In the last few weeks I’ve covered the basic exposure controls like aperture and shutter speed. I’ve also discussed the concept of depth of field as an important aspect of the subject in a picture. Continuing with the Back to Basics series, it is time to explore another important aspect of the picture – contrast. Contrast is the difference in tone in your picture. Specifically the difference between the brightest colors in the pictures (called highlights) to the darkest colors in the picture (called shadows). Usually talking about contrast goes hand in hand with talking about hard light and soft light.[Read More…]
After discussing exposure in great detail, I would like to turn to a different kind of control – Depth Of Field (A.K.A. DOF). OK. Don’t jump – you are right. Depth Of Field is not a real control, but more of a result of how you used the aperture control.
In simple words Depth of field is the term you use to describe what is inside the focused area of your image and what is left outside of the focused area (and will stay home alone, and eat dry bread and drink stale water. Sorry Jewish mom syndrome…)
As I said before the control that has the most impact on depth of field is aperture. Bigger apertures tend to provide shallower depth of field. That means that if you open a wide aperture (say f/1.8) you will have a narrow location in your image which is focused. If you set your aperture to a small value, say f/22, you will have a huge focused area. The other two controls you can employ to control depth of field are Zoom focal length and camera to object distance.[Read More…]
After talking so much about exposure and the controls you can use to, em.. well… control it, I thought I’d bring up some info that can help bring all the control info together.
As a solid base for demonstration, I chose to display and discuss a bit about a rule know as the “Sunny Day 16” rule. I guess that this rule is known to film photographers, and is of little use nowadays when all the cameras have built in light meters. But we can explore this rule and learn something about exposure from it.
The rule is simple: on a sunny day, set your aperture to f/16 and set your shutter speed to be as close to the ISO setting as possible. (There! All the three exposure controls in one coherent sentence. Pat on the back!). This is where this rule got its name – Sunny day 16. Image by Stefan Mendelsohn.[Read More…]
In the previous few articles, I have discussed some basic aspects of photography. The first subject to get a close look was exposure, and I have discussed two of the three components that control it: shutter speed and aperture. In this article, I will bring in the missing piece – ISO (or film sensitivity). After that I will conclude the exposure subject.
We have learned that the sensor (or film) can get the same exposure if we prolong the duration the shutter is open, but use smaller aperture (or shorten the duration that the shutter is open, while using a bigger aperture). If we want to be absolutely honest (which, at least for now, we do), we have to include the third part of the equation: film sensitivity (AKA ISO).
In short – ISO sets the impact that light will have on the sensor. High ISO will make our exposure brighter, while low ISO will make our exposure darker.
So how can we use ISO to produce better photographs?[Read More…]
In the previous article, I talked about exposure, and how it affects the final image. I mentioned that there are three controls the one can use to change the outcome of the clicking the shutter button: ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed. This article will focus on Shutter Speed. As I said, Shutter Speed is one of the three exposure controls. Luckily for this article, it is the easiest to understand. It simply controls the amount of time the shutter is left open for light to come in and hit the sensor.
I am saying sensor, but the old experienced folks may remember a time when the light was actually hitting film. Both the sensor and film collect light. The longer the shutter is open, they see more light – so the longer the shutter is left open the brighter your image will be. But shutter speed also affects other aspect of your image. Let’s try and have a look, but first let’s set the groundwork so we better understand each other. (Shutter image by brighterworlds)[Read More…]
This is the first article of the Back to Basics series which tells allabout the basics of photography, and it deals with Exposure. Do you know that click sound that cameras make? It originates from a “flip” of a mirror that allow light to fall on the camera’s sensor (or for the old skool photographer – to fall on the film).
The effect of light falling on a sensor is called Exposure. That is because the sensor is exposed to light. (OK, great, so exposure happens when something is exposed. Big deal! no wait there’s more…) When the sensor is exposed, it gathers the light and depending on how much light is gathered it creates an image.
Exposure is relative and is comparable by something called stops. (or F stops). The main trick for understanding exposure is that “opening” or “closing” a stop, doubles or halfs the amount of light that falls on the sensor. Lets have a closer look.[Read More…]
Isn’t it fun to take a pile of PVC pipes and turn it into a studio? Or to take an old sheet and make it a first class photography backdrop? Some of those trash reused highly complex – space age technologies require nothing but two good hands, showing that no studio equipment is out of reach for the poor enthusiastic photographer. This is especially true when it come to mono-e-mono Vs. them high end gear guys.
Collecting all those DIY stories over the last year and a half or so, helped me realize that random stuff you find around your house good equipment is only half the key to taking good pictures. The other half is having good understanding of photography. Yet the third half is creativity or the ability to get creative. (yea, yea, I know that 150% of being a good photographer. But hey! if you really know it all you can get to be a 150% photographer… )[Read More…]
So, it turns out that there are some great DIY going on and that people will stop at nothing to get their perfect shot. Be it making a kid laugh or getting the perfect light for your street shot, you guys show me again and again that there is nothing that beats some good ‘ol imagination and handymanism (handy-man-ism).
The following two project diverse in almost everything – amount of technical knowledge, attitude and purpose. They are both the same in the sense that nothing is impossible when you want to get something the right way and willing/wanting to think out of the box.[Read More…]
If you got here, you must have read the first part of the complete guide to children photography. By now you should know that the key element to your success is having fun – both by you and by the kid. In this part I will talk about some more tips and techniques for children photography, but this time from a more “technical” angle. Did I say technical? Nothing to worry, I am going to keep it simple.[Read More…]
OK, to be honest I must start this “children photography” tutorial with two disclaimers:
Disclaimer #1: There is no “complete guide to children photography” there are only bits and pieces of information. When shooting my (or other’s) kids, I try to look at the session (or occasional snapshot session) as a new, and put most of what I know behind me. Here I will try to list some of the principles that I think always stay true, not necessarily in an order that makes any sense. However – remember – those are merely general guidelines. If I had to come up with a more appropriate title for this tutorial, it would be called “How To Photograph Your kids and Leave the Jelly of the Walls”, as this is the level of things that I am going to discuss.
Disclaimer #2: The author of this tutorial is also a proud Father (yes capital “F”), and as such, had to make some breaks during the writing of this tutorial to change diapers; fetch milk; kiss a scratch and hug. Also last night my daughter ran the test called “See if my father can stay up all night, and still be functional”. SO…. I do not take responsibility for random thoughts; loose connection and general “make no sense” advices I here by give. Ready? Here we go:[Read More…]