When you’re just start­ing out with any new hobby or in­ter­est, there’s al­ways an abun­dance of in­for­ma­tion to di­gest and learn. Photography is no dif­fer­ent, and learn­ing your way around the cam­era is only the start — there’s plenty of tech­ni­cal jar­gon and t

New Zealand D-Photo - - CONTENTS -

We picked out 10 terms we think all be­gin­ner pho­tog­ra­phers should know

1. Depth of field

Think of depth of field as an area of fo­cus. De­pend­ing on what you’re shoot­ing, within your image there will be a spe­cific area that will ap­pear sharp and in fo­cus. Be­cause this dif­fers for each image, some im­ages will be de­scribed as hav­ing a shal­low depth of field or a deep depth of field. Shal­low depths of field re­fer to im­ages which have a small area of fo­cus, and deep depths of field re­fer to pho­tos with a large area of fo­cus. There are ways to con­trol the size of your depth of field, and that is by ad­just­ing your aper­ture and ad­just­ing your fo­cus­ing dis­tance. Ex­per­i­ment with larger aper­tures and closer fo­cus­ing dis­tances to see how they af­fect your depth of field.

2. Aper­ture

Aper­ture is most eas­ily re­mem­bered when associated with an eye. The cornea of your eye lets in light and then passes it through to your iris, which ex­pands or shrinks, af­fect­ing the size of your pupil and there­fore con­trol­ling the amount of light through to your eye. Your cam­era lens acts in a sim­i­lar way — the lens col­lects light, and the hole in your lens can be made big­ger or smaller in or­der to al­low a cer­tain amount of light into your cam­era — a large hole means a large aper­ture, and a small hole means a small aper­ture. Ad­just­ing your aper­ture will af­fect the depth of field, so a larger aper­ture

will cre­ate shorter depth of field, so your back­ground will be blur­rier, while a smaller aper­ture will cre­ate a big­ger depth of field, and your back­ground will be sharper.

3. Ex­po­sure

Ex­po­sure in photography is de­ter­mined by the aper­ture, ISO, and shut­ter speed (known as the ex­po­sure tri­an­gle), and th­ese three el­e­ments com­bine to de­ter­mine how light or dark your cre­ated image will be. Each of the set­tings needs to be weighed up in or­der to make sure they all work to­gether to cre­ate a good ex­po­sure, so the aper­ture needs to be set to al­low the cor­rect amount of light in, while the shut­ter speed (also known as ex­po­sure time) con­trols the length of the ex­po­sure, and the ISO speed de­ter­mines the cam­era’s sen­si­tiv­ity to light — and a note to re­mem­ber: a lower ISO gen­er­ally cre­ates less image noise.

4. ISO

ISO de­ter­mines how sen­si­tive your cam­era is to incoming light — so a higher ISO means your cam­era will be more sen­si­tive to light, while a lower ISO means it’ll be less sen­si­tive to light. When your cam­era is more sen­si­tive to light (i.e. you’ve set a higher ISO), you’ll be able to cap­ture qual­ity im­ages in low-light sit­u­a­tions. There is also a base ISO to be aware of, which is gen­er­ally the low­est ISO of your cam­era’s sen­sor that will

cre­ate im­ages at the high­est qual­ity — this is usu­ally around ISO 100 to ISO 200.

5. Fo­cus

Fo­cus gen­er­ally de­scribes the level of sharp­ness in your image — if your image is sharp and clear, it’s in fo­cus; if it’s blurry, it’s out of fo­cus. Fo­cus is heav­ily re­liant on your aper­ture, as it is de­pen­dent on how light rays hit the image sen­sor. With a smaller aper­ture, light is trav­el­ling through a smaller hole to­wards the image sen­sor, so the light rays are more con­cen­trated when they hit the sen­sor, there­fore pro­duc­ing a more in­fo­cus image. It’s also pos­si­ble to ex­per­i­ment with your im­ages, as in many sit­u­a­tions, hav­ing the fore­ground in fo­cus and the back­ground slightly out of fo­cus can pro­vide your image with a dif­fer­ent, in­ter­est­ing di­men­sion.

