Photography for Beginners

Photography for Beginners

When you have reached this point where what you can achieve with the automatic mode of a digital camera is no longer enough, and the restlessness begins to move forward, to know more; When curiosity is greater than the fear of not being able, you are ready to learn seriously.

It is true that there are many places where you can go, where an experienced photographer will teach you the secrets of this art; however, when you participate in a course or workshop, the concepts, terms and technique can accumulate quickly while trying to assimilate them. On the other hand, if you already have the basic knowledge, the use is greater.

I tell you this from personal experience, at this moment I have read, and understood the concepts related to this fascinating world of photography, I feel that participating in a workshop with an experienced photographer would be much more helpful, because it would not be necessary to wear out trying to Understand the concepts and terms, since I would just have to concentrate on how to improve the technique.

The basic concepts of not starting from scratch and being lost when the instructor is explaining a topic are few, we can group them as follows: Know our camera, know how to focus and shoot and finally terminology.

Below I will present a brief description of each point, with links to deepen the issues. The idea is to organize the topics as an introduction for those who are starting, something like a Study Guide for beginners.

Know the parts of the camera:

The sensor: The sensor is the most important part of the camera, since it is responsible for creating the image. In compact equipment the sensor is usually smaller. This affects the result we can get with the camera. The sensor consists of small points sensitive to light, each representing a pixel; and as we have seen the more pixels the image has more detail we can get in the final image.

Digital equipment is marketed highlighting the amount of Megapixels they offer. However this does not mean that the more pixels we can get into the same area, our image will be better, on the contrary; in order to add more points they must decrease the size, which affects the quality.

File formats: The main file formats that create a camera are three: JPEG (JPG), TIFF and RAW. The most common is the JPG, however the one that offers us the greatest control over the image is the RAW Format.

The first is the result of applying processes on the second, so it is smaller, but has lost a lot of information in the process. RAW is the preferred format of those photography enthusiasts who personally prefer to apply the editing processes to create the final file.

The lenses: This part of the photographic equipment is as complex to understand as expensive, even the price of the camera is almost always affected in relation to the type of lens it brings. The variety and uses are quite wide. It is very common for a lens to cost more than the camera alone. The lens is formed by other internal lenses that offer us the optics for each situation.

The quality of the lens is directly linked to the quality of the resulting image. A cheap lens will obtain images that we cannot correct with any post-production process. The lenses offer a viewing angle that is related to the focal length, where a smaller number represents a larger area and a larger number represents a smaller area; that is, the viewing angle decreases as we increase the focal length.

This viewing angle determines in some way the use we can give to a lens. For example a 16 mm lens (has a wider angle) so it is recommended for landscape photographs; On the contrary, a 300mm lens should be used for remote photography.

The filters: These accessories meet an optical support requirement when taking a picture. We can find creative filters, macro and protectors.

The viewfinder: In digital cameras we can talk about two viewers, the optical and the digital. The optician is a small window through which we can observe the scene, as we approach our eye, in addition to the most sophisticated equipment we can see information that helps us to take the picture; The digital is a screen on the back of the camera, which allows us to see the scene without having to zoom in, and that can even offer us more information than we can see in the other viewfinder.

The flash: This attachment can be found in almost all digital photographic equipment, it is usually linked to automatic mode, which means that the camera decides when to use it or not; The truth is that this light source is not good enough for most scenes. Therefore one of the first points to know is how to deactivate it and secondly when it does make sense to use it.

Any flash has its technical specifications also, for example, when it should fire, type of flash, recommended distance, power, compensation, etc.

 

Pre-configured scene modes: Between the automatic and manual mode is the scene mode. All digital cameras today offer a simple way to take pictures in the most common situations, with pre-configured parameters to make the picture perfect.

Even in this control panel we can find the automatic mode, this mode analyzes the scene and determines which of the pre-configured modes is appropriate for the shot we are about to take.

The configuration menus: These menus are different according to each brand, each device, etc. Therefore it is necessary to learn to use the one that corresponds to our camera, we must know where are the characteristics and functionalities that we can control, to be able to make adjustments quickly.

