Sploder Forums

General Category => Personal Exhibition => Topic started by: thepatient on January 01, 2019, 07:21 am

Title: Photography [ Guides, tips, FAQ ]
Post by: thepatient on January 01, 2019, 07:21 am
[ The Basics ]

Welcome!! If you've come to this thread I assume you're interested in photography but don't know where to start just yet! A first, photography can seem quite complex and intimidating. My aim with this thread is to break down that accessibility barrier, make everything more understandable and encourage people to take up photography!!

In this thread, I'll be covering the basics. The things you need to know. Understanding the basics is fundamental to mastering this art and will dramatically improve the photos you take. These basics range from basic camera functions, the exposure triangle, basic composition techniques all backed up with examples and video resources to help visualise it!

If you have any questions, feel free to post them below and I'll do my best to answer them or point you in the direction of a video or website that can!!

Each section will have a dedicated post. Another post will be a dedicated QnA section to answer frequently asked questions! Be sure to check that post before asking a question, you may find the answer there!

I really hope this thread makes everything easier to grasp and that some of you decide to take up photography!!

This started on Sploder.tk but, with the old forum being revived, I've decided to open it up here since I don't know what's happening with the migration. I used to have a whole board for it, but currently I don't want to flood the Personal Exhibition with 70 threads so I'm condensing it down into one thread.

- Leah
Title: Re: Photography [ Guides, tips, FAQ ]
Post by: thepatient on January 01, 2019, 07:22 am
[ Basic Camera Functions ]

At first glance, DSLR cameras (DSLR stands for Digital Single-lens reflex, just think of electronic camera for now) look fairly complicated when you first see one without any prior experience or knowledge. But don't stress, they're a lot easier to use and understand than you think. Throughout this section I'm going to be breaking down the basic functions you need to even start taking photos with a DSLR.

For this guide, I'm going to be using the Canon EOS 1300D as an example. It is a good entry level DSLR and what I would personally recommend when you want to buy your first DSLR. If you have any questions about certain other camera brands or models, feel free to ask me below.

Breaking down the Camera
So, the first thing is breaking down the two distinct parts of a camera - The camera body and the camera lens. The body is the hefty part of the camera. The place where you control most of the functions. The lens is essentially the "eye piece". It is what physically takes the shot, determines what is and isn't in focus and the zoom distance, if the lens has that feature.

Without a lens, a camera body is useless. Without a body, a camera lens is useless. The two go hand-in-hand and require each other to function. Some camera lenses work on different bodies, some don't.

Here is the body of a Canon EOS 1300D


Here are two different lenses that are compatible with the EOS 1300D
Left: Canon EFS 18-55mm image stabiliser macro 0.25mm/0.8ft
Right: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 stm

Fitting lenses
Fitting the lens onto the camera is also fairly simple. Each lens as a certain mark on it, in our case either a white square or a red circle. They are usually found towards the base of the lens. These help mark how the lens is fitted onto the camera. The centre front of our camera has a removable cover, this helps to protect the inner mirrors of the camera when a lens isn't fitted. If we remove that cover, to do that we will need to press down on a button directly next to the cap and twist anti-clockwise, we will see the mirrors inside the camera. DO NOT TOUCH THEM. Also, DO NOT LEAVE THE COVER OFF IF YOU AREN'T FITTING A LENS. On the outer metal rim, we will see two marks matching those on the lenses. To attach a lens we remove the cap on the base of our lens, following the same precautions as we did with the camera body. We line up the two matching symbols, either a white square on the camera and a white square on the lens or a red circle on the camera and a red circle on the lens, gently push the lens into the opening and twist clockwise until we hear a click. NEVER FORCE THE LENS ON. If it doesn't fit it means it isn't compatible with the camera.

I HIGHLY recommend you read your own cameras manual. It will show you all the steps specific to your model that you need to follow in order to fit a lens.

In order to remove a lens, press the same button down that is directly next to the lens and twist anti-clockwise until you can remove the lens gently. Then place both the covers back onto the camera body and the base of the lens.

Markings on the lens

Markings on the camera body + the button needed to release the lens/cover.

