add certain aspects to the image like hue, saturation, contrast and several others to the level of satisfaction.



Since a picture says a thousand words, keep shooting!

Kateeba derrick
Kateeba derrick
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