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JESSOPS

MAKING A START IN PHOTOGRAPHY

This is a one day course aimed at helping you to use your camera
to get better pictures, a guide to what to photograph and how.
We will cover basic camera functions, and help you understand
your camera better with the aid of the manual that comes with it.
Other areas we hope to help you with are exposure, use of light,
composition, use of flash, tripods, filters and lenses.
All that you need to begin with is a film or digital SLR camera and
lens, and time to practise. Later an additional lens, a tripod, a
flashgun and a few filters will help improve your pictures. Please
remember that cameras do not take pictures, people do. You do
not need top of the range equipment.
We can show you quite a lot throughout the day, some information
may take time to comprehend fully but practice will soon make
you more confident and give you much better pictures. Techniques
can be learnt by referring to these basic notes in conjunction with
your cameras handbook, but we also hope to help you to look
and see where better pictures might be taken.

HOW TO AVOID SIMPLE MISTAKES

Firstly know what you want to achieve


Know enough about your subject
Dont Rush
Plan ahead
Think about
a) File size or film type
b) Exposure
c) Technique
Use the viewfinder correctly, check edges of frame
Think about

a) Composition
b) Light Direction
c) Time of Day

Simplicity, Dont Complicate it


Practice and take plenty of pictures
TAKING PICTURES THAT MEAN SOMETHING
Dont just take anything STOP THINK
Use an idea to put something across - a feeling, a mood, a
memory or a statement.
Family.
Portraits and Landscapes of favourite people or places.
Link to another hobby-Motor Racing Walking Archaeology.
Use Awareness, Keep looking, and Use opportunity.
Write down your ideas, keep a scrapbook, keep notes on
things youve seen and want to go back to later.
Visit Galleries, Exhibitions, Read photo books

WHAT MAKES A BAD PICTURE?


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Boring subject
Distance between you and subject
Camera shake
Poor exposure Over / Under
Poor techniques
Poor arrangement of picture elements
Lack of self in picture personal input
Lack of drive, direction or motivation
Tilted horizons
Poor focus, subject too close
Un-needed elements clutter & jumble
Chopping off heads, hands etc when you dont mean it
Wrong file size use large j peg or raw files
Wrong conditions time of day, lighting etc
Lack of involvement

WHAT MAKES A GOOD PICTURE?


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Interesting subject or mood


Drama
Brilliance in colour or lighting
Action well caught
Beautiful detail as in natural history
Character, style and emotion
Events and human interest
Gentleness
Poise, pose and eye contact
Use of light
Shape and Design
Theme
Historical perspective
Simplicity, vision and purpose
Direct approach
Conditions at time of taking
Time of day, time of year
Sense of place

COMPOSING PICTURES
This is to do with picture structure and is as important as technical
ability. The idea is to organise the picture elements in the strongest
and most striking way for visual impact.
Decide on what lens to use i.e. telephoto or wide angle.
Decide how to frame the picture i.e. what you leave in and what
you leave out. Avoid confusion; keep the balance and purpose of
the picture. Be aware of the edges of the image and any
distractions. Move to get the best vantage point so that you
include what you want without compromising your original
intention.
Use leading lines perspective and areas of colour and tone
Use height look up and down at the scene as well as the straight
What the eyes see shot. E.g. try lying down or crouch or gain
height by using something to climb on.
Use symmetry and geometry. Look and look again taking account
of shape, shadows, dimensions, angles and complimentary
shapes. Keep the eye as you did as a child, e.g. be amazed and
wonder what you see, because composing a picture is not only
about physical aspects but also crafted from your own concerns
and ideas
Emphasise, select, simplify and omit
VISUAL AWARENESS, A GUIDE LIST TO HELP YOU

Pattern, shape and texture.


Depth, tonal range or colour.
Atmosphere, lighting and drama to give a mood.
Symmetry, balance and harmony.
Story line and personal input.
Proportion.
Dominance and significance.
Keep it simple, omit what you dont want and emphasise
what you do

DEPTH OF FIELD
Distance between the nearest and farthest parts of the picture
which are in focus or sharp.
Focus relies on 2 things the photographers eye hand coordination to manually set the lens to the correct distance and the
size of the aperture used on the camera lens.
E.G.
F 2.8 Gives a very shallow depth of field
F 22 Gives a greater depth of field
Also relates to type of Lens - e.g. a wide angle Lens of focal length
28mm gives better depth than a telephoto Lens 300mm, which
compresses the image, bringing distance closer but dramatically
shortening the perspective and depth of field
As an example most Landscapes need maximum depth of field
sharp focus from foreground to infinity so F16 or F22 and a slow
shutter speed, camera on a tripod are needed, coupled with a slow
speed film to get maximum quality.
Or a portrait where you need the person critically sharp but dont
need the background to appear sharp, so use F4 or F5.6 and a
faster shutter speed, and you can hand hold if theres enough light.

