Photography Basics

So much of art in general and specifically photography concerns the way the artist goes about capturing light. Because of the purity of light, many beginning photographers think good photography occurs because of a camera instead of because the photographer utilized the camera to capture the light in a thought evoking manner because the magic of photography and art in general is light. After the elements of art and photography are taught, it is with an understanding then that the budding photographer realizes the camera is designed around the principle of capturing light and not just an instrument to capture an image.

However, in order to do this artistically, the photographer must be able to manipulate the camera or otherwise manipulate themselves, the camera and even the time of day and weather conditions in order to maximize the effectiveness of this light. So a basic camera is set up so that a person can affect this instrument to capture light. The basic theory surrounding this will give us three tips, and each tip will be a point in a theory called the exposure triangle.

It is not only believed theoretically, but proven in many situations photographically that good shots only occur when these three points of the triangle can be manipulated most effectively by the camera’s operator. These three elements are aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and they affect the image that results from a camera’s shutter opening, collecting light and producing an image. So our three tips are a primer on these elements.

Aperture is defined as the size of the dimensions of which a lens can open, and a small number corresponds with a wide opening because the size of the aperture determines how much light is allowed into the camera through the lens, but aperture also effects depth and blurring among other things. The aperture is expressed in a number set like f/5 or f/11 for example.

Next is shutter speed, but is more accurately defined as the length of time the shutter is open, so slow shutter speeds allow more light in because of the amount of time the shutter is open is greater. Faster shutter speeds allow photographers to freeze motion or to make effects from the slower shutter speeds like motion blur because shutter speed makes the camera very sensitive to motion. Shutter sped is expressed as measure of time in very small increments of seconds like 1/200 sec up to 5 sec in some cases.

The third point of the exposure triangle is ISO. Cameras have a light sensor, and the measure of a camera’s light sensor’s sensitivity to light is called ISO. Cameras that possess very high ISOs are utilized to take photographs in darker situations, but with a negative side effect of producing often grainy images. ISO is expressed as 100 ISO to 6400 ISO for example.