Digital
Photography
Basics

Digital
Photography
Basics

Overview

  • What’s photography?
  • Camera types
  • Technical basics
  • Compositional basics

⚠️ Disclaimers

  • I’m not a professional photographer!
  • I will not cover photo editing, sharing, etc.

What’s photography?

Photography

  • Photography = "Drawing with light"
  • Creating durable images by recording light

One of the first pictures (1838)

One of the last pictures (2021)

Camera types

Compact camera

  • Aka point-and-shoot camera
  • Equipped with one lense
  • Most popular type
  • Small and easy to use

(D)SLR

  • (Digital) Single-lens reflex camera
  • Customizable hardware and lotsa nerdy settings
  • Common manufacturers: Canon, Nikon, Pentax
  • Big sensor = lotsa light coming in

Modern DSLRs

DSLR: What you see is what you get (more or less)

Mirrorless camera

  • Mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera
  • Customizable hardware and lotsa nerdy settings
  • Usually smaller than a DSLR
  • Common manufacturers: Sony, Fujifilm, Nikon, Canon

Mirrorless system (Fuji X)

Smartphone camera

  • Always available, easy to carry, easy to use
  • Instantly connected to many apps, services, platforms
  • Holds up pretty well thanks to phone makers focusing on camera quality and software support

More types

  • Analog cameras
  • Instant cameras (Polaroid, Fuji Instax etc.)
  • Action cameras (GoPro etc.)
  • Movie cameras
  • More stuff Sebastian doesn’t know about

Technical basics

Focal length

  • "Zoom level"
  • Some lenses zoom, others don’t!

The holy trinity

Shutter speed

Aperture

ISO

Shutter speed

  • Aka exposure time
  • Usually a range from 1/2000s to 20s
  • ~1/50s usually works with a calm hand

Aperture

  • Determines how much light can pass through to the sensor
  • Example: f/2.0 → 50% of the light can pass through
  • Determines the depth of focus

Aperture examples

f/32

f/4

Focal length and aperture values often dictate the price:

The market can get a bit overwhelming…

ISO

  • Sensitivity of the sensor (setting in camera)

The holy trinity

Shutter speed

Aperture

ISO

Example time!

f/1.4

1/85s

ISO 160

(Automatic mode)

f/1.4

1/500s

ISO 800

f/1.4

1/2000s

ISO 3200

f/5.6

1/950s

ISO 25600

Every detail is in the files!

Compositional basics

Or: Random ideas about composition

Rule of thirds

Macros

Long exposure times

Playing
with
perspective

Extreme focal lengths

Extreme contrasts

Double exposures

Even more exposures!

Bokeh

Interesting light conditions

In sum: Go crazy.

Thank you!

Keep shooting.

Digital Photography Basics

By Sebastian Herrmann

Digital Photography Basics

An amateur’s introduction to digital photography.

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