Learn Photography – Getting started

start learning photography

So you want to be a better photographer, and don’t know where to start. Well you’re on the right page. This is the first page to giving you a better understanding of photography and getting the most from your camera. All the articles I’ve included in this blog are based on you having a SLR camera.

What is a SLR camera and why do I need it?

SLR is an acronym for Single Lens Reflex,  Which is a camera that typically uses a mirror and prism system (hence “reflex”, from the mirror’s reflection) that permits the photographer to view through the lens and see exactly what will be captured, contrary to viewfinder cameras where the image could be significantly different from what will be captured. I am not going to get into viewfinder cameras in this article as this is not our focus at this time. Professionals prefer to use SLR cameras for this very reason, they know exactly what they are going to capture, when they take the photograph (some cameras only show 90% of the final image captured), but in terms of proportion and lens distortion what you see is what you get. Check out this cross section of how an SLR looks

Capture the light

Think of your camera as a light box. different values of brightness of light enters through the lens and when you press the shutter, the sensor (in the case of a digital camera) is exposed to the light and captures an image. The exact amount of light can be controlled by you the photographer, depending on the settings you choose on your camera. Your SLR camera has a built in light meter, that will help you decide what settings you need to use to get the right amount of light so that your photo is not too light or too dark (correct exposure). This meter is calibrated to capture midtone images which have been deemed by the manufacturers to make up the vast majority of scenes that are likely to be taken in a photograph. Most often this will give the correct exposure reading, but there are some situations that will fool your camera into giving you an incorrect reading and will result in incorrectly exposed photographs. By knowing what your camera is trying to do, you will be able to override your camera settings to make the correct setting and get a well exposed photograph. The use of a separate light meter can also help if you are at a more advanced level

Flash

Using flash whether that be on-camera flash or off-camera flash can help you get good quality photographers in situations where there is very little light to work with, such as poorly lit rooms.

Getting creative

There are three controls (shutter speed, Aperture and Sensor sensitivity) that you can adjust which will affect:

  • Exposure – how much light you allow onto the sensor, hopefully avoiding underexposure (not enough light) and overexposure (too much light)
  • Sharpness and freezing of action – controlled by the speed of the shutter, slow shutter provides movement in shot, fast shutter provides frozen action or no movement
  • Blurring background or foreground – often referred to as shallow depth of field, the opposite of this is everything being in focus from front to back of the image.
  • Quality of photograph – whether the image you capture has some graininess to it or is of a higher quality (no grain)

Check out exposure triangle for more information about achieving these

 White balance

White balance boils down to the concept of color temperature. . Color temperature is a way of measuring the quality of a light source. In laypersons terms it is how different light sources and colours are recorded by your camera and how you can adjust your settings to record these light sources to look cleaner and less of a colour cast of yellow or green or blue.

 Composition

Composition relates to how your frame your images, so that they look more interesting and provide the viewer with a more interesting experience when looking at that photograph

If you find it easier to learn in a more hands-on way and would like to know more about my one to one photography tuition please check out my tutorial page

About Mike Turner

Mike Turner is a professional photographer located on Wigan, Warrington border Greater Manchester specialising in social photography. Portraits, Makeovers and Commercial photography make up the bulk of Mike's work both at this studio and on location

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