Basic Photography

Admit it, photography is fun! A hobby I, you, and others can get the hook to in no time at all and have lots and lots of good time. Of course, you need a camera to start shooting at things you like to capture and maybe post on social media, or put in a frame to hang by your wall. For starters, let’s get you going by this important 101 on Basics of Photography.


Even with the simplest of cameras, you can learn the basics of photography. But the principles that we’ll be teaching you are for people who want to learn to use a DSLR camera, a micro four-thirds camera, or at least a camera that allows you to adjust the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. You’ll be learning more about these things as we go along, for now, learn exposure.


Exposure is simply the brightness or darkness of a photo. Quite simple, you may think, but it’s really tricky as you try to combine the right exposure of the photo (the proper brightness or darkness). Exposure uses Aperture Shutter speed, and ISO in combination to create a properly exposed image.

What is Aperture?

Aperture is the hole within your lens, through which lights travels into the camera body.


Wide aperture = Portraits, and Close-Ups

Small Aperture = Group Shots and Landscapes/Scenery

What is ISO?

ISO is the level of sensitivity of your camera to available light. The lower the ISO number, the less sensitive it is to the light, while a higher ISO number increases the sensitivity of your camera.


Low ISO = Less sensitive; cleaner image

High ISO = More sensitive; noisier image

What is Shutter Speed?

Shutter speed, also known as “exposure time”, stands for the length of time a camera shutter is open to expose light into the camera sensor. If the shutter speed is fast, it can help to freeze action completely. If the shutter speed is slow, it can create an effect called “motion blur”, where moving objects appear blurred along the direction of the motion.

What is White Balance?

White balance balances the color temperature in your image. How does it do this? It adds the opposite color to the image in an attempt to bring the color temperature back to neutral. Instead of whites appearing red or yellow, they should appear white after correctly white balancing an image.

Auto Focus Modes and How They Work

DSLR’s come with a range of autofocus modes. For simplicity, will focus on AF-C and AF-S.

Single Focus

One Shot / S-AF / Single Servo / AF-S / S, etc., is the simplest form of autofocus. In general, you press the shutter-release button halfway, or your camera may have a separate AF-ON button, and the camera will lock focus on a subject on which you have placed the active autofocus sensor. Press the shutter button the rest of the way to take the image. The advantage? Simplicity. You aim, the camera focuses, and you shoot. The disadvantage? Did your subject move? Did you move? If the distance between camera and subject changed, that initial focus solution is no longer valid. You will have to go through the process again. If your camera has an “autofocus assist” light on the front, it is likely that you need to be in this mode to get the lamp to illuminate the scene so the camera can focus.

Continuous Focus

Continuous AF / C-AF / AI Servo / AF-C, etc. is where the camera’s electronic brains start to do some pretty cool things to help you keep your subject in focus. In general, the camera locks onto a designated subject, chosen by you using the autofocus point(s), and then tracks that object as it moves in the frame. If the locked subject moves closer or farther, or if you move, the camera will adjust focus accordingly. The advantage? Taming dynamic situations with sports action, moving kids or roaming wildlife. The disadvantage? If you must recompose your image after the focus is locked, your camera may get confused into locking onto another part of your frame.

Photography and Composition

So, “composition” describes placement of relative objects and elements in an image. Consequently, a composition is a key aspect of great photography. There is hardly a way to overemphasize the importance of composition. Any aspiring artist ought to give a composition of his work a lot of attention.

What is an Image Sensor?

The camera sensor size affects many factors in your images and the functions of your camera body. It has a major impact on the quality of your image, how your lens functions, and how it performs in low light conditions. There are three basic size categories for sensors: Four Thirds, APS, and Full Film Format (full frame).  Smaller sensors are used in point and shoot cameras while the larger ones are found in DSLR cameras.

Metering and How it Works

Metering is how your camera determines what the correct shutter speed and aperture should be, depending on the amount of light that goes into the camera and the sensitivity of the sensor.

Memory Cards

This is what your camera uses to store images and video files from the camera. The faster the memory cards the better the performance for photo and video.

Photography and Lenses for Beginners

Lenses for beginners can be acquired in various stores. Choose the best that works for you.


So there it is, get your camera ready…and you are good to go…shoot!

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