PHIL MORGAN PHOTOGRAPHY

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1 Including: Creative shooting Manual mode Editing PHIL MORGAN PHOTOGRAPHY A free e-book to help you get the most from your camera. Many photographers begin with the naïve idea of instantly making money from their pictures, before even flicking that dial to the dreaded manual mode. Suddenly, the world of aperture, shutter speed and ISO can be quite a reality check. And much more PHIL MORGAN PHOTOGRAPHY Helping you to get the most out of your photography My aim in this e-book is to create a guide that is unlike any other. This past year I have aimed to cover as many different photography genres as possible and have built up a good base of knowledge which I would like to share. That is not to say that this guide is just aimed solely at beginners, however. Everything from manual mode, composition and editing will be covered, as will learning how to apply this knowledge to different situations. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed compiling it.

2 UNDERSTANDING EXPOSURE THE BASICS What is it? Exposure is, in its simplest term, brightness. When you press the shutter button half way, you will notice a meter is displayed when you look through your viewfinder. Think of this as a brightness indicator. Varying on the situation, your aim will be to get the small arrow (or small line) to sit in the middle of this meter. Anything left of this and the image will appear darker, anything to the right and your image will be brighter. How you control this meter consists primarily of three variables which are often referred to as the exposure triangle. These are ISO, shutter speed and aperture. ISO ISO is the most basic element to understand of the exposure triangle. This controls how sensitive your camera is to light. Usually, image quality decreases as the ISO increases. I tend to only ever go to ISO 800, however most modern cameras can go much, much higher before the quality becomes a real issue. This quality degradation I refer to is noise or grain being displayed on the picture. Should I need to make my picture brighter, the first thing I check is my ISO. Providing I keep at or below 800, this is the easiest setting t0 change whilst still giving me creative flexibility.

3 APERTURE Aperture is the hole in your camera which light travels through in order to get to your sensor. This is displayed as an f number on the screen (for example f1.8). If this is set to a small number, the wider the camera hole, thus more light can reach the sensor resulting in a brighter image. The effects of aperture are not just centered around image brightness, however. It also controls depth of field (examples are included below.) Depth of field is how much of the image is in focus. Picture one: Aperture 5.6 With the aperture set to 5.6, you can see that not all of the flower is in focus. Watch how this changes as we change the aperture. Picture two: Aperture 8 Moving up to 8 brings the flower into a bit more focus. Picture three: Aperture 11: Progressively, less of the flower is blurred, and more becoming focused.

4 Picture four: Aperture 18 Picture five: Aperture 25 And finally Aperture 32

5 Aperture 5.6 Aperture 32 Portrait photography usually uses a small f number in order to create a blurred background. In contrast to this, landscape shots are normally between f8 and f16. Uses a smaller f number to blur the fence in the background Uses a larger f number to keep more of the shot focused

6 SHUTTER SPEED Shutter speed is how long the shutter of your camera stays open. The longer it stays open, the brighter the image. More often than not, it is best to use a fast shutter speed for moving objects. This ensures that the image stays sharp, and freezes the action. In contrast to this, a slow shutter speed blurs any movement. This technique is used for creating light trails, and also used frequently in astrophotography. A fast shutter speed and flash freezes the action of this BMX rider In contrast, a slow shutter speed blurs the motion of these car headlights The problem with using a slow shutter speed is blur. Anything less than 1/100 will require a very steady hand. This is about as slow as I go before I use a tripod, unless circumstances dictate differently. For long exposures like that of the light trail above, a tripod is essential for a clean, blur free image.

7 It is a common misconception that fireworks need a fast shutter speed to freeze the action as they explode. However, using a slow shutter speed captures the light and movement of the explosion - often capturing more than one explosion within one frame. The shot above uses a slow shutter speed to blur the motion of the traffic. By mounting the camera on a tripod, the rest of the shot was kept sharp due to the camera being kept steady.

8 EXPOSURE THE OVERVIEW Now that we have gone through a few examples and a brief explanation, here is what it all boils down to: ISO: controls the camera sensitivity to light but can decrease image quality if increased too high Aperture: controls depth of field and brightness Shutter speed: is how long the shutter is open. Fast shutter speeds freeze motion, slow shutter speeds blurs it. This star shot taken from Dartmoor National Park combines all of the techniques described above. I used a low F number in order to enhance brightness, and ISO of 800 (again to increase brightness) and a slow shutter speed of 15. Anything above ISO 800 would result in a grainy image, and anything slower than 15 would result in the stars trailing due to the rotation of the Earth.

9 EDITING SOFTWARE, TECHNIQUES AND TOP TIPS I always vowed to never edit but why would you not get the best out of your images? Editing in something I was always against. I thought of it as a sort of cheat to getting good images. However, once I had been rejected by stock websites because of chromatic aberration in my shots, I purchased Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. For me, these two programs are the best editing programs around. Nothing else compares to the power of Photoshop s layer masks, and Lightroom s quick and easy lens correction functions. The very first stage is done in camera, by ensuring I am shooting in RAW. This is the file type that your photos are saved as in camera, and raw files contain more information than jpg files. My editing process is always the same: I import into LR, apply lens corrections (removing chromatic aberration and any lens distortion), and reduce noise by 25%. As RAW s contain more data, this makes it easier to extract information from a picture for example it gives you extra freedom in editing highlights and shadows. One of my absolute favourite photographers and editors is Serge Ramelli, who has a distinctive editing style that makes his shots stand out from the crowd. He regularly uses Lightroom to decrease the highlights and increase the shadows, which creates great detail and contrast in his shots. Using this technique to the extent that he does would simply not be possible with JPG files. Applying lens corrections ensures that the photo is not curved or distorted at the edges. This is more apparent on fisheye or wide angle lenses as the front of the lens is more spherical. Chromatic aberration refers to the thin line of colour difference along hard lines if a shot. This is simply removed in Lightroom with the click of a button. Removing this from a shot greatly improves a photographs appearance. Reducing noise is a must for me. I severely dislike it when my shots are overly grainy, so reducing noise by 25% provides a perfect balance between grain and detail. If noise is removed too much, detail is lost and images will become less sharp and flatter in appearance. Photoshop s layer masks allow you to make specific changes to targeted areas of your shots. To me this is one of the most powerful editing features available.

10 HDR WHAT IS HDR? From mobile phones to using a DSLR, HDR is incredibly powerful HDR stands for high dynamic range. Have you ever wanted to take a picture of an amazing view with something interesting in the foreground only to see that your camera has made that beautiful view look really bright? Well, that is because cameras are not as powerful as the human eye in capturing detail. More often than not, a camera can only capture a certain range of colours, resulting in dim shadows or blown out highlights such as in a bright sky. HDR is quite often a feature displayed on mobile devices. The camera will take a sequence of photos of different exposures and blend them together for a well-balanced image. Modern cameras can also do this, through exposure bracketing. In the menu feature of your camera will be the option for exposure bracketing or compensation. I often turn this on with the difference of 2, meaning I will take a shot over exposed by 2 stops, under exposed by 2 stops, and at the perfect exposure. These images can then be blended in post processing to create an image that showcases the best of the highlights, shadows and mid-tones of a shot. Without the use of HDR, the shots above were either not showing the details of the sky, of not showing the details of the foreground. Combining these multiple exposures brings the image to life.

11 THE RULES OF COMPOSITION STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD The biggest rule is that there are no rules After studying composition, techniques and rules, it became apparent that there are no rules. My first port of call was looking into the rule of thirds. I tried to apply this rule to every image, which in some ways greatly helped me. WORK IN PROGRESS

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