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March 14, 2009
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PHOTOGRAPHY, A BEGINNERS GUIDE


After a recent pool i had, it seems like people miss more tutorials and guides to photography.
So i am gonna give it my best and make this easy and hopefully helpful.
No absolute answer to everything, but things from my point of view, including some facts.
Advanced facts that sounds sexy will not be included here, Mostly because you don`t need that information to take great photos.
But i will give you url to all the major subjects so that you can read in-depth about them.

CAMERA

First things first, you gonna need a camera, the question on everyones lips is; What camera should i get?
Whats with the freaking megapixels? what is a dslr?

A digital camera/Point and shoot, does not give you the opportunity to change lenses.
Meaning, that the zoom and usability of the lens is as it is.
That does not make it horrible, but for photographers who work with Macro and wildlife photography, that requires a zoom and a magnification that a point-and-shoot camera rarely gives, at least not with great quality.
for concepts and portraits, a camera like that can work great, especially if it has advanced settings that lets you change aperture ( Depth of field ) and shutterspeed.

On a dslr camera, you can buy lenses/objects that you attach to the camera house ( 1 at the time off course ) depending on the type of photos and effects you are after. It is bound to cost more, but the possibilities are endless.

Dslr
In this scenario, lets say you have decided to buy a dslr, and the questions is what brand and type.
i am not going to push any brand, but personally i recommend buying one of the larger brands ( Canon, Nikon, Samsung e.t.c )
since they have the widest range of equipment and gadgets to use with your camera.

Going in depth about Lenses would require a article by itself, so i recommend reading up on that subject.
There is Wideangle, Fisheye, Macro, Zoom, and so on.
When you have understood what aperture is ( hopefully by the end of this ), it will be a tad easier. Since lenses have different ways.

i could write 10 pages about pixels, but as i said, lets keep it easy.
Basically the amount of megapixels on a camera determents how large the image is going to turn out.
A 8 megapixel camera has a 2304 x 3456 and will give you best quality print up to 20 x 30 cm.
megapixels does not mean better quality, actually, a larger megapixel amount on the camera often leads to dead pixels.

The camera image sensor is where the image process is happening, and when it is less pixels it does not have to "force"
information to the image.
many pixels can work great, IF the camera sensor is build for it ( often a camera series have the same sensor, but increase in megapixels, therefor a sensor that was used for 8 megapixels is now used for 12, something that makes the 4 added megapixels grainy and less quality ).
Sure you can get a great camera with a lot of pixels, but not cheap, if you want quality.

i will recommend anything from 8 - 12 when you start with photography.
you can print your stuff, and you get what you need.
30 megapixels + is very useful if you are a professional photographer who needs larger prints for advertising.
But don`t be fooled by the cheap mini cameras with 15+ megapixels.  

It is important to remember that even with the best equipment, photos does not automatically becomes amazing.
i seen amazing work with cheap equipment, and bad work with the best, visa versa.

SUMMARY:

* The size and price of a compact camera, makes it a perfect travel friend and it is easy to use.

* A dslr gives you more options, and you get to choose every setting for yourself, therefor be more creative with certain types of shots.

* A large pixel number does not mean better quality

* Learn to compose and read about photography, before you buy a massive amount of equipment


SHUTTERSPEED, ISO, DEPTH OF FIELD

I see many people here who struggle to understand what shutterspeed is, and how crucial it is to learn about it.
To put it simple, the shutterspeed is how long the camera "takes the photo aka how long the sensor is open."
If you are gonna freeze a moment, the camera has to take the image fast enough to not catch a blurry movement.
but, naturally if the sensor is only open for 1/500 sec it does not get enough time to suck up a lot of light, and therefor you need
a strong light source or bump up your ISO.

Stay Focused II by Sortvind
Is one of the images i took when i began to understand little by little how important it is to learn how to use the correct shutterspeed.
As you can see here, i used 1/4000 sec when i took this shot, that is so fast you can`t even start to blink.
when the camera took the image so fast, it got little time to suck up light, so i used strong lamps around the water, and a flash at its strongest settings. Flash takes time to learn, but it is a great tool if you want to take shots like this.
the flash in the camera is weak, so i recommend buying an external one.



We talked about fast shutterspeed, but lets talk about slow.
Seen the great landscape shots here on dA? The once where the sea is all silky and the sky is soft lines?
That is the use of slow shutterspeed.
it seems pretty advanced, and in fact, sometimes it is.
When leaving the sensor open for, lets say, 10 sec, the camera takes a 10 second shot, and sucks up the light for all the amount of time.
movement and activity that happens during those 10 sec, naturally affects the shot.
the difficult part of slow shutterspeed is that if you have strong light source ( Sun e.t.c ) the camera will make that part overbright/overexposure,
because it is so light compared to the darker parts.
If you are serious about using slow shutterspeed, i recommend trying out ND filters and such.
ND filters a a glass/plastic filters you put in front of your lens, and it darken the upper/ left/right/bottom part of the shot, depending on where the strongest light source is, you just twist it around.
it is a great way to balance the light.
if you are gonna use slow shutterspeed, you are gonna need a tripod to put your camera on.
You want the movement of the surroundings, but you want the things that are still to get sharp.

Anybody There by acukur
Here we see an example of the use of slow shutterspeed.
the Camera takes the pictures for over one minute, and the sky and sea that moves during that time, gets washed out.
Very interesting and artistic effect. Easy to understand, hard to master.




