A Good Start on Photography Basics
If you’ve been wanting to get a good grasp on the basics of more advanced photography and a good reference guide you can consult in one place, you should check out Improve Photography’s Photo Basics guides. In five simple-to-understand installments with plenty of good illustrations and examples, they explain everything any aspiring photographer would need to know in order to start moving up in the more advanced fields of professional photography. They also have a great series of articles on setting up a professional photography business and studio for those who are further along the path in their photography.
Probably the best piece of advice given is to get off Auto Mode and start learning how to gauge and handle exposure yourself by manipulating the aperture, shutter speed, and the ISO so that you have greater control over the white balance in your photos. White balance is a very important part of making a photo look “right” and, on auto mode, the camera tends to overexpose images and let in too much light instead of muting the images and going with less light. That’s why beginning sunset and sunrise photographs generally look very washed out or look good only if the photographer is also using HDR mode tricks. HDR can bring a lot of depth of color to a photo but relying on it to always do that is unwise and is a crutch that photographers should work to get away from. Additionally, there are many cases where HDR will not help you at all but knowing how to manipulate the settings would (cave photography, nighttime photography, shooting in a forest with thick overhead foliage).
Additionally, once you understand the different parts of how aperture, shutter speed, and ISO work, it will make it easier for you to decide which lens to use in a DSLR for a given effect you want to achieve. For instance, while macro lenses are great for scientific photography (close-ups of flowers, bugs, etc), they can also be used for portrait or landscape photography but with a different look-and-feel. Telephoto lenses are generally used for wildlife or nature photography but a skilled photographer with a good sense of humor could easily use them for capturing images of friends and family at play.
What are some of the questions you wish you’d had easy answers to when you first got into photography? Let us know in the comments below!
— da Bird