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Digital Photography Basics + Tips

Old 11-25-2008, 04:08 PM
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Digital Photography Basics + Tips

Tutorial# 1

Getting to know your camera

Three main types of digital cameras:
  1. Point & Shoot (minimal manual settings)
  2. ZLR (zoom lens reflex)
  3. SLR (single lens reflex)

Main Settings:

Shutter Speed: The amount of time that the shutter is open.
Measured in seconds / fractions of seconds. The bigger the denominator the faster the speed (ie 1/1000 is much faster than 1/30). Speeds - 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8 etc. This doubling is handy to keep in mind as aperture settings also double the amount of light that is let in - as a result increasing shutter speed by one stop and decreasing aperture by one stop should give you similar exposure levels

Aperture: Diameter of the lens opening (iris). The larger the diameter of the aperture, the more light reaches the image sensor. Aperture is expressed as F-stop, e.g. F2.8 or f/2.8. The smaller the F-stop number (or f/value), the larger the lens opening (aperture).
Common F-Stops: (Large) F1.0 F1.4 F2 F2.8 F4 F5.6 F8 F11 F16 F22 (Small)

ISO: Image sensor sensitivity aka “Film Speed”. ISO is the number indicating a digital camera sensors sensitivity to light. The higher the sensitivity, the less light is needed to make an exposure.. Shooting at a lower ISO number requires more light than shooting at a higher number. Lower numbers result in images with the least visible noise, which is desirable. The higher the number, the higher the possibility for noise. The amount and degree of noise varies from camera to camera.
Common ISO settings: 40-80 100 200 400 800 1600

All three of these settings are used together to produce an image on the sensor. Remember: as you adjust one setting, the others should be adjusted as well to keep proper exposure.

Exposure Values (EV)
Selecting an acceptable Exposure Value helps preserve detail in both dark and bright areas of a photo. In high contrast scenes, photographers usually under expose so the brightest areas are not blown out (i.e. washed out and contain no detail). Dark areas generally retain detail better than bright areas. An under exposed image can usually be edited to pull out details in the darker portions of a photo. Exposure Values are numbers that refer to various combinations of lens aperture and shutter speed. The values are measured in "steps," typically between (+) 2 EV through (‐) 2 EV in increments of 1/2 EV or 1/3 EV. Decrease the EV if photos appear too light (over‐exposed). Increase the value if photos are too dark (under‐exposed).

Exposure Compensation can be changed manually using a digital camera's exposure compensation button or menu. This lets you to override the metered exposure by a value between a range of [‐] 2 to [+] 2 EV.

White Balance: The term white balance is used to define the influence of the ambient or prevailing light on all colors in the scene (Neon lights, tungsten lights, sunlight, cloudy, snow, etc). Each of these settings adds an opposite hue to balance the color (can be used to affect the color mood of a picture as well… ie: tungsten gives a silver blue look).

Scene Modes:

Backlight - eliminates dark shadows when light is coming from behind a subject, or when the subject is in the shade. The
built‐in flash automatically fires to "fill in" the shadows.

Beach/Snow ‐ photograph beach, snow and sunlit water scenes. Exposure and white balance are set to help prevent the
scene from becoming washed out looking.

Burst Mode - Many digital cameras have a burst mode to take a series of shots in rapid succession. While the shutter button
is fully pressed down, the camera shoots continuously. Images are held in the camera's buffer then saved to a memory card
or the camera's built‐in memory.

Fireworks ‐ shutter speed and exposure are set for shooting fireworks; pre‐focusing & use of tripod recommended.

Landscape ‐ take photos of wide scenes. Camera automatically focuses on a distant object. Focal length of lense is
increased by closing the aperture down to its smallest opening.

Macro ‐ take close‐up shots of small objects, flowers and insects. Lens can be moved closer to the subject than in other
modes. Hold the camera steady or use a tripod. Macro mode shortens the focal length of the camera’s lense by opening
the aperture to its largest opening.

Night Portrait ‐ take photos of a subject against a night scene. The built‐in flash and red‐eye reduction are enabled;
shutter‐speeds are low. Use of tripod recommended.

Night Scene ‐ photograph nightscapes. Preprogrammed to use slow shutter speeds. Use of tripod recommended.

Party ‐ take photos in a dim lit room; exposure and shutter speed are automatically adjusted for room brightness.
Captures indoor background lighting or candlelight. Hold the camera very steady when using this mode.

Portrait ‐ main subject is clearly focused and the background is out of focus (has less depth of field).

Sports (also called Kids & Pets) ‐ take photos of a fast moving subject; fast shutter speeds "freeze" the action.
Best when shots are taken in bright light; pre‐focusing recommended.

Sunset ‐ take photos of sunsets and sunrises; helps keep the deep hues in the scene.

Composing Pictures:

Many photographers fail to think about the stories they are trying to tell with their pictures. Every picture should have a purpose. Even so-called snapshots can be effective photographs if the photographer gives some thought to the story they want to tell.

A Chinese proverb says that a picture is worth more than 10,000 words. If that is true, you understand the responsibility you have when pressing the shutter release. No one wants to read 10,000 poorly composed words, and no one wants to look at a poorly composed picture.

Goals:
  1. Have a Center of Interest
  2. Put the Main Subject off Center
  3. Get in Close
  4. Watch the Background
  5. Check all Angles
  6. Try Leading Lines
  7. Frame the Subject
  8. Vary the format
  9. Include Size Indicators
  10. Keep the Horizon Straight
  11. Use Your Imagination

Depth of field: aka "What is in focus in the picture".
Using the aperture settings, you can create a deep or shallow depth of field. Deep allows you to capture detail in objects near & far (ie Landscapes). Shallow makes the object in focus "pop" as it is the only thing in focus, while everything else is blurred. The higher the FStop (large number, small lens opening) the more everything is in focus. Low FStops (small number, large opening) will shorten the focal area, leaving less in focus.

Post Attachments: Left to Right
  1. F-Stop Chart
  2. F-Stops & Shutter Speed Combination (example... settings will vary)
  3. Shallow Depth of Field
  4. Deep / Max Depth of Field
Attached Thumbnails Digital Photography Basics + Tips-fstops.jpg   Digital Photography Basics + Tips-programshift_01.jpg   Digital Photography Basics + Tips-bone_other.jpg   Digital Photography Basics + Tips-depthoffield2-vi.jpg  

Last edited by NismoPick; 11-25-2008 at 04:10 PM.
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