1 4 Week Online Photography Course An Introduction to Digital Photography A Guide to Getting the Best from Your Digital Camera Lesson 1 Course Notes By David Taylor Click Here to Book Course
2 PAGE 2 Introduction You ve just got your camera and it s a bewildering collection of buttons and menus. My name is David Taylor. I m a professional landscape and travel photographer based in Northumberland, England. Welcome to Photography Basics. Over the next four weeks I ll be introducing and explaining concepts, such as exposure and white balance. Welcome to lesson one of Photography Basics. In this lesson I ll be talking about the functions on your camera that allow you control the exposure of your photos. David
3 PAGE 3 Course Curriculm Week One: Introduction to Exposure Photography starts with light and a successful photo starts with determining the correct exposure. I believe that exposure is as much a part of the creative side of photography as composition. The first lecture covers the basics of exposure. Taking control of the exposure of a photo means thinking about three variables, aperture, shutter speed and ISO. During the lesson I talk about the difference between the three and why you d choose to prioritise one over the other two. The lecture is illustrated with a variety of photos I ve shot in different locations, in bad light and in good. Week Three: Light, Files Choice and Post-processing Light has a wide variety of different qualities. It can hard or soft, warm or cool. This lesson covers the different types of light you ll encounter as you shoot. The lesson also covers the choices you ll need to make when you set up your camera to make a photo. This includes a section of the advantages of JPEG and RAW and why and when you need to think about sharpening, contrast and colour. I also talk about black and white photography and the fact that there s more to the subject than just draining the colour from a photo. I use a wide variety of my own photos to illustrate these points. Week Two: Understanding Camera Lenses Light needs to be focused to create an image. This lesson is about the different types of lenses primes and zooms, wide-angles and telephotos that can be used to create a photo. The lesson contains information about focal length and the effect it has on the field of view of a photo. During the lesson I also talk about some of the common problems you may encounter when using a lens. The lesson is illustrated with photos I ve shot using a variety of different lenses. As you view the photos I talk about why I chose to use a particular lens and the effect it had on the final photo. Week Four: Understanding Composition Composition is a large and mysterious subject and one which you never stop learning about. In this lesson I talk about some of the rules that determine good composition. Accompanying the talk are photos that I ve shot that illustrate some of these rules. However, I believe that once you ve learned the rules to be truly creative you need to know when to bend or even break them. The lesson also covers colour and the effect it can have on the emotional impact of a photo, the fact that there s no reason not to crop a photo to improve and why the direction of light is important to a photo.
4 PAGE 4 A Guide To Digital Photography: Introduction to Exposure. To create a photo you need a camera, but you also need light. In fact the word photography literally means writing with light, from the Greek words photos and graphos, light and writing respectively. To make a technically successful photo a very precise amount of light must be allowed into the camera - neither too much nor too little. Achieving this is known as making the correct exposure. available light varies enormously, particularly when shooting outside when it can fluctuate from minute to minute. This photo was shot just before the sun emerged from below a rain cloud. A few minutes earlier and the light levels were far lower, a few minutes later when the sun was fully out the light levels were far higher. If I d shot a photo for each of these three different lighting conditions, three different exposure settings would have been needed. Camera technology has changed rapidly in the past ten years or so as film has given way to digital. However, in principle all cameras - whether film or digital - are essentially light-tight boxes that contain a light-sensitive surface inside. In a digital camera this lightsensitive surface is the sensor. When you press the shutter button on your camera light enters the camera to fall onto the sensor. At that point the quantity and quality of the light is recorded and converted into data that is then processed by the camera to create the final photo. Photography would be far easier if the level of available light was constant. However, the world is more complex than this and also more interesting. You ll quickly learn as your photography skills develop that the amount of
5 PAGE 5 To accommodate this variability in light levels cameras have three exposure controls. The three controls are the shutter speed, the aperture and the ISO setting. Altering just one of these controls will affect the look of the final photo, sometimes in very dramatic ways. Understanding how these three controls work and the affect they have on a photo is therefore the key to successful and creative photography. Modern cameras are usually equipped with a variety of shooting modes. Some of these modes will automatically set the exposure for you so that you just have to point and shoot.