ISO

10 pages can be written about ISO, but to shorten it down. low ISO number 50-100 gives you the best quality, but it requires more light.
if you use 800 ISO the camera is more sensitive and you can take image in low light conditions, but it will give you camera grain.
The combination between ISO and Shutterspeed is one of the most important aspects of photography if you want to get the shot right.
You need a fast enough shutterspeed to avoid camera blur, but you want to keep the ISO low.
I am not gonna give a absolute number here, because i think it is best to try it out for yourself.
Personally i prefer to work with 1/160 sec, because i always shot hand held.
One more thing you have to think about, is that the more MM ( Zoom ) The faster shutterspeed the camera requires.
Like before, you need to try out and find the best setting for the environment and light you are in.


Depth of field

So, you seen those images where the background is all out of focus? And some where everything, all the way back, is in focus?
That has everything to do with the depth of field ( labeled and written as F ).
The Dof is, to put it easy, how much of the image you want in focus/ how much depth you want in the field.
a wide aperture 20-30F, will make the camera focus on the whole surface, what you focus on, and the things behind it.
a lower F 2-5 will make the focus clear on the main focus, and leave the rest gradually blurred.
Depending on the type of image, this really gives the special touch.
One major important thing, is that the higher the F the more light is needed, because the camera needs more time to get everything in focus.
if you are shooting on music concert, you can forget about the F 10 and above, you need to get it as low as possible, so that camera quickly can suck up the light and give you fast enough shutterspeed to avoid the camera blur.

Moment in Time by Sortvind
I knew i wanted a soft approach when i photographed these, but i wanted a sharp point to.
I bumped the F down to 2.8, that got the front flowers in focus, and the background out of focus.
if i chosen F 10, the camera would need 3X the shutterspeed that was required with F 2.8, and the artistic touch with the background blurred,
would be gone.


Room With A View by Nate-Zeman
is an example of an image where the large F gives that wow.
all the way to the back of the image, the camera has focused.
it required a tripod, i am sure, and the result is stunning.


SUMMARY:

* You need a fast shutterspeed to freeze a movement and avoid camera blur.

* A slow shutterspeed will leave the lens open longer, and can give your creative and blurry effects.

* Try out and learn when and how to use the right ISO number, depending on the light you have available.

* aperture ( F ) determines how much of the image you want in focus. the more you choose to focus on, the more light and/or time is needed, so you have to find out when you need both the main and back in focus, or the background out of focus.
when you can afford to use a large F, and when a lower F is needed to maintain the shutterspeed.
this combination between aperture, ISO and shutterspeed, is what makes the difference between a great photo and a snapshot.

IN DEPTH INFO

Camera: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camera

Compact camera: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compact_…

Dslr camera: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dslr

Shutterspeed: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutter_…

ISO ( Both digital and analog ): en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_spe…

Depth of field: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of… & en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aperture…

Bokeh: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bokeh

Macro: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_ph…

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Thats about it. The basic you "need" to know about photography to get great shots.
Composition and creativity plays a major part to.
If there is Passion, there is great result.

I used a lot of time on this, so if you have any negative feedback, please make it helpful instead of rude.
this is far from an absolute genius guide, but it is my attempt to help people understand the basic.
i have forgotten some, and included to much of some, it cant be helped.
there are written hundreds of books on each subject here, and this is the Sortvind way  :aww:

Any questions and feedback is welcome, i Hope it is helpful.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconjasmin98:
Jasmin98 Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2013
Thank you very much for the guide:D

I want to get into photography but I have seriously no idea where to start.... .-. @_@

Thanks again, although I'm a slow learner I learned very much from it! :hug:
Reply
:iconambient-images:
Ambient-Images Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2012
So helpful! Thank you for posting this!
As a beginner it would be great to get some feedback from anyone thats willing to look at my photos on my page! Just so that I have an idea of where abouts I am, so I can learn and improve! I currently only use a simple digital camera, but I am keen to buy a DSLR does anyone have any suggestions on which is good for both landscape and portrait?
Thank you!
Reply
:iconsinisterromance:
SinisterRomance Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much xD
I didn't understand dslr cameras before this, which now I realize is probably the type of camera I should invest in c:
Reply
:iconsleepy0806:
sleepy0806 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2011
Awesome! Thank you so much!:):heart:
Reply
:iconbalinor:
balinor Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2011
useful basic photography lessons in a very easy to understand manner you can finde here: [link]
Enjoy!
Reply
:iconnelly77:
nelly77 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2011   Photographer
This was really helpful, thanks so much
Reply
:iconpentaxinvasion:
PentaxInvasion Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2010  Hobbyist Photographer
WAUW!! thank you very much!! this really helped me!! :XD: there should be more people like you!!
Reply
:icon14natala14:
14Natala14 Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2010
It will be really helpful for me. :camera::heart:
Reply
:iconannie-sparkly:
Annie-Sparkly Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
You have no idea how much that helped me! I just bought a camera and was playing with it and I got a lot of camera grain and I didn't know why! Now I do, thank you! It really helped a lot. Now I know about those little buttons in the camera that I had no idea for what they were!
Really, thanks a lot!
Reply
:iconsortvind:
Sortvind Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2010
So glad to hear that, i hope you get many years of great photographying :aww:
Reply
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