Ultimate Photography Basics For Beginners – Free Course

Ultimate Photography Basics For Beginners - Free Course

I Am Glad To Present To You My Most Fundamental Basic Photography Basics Course For Beginner’s With Tutorials Written With The Help Of Many Experienced Photographers.

I saw a number of blogs online having great content but simply they lack details. So i collaborated with a number of photographers and today i am presenting you the ultimate photography basics course for beginners free of cost. This article includes suggestions from highly experienced photographers as they shared a few tips for a beginner to become a beat in photography and cinematography.

I have taught many people photography so my goal with this article is to teach people the basics of the photography and camera in the most simplest way as possible. I hope you will love the series and don’t forget to join our website by registering by clicking on my account section and be a part of shivamsharma.org community. Lets get into the free photography course now.

The contents included in this blog post are given below. Feel free to jump to any section you like.

1. Basic Equipments You Need

2. Exposure

  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO
  • White Balance
  • Using All At Once

3. Camera Icon Modes

  • Auto Mode
  • Portrait Mode
  • Macro Mode
  • Landscape Mode
  • Sports Mode
  • Night Portrait Mode
  • Program Mode (P)
  • Aperture Priority Mode (“A” on most cameras, “Av” on Canon)
  • Shutter Priority Mode (“S” on most cameras, or “Tv” on Canon cameras)
  • Manual Mode (“M”)

4. Camera Focus

  • Auto Focus
  • Single Focus
  • Continuous Focus
  • Manual Focus

5. Composition

6. Rule Of Thirds

7. Image Sensors

8. Metering

9. Types Of Cameras

10. Memory Cards

11. Lenses 

12. An Honest Advise

13. Conclusion

So now let us each and every one of the contents one by one :-

1. Basic Equipment You Need

This is first question that comes into the mind of a beginner that what equipment should i buy. They keep focusing on the equipment instead to improve their skills. You don’t need heavy equipment at the beginner level. At this time your focus should be mainly on leaning the skills.

You cannot do photography without camera so you need one. You can use your existing Dslr or simply for learning purpose start with your mobile installing a third party app on it called Open Camera  which will give you full manual access to your camera. If you want to do photography you have to learn manual mode.

But still if you have enough money and you can afford expensive stuff you can purchase. It will also be a edge to you if you start learning with professional stuff but its not necessary to start. Take your own decision here. So you have camera now lets learn about exposure now.

2. Exposure

Exposure in simple terms is the process of letting light through the camera lens and illuminating or exposing the digital sensor. This exposure process is the fundamental element in all photography and it’s been that way from the very beginning – light through the lens onto the sensor.

Exposure does not simply mean brightness and darkness, when exposure is discussed we think that a photo that is correctly exposed to brightness or darkness according to the situation. But in reality its more than that.

When a photo is shot in auto mode then the camera automatically selects the exposure, ISO, and shutter speed for you and tries to take best picture possible but the automation is never perfect. In the manual mode you have the full control of the camera and you can adjust the shot according to you. To a look at the two pics and feel the difference one of these was taken from auto mode and the other one with manual mode.

Aperture, Shutter Speed And ISO are three elements of exposure. Each one of them is explained below.

Aperture

Aperture is the hole or opening (technically called an ‘iris’) in the camera lens. ‘Aperture’ refers to the intensity of light. It is measured in ‘f-stops’. The ‘f-stop’ scale looks like this (in 1/3 stops):

A smaller ‘f-stop’ means a larger aperture, while a larger ‘f-stop’ means a smaller aperture. For example, f2.2 is a larger aperture then f22:

The iPhone 6 camera has a fixed f2.2 lens, and that never changes. But Dslr’s can change aperture. However google pixel has adjusting aperture function and is thought to be the best in camera segment.

A infographic image showing the best method to adjust aperture.