6 PAGE 6 Although there s nothing wrong with using these automatic shooting modes, they often allow at best a limited amount of control over the final exposure. If you want to take your photography further I d recommend using one of the semi-automatic modes such as aperture or shutter priority. Or, if you really want to be in the driving seat, using manual exposure mode. I ll mention which mode to use when later in this lesson. Managing the amount of light that reaches the sensor is important. If too little light reaches the sensor the resulting photo will be underexposed. Underexposed photos look dark and muddy, with dull highlights and little detail to be seen in the shadow areas. However, if too much light reaches the sensor then the photo will be overexposed. An overexposed photo is light and airy with bright, open shadows but the highlights will often be burnt out to pure white. Between these two extremes is a photo that is correctly exposed and has detail in both the shadow and highlight areas. This photo has achieved that balance, with no detail lost in either the shadows or highlights. Although it s possible to make some adjustments to under or overexposed images later this isn t ideal and it s always better to achieve the correct exposure in-camera if possible. I ll discuss a way to check whether the correct exposure has been achieved later. The three exposure controls on a camera work on the principle that you can vary the amount of light reaching the sensor by either doubling or halving it. This is known as increasing or decreasing the exposure by one stop. So, when photographers talk about increasing the exposure by a stop it s a shorthand way of saying that they need to double the amount of light that enters the camera to make the final photo. Or, if the exposure is decreased by a stop the amount of light is halved. This principle of doubling or halving light is probably easiest to understand with the first control, shutter speed. In front of the sensor inside your camera is a shutter. In its simplest form a shutter is made of two opaque metal or cloth curtains, one in front of the other. When you press the shutter button down on your camera to make an exposure the first or front curtain begins to rise, exposing the sensor behind to light. Then, after a precise period of time, the second or rear curtain follows, stopping light from reaching the sensor as it rises. The period of time between the first and second curtain rising is the shutter speed and is chosen either by you or set automatically by the camera.
7 PAGE 7 Shutter speeds are measured in fractions of a second. The fastest shutter speed generally found on cameras is 4000th of a second, which is a fantastically short period of time - though some cameras can manage even faster shutter speeds. This photo was shot at an 8000th of a second - the fastest shutter speed available on the camera that I use. Inside a camera lens is an iris, known as the aperture. The diameter of the aperture can be altered in a very precise series of sizes. This series is known as the f-stops. The most common range of f-stops, in sequence, are: f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, and f22. Shutter speeds then get slower in a logical progression: 2000th of a second, 1000th of a second, 500th of a second and so on down to half a second. From that point on shutter speeds are measured in whole seconds, one second, two seconds, and so forth, usually to a maximum of thirty seconds. If you have an aptitude for maths you ll have immediately noticed a pattern. The shutter speed examples I ve just mentioned double in length as the shutter speed gets slower or halve in length as it gets faster. So, a 2000th of a second is twice as long a period of time as a 4000th of a second but half as long as a 1000th of a second. Each time the shutter speed is doubled or halved, the amount of light reaching the sensor is also doubled or halved. Setting the shutter speed is generally achieved by using either shutter priority or manual exposure. If you want to experiment with using different shutter speeds I d recommend using shutter priority. This is a semi-automatic mode that allows you to alter the shutter speed, with the camera adjusting the aperture to maintain the correct exposure. Which neatly brings us to the next exposure control, the aperture.
8 PAGE 8 Slightly confusingly, the smaller the f-stop number the wider the aperture. So f/4 is a far wider aperture than f/22 and is thirty-two times larger in area. Although the f-stop sequence initially doesn t look as logical as the shutter speed sequence each f-stop also represents either a doubling or halving of light let through to the sensor. So, f/5.6 will allow through half as much light as f/4 but twice that of f/8. Different lenses have different maximum and minimum apertures. A lens that is referred to as being fast is one that has a large maximum aperture, whereas a slow lens has a relatively small maximum aperture. Setting the aperture is achieved by using either aperture priority or manual exposure. Of the two, I d recommend using aperture priority. Again, this is a semi-automatic mode that allows you to alter the aperture, with the camera this time adjusting the shutter speed to maintain the correct exposure. The third, and final, exposure control is the ISO setting. The ISO setting regulates how sensitive the sensor is to light. The higher the ISO setting, the greater the sensitivity. This means that with a high ISO setting less light is needed to make an acceptable exposure. However, the drawback to using a high ISO setting is a reduction in image quality due to an increase in noise. Noise is seen as random splodges of colour or as a distinctive grainy texture that is particularly noticeable in areas of even tone such as sky or in the shadow areas of a photo. This photo was shot at dusk. Even though the light levels were low I used the lowest ISO setting I could to keep noise to a minimum. Modern digital cameras are extremely good keeping noise at bay. Unfortunately however, the size of the sensor in your camera does have a bearing on the amount of noise you can expect to see in your photos. The sensors used in cell phones and compact cameras are tiny, often no bigger than a fingernail. These types of sensors are more prone to noise than those found in digital SLRs or in mirrorless cameras such as the Micro Four Thirds system. For the best image quality the ideal is to use the lowest possible ISO setting your camera can manage. This photo was shot on a digital compact camera. I know from experience that using an ISO setting higher than 400 on this camera increases noise to an unacceptable level. As with shutter speed and aperture the ISO setting is adjusted in stops. Typically the lowest ISO setting on a camera is ISO 100. If you set the ISO to 200, the sensor is made twice as sensitive and so half the amount of light is needed to make an exposure. Adjust the ISO to 400 and the sensor now requires four times less light than at 100 to make an exposure.
