This photography introduction was designed with beginners in mind, and it includes a number of pointers and ideas to help you advance your abilities. Writing an introduction to photography, however, is similar to writing an introduction to language; despite how magnificent and significant photography is, it can be nearly infinitely difficult. What distinguishes compelling images from uninspiring ones, and how can you raise the caliber of your own work? These and other questions are what will drive this primer.
Photography as Art
Since its creation, photography has changed how people see and experience history as well as daily life. A photograph has the power to symbolize a whole social movement or act as a catalyst for change in addition to being able to capture a fleeting moment in time. Continue reading to discover how photography came to be as a medium, its artistic history, and some of the most significant photographers who have influenced modern photography.
What is Photography?
The practice of taking pictures by using a camera to record light on a film or digital sensor to generate images is known as photography. Anyone can take pictures of radio, infrared, and ultraviolet (UV) light wavelengths with the correct camera gear.
Joseph Nicéphore Niépce made the first ever permanent photograph in France in 1826 (other accounts state 1827). For those who will find it difficult to comprehend, the popular photo displays a sun-lit building’s roof. Below is a web-lifted copy of it:
And we’ve come a long way since then.
When Technology Meets Art
Technology developments that allowed photographers to edit their photographs to suit their aesthetic expression gave rise to photography as a separate art form. By using different cameras, lenses, films, as well as different framing and timing techniques, photographers may significantly alter the final result of a picture. Filters, studio lighting, different darkroom techniques, and digital augmentation give photographers even more instruments to play with their photos.
The tools and methods selected mostly rely on the genre, the photographer’s own taste, and the mood they want to convey. If a portrait photographer wants to make a certain topic the center of the image, they can use a high aperture and narrow depth of field to sharpen the subject while blurring the backdrop. Landscape photographers may opt for the contrary if they wish to clearly capture a whole panoramic picture.
Photo features like line, texture, and tone are highlighted when black and white is selected over color, giving pictures a timeless look. Black & white (or another monotone method) may also aid in drawing the viewer’s attention away from anything that could detract from the photographer’s intended emphasis. Many photographers opt to utilize digital editing to repair flaws and improve color, among other effects, despite the fact that certain photographic purists insist on avoiding all forms of editing.
Do We Need a High-End Camera?
In 2018, Apple became the first trillion-dollar business in the world, in large part because of the iPhone and what it replaced.
Alarm Clocks. Flashlights. Calculators. music players. phone lines. GPSs. voice recorders.
And most importantly, Cameras.
Nowadays, a lot of individuals think they don’t need to buy a separate camera because their phone can take most of the photos they need. And what about that? They are not mistaken. A dedicated camera is an overkill for the majority of individuals out there. Read why you won’t need a professional camera here.
For the majority of people’s needs, phones are superior to separate cameras. In addition to becoming quicker and simpler to use, they seamlessly integrate with social networking. Buying a dedicated camera only makes sense if your phone is inadequate for the images you want to take (such as those of sports or low-light situations) or if you have a particular interest in photography as a hobby.
The Bare Minimum
Camera. Choose a dedicated camera (rather than a phone) that has interchangeable lenses so that you may more readily experiment with different forms of photography. Read reviews, but don’t get too caught up in them because everything that is now available is very much on par with its rivals in quality. Find a good price, then proceed.
Lenses. Here is where it matters. Start with a basic zoom lens for everyday photography, such as a 24-70mm or 18-55mm. Choose a prime lens (one without a zoom) at a focal length of 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm for portrait photography. Consider using a telephoto lens for sports. Get a macro lens specifically designed for photography. so on. Since they limit the types of images you can capture in the first place, lenses are more important than any other piece of equipment.
Photo Editor. You will eventually alter your images in some capacity. In the long term, the software that comes with your computer probably won’t cut it. Even though I’m not particularly pro-Adobe, Photoshop and Lightroom continue to remain the industry benchmarks for picture processing. They can be quite expensive as they have switched to a subscription business model. If you’re on a tight budget, Darkroom is a great substitute app for those on IOS or iPadOS. Whatever you decide, give it some time and effort, and you’ll learn it very well.
Don’t Get Caught with GAS
There are more things you may, and eventually – will, come in handy:
Tripod. The ideal subject for landscape photographers. Having a tripod can be cumbersome, but it will allow for sharper photos. Being able to do group photos with you included can be a plus.
Camera Bags. Purchase a dedicated camera bag for street photography, a rolling bag for the studio, a technical hiking backpack for landscape photography, and so on. Why? because there is no such thing as a perfect camera.
SD Cards. These, however, are not optional. Pick a storage option between 64 and 128 GB to begin with. If you frequently take bursts of images, get a fast card (measured in MB/second), as your camera’s memory will clear more quickly.
Spare Batteries. Get two spare batteries, at the very least, to start. Third-party batteries are typically less expensive, but they might not last as long or continue to work with newer cameras.
Starting Your Photography Journey
The technical and the artistic are intertwined in photography.
If the concept behind a shot is poor, having the right camera settings won’t make it better. Ansel Adams once said that “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept”.
However, camera settings continue to be important. Every technological decision is, in a sense, a covert aesthetic decision. These situations merit knowing about. Understanding how camera settings function will vastly increase your understanding of photography.
So, the most crucial camera settings—shutter speed, aperture, and ISO—will be covered in the coming articles soon. After that, we’ll get right into composing.
You can go back to the Course Outline here.