Photography

PHOTOGRAPHY BASICS

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Exposure

Learning how exposure works will help you to take control of your camera and take better photos. Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO are the elements that combine to create an exposure. You will find these three elements on every Camera!

Aperture

The Aperture is the hole inside the lens, through which the light passes.

It’s similar to the pupil of your eye: the wider the aperture, the more light is allowed in and vice versa.

As the aperture widens, the f/number gets lower and more light is allowed into the camera.

Shutter Speed

Once the light has passed through the aperture of the lens, it reaches the shutter. Now you need to decide how much of that light you’re going to allow into the camera.

Different shutter speeds complement different situations.

It all depends on what you’re shooting and how much light you have available to you.

ISO

Once the light has passed through the aperture and been filtered by the shutter speed, it reaches the sensor, where we decide upon the ISO.

As you turn the ISO number up, you increase the exposure but, at the same time, the image quality decrease. There will be more digital noise or “grain”.

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Metering Modes

Evaluative (or Matrix) Metering Mode

Your light meter takes a reading from across the whole scene. With that information, your camera’s onboard computer makes multiple calculations to determine a correct exposure with balanced highlights, mid-tones, and shadows.

Center-Weighted Metering Mode

Imagine that you’re now zooming into the frame slightly. Whereas Evaluative Metering mode reads the light from across the entire scene, Center-Weighted Metering mode reads light with a preference towards the middle. It still reads from a large proportion of the frame, just not the whole thing.

Spot Metering Mode

The final push inward; Spot Metering mode reads light from 

between 1-5 % of your scene. It is more challenging if you are just learning about your camera and metering but if you do it right the results can be brilliant.

 

Focus Modes

One Shot / AF-S

This is the simplest of all of the focus modes and it does exactly what it says on the tin: focuses for one shot.

You would typically shoot on this mode with subject that’s not moving as the camera will only focus once when you depress the shutter button halfway.

AI Servo / AF-C

Photographers often refer to this to as continuous focus. It focuses when you partially depress the shutter but still monitors movement in the frame, making any necessary adjustments for you between the shots, without the need to remove your finger from the shutter button.

This mode is useful for shooting a moving subject, such as at a marathon or any other sporting event.

AI Focus / AF-A

This is probably the least understood mode and is actually a mixture of the two mentioned above.

When the camera has only slight movement, it will act as though it’s on One Shot / AF-S mode, allowing you to use the focal lock feature.

When the camera detects movement, the focus mode act instead like AI Servo / AF-C mode and track the subject.

 

Lenses

There are many things that determine the quality of your photography, and one of the most important is the lenses you use.

Focal Length

  • 8mm – 24mm  Ultra wide angle (fisheye) – Wide panoramas and skyscapes, artistic

  • 24mm – 35mm Wide angle – Interiors, architecture, landscapes

  • 35mm – 85mm (50mm common) – Standard – General purpose

  • 85mm – 135mm Short telephoto – Portraits, candid

  • 135mm – 300mm Medium telephoto – Close sports, action

  • 300mm+  Super telephoto – Far sports, wildlife, nature, astronomy

 

PRIME VS ZOOM LENSES

A „prime“ lens is one with a fixed focal length, while a „zoom“ lens is one that can zoomed in and out to provide a wider range of focal lengths. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Prime lenses tend to have better optical quality than zooms, and can usually achieve a wider aperture, giving them better low-light performance. On the other hand, the range of focal lengths offered by a zoom lens can provide more flexibility, making them suitable for a wider range of subjects.

 

Histograms

The histogram shows you a mathematical review of an exposure after the photo has been taken. It essentially tells you how evenly exposed a photo is.

histogram photography basics guide tutorial

 

White Balance

The white balance changes the colour cast of the entire photo and is responsible for the overall warmth. It can determine whether your photo appears blue or orange: from cold to warm.

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Depth of Field 

This is the zone of acceptable sharpness within a photo that will appear in focus. In every picture there is a certain area of your image in front of, and behind the subject that will appear in focus.

You can control the Depth of Field with the Aperture.

  • Large aperture = Small f-number = Shallow (small) depth of field

  • Small aperture = Larger f-number = Deeper (larger) depth of field 
 

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Crop Factor

Normal sensors are much smaller than professional SLR cameras, essentially cropping your image. Professional cameras have a sensor the same size as a 35mm piece of film.

photography basics guide tutorial crop factor

 

Camera Settings

Use the MANUAL Mode! (M)

Always shoot in RAW and maximum quality!

Use Single Point AF

One of the least complicated but most useful is single point mode. In single point mode, you manually choose where you want the camera to focus. 

  • Place the Focus on the point of interest! 

  • Focusing the eyes works pretty good!

Polarizing Filters

Polarizing filters only allow light into the lens from a certain direction. This results in the removal of glare and reflections from non-metallic objects.

Water and glass are the most affected, as well as haze from the sky. Cutting out these reflections and anomalies will make for a more naturally saturated colours.

 

Composition

Rule of Thirds

The basic premise is that you divide your camera’s frame into thirds and plant key objects on these lines; the composition will work better!

 

photography basics guide tutorial rule of thirds

 

The Golden Ratio

The golden ratio is actually a number. It’s found by taking a line (or sometimes another shape) and dividing it into two parts. When a line or shape is divided into two parts based on the golden ratio, it will be divided in such a way that, if you divided the length of the longest section by the length of the smallest section, it would be equal to the original length of the shape divided by the longest section.

Thankfully, you don’t have to understand the math behind the golden ratio in order to apply it to your photography, you just have to become familiar with that spiral. If you place a point of interest on the smallest part of the spiral, the eye will naturally flow through the rest of the image.

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Light

The Golden Hour

Golden hour is a time of day when the sun is low in the sky. It happens twice a day, at sunrise and at sunset. Because the sun is low in the sky, shadows are softer, and the angles and length are more flattering. As the name implies, the warm colours are more prominent at this time of day, which gives a flattering look to portraits. This is overall the best time to shoot outdoors!

Shoot With The Sun Behind You

One of the first lessons you learn in photography is to shoot with the sun behind you. If the sun is behind you, the subject in your photo will be illuminated from the front, ensuring that your subject is evenly and well lit. Shooting with the sun behind you is great for landscape photography as it allows your camera to capture a well lit scene with blue sky, clouds and plenty of detail. At sunset, shooting with the sun behind you creates a lovely warm light in your scene.

Shoot With The Sun To One Side

As you have already seen, if you shoot with the sun behind you, the subject in your photo will be evenly lit from the front. This is desirable in many situations, but it often doesn’t make for a very interesting photo.

By changing the position of your subject relative to the sun, you can make the lighting in your photo much more interesting and dramatic.

Shoot Into The Sun To Create Silhouettes

When you first start learning about photography you’re often told not to shoot into the sun as it will ruin your photograph. However, photography isn’t fun unless you break the rules!

If you master a few simple techniques, shooting into the sun can actually result in incredibly stunning photographs.

Capture A Glow Around Your Subject

Another effect of positioning the sun behind your subject is something we call rim lighting. This is where you see a lovely warm glow or outline of light around the edge of your subject.

 

 

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Thank you for reading 🙂

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