Focus: The process of adjusting the lens of the camera is known as an approach so that they can reproduce clearly, which is within the range of sharpness offered by the lens. Each focal length or lens offers us different ranges of focus.

Autofocus: It is an intelligent system that allows the camera to adjust the lenses automatically, to obtain the clearest image.

Press the shutter button: The camera trigger is the button through which we take the action of taking the picture. This button offers two different functionalities in digital equipment. The first is when we press the button in the middle, which tells the camera to perform the necessary calculations for the scene and the focus, if we press and hold the button in this position we can make the frame that we like the most and then press the that was missing for that photograph to be obtained.

Understand what the Composition is: It is the artistic part of taking a picture, it is about including in the scene the objects, subjects, or elements that we want, so that they are more aesthetic among themselves. Beyond learning the correct way to make the composition, it is about knowing the elements that help us create our own personal composition.

Terminology and Concepts

F-Stops: Among all the concepts related to photography this turns out to be the most confusing, so trying to explain it in a short paragraph can be complicated; However, we can say that it is a kind of measure that is used to indicate the amount of light that we allow to enter the chamber.

Although it is not as simple as I have described it, it is a good starting point to understand what we do by moving this value. Increase or decrease the amount of light.

White balance: In photography, the white or color balance is related to a global adjustment to the whole image, which affects the primary colors; Red, Green and Blue, of the image. The problem arises because the camera cannot always capture specific colors properly. And sometimes it allows some of the colors to dominate the scene. When the balance is found the brightest part of the image is white, otherwise it may appear in another color.

Opening: The opening is the space through which the light enters the camera until it reaches the sensor. There is a device called a diaphragm or shutter, which allows us to control this aspect.

We can compare it with the pupil of the human eye, if there is more light it must be closed so that the brightness does not damage our eyes and if on the contrary it is dark, it is necessary to open the pupil more, to allow more light to enter.

Depth of field: Although the explanation is very technical we can say that it is related to the location of the objects in front of the lens, where the distance between the object and the lens will be reflected in the photograph.

These objects can be in three planes with respect to the lens: Near the lens (out of focus), focus area (in the middle, where the objects are sharp) and away from the lens (out of focus).

Exposure: The exposure in its most basic explanation is the period of time that the camera sensor is exposed to the light that comes bouncing from a subject. If you leave too much time exposed, the picture comes out very white and if it is exposed too little time, the picture comes out dark.

 

The lens internally has a curtain that we can open or close, to let the light pass, to the space that is left for the light to pass is called opening. This curtain must close at a certain time, this time is related to the speed at which it must be closed to prevent the light from entering.

Aperture priority: It is a semi-automatic mode of the camera that allows us to determine the aperture we want and leaves the camera with the decision of the speed that it must use to achieve a correct exposure.

Shooting speed: Each time we take a picture, a curtain is opened internally in the camera that lets in the light and closes.

The period of time that curtain is kept open, letting the light through, is what is called the firing speed. The faster, less light will let in. On the contrary if it is slow, it will let in more light.

Shutter priority: In this mode that is the counterpart of the aperture priority mode, we determine the speed of the shot and leave the aperture setting to the camera. To freeze the movement, we must establish a faster value, for example in sports.

Digital Noise: The small dots we see in the image are known as digital noise when the sensor cannot adequately represent the actual image at that particular point. When a particular pixel receives too much load, due to excessive exposure, or on the contrary when it receives very little information and it is not possible to adequately represent the image at that point, we can see in some places of the image a bright spot or an opaque point. It could also be due to some kind of electronic interference or error. This is known as noise.

The ISO: It serves to increase the sensitivity of the camera, usually used when there is low light, increasing the possibilities that the camera can create images, in low light. However, a higher ISO value increases the noise in the final image.

Once you have understood this basic theory and have practiced you are ready for a photographic workshop. I assure you that your participation will be very helpful, both for you personally and for the other participants of the course.

Enjoy it and good luck.