Things to be learned by a Beginner Photographer

What is a Camera?
The camera is your tool. Actually the camera is a box that controls the amount of light that reaches a piece of light sensitive film or other surface inside. The original cameras did not even have a glass lens. The first cameras used a tiny hole in the front of the box to allow in light and to focus the image onto the viewing surface. This is the same principle as when children punch a pinhole into a piece of paper in order to watch a solar eclipse projected through the pinhole and onto the ground.

Today’s cameras use glass lenses to focus and capture light much more quickly and to allow us to magnify images. Film is much more sensitive and finely detailed than the first film surfaces and now we also have digital sensors that sometimes take the place of film. Today’s cameras also have shutters that control the light from reaching the film or sensor with the touch of a button and have powerful flashes to help illuminate scenes. The camera has come a long way from its humble beginnings, but it is still just a box that controls the amount of light that reaches a piece of film.

What is ISO?
ISO is actually a common short name for the International Organisation for Standardization.

The ISO setting on your camera is something that has carried over from film. A camera’s ISO function increases the sensitivity of your cameras sensor to light.. Your camera’s ISO settings are often rated at 100, 200, or 400 but go as high as 800, 1600, and even 3200 on some advanced models. For well lit scenes such as a bright summers day, you can keep your ISO low to around the 100-200 range as there will be plenty of light to expose the photo correctly. If you’re in low light conditions such as indoors or a night club, then you’d need to increase your ISO to maybe 800 or 1600. The higher the number, the more sensitive to light the film is. The ISO bit is from the standards for film sensitivity, and the number refers to it’s rating.

What Are Megapixels?
A megapixel simply means 1 million pixels. But what is a pixel? A pixel is a single point (or dot) in a graphic image. All graphic images are made up of thousands of tiny dots.  If your camera is 8 megapixels, it means that any pictures it takes (on its highest quality setting) will consist of 8 million of these pixels. If your camera does not have enough megapixels, you may find printing a quality 8×10 difficult. Generally, 5 megapixels is enough to print good quality 8x10s. But, just because one camera has a certain amount of megapixels doesn’t mean that it will take better pictures with one with a lower amount. There are many factors which affect this, including build quality, type of camera, etc. So, don’t just jump and buy a lower priced 10mp over a higher priced 8mp for example just because it has more megapixels.

What is Shutter Speed?
Shutter speed is one of the most basic important controls on a camera. Shutter speed one of the 3 basic light control functions of a camera.  Aperture, film speed, and shutter speed work together to adjust how much light strikes film and how that light is recorded. Shutter speed controls the amount of time that your film, or digital sensor, is exposed to light. In effect, the shutter determines what image is captured on your film. The shutter is a small plastic sheet that opens and closes to allow light onto the film or prevent light from reaching the film. The shutter is opened when you press the shutter release button on your camera to take a picture. The shutter speed determines how long the shutter remains open.
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What is Aperture?
The aperture lets more or less light into the camera, but even more importantly, the aperture sets the depth of field. When taking portraits you might want the background to be out of focus, so you simply select a larger aperture in order to do this. Simply Aperture is ‘the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken.’ When you hit the shutter release button of your camera a hole opens up that allows your cameras image sensor to catch a glimpse of the scene you’re wanting to capture. The aperture that you set impacts the size of that hole. The larger the hole the more light that gets in – the smaller the hole the less light.
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What Is Image Stabilization?
Image stabilization (IS) is a family of techniques used to reduce blurring associated with the motion of a camera during exposure. Specifically, it compensates for pan and tilt (angular movement, equivalent to yaw and pitch) of a camera or other imaging device. Image stabilization can help you take handheld shots almost two stops slower than with image stabilization off. For example if you would require a shutterspeed of 1/500s to shoot a particular scene, you should be able to shoot at only 1/125s (4 times slower) with image stabilization. This is very useful when shooting moving subjects in low light conditions by panning and/or when using long focal lengths.

What is a Telephoto Lens?
A telephoto lens is a camera lens designed to enable people to take long focal length pictures using a lens with an actual length which is shorter than the focal length. For example, a 400mm telephoto lens is not in fact 400mm long, unlike a conventional 400mm lens.

A telephoto lens is a lens designed to photograph long distances – an average telephoto lens can be from 70-200mm or 100-300mm, some even go up to 500mm. The advantages are clear when photographing sports or wildlife in which you are unable to get near to your subject.

Often these lenses have a great depth of field and can also be used to capture some amazing portraits.

What is Macro Lens?
Macro photography is close-up photography of usually very small objects. Using a lens specifically designed for close work and with a long barrel for close focusing, called a macro lens. Some manufacturers call it a micro, which might actually be scientifically more accurate, but can be confusing, since it goes against the established convention. These lenses provide consistently high optical quality when taking macrophotographs since they continuously change their optical formula as the lens focuses closer.

What is Wide Angle Lens?
The wide angle lens are used to photograph a wide area. This is mostly preffered by Landscape photographers. Longer lenses magnify the subject more, apparently compressing distance and (when focused on the foreground) blurring the background because of their shallower depth of field. Wider lenses tend to magnify distance between objects while allowing greater depth of field.

What is Fisheye Lens?
Fisheye lens is a wide-angle lens that takes in an extremely wide, hemispherical image and are often used by photographers shooting broad landscapes to suggest the curve of the Earth and panoramic photography.

What is RAW?
Rather than JPEG you can shoot your images in RAW formatRaw image files are sometimes called digital negatives, as they fulfill the same role as negatives in film photography. RAW offers many advantages over JPEG; it records all the details for exposure, white balance and more. It makes it easier to edit the photo afterwards if you do need to change anything.

What is White Balance?
Adjusting white balance is to get the colors in your images as accurate as possible. Often the auto mode is good enough, but it can commonly get it wrong.

Here are some of the basic White Balance settings you’ll find on cameras:

  • Auto – this is where the camera makes a best guess on a shot by shot basis. You’ll find it works in many situations but it’s worth venturing out of it for trickier lighting.
  • Tungsten – this mode is usually symbolized with a little bulb and is for shooting indoors, especially under tungsten (incandescent) lighting (such as bulb lighting). It generally cools down the colors in photos.
  • Fluorescent – this compensates for the ‘cool’ light of fluorescent light and will warm up your shots.
  • Daylight/Sunny – not all cameras have this setting because it sets things as fairly ‘normal’ white balance settings.
  • Cloudy – this setting generally warms things up a touch more than ‘daylight’ mode.
  • Flash – the flash of a camera can be quite a cool light so in Flash WB mode you’ll find it warms up your shots a touch.
  • Shade – the light in shade is generally cooler (bluer) than shooting in direct sunlight so this mode will warm things up a little.




© 2011 - 2016 Hermis Haridas

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