A photography guide for beginners in photography

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So you have booked a vacation, got a new camera and wondering whether to book a photography tour with us when you are just starting out in photography. You don’t know where to begin, or perhaps you have been taking pictures with your camera for a while and want to improve your shooting skills, the collection of material compiled in this article will not only help you in building up your photography knowledge, but also assist in advancing you to the next level. On this page, you will find everything from basic photography tips for beginners which will help you grow and get the best out of your equipment.

KNOW YOUR CAMERA

Let’s start with what the camera does well. If you set your camera to the full automatic, or some preset program setting, it will produce good shots most of the time in favourable conditions. That’s the good news. Provided, that is, that you are taking pictures with plenty of light coming from the right direction, and you’re not overly fussy about the results being perfect. The exposures will be more or less correct most of the time, the color will be right most of the time and the contrast will be acceptable most of the time. So that would seem a good place to start. Set the camera on full auto and carry on reading.

THE ART OF COMPOSITION

Talking about photography basics, composition is a somewhat easy topic to understand in photography. Each time that you take a photograph, you must make conscious decisions as to which items you want to include and what camera angle to use. Composition, framing and viewpoint are the keys to producing great photos instead of ordinary ones. Here’s a list of the three most common faults with beginners’ photos, especially when shooting people as subjects.

  1. Don’t place the head in the middle of the frame and leave a load of avoidable space above it. Placing the head near the top of the frame fills your picture area with the subject instead of the background.
  2. Not filling the frame is the next big mistake, the subject and the background must be proportionate.
  3. Armatures are very reluctant to turn the camera on its side. This is essential if, for instance, you are taking a picture of one person on their own, it just helps fill the frame properly. Look at the subject you are going to shoot and choose whether it will best fitting in an upright frame or a horizontal frame.

GETTING YOUR GRIP RIGHT

In bright light you can often get away with holding the camera badly without getting blurry pictures. I see a lot of people these days holding the camera with their fingertips. However, in low light conditions, it becomes more important to hold the camera properly and avoid camera shake. 

COLOR BALANCE

Color balance and latitude are two important characteristics of film and digital media. Color balance is the film or CCD’s response to colors in a scene. Latitude is the amount film or a CCD can be under- or overexposed and still deliver a decent picture. You can make your digital cameras for overexposure and underexposure, but they have no more latitude than print film! For this reason, your images must be technically accurate for both types of media. By comparing film and film technologies to the capabilities of digital cameras, you will certainly learn new techniques to try in digital.

POST PROCESSING IS ESSENTIAL

Post-processing can be subtle and natural too! The truth is, cameras are flawed devices with physical limitations. Often times, it simply isn’t possible to capture perfectly in-camera. Think of it like cosmetic makeup. Yes, some people go overboard with too much blush and lipstick (i.e. unskilled post-processing). Others go bold with their makeup as a means of self-expression (i.e. intentional stylistic post-processing). But most use makeup to complement their features, and it’s so subtle that you don’t even realize they’re wearing any.

Even if you’re a “natural” photographer, you need to post-process your images!

ACE THE GAME

The first things to master are how to hold your camera securely, how to frame the picture and compose the shot in a fascinating way. On our photography tours, you can get the best hands on-field assistance, improve your skills and share notes with the photography guides.

 Camera Shake

You are en route to Taj, all set for the perfect shot in front of the magnificent dome. You hurdle your family together, choose the best angle and while your subjects go cheese, you go red with embarrassment. The perfect shot turns out the all shaken and blurred!

Camera shake can be a real hassle and pain when shooing off a tripod. Camera shake can be completely eliminated sometimes with a some very simple steps and other times, it can be quite painful and sometimes even impossible to deal with.  The phenomenon known as camera shake is caused by movement of the camera (hence the name), which becomes perceptible as blur when using a slow shutter speed. The subsequent blur is not quite the same as the blur caused by improper focusing.

CATCH THE CULPRIT

Whereas blur caused by movement of the subject can be desirable, sometimes, to help create ‘atmosphere’ in a picture, camera shake should be avoided in all but the most ‘arty’ type of photos.

The cause and effect of camera shake

Irrespective of expertise, whenever we press the camera’s shutter button there is some movement in the camera. At faster shutter speeds there is no noticeable effect on the picture but at slower speeds the blur becomes apparent. It can be attributed to a number of factors like standing posture, way of holding the camera and how hard shutter button is pressed; all have an effect on the amount of movement we get.

Eliminate the shake for good

To eradicate the blur we can do several things:-

1. Control the shutter speed

Eliminate camera shake by using a faster shutter speed. This is the easiest and obvious method. This can be done either by opening the aperture wider or introducing more light by using a flash gun for example.A simple basic rule for a sharp picture, free from the effects of camera shake, is to use a shutter speed which is at least as fast or faster to 1 divided by the focal length of the lens. So if you are using your zoom set at 30 mm focal length, you should use a shutter speed of at least 1/30 of a second. If you are using a 100 mm lens you will get a sharp picture at 1/100th of a second or faster. 

The reason why the focal length of the lens is important is that camera shake becomes more apparent as the angle of view gets narrower, the slimmer the angle of view the more the shake is enlarged.

2. Use Sturdy tripod to keep shake at bay

The best way to keep a camera at still is to fix the camera on sturdy tripod, this is the way to go, especially when you want to get some movement blur from the subject. Even better is to get a remote release for the camera so you don’t have to touch it at all.

3. Stand in a rock still posture

If you don’t have access to a tripod you and you still want to take pictures in the dark, you can stretch the rule of thumb by a few stops by providing support by bracing yourself and/or the camera against a solid structure like a wall. Breath control will be helpful. An integral problem with a lot of today’s digital cameras, especially phone cameras, is that, because they have no viewfinder, we are obliged to hold them at arm’s length to view the screen, often holding them only with our fingertips. This makes such cameras a lot more difficult to hold still and makes them much more prone to show the effects of camera shake. So even more care needs to be taken to get a sharp picture. If you are taking a picture with a phone camera, try to rest it on something, a table or wall, to help keep it still.

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