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So you wanna be a Photographer?

Getting started with photography.

by Abhishek Dhapola

So you want to jump into photography? Start a photography account and watch it grow or do it just for the sheer joy of it? Here is how you can get started, from a person who hasn’t completed their journey yet.

The very first step is to learn some photography basics such as basic composition rules and the exposure triangle. The exposure triangle is really simple it’s made up of 3 components: ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture.

ISO: ISO originally referred to the sensitivity of film—its "light gathering" ability. The higher the ISO rating, the greater the film's ability to capture images clicked in low light. High ISO film was called fast film—it required a shorter exposure than a low ISO film. For digital photography, ISO refers to the sensitivity—the signal gain—of the camera's sensor.

SS: Shutter speed is the duration of time during which the camera shutter is open, exposing light to the camera sensor. Essentially, it's how long your camera spends taking a photo. This has a few important effects on how your images will appear.

Aperture: Aperture can be defined as the opening in a lens through which light passes to enter the camera. It is expressed in f-numbers like f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, and so on to express the size of the lens opening, which can be controlled through the lens or the camera.

Your camera will have a manual mode which lets you tinker with them, even mobile phones come with manual mode these days so do check it out. The simple job you now have is to try and get a good exposure in your photos, exposure is the amount of light that reaches your camera sensor or film and you need to play with ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture to achieve a good exposure.


Some links to understand the exposure triangle.

My advice to folks who have just started is that they experiment with manual mode for a week. You can get multiple correct exposures in a photo. See which one makes sense for you in different environments. You will mess up quite a lot, but don’t switch back to auto. When you`ve experimented with manual mode enough it is the only mode that will interest you.

Once you have some amount of understanding of how the exposure triangle works, you should familiarize yourself with some basic composition rules.

Some basic ones as follows:

1. Simplify the scene

Declutter the background to draw attention to your subject.

2. Rule of thirds

Instead of placing your subjects in the center of the frame, split the frame into thirds. Imagine a knots and crosses board of two horizontal lines and two vertical lines. Position your subject on these lines, or where they intersect.

3. Fill the frame

Too much 'negative' or unused space might not work for your photo. You could get closer to your subject on these lines, or zoom in to fill the frame.

4. Diagonal lines

Diagonal lines bring dynamism and energy to your composition, providing a sense of depth when they converge, or crossover other lines.

5. High or low

Experiment with a bird's eye view (getting above the subject) or a worm's eye view (getting below) to create a compelling perspective.

6. Reflect

Improve your composition by revisiting your work and studying the work of other photographers. Look at photos you like, and note why different elements work well visually.

A really important quote to remember though:

Now to consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk. Such rules and laws are deduced from the accomplished fact; they are the products of reflection.”

– Edward Weston


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