Photography Knowledge

So you want to pick up Photography?

So you want to pick up Photography?

Hey guys and gals!

        I've been wanting to write this article for quite a while but never actually found the time to do so, anyway 2 close friends of Ardents recently purchased a dSLR thus prompting me to write this article in the benefit of those who are taking those itsy bitsy baby steps towards the realm of photography.  

        There are actually 3 basic steps that everyone takes towards photography enlightenment..

Technical Knowledge

    The first step for any aspiring photographer is the need to know two things, their equipment in terms of settings and behavior and the other is the basics of photography such as what is shutter speed, apperture and ISO.

      Below are the quick run through on the things to learn up for : –

      Photography Basics 

  • What is a 'stop' – Well everything in photography is about light and how its controlled. This light is measured in stops i.e. 1 stop over or under.
  • How do you control light?
           Shutter Speed – Measured in seconds or miliseconds.  Doubling each speed is equilavent to 1 stop 
                                  e.g. 1/20s to 1/40s is minus 1 stop.     
           Aperture – The diameter of the lens opening, measured in F stops. F/2.8 to F/4 is equilavent to minus 1 stop of light.
           ISO – The sensitivity of the camera towards light, measured in ISO. ISO 200 to ISO 400 is equilavent to plus 1 stop of light.  
  • Types of light – Know the different white balance settings and what's the difference between incandesant light vs fluorescent light. 



  • Settings – where all the buttons, functions and how to access them
  • The difference between Auto Focus (AF) and Metering modes. (Auto focus is how the camera focuses on a subject and metering is how much light is needed for to properly expose the image)
  • Quirky things – as God made all of us different, so do different camera models and brands, each has their own different quirkiness. Like the metering is always -1 stop lower than what the camera indicate and so on.


You'll graduate from this when you can be confident in taking pictures with their correct exposures, consistently of course and with sharp images and not blurred by shake or incorrect focus. 


     Once you get have the basics and are consistent in getting images sharp and properly exposed, we move on to the 2nd stage. Only now we talk about what goes into the image. No point in trying to look at angles and composition when you can't even be confident in exposing the image correctly. The last thing you want is to take a once in a life time image, only to realize it was set too dark or too bright or worse yet, isn't sharp.

      Below are the quick run through on things to learn in this area: –

      Composition Basics 

  • 2/3 rule – Rule of 2 thirds. Try not composing the shot at dead centre but try placing it in other areas. Read up the 2/3 rule for photography composition.
  • Strong subject – Whether the subject is clearly defined, is the image too cluttered? This can be either by shape or by color.
  • Timing – Getting the shot at the right time rather than machine gunning the camera. You might think why not? well simple, you can't machine gun all the time especially when you are using a flash. So why not train up? will save you plenty of time from looking through tons of pictures of the same thing. 
       Of course there are more in this subject area, will talk more when the time comes. 
You'll graduate from this when you are able to look at a scene and determine how best to take the shot, with what type of setting and at which angle (yep all in your head). Up to the point that you are able to manipulate the scene to perfect the composition.  

Art Direction

      This is the final level of your photography journey and this is where you let your creativity guide you in taking the shot. At this level, you'll be able to envision what type of picture you want to take and with the skills gained from the 2 previous categories above, you can and will be able to get it. Art direction is quite simple actually, its basically what do you want your picture to portray.. the message.. do you want to take a picture of a lady that shows her character? or a picture that shows emotion? or something to look grand and classy? 
       So there you have it.. the 3 stages of your transformation to a true photographer.  Many out there just go straight into composition without the necessary skills or knowledge on what it takes. Most end up with photos that are under exposed and just poor composition. Don't be one of them. If you are new with your new love.. just keep on taking photos and get the confidence in the basics, trust me you'll need it later on when it matters most.
      I also hear a lot of people saying, ooh I don't have anything to photograph.. well you are just learning the basics so why not just photograph things around the house or area where you live? Try shooting indoors, outdoors and different lighting conditions. Play with different settings and see which works best on when. Trust me, its not as easy as it seems and the experience will help you. Lest not get into a situation where you need to take a photo but didn't know how to. Ouch!
      Anyway, that's the 3 basic stages in learning up Photography, I'll try to find time to go deeper on each area and explain more, so stay tuned ya! Till then, keep on shooting! Cool
Adrian Y. 
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