Photography: How to start off?

Nowadays, with common access to digital art and technology, your knowledge stays ahead of other aspects. It plays the role of your guide within the world of raising opportunities. Investing in learning would make things easier for you, purchasing the equipment becomes a formality, only requiring you to get acquainted with new practical features. We will do our best to show you the path, which every photographer should make his way through to make the photos look professional on the surface.

How to become a professional photographer?

This article is exclusively dedicated to the basic terms of photography. Knowing them gives you better understanding of the working principle of photo equipment. However, when taking your first steps, we advise you to seek knowledge and inspiration in bookshops and libraries. There are many books on photographic techniques, digital editing, organization of film set, as well as, on the anthropology of picture, the meaning of image within a society or esthetics. Each and every book could be a source or priceless knowledge, the kind you wouldn’t come across on the internet. Sometimes, this knowledge is expressed in a complicated, scientific language, nevertheless, it will take your photo skills to a whole new level.

How to take off? Basic knowledge.

Photography, as any other field of art, has a range of crucial elements. The easiest way to get it is to split everything revolving around photography into two parts. First one is called the practical part and the second is determined as theoretical part. Practice involves all the things tied to direct operation of photo equipment and putting theoretical knowledge into practice. On the other hand, theory describes photo processes, allows to understand the complexity influencing the message and perception of a picture. Both the parts are complementary to one another and cannot function separately. A skillful combination of those two things is the indicative of author’s artistry.

The history of art within the context of photography.

Have you started to take photography seriously and see your future as a photographer? Then get the hang of the basics! The full understanding and development of good habits is possible only if you go through the complete educational path. Start with learning the rules and theory that had existed long before photography was brought to light. Technically, photography itself is like a canvas for a painter. It’s a form of expressing oneself, an attempt to pass a certain shut moment, knowledge and emotions in a way, that is clear to the viewers of your content. Alike painting, the gathered knowledge combined with drilled technique fructify with great success.

Where to find the source of knowledge which shapes the best photographers? Look it up within the history of art! Put the knowledge gathered for centuries into use! Don’t restrict yourself to painters only. Familiarize with history and principles of statuary and architecture. Learn about the influence of the eras on art and certain artists. You would be surprised how little has changed within the perception and creation of the works of art. It could turn out be that a simple solution to your greatest problem has already been found, e.g. the rules of golden ratio, so-called “gods’ proportions”. This had been in use since the antiquity to become the main axle of the works of art and architecture in the 20th century.

How to take good pictures right off?

The work that has to be done by you, studying art on your own, covers a lot of material, however, there are some basic rules, which could help you take great photos right from the start. Within digital photography, you can easily edit your picture during the postproduction. It bears many opportunities, nevertheless, it can also make things worse. There’re photographers, who don’t pay enough attention to the settings of the camera, fully relaying on the features of digital editing. Such approach is far from being professional and carries many risks. Take a look at some principles of decent photography:

  1. Exposition – it’s the amount of light that gets to the light-sensitive material. When taking photos, bear in mind the exposition and its correct settings. To get a proper exposition, you have to set certain values of f-stop, exposure time and sensitivity. In order to correctly set those parameters, you need visual observation of the taken picture, as well as, checking its chart on the histogram. Histogram is a standard feature of most modern cameras, which allows you to estimate the picture at the technical angle. Thanks to the graphical presentation, you will be able to quickly estimate the values displayed on the chart, you would know if the picture is over or underexposed. If the elements of the chart tip to the left edge of the screen, it means that the picture is underexposed. Elements focused on the right side – it’s overexposed. If you wish to fully understand the working principle of histogram, it’s best to take several pictures of sun-kissed and shadowy places with the same camera settings. Comparing them, you will see the dependents tied to the chosen camera settings. Feel free to carry out this exercise a few times with different settings. Theoretically, perfectly exposed picture would be represented by an ideal ellipse focused in the middle of the chart. Nevertheless, don’t forget that’s only a theory, so in effect you would have to cross this line.
  2. White balance – it’s another vital parameter, ignored by the vast majority of the beginners. This function is available exclusively within digital photography. It makes it possible to shape picture’s color in accordance with your own perception. White balance, what’s that really all about? In other words, it’s nothing more than color temperature, determining if the lightness is warm or cold and is expressed with the use of Kelvin scale. The lower the value is, the warmer the light gets. When it comes to analogue photography, it’s hard to obtain a naturally looking photo, especially when the light is artificial. However, this problem has been eliminated, thanks to the digital solution. With the help of automatic or manual temperature correction, your picture would copy the scene, exactly the way you see it with a naked eye. Automatic white balance often surprises photographers, making the camera set the values opposite to the authors’ own assumptions. Most often, it happens at sun downs. The camera would try to automatically correct the natural temperature, makings its way to the neutral tone of light. However, in most cases, the camera algorithm will work just fine, making white elements stay white in the taken picture. The vast majority of modern cameras has the feature of customizing the preset white balance profiles. There’re profiles for daylight, incandescent light and flashes. You can also create customized profiles, basing on your own patterns. Just pick a white element within the scene, which would stand for the pattern of white balance after being photographed.
  3. Granularity, image noise – when it comes to digital photography, one should consider the effect of granularity, which is also the issue of the analogue techniques. Its extraction differs, nevertheless, the effects are nearly the same. Most of the times, you aim for a full elimination of this effect, however, some artists consider it as a crucial element of their artistic expression. From your perspective, it’s good to know where it comes from and how to control it. The sensor of the camera is the source of such noise. Increasing the ISO value, you make the grain more visible. Long exposure time, high compression level, low number of megapixels and great consistent surfaces also strengthen this effect.
  4. We only have mentioned three basic elements, which would help you understand the principles of decent photography. Naturally, there many more rules for you to discover. We encourage you to explore the secrets of photography and master your workshop, making your pictures even better.

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