 

Shutter Speed

If the aperture refers to the ‘intensity of light’ reaching the camera sensor, then the shutter speed refers to the ‘duration of light’ hitting that same sensor. On the iPhone 6 camera, shutter speeds look like this (in full stops and fractions of a second):

1/2s , 1/4s , 1/8s , 1/15s , 1/30s , 1/60s , 1/125s , 1/250s , 1/500s , 1/1000s

The slower shutter speeds (such as 1/2 sec., 1/4 sec., 1/8 sec., 1/15 sec.) BLUR movement. Higher shutter speeds (such as 1/250 sec., 1/500 sec., 1/1000 sec.) FREEZE movement.

 

ISO

ISO is actually an acronym, which stands for International Standards Organization, which is the organization that standardizes sensitivity ratings for camera sensors. The ISO rating, ranges in value from 25 to 3200 (or beyond), indicates the specific light sensitivity.

ISO refers to the overall sensitivity of the sensor to light. Low ISO generally means ‘low noise’, but a darker picture, while high ISO generally means ‘high noise’ and a brighter picture. Lower the ISO means low sensitive image while higher ISO means high sensitive image.

What is digital noise? It is any light signal that does not originate from the subject, and therefore creates random color in an image. The digital camera engineers have designed the image sensor to perform best at the lowest ISO (just like with film). On most digital cameras this is ISO 100, although some high end DSLRs have a mode that brings the ISO down to 50 or even 25.

 

White Balance

White balance is something I wish I’d learnt more about much sooner than I did; I look back on some photos now and wonder what I was thinking.

The white balance changes the colour cast of the entire photo and is responsible for the overall warmth. It can determine whether your photo appears blue or orange: from cold to warm. Depending on your choice.

Auto white balance doesn’t tend to do a particularly good job, particularly with tungsten light; the sooner you learn how to control it yourself, the more accurate your photos will look.

Putting It All Together

Now understanding of these three element does not solves your problem. Now you know their concepts you have to implement them in the shot all together to get the best shot you want. The photographers have made a acronym for using exposure which will help you in your photography experience. It is explained by a phonographic below.

exposure cheat sheet

 

3. Camera Icon & Creative Modes

There are a number of camera modes in a DSLR which work in their different ways to help you take the best shot. We will discuss them one by one now.

Different Camera Icon Modes

Auto Mode

Icon :- A green or red camera icon which varies in different manufacturers

Fully automatic is the most basic point-and-shoot mode in a camera and it is mostly found on all digital cameras, mobile phones also except some of the high-end DSLRs in the market. You can say auto mode is the autopilot of your camera which takes care of everything your just need to click the button to capture the photo. In Full Auto the camera takes charge of everything, from shutter speed and aperture to ISO and white balance. But in professional photography auto mode is very rarely used or we can say it is never used by professional photographers. That’s the reason it is absent in most high end cameras.

Portrait Mode

Potrait mode is simply a feature in the dslr by which you can focus on a object which seems clear in photos but the background of the subject becomes blurred which looks more stunnig and pops out the subject more than the background.

Today potrait mode is also available in high end and mid range mobiles but due to their small sensors i don’t think they can compete with DSLR’s.

Macro Mode

Macro mode is helpful to focus on subjects close to the camera lens. If you want to take a close up shot of  insect or a flower then this camera mode can be really helpful in such case. The camera mode is specially designed for such situation as the automatically adjusts its focus, aperture, shutter speed and the camera exposure.

Landscape Mode

Landscape mode in photography is used to take photos of a scene not a single object. If you want to take picture of a waterfall then such type of images are taken in landscape mode where no particular object is in focus. A number of objects are considered in such kind of images hence landscape mode is used in this case. You can see many professional photographers taking landscape shots and i can say most of the shots.

Sports Mode

Sports mode is a type of scene mode photographers can use to help take better sports or action shots. The sports mode will usually automatically set the camera to increase the shutter speed in order to freeze the action in the frame. Sports mode may also be called action mode on some digital cameras.

