Basics of Photographyby Christopher Haslego
he basics of photography are better applied when you put into perspective the capabilities of the camera model that you use or plan to purchase. Simple point and shoot cameras require minimal knowledge in operating them. They are easy to use and have the bare minimum controls. The user has to just compose and aim the shot on the subject and presses the shutter button. 'Click' and the job is done. The camera handles its functions automatically.
For those of you who want to work with a slightly more sophisticated camera, you have the option of a Single Lens Reflex camera popularly called the SLR system. This type of camera is available in both 35mm film format as well as digital format. Digital cameras have no film but the image is captured on an image sensor and stored in photo memory. Digital cameras in general provide superior picture quality. The internal system of the SLR camera is made up of angled prisms and mirrors that actually work like a lens when you click. But you have a few things to learn about this camera system before you can achieve better light exposure, sharpness and good focus. While it is imperative that you study the instruction manual of your SLR camera system thoroughly to understand the features and functioning, given here are some of the features and a brief explanation on how these features can help you in achieving the right exposure.
Additional Lenses for Close Up Shots
An additional feature in an SLR camera that makes it far superior to a simple 'point and shoot' camera is the ability to use add-on lenses. When you attempt to take a close up shot of objects in nature like a flower or a butterfly, you might want a very high level of clarity. You can add power to your camera by attaching an additional lens onto your camera lens for greater magnification of your subject. These supplementary lenses are available at reasonable prices in different powers like +2, +3 and so on.
You can also look for a model with an optical zoom lens that gives you the flexibility of variable focal length and a range of lens options within a single zoom lens.
The shutter in your camera lets light in during a shot and keeps light out at other times. When the shutter opens for an exposure, light is allowed to impact on the film or image sensor. If you set a slow shutter speed, more light impacts on the sensor and affects the type of exposure. When you use a faster shutter speeds your picture is sharper and clearer. There is a maximum shutter speed that is available to you in your camera system. The shutter speed is set at a fraction of a second- for instance, 1/1000th of a second. It could also be 1/2000th or even the much-preferred higher speed of 1/4000th of a second that is available in certain models. Professional use models boast of even higher shutter speed of 1/6000th or 1/8000th of a second. If you want to freeze action such as in sports, you require fast shutter speeds.
There are many more features that when used effectively can add value to the impact of your photographs. Most 35mm SLR cameras have a TTL viewfinder. TTL stands for 'through the lens' metering system. This device has the ability to measure (on a scale) the amount of light impacting the film. Using this device is the key to control the exposure and get the right amount of light in order to capture a proper image. You can also use a tripod with your SLR camera. A tripod is your answer to achieving the right exposure in a close up shot and in low light conditions. It holds the camera steady, helps in focusing and ensures a sharper picture even when shutter speed is slow.
The guidelines discussed here on the basics of photography and the additional features of the SLR system, will not only get you started but also help you avoid the common mistakes that many budding photographers make. Study your manual thoroughly for insights and ideas. Learning photography requires patience and the ability to constantly experiment and teach yourself through a process of trial and error.
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