9 PAGE 9 decided to ignore this suggestion and changed the shutter speed to 60th of second, you d also need to change either the aperture to f/5.6 or the ISO to 200 to achieve the same exposure. You may be wondering at this point whether it s better to change the shutter speed, aperture or ISO to achieve the correct exposure. The simple answer is: that depends. Let s take the shutter speed first. If you re shooting a perfectly static scene, such as this statue of an angel, then the shutter speed you use is essentially irrelevant. Because there is no movement you could use 4000th of a second or 30 seconds and visually there would be little difference between the two shutter speed settings. However, add movement to a scene and the shutter speed you use becomes very important. The sharpness or otherwise of your subject will then depend on the how fast or slow your shutter speed is. Before I go any further it s worth noting that although I ve talked of stops many cameras allow you to refine the exposure by half or even thirds of a stop. So instead of jumping from 1000th of a second to 500th of a second, there may be an intermediate value of 750th of a second. The three controls, shutter speed, aperture and ISO are all related. If you adjust one, at least one of the other two must also be altered if you want to maintain the same level of exposure. So for example, your camera may suggest an exposure of a 30th of a second at f/8 using an ISO setting of 100. If you If your subject is moving quickly or is particularly close to the camera you ll need to use a fast shutter speed. Otherwise the subject will not be sharp in the final photo. The slower your subject is moving, the slower the shutter speed you will need. However, you don t necessarily need to strive for movement to be captured in pin-sharp detail. A certain amount of blurring can help to convey a sense of speed more than readily than a pin-sharp photo. The cyclist whizzing past the camera in this photo isn t sharp - but you can instantly tell that he s moving at some speed across the frame. When the shutter speed is measured in larger fractions of a second the moving subject will be rendered less distinctly, becoming more blurred in the final photo. With a sufficiently long shutter speed, your subject may even disappear entirely apart from a ghostly trail across the photo.
10 PAGE 10 The use of long shutter speeds is a technique often employed by landscape photographers to record moving water as a misty blur. Though it s not to everyone s taste, it s a way to capture a scene that wasn t possible before the invention of photography. As an example this waterfall was shot using a shutter speed of 125th of a second. This is fast enough to capture individual droplets of water in mid-air. However, this photo was shot with a shutter speed of two and half seconds. It s the same composition as the last photo. The use of two different shutter speeds has made a big difference visually.
11 PAGE 11 Another aspect that needs to be considered when choosing a shutter speed is how your camera is being supported when the exposure is made. If you re handholding your camera there will be shutter speeds that are too long to avoid camera shake. Camera shake is caused by the camera moving during the exposure. The shutter speed at which camera shake occurs depends on how steadily you are able to hold your camera and on the type of lens you use. Camera shake occurs more readily when a telephoto lens is used than a wide-angle lens. There are three ways to avoid camera shake. The first is to use a tripod to support your camera. This will allow you to use any available shutter speed on your camera including Bulb.
12 PAGE 12 However, not everyone likes using tripods - whether you use one or not is very much a personal choice and will depend on the type of photography you prefer. The second option is to increase the ISO setting. By setting the ISO higher, the sensor becomes more sensitive allowing you to use a faster shutter speed. The penalty is increased noise in the photo, but this is better than a photo that has been ruined by camera shake. If you use your camera s auto ISO setting it will dynamically alter the ISO to maintain a fast enough shutter speed to avoid camera shake. Some cameras can apply high ISO noise reduction. This is a useful feature that does it exactly what it describes - the visible effects of noise when using a high ISO setting are reduced. However, by applying noise reduction cameras can also remove fine detail from a photo. This can make photos look too smooth and artificial. Not all cameras have a Bulb setting, but in brief it allows you lock open the shutter for minutes, even hours at a time. Bulb is most often used when light levels are very low such as before sunrise or after sunset. This photo required the use of my camera s Bulb setting to hold the shutter open for over twenty-five minutes. A length of time that definitely required the use of a tripod.
