Photography 101; The Camera Basics

Almost all digital camera these days will allow you to change the setting that the
computer inside makes. If you learn a little about what’s going on with the camera
you might enjoy taking pictures even more.

What do you really have to know to take a good picture?
Well you could purchase a nice expensive camera with all the bells and whistles and
leave it in automatic mode. Or you could learn a little bit about the picture
taking process and experiment on your own. There are only a few basic things to
know about and you can reference your auto mode to double check your own settings.

First the basics;
You need to know about ISO, Aperture, Time (shutter speed)
and in digital cameras enchantment modes.

Okay first the camera sensitive to light; ISO.
Cameras offer many various setting for ISO to set the sensitivity of the camera
to the amount of light available. For example if you’re taking a picture outside
on a sunny day you want a very low ISO setting. Full sun the camera might be 50,
100 or maybe 200. If it a cloudy day you’ll be better off setting the ISO around 200.
If it’s cloudy and late in the day maybe 400 is better. Inside a building, pictures
are usually taken at about 400. The darker you get the camera sensor will need a
higher sensitive setting; 600 to thousands. Remember this one thing about using a
high number ISO it will get grainy and color will start to fadeout.

Sunny; 50 to 200 Great Colors
Cloudy, 200 to 400 Great Colors
Inside; 400 Good Colors
Dark; 600 plus Okay to bad, Grainy

Aperture;
This is the small hole inside the lens shutter that the light passes through.
There are a few things to know about it. The larger the hole more light will
pass through and the more shallow the depth of field will be. The smaller the
hole the more depth of field but you will need to use a higher ISO. So how
much “F” stop you use will determine the depth of field. The depth of field
is your decision to make. In a large landscape picture it won’t be
noticeable but a portrait it will be. Small “F” stop might focus on the
eyes and the tip of the nose and ears might be out of focus.

Time;
This is a setting that determines how long the shutter will be open allowing
light to come into the camera. What to know about this setting is the more time
the softer the picture. The fast the more vivid the picture but again you might
need to change the ISO setting. When you see a picture of a brook with moving
water that looks all white and you can’t see the droplets that because the
Shutter speed was slow. In the case of running kids or fast sport pictures
that you see with great focus the shutter speed is fast, maybe 1/1000 of a
second or faster. The fast the shutter speed that higher the ISO.

Digital Camera also allows you to change enhancement setting so you can see
more vivid colors. Or you can set the camera for black and white.
You change the number of pixels and many other things.
Everything taken one at a time is pretty simple. Putting it all together
is a little bit tricky and that is where the artist in you makes the difference.
You can simply use the automatic setting and your picture will be good. But you
might be able to make a small change in the camera and make the picture great!

I suggest that you set your camera in automatic mode and focus on a picture.
Then write down all the setting that the computer in the camera setup.
Look at the ISO, Shutter Speed (Time) and Aperture setting.
Then one by one change them and see what you get.

Other simply things to remember when taking a picture;
Keep the camera horizontal not vertical. The only time to use the camera
vertically is if you determine the only way to get the whole
picture is to turn the camera.

In photography there is a rule “Rule of Thirds”. The idea is the subject
is always off to one side and not directly in the middle.
I guess this is a good idea but don’t be obsessing over it.
I make a lot of shots with the subject in the middle.

Enjoy picture taking, I do!

About Rick Mercier 182 Articles
Retired, Building Trailers and seeing America

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