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Basic Photography

By akinsola45 • A year ago • 35580 • 704

Photography is derived from two Greek words: “Photo” & “Graph”

Photography is drawing of Object/Subject/Model with the help of Light (Drawing/Painting with Light)
Why do we need all these theories?

Note that: Photograph is more than just a snapshot, and a Photographer is more than just a camera user/owner.

Let me quickly take SNAPSHOT versus PHOTOGRAPH. 
- Snapshot is taken without much thought
- Photograph is composed by photographer
This means before taking a shot as a photographer, you must ask yourself these 10 questions.

1. What is the story I am telling?

2. What do you want viewers’ eyes to see?

3. Are there any distracting objects that I should exclude from the image?

4. Is there anything in the scene moving?

5. What is the background of the shot?

6. Are you close enough?

7. What is the main source of light?

8. Should I move to another position?

9. Should I shoot portrait or landscape?

10. How will the eye travel through this image?

A camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images. (NOTE: Images may be still or video/movies)

The camera is made of 2 parts namely; the body and the lens.

Types of Camera:
1. Point and Shoot Camera
2. Compact Camera
3. Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) Camera

This camera is named for the reflexing mirror that allows you to frame the image through the lens prior to capturing the image.
As light passes through the DSLR camera’s lens, it falls onto a reflexing mirror and then passes through a prism to the viewfinder. The viewfinder image corresponds to the actual image area. 

When the Picture is taken, the mirror reflexes, or moves up and out of the way, allowing the open Shutter to expose the digital image sensor, which captures the image.
(Check diagram of how camera forms an image online)
Camera Components and Concepts

The basic components of a DSLR are:

The Camera Body (which everyone is familiar with)

The Lens
Digital Image sensor
Memory Card
The Flash

I’ll love to start the explanation from the Lens. The Camera body is just the “camera without the lens”.

A lens is a series of sophisticated elements, usually glass, constructed to refract and focus the reflective light from a scene at a specific point—the digital image sensor. 

The lens is usually located at the front of the camera.
The lens serves as the eye of your camera.

What does one need to know about lens?

1, Quality 
2, Focal length 
3, Aperture, 
4, Lens-based Image Stabilization (On Canon Cameras) or Vibration Reduction (On Nikon Cameras)

Now let me briefly explain each of them. (I wouldn’t talk on Image Stabilization/Vibration Reduction)

1)Quality: usually determined by the way it is designed, the quality of glass used by the manufacturer. 

Things to look out for in checking lens quality are:

- LIGHT TRANSMISSION {LENS CHROMATIC ABERRATIION (LCA): meaning how light disperses through a lens}

(Note: You can read up more information on those aforementioned “Camera Lens Quality” and always check Online Reviews and Lens Quality Test before purchase of any lens)

2) Focal length: Focal length is the distance from the part of the optical path where the light rays converge to the point where the light rays passing through the lens are focused onto the image plane/digital image sensor. 
It’s usually measured in millimeters (mm).

Practically, it is the amount of magnification of the lens. Meaning, the longer the focal length, the more the lens magnifies the scene.

FOCAL LENGTH determines 3 things:
1, MAGNIFICATION of the lens
2, PERSPECTIVE of the scene
3, COMPRESSION of the scene
3) APERTURE: The aperture is the opening in the lens (created by an adjustable iris or diaphragm) that allows light to pass through. 
The larger the aperture, the more light is allowed to pass through the lens. The aperture is measured in f-stops.

The aperture setting (f-stop), combined with the focal length of the lens, determines the depth of field of an image. (Depth of Field will be explained much later)
f-stop: An f-stop is a ratio of the focal length of the lens to the diameter of the opening of the aperture.

Opening of the aperture is usually adjusted by setting the f-stop.
The speed of a lens is determined by its largest f-stop value (smallest number). 

Meaning, the larger the aperture, the faster the lens.

