The technical aspects of photography can be an absolute minefield to battle through. Even though I've studied photography at degree level it's really easy to forget those things but I think they're one of the foundations for creating awesome images and getting the most out of your camera. I've narrowed down what I think are the most crucial ones for any budding photographer out there to learn for your perusal today.
WHAT IS IT? The aperture is how light travels into the camera. The larger the aperture the more light that will be able to enter the camera and the smaller the aperture is less light that will be able to enter the camera. To put it simply it's just how big a hole is open in the lens and the aperture that you choose has a direct effect on your depth of field. So knowing how the two works together is super important.
DEPTH OF FIELD
When people say that they want that nice 'blurry background' what technically they're saying is that they want a small depth of field. If your aperture is at 1.8 you will get an incredibly small depth of field and focus range. And if you're working with an aperture of 32 everything in that shot will be in focus [great for landscapes]. Here is a couple of examples;
SHUTTER SPEED/EXPOSURE TIME
Without getting too technical and boring about how a camera is built and put together. The shutter speed is how long the curtain in the camera opens and lets light in when recording the image. So if you have a fast shutter speed like 1/400 that means you will be able to capture the image completely still and sharp. But if the shutter speed is 1/30 you will have a blurry image. The easiest rule to remember about shutter speed is when shooting handheld without a tripod or a shutter release that you need to be shooting at the minimum of 1/60 to have a sharp image. Your aperture and shutter speed need to meet in the middle for a well-exposed image, on digital cameras, this is shown on the display and in the viewfinder. To keep your shutter speed at a 1/60 without the use of a tripod or a high ISO. You will need to play around with the aperture but be aware of how this alters your depth of field.
WHAT IS IT? The ISO is how sensitive the camera is to light, way back before digital cameras were a thing you had to buy film in different ISO's depending on what conditions you would be shooting in. Now on a digital camera, it's very easy to switch to different ISO's and you can easily manipulate this to get a different aesthetic to your images.
HOW IT WORKS: The easiest way to explain ISO is by using the weather. If it's a bright sunny day you will be able to use something like ISO 100/200 for clear sharp images. But on a dull dark day, you will need to use something like ISO 800/1600 as there isn't much light for the camera to work with. What ISO you choose will very much depend on what type of day and then what shutter speed and aperture you're using. If you use a very high ISO your images will have a lot of grain and noise in them whereas if you're using an ISO of 100 the details will be very clear.
The white balance function of a camera helps the image to come out as realistically as it can in terms of colour. Shooting with the wrong white balance can lead to odd temperatures in the image like it being too cool and blue toned or being too warm and yellow toned. These mistakes can be fixed in the editing process with ease but it's always best to do it in camera. On the majority of digital cameras, it's easy to find what white balance you should be shooting at by looking at the light and your surroundings. Again this is something you can manipulate if you're going for a certain look.
COMPOSITION + RULE OF THIRDS
No matter what equipment you have or what you take your photographs on knowing how to compose an image well is probably the most important thing when it comes to photography. The rule of thirds is just an easy of explaining how an image is balanced and is the easiest way to create a well-composed photograph [in my opinion]. Below is an example of how I tend to use the rule, I like negative space in my images if it can add to them as too much can often make photographs look a little odd but negative space is never a bad thing to incorporate into your work at all. Here are some simple things to bear in mind about composition;
- Background, is there any distractions?
- Is there too much foreground in the shot?
- Does the angle compliment the image or take away from it?
- Are you planning to crop the image? If so allow extra room for this.
using it all together
There is no quick fix to learning the technical aspects of photography and it all takes time and practice which is something that's incredibly fun and a process to be enjoyed. All these technical terms and knowledge all work together in harmony and once you know one thing the easier it is to understand something else. The techy stuff isn't something that excites me at all that much when it comes to photography but I know how important it is. Of course, there are other crucial elements when it comes to taking great images but the technical stuff is the foundation.
AN EXCITING ANNOUNCEMENT
At the end of August I will be launching my brand new stock photography bundle store but before the big launch simply sign up to the From Roses newsletter to receive a free photo pack. Containing 4 awesome high quality royalty free images that once downloaded are yours to keep forever. You can use them for your blog, online shop, e-book, social media platforms or any other form of digital media you may have.