Learn The Basics of Photography

In today’s digital world where the attitude of lots of photographers is – if I mess up the photo, I can fix it in photoshop!DSLR-225x300.jpg

This leaves many snappers missing out on a large amount of  technical understanding that will help them improve their photographs. It’s imporatant to learn the basics of photography as a good grounding will help you produce better photos.

Many of these digital users feel ‘why do I need to clog my brain with all of that technical stuff, if I can fix it in photoshop?’ And it’s a good point but only up to a point!

Making not taking a picture

Being a good photographer isn’t simply about taking a picture, admittedly it’s a large part of it, but there’s more to it than that. Understanding how the camera works, how to balance aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create the perfect exposure, how to use composition to direct the eye of the viewer. How to use texture, form and shape to make your photos interesting. But most of all, it’s about how you translate what you see in your mind into an actual photograph, and that’s something entirely different.

You need to learn the basics of photography. You can’t simply let the camera do it for you even if you have a fancy smancy expensive camera and neither can you hope that photoshop will fix it.

Why not?

Admittedly modern cameras are sophisticated pieces of kit but they are inanimate objects. They don’t see, they capture but they can’t create, they record but have no sense of composition or vision. They simply do what they are told to do, unless of course you use it in automatic mode and then it does it all for you! But if you do you are missing out on half the fun!

Why wouldn’t a photographer want to participate in the photos they take? Why wouldn’t they want creative control? Why wouldn’t they want, at the very least to control what goes into the camera rather than try to fix what comes out?

Learn the basics of photography

Such as exposure and composition should be the minimum requirements for participating in the scene your camera takes?

Once learned, the next step is to master those techniques so that making those exposure changes becomes second nature and you can do them instinctively whilst concentrating on composition. Understanding the makeup of a good photograph comes with practice and being aware of some of the guidelines of composition will help your photos improve.

Happy-Photography-300x200.jpgLearning photography is a fun, gratifying and constant journey – after 28 years as a full time photographer I am still learning and still enjoying it. That’s partly because I love photography but also because I shoot in manual mode and therefore I have to involve myself in ‘the taking process’.

And therein lies the rub, I want to create, I want ‘part of me’ to be in the final photograph.

And of course I use photoshop just about everyday in my workflow but I try to get things right in the camera and I don’t hope that I can fix it in photoshop, I took the time to learn the basics of photography.

Many old school photographers will say they learned the right way using film where every exposure and every fme of film mattered, and that digital is easy and there’s no need to learn the basics of photography.

A contentious point!

There is some merit in this, I myself learned using film and am glad that I did. But this doesn’t automatically make me a better photographer but it does make me appreciate each and every time I press the shutter button. Having to think about the right exposure, understand how each brand of film reacted to light, as well as working on composition made the old brain power work overtime. In other words I had to be involved in taking and making the photograph.

As I stated earlier I do use photoshop but it’s only part of my photographer’s toolkit. The most important part in my toolkit is my own unique view, my willingness to experiment and my desire to learn and improve.

One of the easiest ways to learn the basics of photography is to move from automatic mode to manual mode and take control of your camera. If going to full manual mode is a bit daunting then try one of the half manual mode


The Exposure Triangle

s such as, aperture or shutter priority.

Letting your camera do part of the work while you learn how to do the other half is a good way to learn. Concentrating on learning aperture whilst letting the camera help you out with the shutter speed will speed up your understanding of the exposure triangle.


photography lessons

The Exposure Triangle

In photographic terms never was a truer word spoken than ‘Light is the key’.



esr-law-77ZDhsuETAA-unsplash-300x225.jpgThis is simply because photography is all about, understanding and capturing light.

fact, the word photograph is derived from ancient Greek. The original
word ‘Photo’ is from the Greek word ‘phos’ meaning ‘light’ and the word
‘graph’ also comes from a Greek word meaning ‘to draw’. Putting the two
together gives us the word photograph, which means drawing with light or
as I prefer to say, having fun with light


Without light, photography wouldn’t be possible.

There are three things that affect the amount of light entering the camera they are, aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

These are often referred to as the ‘exposure triangle’.

far I’ve talked about aperture and shutter speed, and here I want to
mention ISO,.  it stands for ‘International Organisation for

In the most basic terms, ISO is a camera setting
that will lighten or darken your photo. As you increase the ISO number,
your photos will grow progressively brighter. You’ll sometimes hear
photographers talking about ‘bumping up your ISO’, this is because
raising your ISO can help you capture images in darker environments, or
allow you more creativity with your aperture or shutter speeds.


The Exposure Triangle

there is an issue with raising your ISO, the higher you go the more
grain-like noise you’ll see in your images. This can mean more, tiny
dots and patchy colours in your photos. I’ll talk more about noise and
ISO in the full VeryEasyPhotography course. But at this early stage
introducing too much ‘technical’ jargo can be confusing.

So far,
we’ve covered all three variables that can affect your exposure;
aperture, shutter speed and ISO, they form the exposure triangle.

What is the exposure triangle?

It’s the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO to create an exposure.

In this diagram you’ll see aperture is at the bottom, on the right is shutter speed and on the left is ISO.

the arrows in the middle show how the exposure gets brighter or darker
as the settings work in relation to each other. As you alter one it has
an effect on one of the others

Which ever variable you alter has an affect on at least one of the other two.