6. Noise

You know those im­ages where things look a bit grainy and dis­torted? That’s image noise. Noise can be caused by a num­ber of fac­tors in­clud­ing shoot­ing at a higher ISO, cam­eras with smaller sen­sors, and long ex­po­sure times. Al­though you can make ad­just­ments when you are cre­at­ing an image to limit image noise, such as shoot­ing at a lower ISO, or us­ing a cam­era with a larger sen­sor, you can also uti­lize soft­ware when you’re at the post-pro­cess­ing stage to re­duce grain in parts of your image.

7. Rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a com­mon method of com­po­si­tion when it comes to photography. In many shoot­ing sit­u­a­tions, it cre­ates a well-com­posed, well-bal­anced image. It in­volves pic­tur­ing a grid on your viewfinder that is split into nine parts, or cubes. The the­ory is that lin­ing up points of in­ter­est in your scene with the in­ter­sect­ing lines of the grid will make for a more in­ter­est­ing image. Also, typ­i­cally with the rule of thirds, your sub­ject will take up just two thirds of the grid, leav­ing room for in­ter­est­ing back­grounds, and mak­ing im­ages less awk­ward by plac­ing ev­ery­thing in the cen­tre of the image.

8. White bal­ance

There’s noth­ing quite as dis­heart­en­ing as see­ing a scene or sub­ject filled with colour that you’d just love to cap­ture, and then look­ing at your image later to re­al­ize that none of the colours came out as they ap­peared in real life. This is the rea­son why white bal­ance is im­por­tant. Ad­just­ing your white bal­ance will en­able you to get colours as ac­cu­rate as pos­si­ble. Dif­fer­ent cam­eras have dif­fer­ent meth­ods of mak­ing th­ese ad­just­ments, how­ever, some have pre­set white bal­ance set­tings to use in dif­fer­ent shoot­ing sit­u­a­tions, such as au­to­matic, set­tings for in­door shoot­ing, set­tings for shoot­ing in di­rect sun­light, plus plenty more. There’s al­ways the man­ual method, which makes use of white or grey cards that you hold up to your cam­era in dif­fer­ent light­ing sit­u­a­tions to teach the cam­era what white ac­tu­ally looks like in that sce­nario, so it will ad­just your set­tings to get the cor­rect colour.

9. Shut­ter speed

We’ve men­tioned shut­ter speed ear­lier, and that it is also known as ex­po­sure time. In other words, shut­ter speed refers to the length of time that your cam­era’s shut­ter re­mains open to al­low light into the cam­era. Al­ter­ing the length of your shut­ter speed al­lows you to cre­ate dif­fer­ent ef­fects in your im­agery, for ex­am­ple, a short shut­ter speed will freeze ac­tion in an image, while a longer shut­ter speed will cre­ate a mo­tion blur. Shut­ter speeds are mea­sured in frac­tions of a sec­ond, such as 1/250s, but you can have ex­tremely long shut­ter speeds that will be mea­sured in sec­onds, or even min­utes

10. RAW

If you’ve been shoot­ing in JPEG and have won­dered what shoot­ing in RAW means, won­der no longer. RAW files give you more wig­gle room when it comes to post­pro­duc­tion of your im­ages, and can take the qual­ity of your shots to a whole other level. A RAW image file has min­i­mally pro­cessed data, so you can edit it to com­ple­tion later on. While you do al­ways aim to get it right in cam­era, shoot­ing in RAW gives you a bet­ter chance of per­fect­ing any­thing you didn’t quite get right, such as the tone of the image, light­ing, shadow re­moval, and any­thing else you’d like to ad­just.

Of course, there’s still plenty out there for you to learn, but if you’ve got th­ese ba­sics down, you’ll find the world of photography a lot less confusing, and you will have built your­self an ex­cel­lent knowl­edge base to ex­pand on as you be­come more and more ex­pe­ri­enced. Email edi­tor@dphoto.co.nz to let us know any tips you found es­pe­cially use­ful while learn­ing.

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