Basics of Photography

The photography is all about lighting. The quality and quantity of light defines the quality of a photograph. In a DSLR camera, lighting can be controlled by controlling three basic parameters – Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO.

Photography terminologies :

  1. Exposure – Quantity of light to get a well lit photograph, giving a soothing feel and making all elements of the photograph properly visible.
  2. Under Exposure/Exposed – If the quantity of light is less than expected, which gives feeling of darkness in the photo.
  3. Over Exposure/Exposed – If the quantity of light is more that expected, which gives feeling of very bright photo.
  4. Aperture – The opening of lens which controls the amount of light falling on the Camera sensor. This is also defined as F-Stop and is mentioned as F/4, F/5.6… F/22.. Smaller the F-Stop number, larger will be the aperture opening and vice-versa. So F/4 means large aperture opening and F/22 means a very small aperture opening. The aperture size controls the light and also the depth of field. A smaller aperture (F/22) will give a large depth of field and a large aperture (F/4) will give a shallow depth of field.CameraAperture
  5. ISO – The ISO stands for International Standards Organization, and in context of photography it refers to the sensitivity of light as per ISO standard. If the lighting condition is good, then we can capture images with low ISO values e.g. 100, 200, 250, 500 etc.. If the lighting conditions are not well then we can increase the ISO for better exposure. But always keep in mind, as we move towards higher ISO then graining effect can be observed. But upto ISO-1000, the quality is good and with the help of post-processing tools this graining can be removed.
  6. Shutter speed – Shutter speed define the duration of time for which camera sensor will sense the light once click button is pressed. The Aperture, ISO and Shutter speed works in correlation with each other. If suppose ISO is kept fixed at 100 and Aperture is kept fixed at f/5.6, now to adjust the light exposure the only variable is Shutter speed. If shutter speed is varied from 1/500 (500th of a second) to 1/100 (100th of a second) then the image capture at 1/500 will be darker than the image captured at 1/100. The Shutter priority mode is preferred while shooting a high speed event, e.g. Birds in motion, high speed moving car, or lion chasing its prey, also to get star trails and milkiness in waterfalls. Depending on the Camera model the minimum to maximum range can vary. For my Nikon D5100, i have the maximum shutter speed as 1/4000 and minimum as 30 secs followed by Bulb mode for more than 30 secs.

Following are some of the examples for images taken in different lighting condition with controlling the Aperture, ISO and Shutter speed.

Rules of composition :

  1. Straight Horizon – One of the important rule in photography is to always keeping a straight horizon. Irrespective of which camera you use either a DSLR, Point and shoot or mobile always follow this rule to improve the perspective of your photograph.
  2. Rule of thirds – Always keep the main subjects at one of the intersection of thirds. This can be done with activating the grid line view and aligning the frame to place the subjects closer to the intersection of thirds. Instead of keeping the subject at the center of frame, keeping it at one of the thirds make the frame more attractive.
  3. Leading lines – One of the important factor of a photograph is leading lines. The lines may be actual formed by the natural pathways, shore lines or artificial constructions. These lines help viewers to unknowingly navigate through the whole frame. A frame with leading lines creates a sense of depth in a 2D image and holds viewer’s eyes for long time.These lines should start from bottom of frame for a larger sense of depth.

  4. The Golden hour – This is the short period after the Sun rise or before the Sunset when the Sun light looks orange, red or Golden in color. The sky has colorful drama and the light is soft so it does not cast harsh shadows. As light is equally scattered so this is also considered a good time for portraits as there is no harsh light to make you close the eyes and shadows of your nose or chin will be very soft or negligible. The duration of this soft light varies according to the season. However this short duration is considered as best time for photography.
  5. Frame In Frame – Using a frame within a frame helps to lead viewer’s eyes in to the photo. It makes a photo more interesting by providing a foreground and add depth to it. Also it makes photo of a common tourist destination to look different from other’s depending on the selected frame. The Frame can be a window, any artificial architecture or as simple as tree branches. 
  6. View point – From what height and from which angle we take a photograph is  important. In general we take a photograph from eye level, but instead of taking every photo from our eye level if we change the height and angle then we can create something different and interesting. If we want to see how a particular scene can be viewed by a small kid then we should get down on our knee and compose the scene, similarly how an animal will look like if we click it from below its eye level. In general people see a particular object from their eye level but changing that view point provides a different insight. Also by changing the view point we can change the image background.



2 thoughts on “Basics of Photography

  1. Thanks for the information. These basics are really very helpful for us those who have just started their photography. 🙂


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