13 PAGE 13 Whether you use high ISO noise reduction will depend on how successfully your camera copes with high ISO settings. It s worth experimenting with the ISO settings on your camera if you re not sure. Noise in photos can also be removed later in software such as Adobe Photoshop, often with better results than when applied in-camera. The third option is to alter the aperture. As mentioned before the aperture controls how much light passes through into the camera. However, the size the aperture also controls the amount of acceptable sharpness in an image. When you focus your camera, the focus point is the sharpest part of the picture. As you reduce the size of the aperture a zone of sharpness extends out from the focus point. This zone of sharpness is known as the depth of field. Depth of field is at its smallest when the aperture is at maximum and its greatest extent when the aperture is at minimum. Depth of field always extends further back from the focus point than it does in front. To shoot this photo I used an aperture of f/5 and focused on the foreground poppy. Although not the lens maximum aperture, f/5 was still sufficiently large to ensure most of the other flowers behind were out of focus.
14 PAGE 14 There are three factors that influence the extent of the achievable depth of field. The first is the aperture. The second is the type of lens you use. Depth of field is always greater at any given aperture when using a wide-angle lens than a telephoto. Finally, the distance from the camera to the focus point has an effect. The closer you focus, the less depth of field there will be. This photo was shot using a wide-angle lens and an aperture of f/16. Because I know that depth of field extends further back from the focus point I didn t focus on the lighthouse - as this would have wasted the available depth of field. Instead I focused roughly a third of the way into the scene, which was enough, at the selected aperture, to ensure that the photo was sharp from the front through to the back. When you look through the viewfinder of your camera the lens is generally set to maximum aperture - so you see depth of field at its smallest extent. However, some cameras have a depth of field preview button. By pressing and holding the button in the aperture in the lens is closed down to the one selected by you or your camera. The smaller the aperture, the darker the viewfinder will be, but you should be able see a difference in the depth of field. This will help to give you a more accurate idea of how your final image will look. You should see the same effect if you re using Live View, though using Live View has the advantage that the brightness level is usually automatically adjusted to show a brighter, more representative image. The aperture you choose therefore is dependant on how much of the image you want to be sharp.
15 PAGE 15 If you want to minimise sharpness use maximum aperture. If you want to increase sharpness through the photo reduce the size of the aperture. However, remember that adjusting the aperture also means adjusting either the shutter speed or the ISO. By using a smaller aperture you ll either have to use a longer shutter speed, increasing the risk of camera shake or use a higher ISO setting increasing the amount of noise in the photo. Although exposure meters on modern cameras are usually very accurate, there may be occasions were the suggested exposure is incorrect. This often happens when the scene you re metering is brighter or darker than average. A good example of this type of scene is a landscape covered in snow. When shooting snow scenes exposure meters often underexpose the photo. The end result is a photo of dirty grey snow, which isn t particularly attractive. Fortunately most cameras allow you to compensate the exposure. The way this is achieved varies from camera to camera. Exposure compensation is usually selectable in a range of plus or minus three stops. If a photo is underexposed, you could reshoot applying positive compensation to correct the exposure. Or, if the photo were overexposed you would apply negative compensation.
