I have been asked to teach a basic of digital photography to a small group of people this Saturday and I thought that other people would be interested to. I am not saying that I have it right and that is the only way to teach but it is what I think is the most important to start. Please, understand that it is a really beginner class and I will add later more advance levels. I am a Nikon user so I will reference to what I know. The terms are the same but the function may be at different places.
Most of the digital cameras are very good if you use them in exposure automatic mode. For Nikon this mode is P. When you put the camera in P it will decide what is the best exposure for the picture. You will still be able to modify the setting but the camera will keep the right exposure for you.
Now let’s start to learn how to use your camera in M mode. M stands for Manual. First you need to learn how to expose the picture. A well exposed picture has some black and some white and all middle range tons. Obviously not all pictures will have all tons it depends on the subject.
The exposure depends on three factors, shutter speed, aperture and ISO. When you look through your view finder you will see at the bottom a line written -2..-1..0..1..2.. Sometimes you just have the line with dots (no numbers). For a perfect exposure you need to have the line exactly on the 0.
Shutter speed is the speed that the camera takes to open and close the opening of the lens. When it’s bright it’s fast, when it’s dark it’s slow. You can’t go under 1/80 of a second if you don’t use a tripod or your picture will be blurry because you are shaking. You can go as fast as you want.
Aperture is the size of the opening of the lens. When it’s bright the opening is small (see figure 2) when it’s dark the opening is big (see figure 1).
ISO is the sensors sensibility to the light.
To start, try to keep your ISO at 200 outside and 400-500 inside. Then modify your settings until the line is at 0. Take the picture. You should have a perfect exposure. It’s important to understand that you need to modify those numbers each time you take a picture 🙂
I will get in more details in my next post. This one is the basic of digital photography 1.