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Basics of Photography

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

So, you bought a new DSLR camera and was wondering what are all the dials about. I remember when I first bought my camera ,my wife told me that one of her cousin took classes to learn photography for about one month. It sounded ridiculous to me at that time. After all I am an engineer and with the a little help of internet can master anything. She told me to at least look up but who had the time to learn. Long story short it resulted in some really bad photos and these words "I said so".

I won’t go in all the jargons of photography here. I believe there are some great courses on Udemy and skill share you tube and countless blogs where you can go and learn. But will give you enough data to at least not commit the same mistake as I did and at least a place to start.

Remember one thing photography is an art. Just like when you draw your pencil or brush is just a tool it’s your imagination that really matters .The same is with photography. It’s an art about how you perceive the world.Remember camera is just a tool , composition is what that really matters. Saying that let's get started.

1. Photography is all about light.

Yes, you heard it right, photography is a game of light. Our eye is very similar to a camera . When the light enters your eyes it first passes through the corneas ( lens in case of camera), which begin focusing the light. It then passes through to the pupils. The size of the pupils changes to regulate the amount of light entering the eyes (just like the aperture in our cameras) and then it is focused through the lenses and onto the retinas(sensor of camera). But our eyes can adjust to different levels of light much better than cameras and we can see much better in low light compared to our cameras. The settings in your camera like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, exposure composition is for adjustment of light. The difference between DSLRS and smart phone cameras is the amount of light and its management. The bigger the lens, sensor more light comes inside it more you can play with it, resulting in better and sharper image.

2. Use Automode freely you have bought it.

Don’t think you bought a DSLR so you should use it in manual only. Remember its just a tool. Composition is what that matters. What you click matters so use auto freely get in the groove enjoy the process forget the technical. You have bought a 500$ camera it ought to do something and these modern cameras have great auto capabilities. The only time auto of these cameras fail is at night and low light but for rest of the time it does pretty good Job.

3. Remember these settings of your camera.

1. Aperture- it is the size of hole in the lens. So bigger is the hole more is the light. But its measured in the reversed way. You will see readings like F/1.4,F/5.6,etc so higher the number lesser is the size of hole or lesser the light in. Remember this click portraits at lower nos( like F/1.4,F/4.5) to get that bokeh effect and at higher nos (F/7 to F/16) for landscapes.

2. Shutter speed:- As the name suggests it’s the speed with which your shutter moves when you click. Its measured in seconds like 1/50, 1/200 etc so here also if you see a higher no it means the shutter is moving faster and lesser the light inside. While shooting moving objects you use higher shutter speed to freeze the motion. Like those falling water droplet photos or a fast moving bird. Lower shutter speed is used to show motion in the photo and those beautiful light trails that you see in the photos.

3. ISO:- it is the sensitivity of the sensor so if you increase the no the camera will increase the light. (it is measured as 100,200,400 so on) You will need higher nos in low light but higher nos create noise( the small grains that you see in your photos). If you are a beginner just keep it in auto and we are good to go.

4. The modes:-

1) Auto :- As it says camera decides everything. You just have to click.

2) Aperture priority:- You decide the aperture camera decides the rest. This is the most used mode. Want to click a portrait with bokah lower the F stop number , clicking a landscape increase the number that’s it.

3) Shutter speed:- You decide the shutter speed camera decide the rest. Use this while clicking sports or wildlife or that light trails. Remember at lower shutter speeds there is camera shake. (That’s why your DSLR night photos get blurred because it lowers the shutter speed to get more light) so use a tripod.

4) Manual:- Feeling confident and when you know all use this mode. You are the king you decide everything. But here also many professional photographers keep ISO on auto and play with shutter and aperture. You can use it too.

5. Focus: - Learn the focus modes in your camera and lens its very important . For eg there is a ring on your lens that loosens when you put your lens in manual mode use it to focus on objects when your camera is confused and its making those weird noises particularly say when you want to take a photo of a bird and there is a branch in front of it.

That’s it. look up your manual to see these settings and you are good to go. There are many other things for that I would recommend the following book “How to create Stunning digital photography “by Tony and Chelsea Northrup. Also do check out their you tube channel.

Remember to enjoy photography its your hobby just click what you like enjoy ,upload and share.

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