The Buttons
When you first look at the buttons on a camera, it can seem very overwhelming and confusing. A lot of them have seemingly vague labels and their functions definitely might not seem clear when you actually use them. The first major step to understanding these buttons is to READ YOUR MANUAL! I can't stress this enough. Read your manual. Too many people just don't read it and then don't understand what button does what. I'm not gonna spend too much time on this topic, since each camera and model will usually have very different button arrangements and using my camera as an example won't really help you. If any of you have the same model as me and want me to give an explanation, let me know. But that's all I can really say here. Read your manual and if that doesn't help, use guides you can find online. Trust me, reading that thing and using those guides will break it down massively. And experiment too. Even if you know what a button does, actually using it in practice will give you a stronger understanding of how it affects your shots. However, the sheer variety just means I can't really give a comprehensive guide to button functions. Sorry :/
Title: Re: Photography [ Guides, tips, FAQ ]
Post by: thepatient on January 01, 2019, 07:25 am
[ The Exposure Triangle ]

If you have no prior knowledge of photography, then you might be confused as to what the exposure triangle actually is. First, you need to know what exposure actually is. Exposure, in photography, is the amount of light that is hitting your camera sensor or your film (if you are using a SLR/Film camera). High exposure will lead to a very bright image (see the example below) and low exposure leads to the opposite.



I didn't have two images with the same composition that demonstrated the difference clearly enough so I had to improvise. Please don't crucify me.

Anyway, as you can see, the image with a high exposure (this image is "over exposed" due to the extremely large amount of light in the image) is considerably brighter than the image with a low exposure. However, the image with a lower exposure conveys more of a mood and atmosphere and appears more naturalistic. Most of the time, you want to find a good balance with your exposure. You want to be able to create images that look natural, without being too bright or too dark.

This does not mean that using more extreme levels of exposure means your photos are bad. If anything, I encourage you all to experiment with less natural exposure levels and see what you can create. However, most day-to-day photoshoots use a balanced exposure, it is imperative that you learn how to adjust your camera to create that natural light level.

Now, there are obviously 3 parts to the exposure triangle.

Shutter Speed

These 3 settings all affect how exposed your image will be. Most DSLR cameras have a completely auto-setting that will change these for you. However, once you learn how to account and change these for yourself, you'll find that the auto-setting isn't as accurate as you might have previously assumed. I'm going to be breaking down all 3 of these settings to help you understand how they are all interconnected and I'll also be explaining some pre-shoot techniques that I follow to ensure my photos are exposed correctly.

[ Shutter Speed ]

Shutter speed is essentially what it says on the tin. Shutter speed is essentially the amount of time the shutter is open and thus, how long your camera sensor/film is exposed to light. The higher the number, the less amount of time the shutter will be open. The smaller the number, the longer the shutter will be open. Larger numbers are known as 'fast' shutter speeds and lower numbers are known as 'slow' shutter speeds.

Faster speeds are described using 1/[number]. This means that the shutter will be open for less than a second. Slower speeds can be described using this 1/[number] term, however slow speeds can last for longer than 1 second and are usually described by just the number. Examples are below.

Fast Speed: 1/500 = Shutter is open for 1/500th of a second
Slow Speed: 15" = Shutter is open for 15 seconds

Fast Speed: 1/60 = Shutter is open for 1/60th of a second
Slow Speed: 1/4 = Shutter is open for 1/4th of a second

Most people would consider 1/60 a good speed for everyday photography as it isn't too slow but doesn't blur the subject.

Faster shutter speeds are often used to take pictures of moving objects or in photoshoots where there is a lot of light. They are often used to essentially freeze the subject. Slow shutter speeds are often used in low-light situations or to intentionally capture motion blur. It is generally advised to use a tripod when using a slow speed as to avoid unintentional blurring or, if you do want blurring, to avoid creating an image with too much blurring.

Some examples of their use are shown below.



It is best to experiment with shutter speed, finding a speed that works for your regular shooting and experimenting with more extreme speeds and seeing what you can create.

In terms of exposure, if you have both ISO and aperture fixed, shutter speed can have dramatic changes. Remember, fast speeds let less light in while slow speeds let more light in.

[ ISO ]

Without any prior knowledge of photography, you might look at 'ISO' and get nothing from it. It is fairly vague to beginners, but it is honestly very simple. ISO directly controls how bright or dark your photos are. The higher the ISO setting, the brighter your photos will be. The lower the ISO setting, the darker your photos will be. Simple. Despite being part of the "exposure triangle", ISO DOES NOT CONTROL EXPOSURE. It simply controls the brightness. Yes, those are different.