Night Portrait Mode

Night mode is a function of the digital camera that is used when you are taking photos in low-light situations — or at night time.  When taking photos in night mode, the digital camera uses a long shutter speed to capture scene details and also fires the camera’s flash to illuminate the subject or foreground of the shot.

Automatic Scene Recognition

Icon: Varies between manufacturers

Automatic Scene Recognition (ASR) provides a step up from basic Full Auto in that the camera has been pre-programmed to recognize a range of scenes and then automatically apply optimal settings to get the best picture. You can also call it AI when camera automatically tries to know what you are doing.

For example, if the camera recognizes that you are trying to photograph a landscape it will boost saturation and contrast, whereas if you’re shooting a person, the camera will select a low aperture in order to get a shallow depth of field so that your subject stands out from the background.

Scene

Icon: ‘SCENE’ or mode-specific icons eg mountains, an athlete or fireworks

Unlike Automatic Scene Recognition modes these need to be manually selected, usually via in in-camera menu. Modes available vary between camera brands, but generally Landscape, Portrait, Fireworks and Sport.

They work in much the same way as their automatic counterparts, with the camera automatically choosing the best settings to make the most of the scene before it. Its little improved auto mode for some type of specific shots.

Program Mode

Icon: A ‘P’ icon is present on DSLR’s for this mode

It is a camera that can be used by beginner’s as here the camera will automatically select the right shutter speed and aperture combination, but it will allow the user to take control over the settings such as built-in flash, ISO sensitivity, white balance, light metering and autofocus mode. It can be explained as automatic mode with little manula touch to it where you can control a few things. It is one step ahead of auto mode.

Aperture Priority Mode

Icon: It is mostly denoted by ‘A’ symbol but ‘Av’ on Canon cameras

Aperture-priority can be simply called as semi-manual mode that allows you to select your own aperture value and the camera automatically selects the correct shutter speed for that aperture. In this mode as the name suggests the aperture is given as the most priority from the other settings.

Aperture-priority is used for direct control over depth-of-field, to declare the photo that is in focus. Low apertures (f/1.8-4) will produce a shallow depth-of-field effect, where the foreground and background behind the main subject will appear blurred, while higher apertures (f/12 and above). This mode results in pictures with great object focus.

Shutter Priority Mode 

Icon: It is denoted by ‘S’ on most cameras and ‘Tv’ on Canon cameras

This is opposite to aperture priority mode. It is also a semi manual mode. The shutter priority mode allows you to choose your own shutter speed with the camera selecting an appropriate aperture automatically.

Shutter-priority is useful when capturing moving subjects, as it enables you to ‘freeze’ them and to keep them sharp. At the other end of the spectrum Shutter-priority mode can also be used creatively to capture long exposures of clouds, moving water or car lights.

Panorama

Icon: Widescreen icon

Panoramic shooting mode allows you to create ultra wide-angle images well beyond the capabilities of the camera’s lens, usually by holding the shutter button down while panning the camera along the axis of the scene you want to capture. Resultant images can cover anywhere between 120 and 360 degrees.

Automatic HDR

Icon: ‘HDR’

All digital cameras have a limited spectrum of light that they can capture before the highlights blow and shadow areas become an indefinable sea of black.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography aims to solve this conundrum by increasing the spectrum at either end to produce images with enhanced detail in shadow areas and intact highlights.

Traditionally this has been done by capturing multiple frames at different exposures and then blending them together using specialist computer software. Built-in Automatic HDR modes, however, allow you to do all of this in-camera without the need for a computer or any software, usually with a single press of the shutter button.

Manual Mode

Icon: It is mostly denoted by symbol ‘M’ on the camera

This is the hardest mode to master, but is also the most creative. For this reason it tends to be the choice of many pro photographers. To shoot in Manual mode, you need to use the camera’s built-in light meter (or a standalone metering device) and adjust the shutter speed and aperture yourself until you find the right combination.

