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Basic Photography Essay Sample

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Basic Photography Essay Sample

Photography is the art, science, and practice of creating durable images by recording light by means of an image sensor. Typically, a lens is used to focus the light reflected or emitted from objects into a real image on the light-sensitive surface inside a camera during a timed exposure. The result in an electronic image sensor is an electrical charge at each pixel, which is electronically processed and stored in a digital image file for subsequent display or processing. Photography came from the word fotos (light) and graphos (to draw). It is like painting with light. Photography is more than just taking a photograph with a camera… … it is an active engagement with science, technology & society and art… Basics of Photography: Understanding How Your Digital Camera Works The Parts

Your camera is made up of many parts, but there are a few in particular that we want to look at as they are the most important. We’ll go into much more detail in a bit, but here’s a basic overview of the parts we’re going to look at: * The body is the housing for your camera. While it has little effect on the quality of your photos, it does affect things like ease of use and comfort. * The lens is the eye of the camera, and it’s a very complex instrument. Different lenses can provide many different features, so it’s important to know the differences between them. In future lessons, we’ll also discuss how lenses work and how that affects your photographs.

* The sensor is basically the digital equivalent of film, in the sense that—like film—the sensor is exposed to light that comes through the lens and it records that exposure. The exposure is then processed and saved to flash memory (generally an SD or Compact Flash card). The caliber and size of the sensor are also very important, as these things significantly impact the quality of your photos. * The flash card is where you save your images, and it’s a component most people don’t think about too much when buying a camera, aside from choosing an amount of storage that suits their needs. Flash cards range in read and write speeds as well, however, and a slow cards can significantly degrade your camera’s performance. We’ll take a look at what card classes mean and the minimum speed you need for different purposes. * The battery matters in a camera just like any other electronic device. While this is a simple part to understand, we’ll dive into it a little more deeply to figure out actual, practical battery life for cameras and when cameras with less-powerful batteries may be a better option.

In details:
The Body
Camera body design affects the user in a couple of ways. First, the size of the body can have a major impact on comfort when being held and used. Small hands will have difficulty with large bodies and, conversely, large hands will have difficulty with small bodies. Before purchasing a camera, it’s a good idea to hold it and take a few pictures so you know if you’ll find it comfortable to use with regularity. Size often impacts the location of buttons, dials, and other parts of the hardware you’ll need to touch and press to operate your camera. The positioning on small point-and-shoot cameras tends to be fairly simple, because there are fewer hardware controls, but the moment you step up to a smaller DSLR that number increases significantly.

On higher-end DSLRs, the extra space tends to ensure your hands will always be able to reach and easily access the most important controls. This is a generalization, however, and you’ll want to test them out for yourself. When you do, adjust camera settings and see what all the buttons do in manual mode (so you’re aware of their full capabilities). If it feels uncomfortable or awkward to make adjustments you’ll make often, you may want to consider a different model. While most cameras are fairly similar, the little differences in body design can have a significant impact on their ease of use. While you can generally judge a camera’s abilities without ever using it, you’ll need to test it out yourself to make sure it feels right. The Lens

Certain types of lenses are better for certain situations, so it’s important to know their classifications and differences. The first thing worth noting is the difference between zoom lenses and prime lenses. Zoom lenses—as you can probably guess—let you zoom in and out. While they have that advantage, they’re generally more expensive, heavier, and larger. Prime lenses, on the other hand, do not allow you to zoom, but they’re often cheaper, lighter, and smaller. In many cases, prime lenses will provide sharper images than zoom lenses at lower price points. When you start paying thousands of dollars for lenses, lens performance tends to be a little more equal. The next thing you want to understand is the difference between wide-angle, standard, medium, telephoto, and ultra-telephoto lenses. These terms are all based on a lens’ focal length, which is a complex definition that’s beyond the scope of this.

What you need to know is that focal length is measured in millimeters (mm) and you can think of it like the amount of magnification. A low number is like being zoomed really far out, and a high number really far in. Here’s what you need to know about each type: 1. Wide-angle lenses are essentially any lenses with a focal length of up to 35mm. The wider the lens (and lower the focal length), the more the lens can see. Fisheye lenses are extremely wide and often have a rating of around 8-10mm. A regular wide-angle lens is generally around 14-28mm. As you can see from the photo on the left, wide angle lenses capture more stuff in the frame. They also distort space, increasing depth and making it look more spherical. This can be both a wanted and unwanted effect, depending on the circumstances. Some wide-angle lenses include technology that corrects this distortion, but those lenses are almost always significantly more expensive.

