Well, last night was our first class. And I learned quite a bit of the basic fundamental terms of photography that I had heard thrown around before but never really understood.
I told you I would share what I learned, but you must promise not to beat me over the head if what I share isn’t 100% true. This is how I understood it to be based on the class and some research I did afterwards to make sure I was understanding everything correctly. But I could be wrong on something. After all, I am the student. Don’t hold it against me. Plus, I still have a long ways to go in my photo-taking ability (as you’ll see through my example shots).
Let’s talk about the shutter. Whether you have a camera that’s brand spankin’ new or one that is 65 years old, every camera has a shutter. A shutter is like a door. It opens and closes as it takes the picture.
The shutter speed is how long you leave the “door” open. The faster/higher the shutter speed, the more the camera will be able to freeze the action. Slower shutter speeds usually require a tripod because our hands can’t hold still enough to capture the image while the “door” is open (especially anything slower than 1/60th of a second). The longer the “door” is open, the more light that comes in.
This picture was shot at a shudder speed of 1/125th of a second. Although his back hand is blurry, it looks as if he’s been frozen in midair.
This picture is blurry, indicating that my son is in motion (really, when isn’t he in motion?). It was shot at a shutter speed of 1/80th of a second. And in case you’re wondering whether these pictures were posed…they absolutely were not. These are my children in all their glory. :)
The aperture (F-stop) is like the iris of the eye. It controls how much light comes in. The higher the aperture, the more light that comes in. The lower the aperture, the less light that comes in. These settings are called f-stops. Pictures that have too much light (too high of an aperture) look blown out. Pictures that have too little light (too low of an aperture) are too dark.
The ISO (International Standards Organization…don’t ask me why in the heck it has this name) is your camera’s sensitivity to light. The lower the ISO, the less light your camera will utilize. The higher the ISO, the more light your camera will use. When taking pictures outside in the bright sun, you’ll want to use an ISO of 100. When taking indoors or in darker settings, you’ll want a higher ISO like 800-1600. But in order to have a crisper picture, you’ll want to use the lowest ISO that you can without compromising the light in the photograph.
And in case you’re wondering, I have a Canon Rebel xsi that’s a couple years old. It came with a lens (as a set), but I honestly barely ever use that lens. Instead I use this 50mm and I absolutely LOVE it! It captures the most beautiful lighting and does a much better job of getting the depth of field I like than the kit lens. It doesn’t have a zoom, so it takes some getting used to…but it’s worth it, especially since it is rather reasonable as far as lenses go!
That’s it for today. We’ll get down to the nitty-gritty in coming weeks (I hope). In the meantime, how about you go dust off that camera manual and do a little light reading??? You’ll be glad you did.
*My friend Kristen has a lot more suggestions here. I read her post and thought to myself several times, oh yeah…I forgot about that. Head on over to read more of her suggestions. I’m just trying to dissect this photography stuff into bite size pieces for my own sake. :)