If you mastered this then you can take the shots that are hard to take with auto mode. Every pro camera user try to masters this.

You can also check out this cool info graphic to understand easily :-

 

 

4. Camera Focus Modes

There are a number of focus modes in a professional camera. So you should also know how to focus correctly for right image at the right time. Here are some of focus modes which are offered by the Dslr’s –

Auto Focus

In this camera focus mode you don’t have to do anything for focusing. The camera  has AI built into it so it tries to focus the object itself. Well  in auto focus mode canon wins the game because they offer dual autofocus which means shifting in autofocus between objects is rel quick as compare to nikon cameras. However nikon will also come up with a rival to this tech very soon. But Right now canon wins the game in auto focus mode.

Single Focus

It is also called as one shot focus mode. In this mode, when you depress the shutter release halfway, the camera focuses on the subject just once – there’s no continuous adjustment. This mode saves battery power, and is ideal for subjects that aren’t moving. But this mode is simply not useful if the object is moving. So for a moving object this focus mode does not simply worth it.

Continuous Focus

As soon as you begin to depress the shutter release, the camera goes into action and begins to focus. In Continuous focusing mode, the camera detects the subject’s movements and refocuses accordingly to keep the object sharp as a tack. This mode uses a lot of battery power because it is continuously focusing and refocusing. Canon dual autofocus is a beast in this as it outperforms nikon in focusing area as i already mentioned above.

Manual Focus

The manual focus is completely read adjustable by the user. The camera user has full control where to focus. But it has a serious drawback that it keeps focusing on that area only. For a object moving from its position then it gives blur. In some cheap cameras not dual auto focus is present but they only have manual focus. So you have to set the focus manually for every new shot that you want to take. Which is too much time consuming. In my openion this camera mode is simply not practical as it is not time efficient and not moving object friendly.

5. Composition

Composition means meticulously selecting what elements will appear in the picture, and then carefully placing those elements in the frame to create a creative, balanced, and interesting organization.

We all know how horrendous those photos look when we take mug shot or drivers license shot.  You photo for such shots always looks horrible. You can look your absolute best when you get to the driver’s license place, but the photo always makes you look terrible.  Why?  Because they position you in the middle of the frame, and then make you square off your shoulders to the camera.

From the photo below, you can see a humorous example of how photographers often envision a picture, and what the camera actually captures.  It’s funny, but unless you start paying attention to your composition, your pictures will always look like mugshots.

I hope you now figure out the difference between this. This is the main fundamentals behind composition in photography.

 

6. Rule Of Thirds

Imagine your image is divided into sections by a tic-tac-toe board like the grid here:

The rule of thirds simply suggests that you place your subject on one of the places that those lines intersect. So, instead of putting the subject where you’d place the Xs and Os in that game of tic-tac-toe, place the subject directly on the grid.

Using the rule of thirds means that the subject isn’t centered in the image, which is how many new photographers frame their shots. Instead, the main focal point is a bit off to one side.

Why? Using the rule of thirds draws the viewer’s eye into the composition, instead of just glancing at the center. By placing the subject off center, you also embrace more blank space. The rule of thirds is also helpful for highlighting an interesting background. Off-centered subjects tend to convey more of a feeling of motion than centered ones.

You can check out our detailed article on rule of thirds.

7. Image Sensors

Two main types of sensors are used in digital cameras today: CCD (charge-coupled device) and CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) sensors. Although each type of sensor uses different technology to capture images, these sensors have no inherent quality difference.

Both CCD and CMOS imagers use metal-oxide semiconductors, and they have about the same degree of sensitivity to light.

  • CCD sensor: Captures photons as electrical charges in each photosite (a light-sensitive area that represents a pixel). After exposure, the charges are swept off the chip to an amplifier located in one corner of the sensor. External circuitry converts the analog signal to digital form and handles storing it on your memory card.