2. Standard lenses are generally between 35-50mm and tend to most closely represent space the way the human eye sees it. Wide-angle lenses tend to distort space and add the appearance of more depth. Telephoto lenses flatten space. Standard lenses are the middle ground and produce images that look realistic to most people. A 50mm prime lens is often the cheapest lens you can buy with a level of quality that rivals zoom lenses priced at several hundred dollars more. Standards are the most versatile lenses because they’re a good compromise between the more extreme types, but they’re often useless when you’re in a small space and need to go wide or are far away from your subject and need the magnification power of a telephoto.

3. Medium lenses generally fall into the range of 60-100mm and are generally not a type you’ll want as a prime unless you have a specific purpose in mind (some prefer 60mm and 85mm prime lenses for portraits, for example). This range is often encompassed by zoom lenses, and that’s generally where you’ll want it. Many standard zoom lenses start as wide as 28mm and end up at 70mm, at least. A good standard zoom will encompass this range.

4. Telephoto lenses are what you want for zooming in really far. Pretty much anything over 100mm is considered a telephoto lens, and anything over 400mm is considered an ultra-telephoto lens. While telephoto lenses can magnify an image many times over, and are necessary when you can’t get close to your subject, they’re both heavy, are more subject to motion blur (as a result of camera movement), and do not perform as well in low light. You will find some options that are compact, come with image stabilization (to prevent motion blur), and offer wider apertures (to perform better in low light), but all of these features increase their cost significantly.

The Flash Card
Flash cards come in all different sizes, but they come in different speeds as well. Nowadays you’re most likely to end up with an SD or CompactFlash card. The speed of your flash card is important because most cameras nowadays are very fast. You can take many images in rapid succession, but if your card has a slow write speed it can’t keep up. For SD cards you’ll be best served by a Class 6 card. For CompactFlash, a card rated at 133x should do just fine. Many DSLRs and compact cameras come with video capabilities, and writing this kind of data requires a fast flash card. Class 6 SD cards will still be enough for most point-and-shoots, but if your video-capable DSLR uses SD cards you’ll probably want a Class 10.

Class 10 cards are not all created equal, however, and some are marginally faster than Class 6. In most cases any Class 10 should sufficient, and anything with a max write speed of 15MB per second be more than enough. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to get a faster card and some Class 10 SD cards are capable of write speeds twice that fast. CompactFlash cards are often used in higher-end DSLRs because they’re capable of faster speeds at a lower cost (mainly because they’re physically larger and that’s easier to achieve thanks to their size). A CompactFlash card rated 233x or higher should handle video in most any DSLR just fine, but faster cards will definitely make things run more smoothly. The Battery

Most DSLRs pack a battery that will last you all day, but compact point-and-shoot and does not necessarily come with that luxury. When considering something of the more compact variety, you want to weigh both the longevity of the battery and the cost of a second one. Sometimes you can get a better camera with poor battery life, but the cost of an additional battery isn’t very expensive. If you don’t mind charging two batteries this can be a good option. With DSLRs you’ll often get a good battery but sometimes that battery will perform better in certain circumstances. DSLRs do not require the use of the LCD screen and you’ll generally take pictures through the viewfinder. The battery will last much longer when the LCD screen is not powered, so companies will often provide two ratings for the battery life: one in the number of photos you can take and one in the number of hours the battery will last. The number of hours generally refers to the amount of time the camera can be actively functioning with the LCD screen turned on and the number of photos is simply how many pictures you can expect to take without the aid of the LCD screen. When judging battery life for a particular camera, be sure you know if you plan to use it more with the LCD screen on or off first.

Your Camera’s Automatic and Assisted Settings
Now that you’ve got a pretty good idea of how the different parts of your camera work, we’re going to take a look at its various settings. In this lesson we’ll cover the basics, and in the following lesson we’ll take a look at manual mode. * Shooting modes, or the different ways your camera can assist you in taking a photograph. * Flash modes and when to use them.

* What different image enhancement settings do and what they’re good for.
* Shooting assistance functions, like auto focus.
* A brief look at video mode.
Shooting Modes
Most cameras come with a few different types of shooting modes, from full automatic to full manual. We’re going to take a look at the most common and discuss when you should use them. You may not be familiar with terms like shutter speed, aperture, and ISO but don’t worry—we’ll be going over those
in detail in the next lesson.

Automatic takes care of everything for you. There’s not much to explain here.

Program automatic sets your aperture and shutter speed automatically, but gives you control over other settings like ISO (the rating that affects how sensitive your camera’s sensor is to light—similar to film speed in film cameras).

Scene modes generally have icons to represent their purpose, such as a mountain for landscapes or a fast-moving person for sports. Scene modes can be useful if you want the camera to assist you in photographing the types of photos each mode is designed for, but hopefully after you’re done with these lessons you won’t need or want to use them anymore.

