Nick's guide to photography

This is the first of what I hope to be an ongoing series on photography. The aim is to provide a series targeted to all, beginners and the advanced based on what I have learnt and the techneques I use.

Before we start, let me give you a short background about myself. Ignoring photography for a while, I am by training an electronics engineer and have specialized in Digital Image Processing (DIP). I have worked in various industries, manufacturing, education (a lecturer), web development, etc. I am currently a web developer, IT traininer and IT consultant.

So where does photography fit in?

Well I have been into photography for as long as I can remember, as is the same for electronics and computers. I got my first SLR, a Praktica BMS, back in the 1980’s and took it almost everywhere with me. The camera, for those not familiar with it, was fully manual, focusing and all other settings, no autofocus at all! This taught me a fantastic amount about photography, although the cost of film and slide restricted the aount of photographs I could take. From this I progressed to several other cameras, which I will mention in later articles.

I have sold various photos, on stock libraries as well as other sources, I have had photos used in magazines and local publications, and am a local events photographer for the council here. And there is more, but we will cover that at a later date.

So what topics will I cover?

Well that depends on the feedback I get, requests, etc. I will cover only what I know, if there is a topic I do not know or am not comfortable with, I won’t cover it. Some of the topics I will cover:

  • Types of cameras;
  • JPG vs RAW;
  • Digital workflow;
  • Macro photography;
  • Wedding photography;
  • Wildlife photography;
  • Landscape photography;
  • Silhouette photography;
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography;
  • Portrait photography;
  • Video on DSLR;
  • Tripods and other equipment;
  • Use of the flash;
  • Filters, types and uses;
  • Monitor and printer calibration;
  • Post production (lightroom, photoshop, etc.);
  • Creating a website;
  • Getting experience; and
  • Working in the community.

This is not a complete list and not in the order they will appear. The first two articles to come in August and September 2011 will be “Types of cameras” and “JPG vs RAW.” These are the two most common topics I am asked about, hence the reason they are first.

For the most part, everything I talk about will apply to any type of camera, digital or film, compact or Single Lens Reflex (SLR), so long as you have the relevant controls.

Photography Myths

Before we start with the proper tutorials, there are a few photography myths that I hear on a regular basis that I would like to clear up:

1. Taking photos is easy

Well yes taking a photo is easy, press a button. Taking a good photo and consistently taking good photos is down to knowing your camera and how to use it. In otherwords, your skills as a photographer.

2. The more expensive the camera, the better the photo

Many people think if they spend more money on a camera they can take better photos. This simply is not the case. In my opinion 90% of getting a good photograph is the photographer and not the camera. The camera does play a part, but there are other factors including the lens, the type of file or film being used, etc. Considering digital for a moment, more money means more pixels, in general, and more pixels doesn’t equate to a better photo.

3. Post production can correct mistakes

Well yes it can, but only to a point. I know many will debate this, but in my opionion if you compose a photograph correctly and have the right settings, then post production should be minimal.

4. I can photograph anything

No, there are rules about what you can and cannot photograph. For example certain animals are protected, birds of particular species cannot be photographed in a nest, if on private property you should have permission, and so on.

Anyway, will leave it there and start properly with the next post. If you get any questions, you will have a chance to comment on each post, alternatively you can email me...

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