Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Photography Lessons: Basics

I've decided to note down everything I've learned about photography so far so that I don't ever forget any of it.

1. Get a good camera.

The camera should be reliable. For example, if it's been advertised to have red eye reduction, it should have effective and not negligible red eye reduction.

It should have some manual functions like white balance, exposure, shutter speed, etc. I'm using the Canon Powershot A570 IS. It's good. It has enough manual functions for a novice to learn all the basics of photography.

The only drawbacks are the short battery life and poor screen. I need to keep recharging the batteries that go dead after every hundred shots. And the screen at the back of the camera doesn't do the photos justice. It's also hard to see the screen in bright sunlight. The photos come out great on a computer screen though. Which brings me to the next important thing I've learnt.

2. Don't depend completely on the screen

The camera screen is not be the best indicator of how the final picture may turn out, so I need to take as many pictures of the subject as I can on different settings.

3. Get a camera with image stabilisation or vibration reduction

Without a tripod, the camera shakes, the effects of which are noticeable in corresponding photos. IS/VR reduces this effect greatly.

4. Learn photography in a phased manner.

The best way to learn something is in a phased structured manner as opposed to all at once. With respect to photography, composition needs to be learned first, followed by other basics like exposure, shutter speed, etc.

It was exciting when I got my hands on a new camera. I first shot completely in automatic mode, then used different exposure settings on Program mode, and then learned about composure. Looking back, I should have focused on composure before exposure. It's no use trying to get perfect lighting for your subject when it's not even placed properly in your screen.

5. Composition.

I've learned about the rule of thirds recently, and have tried to adhere to it in every way I can.

I've also learned about general symmetry in photos, all from Morgue File, like focusing on shapes like triangles, circles, leading lines or frames within frames formed by objects in the picture.

Composition also includes looking for angles and placement of objects in the picture. Other things to keep in mind are to get close to the object being photographed and to not have any other distracting objects in the picture.

I continue to expand on my knowledge with each trip I take, and from sites like Morgue File, Short Courses, Slideshare, and Nat Geo.



Unny & Bindhu said...

Hi Daniel,
If photography interests you, want you to invite you to an interesting Photography competition by Make History. I have written about it in my blog (Making History)

You can participate as well as contribute to their blog.


Daniel said...

Hey, thanks for the heads up.

Lahari said...

good article

Daniel D'Mello said...

Thanks Lahari.

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