Photography 101 Part 2Written by Kelly Paal
Photography 101 Part 2 Basic Composition
Now that you are beginning to understand how your camera works you can begin to understand basic composition. I know that many people that Iíve talked to think that photography is just pointing your camera and taking a photo but itís more than that. After you understand how your equipment works you can begin to get into real art of photography and that art is called composition. Basic principles: 1. Use all of your available space. Fill image with image. If reason that your taking photo is your daughterís beautiful face then get closer. If youíre taking an image of breathtaking valley before you. Fill frame with valley. Keep distractions out of frame. Theyíre called distractions for a reason. 2. Look at forms in your image. You almost have to look at people or landscape before you in their simplistic geographic forms. A good way to learn form is to practice taking photos of still life objects, that you can arrange into pleasing forms. A good photo is always a beautiful arrangement of form. Whether itís beauty of a womanís face, her features being forms, or a wonderful landscape, trees, rocks, and hills being forms. 3. Line or direction, motion. The direction of forms in your photos is very important. Never have action or motion moving outside of your image. It will direct eye away from your image. Diagonal motion lines are good, curves and ďsĒ curves are better. The last two is probably way landscape photography is so popular nature is full of curves. Also never put a horizon line in center of your frame. 4. Contrast, difference between black and white. Now it is possible to have a beautiful photo with little contrast if that is your intention, this works best with color. But a lot of shots, some really beautiful shots have a nice balance of black, white, and grays. This can be manipulated for artistic purpose of course, but in beginning you want to focus on trying to take shots with equal amounts of black, white, and shades of gray. (Shoot a roll of B&W film to really learn this principle.) 5. Color, you may have to familiarize yourself with color wheel. (See my article Graphic Design Using Color for more information itís for graphic design but first couple of paragraphs talk about basic color theory) Whether youíre shooting nature or setting up your own shots in a studio you need to know what colors go together and why. Many of us have an instinct as to what looks good. When in doubt follow your instincts. Start out by taking shots of things that you think have pretty or beautiful colors. Show photos to others and see if they agree. Photographers learn not only what they think is beautiful but what is universally beautiful as well.
Photography 101 Part 1Written by Kelly Paal
Photography 101 Part One Equipment: camera, meter, flash, tripod
This article is a simplified photography course directed at new photographers out there who want to know where to start.
If you really want to learn photography first thing you need is a good affordable and reliable camera. It must, and I repeat must, be able to shoot in fully manual and fully auto focus modes. (This leaves out any digital cameras on market right now, sorry.) To really learn photography you must understand equipment. Youíll need to learn how manipulating shutter speed, aperture, and focus will have a dramatic effect on your photos. Meters, if you have a camera that can work in a fully manual mode it should have an internal meter suitable for what you will be doing. Tripod, youíre going to need one whether itís portrait work or landscapes youíll need one eventually. Luckily you donít have to spend a lot here. Just something lightweight and durable. Flash, you can buy a separate camera mounted flash, which is great if you can afford it. Consider what kind of photography that you will be doing though. If youíre going to do mostly nature and landscape, you may only need fill flash that comes with most cameras today. If you plan on doing portraiture alone you will want to consider a camera mounted flash that has an adjustable angle. Film, film speed to be exact. Slower speeds (25 to 400) are intended for portraiture and landscape photography. Faster speeds (600 and above) are intended for actions shots and photojournalism. So first you need to know what you going out to photograph and make sure that you have appropriate film for job. Now that you have camera loaded with film consider shutter speed. Do you want to blur motion, or freeze it? If there is no motion at all what shutter speed do you need to expose scene with natural light. From 1/60th and down to bulb setting will blur most motion. For example if you want to blur water in a waterfall, a setting of 1/30th should work. (Youíll need a tripod though.) 1/125th is a normal setting for most shots. On many cameras 125th setting is marked in a different color to make it obvious. If you want to freeze action youíll need to start with 1/500th and work up from there. The faster motion faster shutter speed needed to stop motion. Many cameras go up to 1/2000th of a second. If youíre trying to use natural light alone in a scene you will want to determine aperture first and then see what shutter speed you need to properly expose scene for available light. (Keep in mind sometimes there isnít enough light.) Aperture, these are set of numbers on your lens closest to body of camera. They can go from 1.8 to 22, and they are referred to as F-stops. These numbers determine how much light reaches film inside of your camera. Most internal meters will blink on appropriate aperture for shutter speed that youíve set, or speed youíve set will blink if your F-stop is correct for speed. Both F-stop and shutter speed can be changed to expose scene correctly. Consider that faster shutter speed more light will be needed to expose scene correctly. This makes logical sense if you think about it. If shutter isnít open as long, fast shutter speed, then there is less light able to make it to film and so scene must be brighter to expose correctly. To learn, bracket your shots. Take first shot at aperture suggested by your meter, move one stop up, take a photo, one down, take another photo.