ISO numbers are shown in a fairly simple format, shown below

" ISO [number] "

The higher the number, the brighter your photos will be.
The lower the number, the darker your photos will be.

Different cameras will have different ranges of ISO, however, a typical ISO range may look like this:

ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 1600
ISO 3200
ISO 6400

Each number here is doubled every time it is increased. So, as you would expect, the brightness is also doubled.

As you might expect, a lower ISO is typically used in situations where there is a lot of light to ensure natural lighting. A higher ISO is typically used in low light situations to compensate for the low light and to help combat unwanted motion blur*

*I will link to an article that goes into more depth on how a high ISO combats motion blur. [ https://photographylife.com/what-is-iso-in-photography ]

However, higher ISO's often come with a risk of lowered image quality. Higher ISO settings (around 3200 and above) may often result in grain. This is where the image looks more gritty and less sharp. ISO grain is often unwanted. There are ways to reduce grain (also known as noise), however it always varies on what you're shooting and the environment around you. I recommend experimenting and finding out what level of grain/noise is acceptable for you.

[ Aperture ]

Aperture is, hands down, the hardest concept to grasp out of the three. It was the one I didn't fully understand for a long time. Most beginner photographers, and even some intermediate ones don't have a full understanding of what Aperture is and how to use it. Having a solid understanding of Aperture will give you real creative control over your camera and your shots.

Basically, Aperture is the opening in a lens that light passes through in order to enter your camera. It works in a very similar way to our eyes, the pupil will enlarge to let more light in or will shrink to let less light in.

A high Aperture will let a lot of light into the camera as it produces a larger opening in the lens. A lower Aperture will do the opposite and let less light into the camera as it produces a smaller opening

Here is an image showing what a high Aperture and a low Aperture looks like.


As you can imagine, a higher Aperture will result in higher exposure while a low aperture will result in less exposure.

Aperture is displayed in the following format: " f/[number] "


Now, the confusing part about Aperture is that the numbers are actually backwards. A smaller number will produce a larger aperture and a larger number will produce a smaller aperture

For example, an aperture of f/2.0 will produce a large aperture whereas an aperture of f/16 will produce a smaller aperture. Once you learn that the numbers are essentially backwards, this isn't much of an issue.

Like ISO, Aperture comes in a range. These ranges depend on your lens, not your camera body. Here is an example of an Aperture range:


Aperture controls more than exposure, it also controls the depth of an image. This refers to how sharp your image is from front to back. I don't currently have any examples to hand, but you can find image examples in this article: https://photographylife.com/what-is-aperture-in-photography

Large apertures will produce a large amount of background blur while, in contrast, low apertures will produce less background blur.

Because of this, large apertures are often used in portrait photography where you want the subjects face to stand out against the background. Low apertures are often used in landscape photography to capture the whole landscape without blurring it. However, there is no set rule and you can use depth however you feel, if you believe it would be effective.

Like all settings, learning and understanding aperture comes with practice. It's a lot harder to master, but it will give you a lot more creative freedom once you have.

[ Pre-Shoot Technique ]
Title: Re: Photography [ Guides, tips, FAQ ]
Post by: thepatient on January 01, 2019, 07:26 am
[ Basic Composition Technique ]

Title: Re: Photography [ Guides, tips, FAQ ]
Post by: thepatient on January 01, 2019, 07:26 am
[ FAQ ]
Title: Re: Photography [ Guides, tips, FAQ ]
Post by: thepatient on January 01, 2019, 07:27 am
[ Tips ]
Photography isn't just about knowing the equipment and the techniques. Like any creative medium, there's always information that can save you time and money, amongst other things. From tips on buying equipment, time saving techniques and ways to approach street photography, my intention here is to supply you with enough information to avoid the pitfalls many beginner photographers fall into!

Title: Re: Photography [ Guides, tips, FAQ ]
Post by: sticki on January 07, 2019, 09:26 am
Thanked. This is great!!
Title: Re: Photography [ Guides, tips, FAQ ]
Post by: thepatient on January 07, 2019, 09:59 am
ty <3 i'll definitely be working on the rest of this