Start To Take The Perfect Photograph
Digital Photography Basics: Start To Take The Perfect Photograph
Whether you’re a professional or an amateur, when it comes to producing a good photograph there are three things that you must get right:
1) Getting your subject correctly framed.
Framing is how you line up the particular subject matter that you want to take a photograph of inside the camera’s view screen. In a correctly framed image you can see everything you want in your picture, (no point of a family portrait if no one has a head!)
The view screen is normally on the back of a compact camera, where you look at the scene before you take the picture, but you can look through a small window called the view finder on some cameras. Whichever one you use, make sure you can see EVERYTHING you want on your photograph and that it is inside the frame.
2) Getting everything you want in focus
3) Getting the picture correctly exposed.
You will hear repeatedly about using the correct exposure. Here’s why…….. Exposure will make or break a photograph. There’s no point in having the greatest shot in the world if your picture is either too dark to make anything out or so light that all the detail’s been bleached out to a white blob!
Here, the image is clearly too dark so it is underexposed.
There is no visible detail in the suit, the trees or in any hair. It may be possible to recover some details from the shadows with photo editing software but the final picture will look quite poor quality.
Here, the image has been given far too much light. It has been overexposed.
This has bleached out detail from the wedding dress, sky and much of the face detail.
The lightest tones, the highlights, have been destroyed, or ‘blown’, by letting too much light reach the sensor.
You cannot fix this. The detail from these areas has effectively been washed away by the excess light. There is no information left to retrieve.
Here is the correctly exposed image.
It’s hard to believe it’s the same picture when you compare it with the two above.
This comparison shows the importance of using the correct exposure for every photograph you take. It adds depth, detail and understanding to the stories you are telling.
Getting to understand what the basic tools of exposure are, and how they work
in relation to each other can be a little tricky to get your head around at first. It’s not impossible to understand, but to begin with, it just might seem a little strange and upside down.
So what is EXPOSURE?
Simply put, the correct Exposure is how much light needs to reach the camera’s sensor so that it can record a well-lit image, one that contains both a good record of the subject’s details and has a full range of tones and contrast (blacks, whites and mid tones).
In other words, when you look at your picture, the picture looks bright and the subject is neither too dark nor too light.
There are no areas of deep shadow that should have detail in them (underexposed areas) and no areas so bright that all of the detail in them has been bleached out (overexposed areas – sometimes referred to as ‘blowing the highlights).
When you press the shutter button using the automatic setting, the camera works out the best exposure based on how much light is falling on the sensor. It then decides what the best combination of aperture size and shutterspeed will allow the right amount of light in to create an acceptable exposure.
The camera then uncovers the sensor for whatever length shutterspeed and size of aperture it has calculated.
Once completed, the camera processes the information, and then records (writes) the final image onto the digital memory card in the camera. All in a fraction of a second!
The camera makes an exposure by using two different elements – APERTURE and SHUTTERSPEED.
These two camera functions are discussed in the next articles.