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Basics for Taking Great Photos

Monday, January 07, 2019  Tonight, I attended another photography workshop at Canon. Photographer Christopher Kern explained the importance of working with camera settings in order to control light and create great photographs. Such camera settings include shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and meter. But light is needed to take a great photograph. Daytime natural lighting is the best time to take photographs. Another important required includes either film for older camera or memory card and charged battery for a digital camera.  ISO rates sensitivity of light. The standard rating includes 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, and 12800.  Ratings of 50 to 200 are for bright and sunny days. 400 rating is for cloudy skies and shaded areas. Ratings of 800 and 1600 are for evening hours and sunsets. Ratings of 800 to 12800 are used for photographing dark areas. These ratings control sensor, depending on how much light it needs. The higher rating is more sensitive to light, which produces less quality. The lower rating is less sensitive to light, which produces better quality. High ISOs create grainy photographs. Wedding photographers, photojournalists, and newspapers tend to use a high ISO film. To avoid grainy or noise in photographs, add more light with higher ISO. White Balance neutralizes color cast.  AWB is Auto White Balance. The ISO is 50, 100, 200 and 400. You can preset for daylight and sunny weather. Cloudy skies don’t have any highlights. Shaded areas can be sunny, but it is still in the shade. Indoor lighting is usually fluorescent. Light is measured in Kelvin. The larger the sensor, the more tone in the photograph. The smaller the sensor, the more contrast in the photograph.  Aperture controls the amount of light coming into the camera lens. During daylight and sunny weather, it is recommended to use f/22, which is the smallest aperture because it lets in less light. It tends to create more depth and detail. The aperture grows in size as the number decreases, such as f/16, f/11, f/8, f/5.6, f/4, f/2.8, and f/1.4; the aperture of f/1.4 is the largest, which lets in more light. It is good for photographing at night as well as in dark areas. But it tends to create blur and shallow areas in the photograph.   Ansel Adams photographs with an aperture of f/64. Such photographs require the scene with “physical depth to have visual depth.” In other words, you need to have layers in your scene, such as foreground, background, horizon, etc, which is based on distance from closeup to faraway. f/5.6 aperture tends to create shallow depth of field as well as minimum chaos because it lets in a good amount of light. The most common used aperture sizes include f/11, f/8, and f/5.6. Shutter Speed freezes fast movement and motion scenes. The fastest is 1/8000 and the slowest is 8. A standard shutter speed scale includes 1/8000, 1/4000, 1/2000, 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/125, 1/60, 1/50, 1/15, 1/8, ¼, ½, 1, 2, 4, and 8. The best shutter speed to use include 1/1000, 1/500, and 1/250. The standard shutter speed is 1/60. But when using shutter speeds 1/60, 1/50, 1/15, 1/8, ¼, ½, 1, 2, 4 and 8, it is recommended that you use a tripod. Focus is based on distance. AV is always balanced. Meter allows you to see how much light is in your scene. It balances highlights and shadows, which balances the composition. In order to take a balanced composition, play around with the meter and shutter speed until it is balanced.  Histogram displays the amount of shadows, mid-tone, and highlights. The ideal photograph while display high mid-tone areas as well as low shadow and highlight areas. You are likely to improve your photography skills and learn more by photographing in manual mode.

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Written by Fifi Leigh

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