  • CMOS sensor: Includes solid-state circuitry at each and every photosite, and can manipulate the data for each pixel right in the sensor. The CMOS sensor can respond to lighting conditions in ways that a CCD can’t. Every photosite can be accessed individually.

It is important to note that however the photography in mobiles have improved but still the sensors in the mobile cameras is much smaller than DSLR’s. So both cannot be compared at all.

8. Metering

This is an another important factor in enhancing your photography. 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 ISO. Back in the old days of photography, cameras were not equipped with a light meter, which is a sensor that measures the amount and intensity of light. Photographers had to use hand-held light meters to determine the optimal exposure. Obviously, because the work was shot on film, they could not preview or see the results immediately, which is why they religiously relied on those light meters.

Today, every DSLR has an integrated light meter that automatically measures the reflected light and determines the optimal exposure. The most common metering modes in digital cameras today are:

  1. Matrix Metering (Nikon), also known as Evaluative Metering (Canon)
  2. Center-weighted Metering
  3. Spot Metering

See the full article on metering for full understanding.

9. Types Of Cameras

There are a number of cameras available in the market and they have their own advantages and disadvantages, so are used and preferred according to the use. There are following major type of cameras in the market :

1. DSLR’s Cameras

This is probably the digital camera you picture in your head when you think of a digital camera. Overall, they are extremely versatile and perform well in almost all situations.

2. Mirroreless Cameras

A newer type of digital camera that is continually growing in popularity is the mirrorless system. A mirrorless camera usually gives you all the same capabilities and features as a DSLR, but in a slightly smaller package.They are very quiet—there is no loud “click-click!” when you snap a photo. This makes them popular with street photographers, who want to remain silent and invisible to their subjects in order to capture candid scenes.

3. Compact Cameras 

Compact cameras are our final category, and they are just that—small and compact! They may also be called “point-and-shoot” cameras.  Be warned—there are a million compact camera choices, and it can be difficult to distinguish which will offer you the quality you desire.

10. Memory Cards

Well honestly i have not tested a ton of memory card types so i cannot give you a better advise on this but wait i am including an awesome suggestion by Improve Photography.

According to Jim (CEO of IP) Sandisk Extreme Pro 128gb card (available on Amazon.com). is the best memory card available in the market which i am currently using right now. So just stick with that it will give good read and write speed. Just like Jim i recommend you to use SSD’s for you storage of pictures and always keep a cloud backup of your images because science is not perfect and when it fails it takes a disater in front of your door. So be safe with that also.

11. Lenses

I will not recommend you high end and expensive lenses as a beginner.Use basic lensis first. But since you want to know about it. Then as a beginner the extremely wide lenses — such as 14mm or 16mm — are available, but are generally too expensive and not necessary for beginner photographers. Nikon 20mm f/2.8D AF Nikkor lens and Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM wide angle lens are two good choices for beginners looking for a wide-angle lens. These are my recommendations you can choose on your own budget if you have stacks of money (lucky guy hm).

12. An Honest Advise

Look i have a simple advise for you that learning photography has no end. But to learn something you have to start from somewhere. So just take the camera that you already have go outside and click some awesome images using the tips i have given to you. Or the tips you gathered from somewhere else. Make sure to comment down the tips and suggestions to make this article better by just commenting down below. Happy Clicking [0]

13. Conclusion

I will not give you more suggestions now because i think you know more than enough to start. Don’t forget to share this with your other friends also. To download this as pdf click the link below :

Click here to download the article in pdf form for offline reading : Printer Friendly (coming soon)

Disclaimer :- The content on this article is highly researched and written by admin imself but many times you find resources which are way better so you don;t want to change it. So this article also contains a few sections where resources are taken from other websites to give you all the info at one place. Happy Reading…..!

 

About The Author

Shivam Sharma

Shivam Sharma is a photography enthusiast who loves wild life photography and cinematography. He is masters in zoology and loves animals and also he always wanted to work for society.

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