SHUTTER SPEEDS
This the speed at which the shutter blind travels across the film
plane to let light onto the film at a given aperture.
Shutter speeds range from B (time exposure) to 1/4000 of a
second, although nobody needs 1/4000 of a second!
B This the setting for time exposure, for example, when you are
taking pictures at night using exposures of one second or more.
The camera needs to be used on a tripod.
Fast moving subjects need fast shutter speeds e.g. The Red
Arrows are best photographed at 1/1000 of a second.
You cannot hold a camera and lens without some element of shake
the longer the lens used, the more chance of camera shake causing
blurred pictures so the following rule applies
Always use twice the focal length of the lens you are using to dictate
the shutter speed you need to set e.g.
If using a 50mm lens use at least 1/125 of a second
If using a 300mm lens use at least 1/500 of a second
If using a 70 200 zoom lens use 1/500 of a second
If in any doubt set the camera on a tripod or lean on
something solid.
FOCUS
You need to practise focusing your camera, both automatically and
manually. Setting the AF or MF switch on the lens. Auto focus is
not always the best option for some subjects as it will focus on the
first object in the light path so for a portrait it could by a persons
nose and its the eyes you need sharp. so manual focus is the
answer. (Automatic settings on the cameras command dial does
not mean the same as Auto Focus)

APERTURES
The aperture is the hole in the lens through which the light travels
and is allowed onto the film. By controlling the size of this aperture
we can govern the depth of field in the picture, e.g. the area of the
picture which is sharply in focus
Apertures are usually called F stops. They range from F2.8 to
F22 depending on the lens you are using. A typical sequence of
apertures on a standard 50mm lens is
F2.8, F4, F5.6, F8, F11, F16, F22
F2.8 being the largest hole and F22 the smallest, so that F1.8 lets
in a lot more light than F22. The smaller the hole the more in focus
everything in your picture will be, so for maximum depth of field
you need to use F22
By using a combination of Apertures and Shutter Speed you can
govern the amount of light that gets onto the film or camera
sensor, the image depth of focus and the brightness of the final
picture
Too much light gives over exposure e.g. a picture which is too light
Too little light gives under exposure e.g. a picture which is too dark
The idea is to get exposure as exact as you can use either the incamera meter or a hand held meter to tell you what the exposure
should be. By using the camera shutter speed and the lens
aperture manually e.g. setting them yourself rather than letting
the automatic camera decide, you can control more exactly how
light or how dark the picture will be

BLACK & WHITE OR COLOUR


Colour photography is about reality the world as it appears to be,
so what you see is what you get. Working in colour is suited to a
wide variety of subject matter, landscapes, people, travel, products
and advertising, geology, natural history. It can be used for bright
abstract impact to gain maximum attention, but it can also be
used in a soft, muted and gentle way.
Black and white tends to be used in a more specialised and
creative way, but with digital you can alter a colour picture easily to
a monochrome one.
150 RATING/FILM SPEED
Film comes in different speeds these show how quickly the
emulsion on the film reacts to light digital cameras use similar
speeds to link exposure
Slow
- is usually 25 or 50 ISO
Medium
- is usually 100 or 200 ISO
Fast
- is usually 400 + ISO
150 gives an indication as to how grainy the final result will
be 100 is fine grain 400 is large in grain size. Digitally the
same effect can be achieved by setting light ISO ratings in
the menu.
FILM SIZE
Standard film sizes are 35mm, 120 roll / sheet film 5 x 4 sheet
film. 35mm is the smallest of these, the bigger the film size the
better the quality
FILE SIZE
Small J Peg gives poor quality, large J Peg and raw files on digital
SLRs are better particularly if you plan to manipulate your images
on your PC as they give a greater degree of control and retain
more picture detail.

EXPOSURE MODES
Most 35mm single lens reflex (SLR) cameras have a wide range of
aperture and shutter speed settings, but also a number of
exposure mode options.
Its worth outlining what they do and how they work.
PROGRAM MODE This is fully automatic, setting both
aperture and shutter speeds, making all the exposure
decisions for you, but offering little creative control. The
settings the camera chooses are displayed for you, either in
the viewfinder or on the top display window. The combination
of aperture/shutter speed may not be suitable for the subject
youve chosen how can the camera decide at what speed
something is moving, or what depth of field you would
prefer? most do offer a program shift control so you can
change the combination without to much trouble. This mode
of operation has the obvious advantage of being quick and
simple to use, and is brilliant if youve never handled a
camera before
SPECIAL PROGRAM MODES/PROGRAM BIAS. Many SLR
cameras offer special modes of operation geared to more
specific use. Depth of field mode is designed to give you a
smallest practicable aperture in the lighting conditions
available.
PICTOGRAMS. These modes are specialist in their
application-setting the apertures and or shutter speeds with
a specific subject in mind e.g. sport mode where it will offer a
faster shutter speed, or portrait mode where it will offer a
shallow depth of field/focus such as F4, which gives limited
sharpness to the face, but throws the background right out of
focus.
Other options are for landscapes, action, close up, bulb (for
long exposures at night etc)