Shutter priority allows you to set the shutter speed and ISO but allows the camera to set the aperture automatically. This mode is useful if the shutter speed is the most important consideration when taking a photo. This is often the case when you want to make sure you take a photo fast enough to capture motion but do not care about the aperture. This is useful for photography sports, dance, or anything with a lot of movement.

Aperture priority allows you to set the aperture and ISO but lets the camera set the shutter speed automatically. This is useful when the aperture is the most important consideration in your photograph. The aperture can have some of the greatest visual impact on your photographs because it is one of the largest contributing factors to depth of field. A wide aperture (represented by a low f-stop like f/1.8) will produce a photo where your subject is in sharp focus but the background is very much out of focus. This is useful for portraits, or focusing on a single object in an otherwise busy frame. A narrow aperture (represented by a higher f-stop, like f/8) will produce a photo where most everything appears to be in focus. This is useful for landscapes, or any other situation where keeping everything in focus is desirable. Wider apertures also let in more light, so they’re useful when you don’t have much and want to avoid using a flash.

Aperture priority is one of the best shooting modes your camera has because you can still control your ISO settings (light sensitivity) and the shutter speed is often something that’s best left for the camera to decide unless you have a reason to choose it yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t fully understand this yet. We’ll be discussing aperture, shutter speed, and ISO in much more detail in the next lesson. Manual mode lets you set everything, and we’ll be discussing this mode in detail in the next lesson. It’s worth noting, however, that this mode does not imply manual focus with DSLR cameras. Switching between manual and automatic focus is generally a dedicate hardware toggle switch on your lens and not on the camera. If you want to focus manually on a DSLR, you can use any shooting mode you want if the switch is set to manual on the lens.

Flash Modes
Your camera has a couple of different flash modes, and most of them you’ll never need. Here’s what they’re called and what they do. Automatic flash will only fire the flash when needed, which the camera determines by reading the available light on the subject. This generally happens when there isn’t enough light anywhere in the frame or if the subject is backlit and appears dark to the camera as a result.

Automatic flash with red eye reduction works the same as the regular automatic flash mode but attempts to reduce the red eye effect that flashes often produce. If you’re going to use an automatic flash mode, you might as well use this one.

Forced/Fill-in flash means the flash fires with every exposure regardless of whether or not the camera believes it’s necessary. This is the mode you choose when you know you’re always going to need the flash, or just think it’s funny to cause temporary blindness to a bunch of people in rapid succession.

Slow shutter flash (with red-eye reduction) is what you want to use in a very low light situation, as the shutter speed will be reduced and the flash needs to offer a repeated bursts of light to compensate. If you’re using an automatic mode, the camera will determine when this is necessary and do it automatically. If you know you’re going to need a slow shutter flash, however, you can force it with this mode.

No flash is pretty obvious. It turns the flash off so it won’t be used under any circumstances.

Composition and Technique
A well-composed photograph is really a matter of opinion, but there are a few tricks that tend to result in better pictures. Rule of Thirds
The rule of thirds is the simplest rule of composition. All you do is take your frame and overlay a grid of nine equal sections. This means you split the vertical space into three parts and the horizontal space into three parts. Here’s what that looks like: Generally you want to place important elements where the grid intersects. Here are a few examples:

Perspective
Photographing your subject straight-on is sometimes the right choice, but you can create visual impact by moving the camera left, right, above, and below. When you’re beneath the subject it often makes them/it appear more powerful to the viewer. Conversely, when you’re above the subject it makes them/it appear more diminutive. You can use this to an extreme for a powerful impact, but it’s also a very good subtle technique for portraits. Slight positioning above or below the subject can subconsciously imply aggressiveness and passivity without being too, uh, obvious… Additionally, left and right positioning isn’t as direct and can often make a photograph feel more honest and candid. When capturing a moment, whether it’s staged or not, photographing the subject head-on can often seem a little awkward and end up being less-effective. Of course, you can also combine different positioning elements to create other effects. Try taking photographs of the same subject from different perspectives and see how people interpret them. This is a good way to understand the effects your choices have on the end result.

Frame Your Subject with Objects
A subject against a white background can often be simple and effective if you have a good subject. If you have a boring subject, like an ordinary house, a blank background (like a clear sky) isn’t going to be very compelling. Instead, try framing your subject with surrounding objects.

If you want to learn more about digital photography, there are plenty of resources to help you out. Try to research on the internet on new trends on photography and help yourself out. Remember, it’s never too late to learn photography when you brush on hard work and commitment.

Sources:

https://lifehacker .com (http://bit.ly/mRnp0E)
Mr. Jimmy A. Domingo (DLSU & ADMU), Lectures OSSEI Baguio, Photos

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