The following post is from Australian photographer Neil Creek who is part of the recently launched Fine Art Photoblog, and is participating in Project 365 – a photo a day for a year – on his blog.
A couple of weeks back, Darren asked readers to “Ask a Digital Photograhy Question” to give the new DPS writers an idea of what you would like to learn about digital photography. As one of the new writers, I read the comments on the thread with great interest. They spanned the whole range from beginner to advanced, but the major recurring theme was settings, settings, settings.
The increasingly complex digital cameras on the market today offer a bewildering variety of ways to control their operation, and understanding how turning dials and flipping switches affects the images you end up with can make your head spin.
To get the most out of your photography and to best use your camera as a tool to create beautiful imagery, you really need to go back to the beginning and learn all about the basics. A strong grounding in the fundamentals in photography is essential to make this possible. When you know how it all works, then you know how to make it work. You will know how to set your exposure to capture the detail you want. You will know how to control light to show people what you want them to see. You will know how to react to unexpected situations and fleeting opportunities.
Back to class
The DPS archives have a broad range of useful articles on photography from the basic to the advanced. Some of what I intend to cover in this series may already have been discussed in other articles. I do not wish to create redundancy, however I want this course to be comprehensive.
As with many things, there are different ways of looking at the same topic. I hope that by offering another perspective, I will be able to complement the existing DPS articles. I will link to relevant articles whenever it would be helpful.
Starting next week (Monday), I will be writing an ongoing weekly series of articles titled Photography 101 – A Basic Course on the Camera. In perhaps about a dozen parts, we’ll cover all the basics of camera design and use. We’ll talk about the ‘exposure triangle’: shutter speed, aperture and ISO. We’ll talk about focus, depth of field and sharpness, as well as how lenses work, what focal lengths mean and how they put light on the sensor. We’ll also look at the camera itself, how it works, what all the options mean and how they will affect your photos.
When we finish our first ‘semester’ course of Photography 101, depending on how successful the series has been, I have ideas for future semesters: Photography 102 – A Basic Course in Taking Photos, Photography 103 – A Basic Course in Processing and Photography 104 – Increasing Your Options with Gear. I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the idea of such a series of courses, and what you hope to get out of it. Please leave a reply to this post with your comments!
Alright, sharpen your pencils, and see you next week!
Photography 101 – Light and the Pinhole Camera.
In addition to posting his Project 365 photos to his blog, Neil also runs a monthly photography project. This month’s topic is Iron Chef Photography – The Fork.
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