16 PAGE 16 This photo of a snow scene required one and a third of a stop s positive compensation to avoid underexposure. Note however, that it s important to remember to reset exposure compensation afterwards otherwise all your subsequent photos will be affected. exposed photo of green grass of a rock face would peak in the middle. There s no one ideal shape for a histogram, though if possible it s better to keep the histogram from bumping up against either edge. Once this occurs the histogram is described as being clipped. Once a pixel in a photo is either pure black or pure white there is effectively no image information there. This photo is a good example of a scene with an average range of tones in. There are no bright highlights and no deep, black shadows. This is the histogram for the photo. As you can see it s not clipping either end, showing that the entire tonal range has been captured. The midtones in the foreground stone wall are represented by the peak in the middle. The dark gaps between the stones form the peak to the left - but note that they aren t black so detail has been retained in the shadows. If a histogram is skewed to the left this is a good indication that the photo has been underexposed. Or, if it s skewed to the right that it s been overexposed. Controlling the exposure on your camera is a skill that does take time to master. However, it s an important skill to learn. It will also open up creative avenues to explore that will sometimes take your photography in unexpected, but rewarding directions. That s the end of this lesson. I hope you ve enjoyed it. Next week I ll be talking about lenses, covering the differences and merits of wide-angle and telephoto lenses as well as some common lens problems. You may now be thinking, that s all very well but how do I know if my photo is correctly exposed? This is when a useful tool known as the histogram proves invaluable. A histogram is a graph showing, from left to right, the range of tones in an image from the shadows through to the highlights. Roughly halfway across the histogram are the mid-tones. Good examples of mid-tones are subjects such as green grass or stone. So you d expect the histogram of a correctly
17 PAGE 17 First Published in 2013 by MyPhotoSchool Ltd Copyright 2013 MyPhotoSchool Ltd. (All rights reserved) Text by David Taylor Photographs by David Taylor
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The term exposure refers to the amount of light required to properly expose an image to achieve the desired amount of detail in all areas of the image.! The exposure is achieved by the proper combination
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Capturing God s Creation Through The Lens An Adult Discipleship Course at Grace January 2013 Donald Jin firstname.lastname@example.org Course Overview Jan 6 Setting The Foundation Introduction and overview Understanding
DSLR Essentials: Class Notes The digital SLR has seen a surge in popularity in recent years. Many are enjoying the superior photographic experiences provided by these feature packed cameras. Interchangeable
LESSON 2 HANDOUT INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOGRAPHY Summer Session 2009 SHUTTER SPEED, ISO, APERTURE What is exposure? Exposure is a combination of 3 factors which determine the amount of light which enters your
Chapter 4: The Shooting Menu 71 AF Area Mode This next option on the second screen of the Shooting menu gives you several options for controlling how the autofocus frame is set up when the camera is in
Technical Guide Introduction This Technical Guide details the principal techniques used to create two of the more technically advanced photographs in the D800/D800E brochure. Take this opportunity to admire
DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY CAMERA MANUAL TABLE OF CONTENTS KNOW YOUR CAMERA...1 SETTINGS SHUTTER SPEED...2 WHITE BALANCE...3 ISO SPEED...4 APERTURE...5 DEPTH OF FIELD...6 WORKING WITH LIGHT CAMERA SETUP...7 LIGHTING
Introduction Last week we introduced the concept of the Exposure Triangle and the goal to achieve correct exposure in our images, in other words...the image has enough light to best show off our subject
Intro to Photography Yearbook Mrs. Townsend To begin with Photography is about telling a story. Good photographers use an image to make a point without words. People remember pictures of events long after
21 Go-to Shooting Settings JOSHUA DUNLOP Train Your Photography Instinct The purpose of this guide is to hand you the settings you need to start taking the control back from your camera. If you can memorise
TAKING GREAT PICTURES A Modest Introduction HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT CAMERA EQUIPMENT WE ARE NOW LIVING THROUGH THE GOLDEN AGE OF PHOTOGRAPHY Rapid innovation gives us much better cameras and photo software...
HDR High Dynamic Range Photograph HDR This is a properly exposed image. HDR This is a properly exposed image - if I meter off the mountain side. HDR If it s properly exposed, why can t I see details in
UNIVERSITY OF MORATUWA, SRI LANKA FACULTY OF ENGINEERING END OF SEMESTER EXAMINATION 2007/2008 (Held in Aug 2008) B.Sc. ENGINEERING LEVEL 2, JUNE TERM DE 2290 PHOTOGRAPHY Answer ALL questions in the answer
Dusk Photography The Blue 15 minutes Presented to Charlottesville Camera Club June 29, 2011 Deb Snelson 2011 It s All about When Gorgeous Blue sky Only lasts about 15 minutes Cannot be seen by the naked
A Zone S ystem Handbook Part 2 The Zone System in Practice by This handout was produced in support of s Camera Position Podcast. Reproduction and redistribution of this document is fine, so long as the
METERING FOR A BETTER PHOTOGRAPH By Janet Steyer 2 8 15 INTRODUCTION This program is geared toward the photographer who has a camera with manual controls. Most of this information is based on the controls