By the way: What’s Lens Speed?
A lens’s speed is determined by the maximum amount of light the lens is capable of transmitting—the largest f-stop value. When a lens is capable of transmitting more light than other lenses of the same focal length, that lens is referred to as fast.

Fast lenses allow photographers to shoot at higher shutter speeds in low-light conditions. For example, lenses with maximum f-stop values between 1.0 and 2.8 are considered fast.

In general; The larger the maximum aperture, the faster the lens.
ANY lens with a maximum aperture of f/4 or more (i.e. f/2.8, f/1.8 etc.) is regarded to as fast lens.

Depth of Field: Depth of field is the area of the image that appears in focus from foreground to background and is determined by a combination of the opening of the aperture and the focal length of the lens.

A small aperture setting results in greater depth of field. Controlling depth of field is one of the easiest ways for a photographer to compose the image.

ADVANTAGE: When you limit the depth of field of an image, you’re turning the attention of the viewer on the subject in focus. Often, limiting the depth of field of an image helps eliminate clutter in the background. 

(Note: Clutter means distracting objects; you know clutter can wreck the message of your photo)
On the other hand, when shooting a Landscape, you’d want image(s) with great depth of field. 
Limiting the depth of field to the foreground would not make sense.
(Check the next diagram to fully understand depth of field)

All lens types have basic function: To capture the reflective light from the subject and focus it on the image sensor. However, the way they transmit the light differs.
Camera lenses are classified into 3 major categories.

Zoom: Zoom lenses provide variable focal length of specific ranges. Meaning; it allows the user to adjust its focal length on the lens without having to move its position. It is broken down into 3 sub-categories, namely;
Wide-angle Zoom lens (i.e. 14mm- 24mm, 
Normal Zoom lens (i.e. 24mm-70mm)
Telephoto Zoom lens (i.e. 70mm-200mm)

Single Focal Length: are lenses that have on focal length. The focal lengths are non-variable. Meaning; user will have to move its position in order to frame the subject is further broken down into 3 sub-categories namely;
Wide-Angle lens (i.e. 24mm Non-Variable)
Prime or Fixed lens (i.e.50mm Non-Variable)
Telephoto lens (i.e. 300mm Non-Variable)
(Note that: Zoom lenses are also broken down into Wide-angle Zoom, Normal Zoom and Telephoto Zoom)

Special Purpose: are lenses meant for specific purposes. They are classified as Fisheye, Micro and Perspective Control or Tilt Lenses. 
Fisheye lens: will give you distortion to the subject. Example: 16mm Non-Variable
Micro lens: are used to focus on objects that are small and need detailing. Example: 85mm Non Variable

Perspective control/Tilt lens: allows user to minimize distortion to subject, by changing tilt angle of focal length in each type. Example:85mm Non Variable

Thing to remember about lens types:  A telephoto lens is a lens with a long focal length that magnifies the subject. 
Telephoto lenses are typically used by sports and nature photographers who shoot their subjects from great distances.
Telephoto lenses are also used by photographers who want greater control over limiting the depth of field (the area of an image in focus). 

The larger aperture settings, combined with the long focal lengths of telephoto lenses, can limit the depth of field to a small area (either the foreground, middle, or background of the image). Small aperture settings, combined with long focal lengths, make objects in the foreground and background seem closer together.

A wide-angle lens is a lens with a short focal length that takes in a wide view. Wide-angle lenses are typically used when the subject is in the extreme foreground and the photographer wants the background in focus as well.
A zoom lens, also known as an optical zoom lens, has the mechanical capacity to change its focal length. 

A zoom lens can be extremely convenient, because many zoom lenses can change their focal lengths from wide-angle to standard and from standard to zoom. 

This eliminates the need to carry and change multiple lenses while shooting a subject or project.
Plus, a zoom lens requires additional glass elements to correctly focus the light at different focal lengths. It is desirable to have the light pass through the least amount of glass in order to obtain the highest-quality image possible.

A prime lens, also known as a fixed lens, has a fixed focal length that is not modifiable.
Prime lenses often have wider maximum apertures, making them faster.


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