An Introduction to Photography

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An Introduction to Photography

Post by Wowiz™ on Fri Oct 15, 2010 3:37 pm

An Introduction to Photography.

Photography is a broad subject that eventually boils down to a mixture of art and science. Now, before we disappear down the "Is photography an art?" road I said it was a mixture and although the process of taking and processing a photograph is down to physics and chemistry the driving force behind it is often to some degree artistic or at least creative.
So, where do we start? Most books, at least the ones I have read, start with some history or "What is photography?" or something down that line. This is all very well and may interest you a bit later but right now what you probably want to do is take pictures, sorry, photographs. If you study at college or university they prefer the term "image " and get upset when you tell them you are going out to " take some pictures ". So we are going to start , where everyone really starts book or no book, at the beginning.

How to take a picture.
Compose and expose.

Photography is full of rules and to get us started I have invented one of my own. You have to do two things when taking a photograph.

* Compose: This is the creative or artistic bit where you arrange all of the elements of your picture within the frame or viewfinder to produce what should hopefully be a pleasing composition.
* Expose: This is the scientific and mechanical bit where you expose your film to light through the lens of your camera and if you are lucky preserve the image for posterity.

In my infinite wisdom I have decided to call this The Compose and Expose Rule. To make life simple compose and expose rhyme so it is easy to remember. You compose first and expose second that is the rule. If this is going to give you problems I suggest you give up now and take up something less challenging.

In the following tutorials we will look at both parts in more detail. If you pay attention and I can make myself understood you will learn how to exert a great deal of control over how your photographs will turn out.
We will start with the "compose" part first as most of the decision making is for aesthetic reasons and is largely up to you and if you are using a fully automatic camera it is the only bit that will be any good to you.


The modern camera is capable of many things. It can focus for you; work out exposure for you; select a suitable shutter speed or aperture along with a multitude of other functions. However useful you may find these functions the one thing a camera can't do is compose your picture for you. It has no idea what it is pointing at and it has no idea what you are trying to achieve so you are on your own.

If you are using an 'auto-everything' camera like a 35mm compact or program SLR then your main area of control is going to be in the composition of your photographs. Sadly I can't tell you how to take a great picture as to some degree it comes down to your ability to 'see' a picture or the potential to create a picture. Having said that; there are a load of 'rules' and techniques you can use to improve the final look of your photographs. We will look at a few of the popular, effective and easy to implement techniques that you will be able to start using right away.

Quick Tip
Editing: Before you show anyone those hundreds of holiday photos or the 2 hour slide show, edit your work. Take out all the doubles, all the duds, the out of focus and generally crap. Only show people the good stuff and your standing as a photographer immediately increases. Pro's can shoot a load of rubbish like anyone else; they just don't show it to anybody.

There are 3 basic ways to arrange the elements within your composition.

* Physically move objects relative to each other. Only really works with still life photography.
* Tell people to move relative to each other or other objects. Only works with people who can hear you.
* Move ! Usually the most effective way to control your composition is to alter your viewpoint.

That last one is probably the easiest and yet most important. How often have you thought 'that would make a great picture' then put your camera to your eye and taken a photograph. Loads of times, you see people do it all the time. By all means do that but right after doing it take a wander about and see if you can improve on your original composition by changing your viewpoint. You may be surprised how much difference walking a few metres can make.

Fill the frame.
Sometimes your mind tends to exaggerate what you see through the viewfinder of your camera. You often perceive things a bit bigger than they actually are and you also tend not to notice 'slight' distractions. What you end up with is photographs with huge areas of wasted space around the edge and people with things growing out of their heads. Make sure your subject fills the frame. The best way to do this is to move a bit closer. Before you press that shutter release have a quick look round the edge of the frame and behind your subject. Make sure that you don't have acres of space full of nothing interesting and check for 'stuff' intruding into your masterpiece. In our wonderful 3 dimensional world that telegraph pole is away in the background; in your flat 2 dimensional photograph that same pole is sticking out of someone. Arrow Arrow lol!
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Re: An Introduction to Photography

Post by thomahawk on Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:42 pm

Good day....
Nice feature about Photography....
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