PICTOGRAMS cont. In the main these modes are useful


for those beginning in photography, who does not wish to
complicate their photography too soon.
APERTURE PRIORITY AE This allows you to set the lens
to the suitable aperture for the subject, giving a control
over depth of field, while the camera automatically sets
the shutter speed ideal for landscape work
SHUTTER PRIORITY This is the opposite to aperture
priority in that you set the shutter speed and the camera
sorts out the aperture for you
METERED MANUAL This is the most basic exposure
mode of all and the one that gives the photographer
complete control over choices in aperture & shutter
speeds. If you use the cameras integral meter for
exposure it allows you to adjust that given reading to suit
your idea of exposure you can bracket (take several
pictures on slightly different exposures, slightly darker or
lighter as well as the correct metered exposure) easily
using this mode, you can also over or under expose to suit
the film in use (black and white film requires a different
exposure technique to colour, this mode allows that
option)Digital cameras allow more forgiving way to control
exposure as you can alter it on the PC afterwards
EXPOSURE COMPENSATION This feature allows a fine
tune control in 1/3 of an F-stop Increments, over or under
the Integral metering given in the camera, simply by
slightly darkening or lightening the exposure, again the
decision is yours, The dial to do this is usually on the
thumb wheel for exposure settings or on a separate
control on the top of the camera. This is an ideal feature to
use when bracketing your exposures.

CAMERA TYPES AN OVERVIEW


The range of Cameras now available is enormous, development
continually up-grades or up-dates models, discontinues others or
brings in new technology, as in the case of Digital cameras.
Here is a brief guide to Cameras, Types and Format. Also an
indication of their advantages and disadvantages.
PINHOLE - A simple black box, with a pinhole for the light to
travel through. It has no lens. The light is projected
onto a sheet of film held in place at the back of the
box. They are fun and easy to make, easy to use.
Disadvantage is that Image quality is very poor, but
has a soft charm to it. Some better quality ones are
available for those who enjoy this early style of picture
making.
BOX CAMERA - Seldom used these days, but in the early
1930s lots of family snaps were taken using these, in
fact even up until the 50s people recorded aspects of
their everyday life, holidays, birthdays etc on these.
The advantages were that theyre easy to use in good
sunlit conditions, image quality quite good for small
pictures. Bigger enlargements show up faults out of
focus corners, poor definition and not much control
over the exposure. Viewfinders were very small.
Simple box with roll-film carrier and standard 50mm
lens. Lots of variations.
35MM - Camera that revolutionised modern-day photography.
Early models such as the Retina, of Leica made with
fixed focal length lens and some exposure controls.
Film size was 35mm wide, and was held in a cassette
just as it is today. The advantages were that of size,
easy of handling, unobtrusive, could be used in a

variety of lighting conditions as exposures could be


altered manually and also didnt always need to be
used on a tripod. The down side was rapid design
change in early models and eventual superseding by
compact and SLR 35mm cameras.

Film 35MM SLR Single lens reflex cameras, allowing


the photographer a huge amount of flexibility in
changing lenses, exposure control, creative techniques
etc. They have the advantage of being fairly
lightweight, fully automatic or with manual overrides,
auto focus etc. The reflex system allows you to view
the image through the camera lens by means of a
mirror and a prism, giving more control over viewpoint
and composition. Coupling up a zoom lens means less
gear to carry and more variation in framing the image.
Some come with a high degree of automation
sometimes a real advantage for quick grab shots or
for those who dont wish to understand camera
techniques. The disadvantage is that the camera
makes all the decisions, so personal feel is often lost,
and average exposures often give weak skies. Price
range varies you get what you pay for. Often there
are far more functions on the expensive models, more
lenses to choose from and more robust construction.
35mm cameras can deliver good quality for enlarged
pictures up to A3 size, but careful choice of film is
needed for larger that that. Properly handled they give
opportunities to take great pictures in a wide variety of
situations.
35MM-

COMPACT These are to be found in many


households, great for point and shoot quality is ok for
small prints. Some come with more controls, but in the
main, these are fully automatic. They eat batteries!
Very easy to use- can be expensive to buy and repair.

DIGITAL CAMERAS available mainly in 35mm format, although


one of two roll-film cameras comes with digital backs.
Very expensive, and you need to be able to download
your pictures, or send the memory cards to a bureau

for printing. Learning curve for digital photography and


the equipment needed is steep. They are the future
and will get cheaper, options to manipulate the image
far outreach anything that can be produced in a
darkroom, but is a problem if poor techniques and
small file-sizes are used. Compact versions available,
very light, can be quite complicated to oerate, easy to
loose
ROLL FILM CAMERAS these come in 4 variants with respect to
negative size, although they can use 120 roll film.
6 x 4.5, 6 x 6, 6 x 7 and 6 x 9- all measured in
centimetres. They are top quality cameras for
professional use; a larger negative will give much
better quality, particularly if a high degree of
enlargement is required. They are available as SLR
and as Rangefinder. A large range of lenses are
available, but they are heavy and very expensive, they
need to be used in a far more considered way. Tripods
are essential.
FIELD CAMERAS even bigger in size, even better quality, even
more difficult to use! They need a full understanding of
X , Y and Z movements to fine tune the angles of the
subject in relation to the vertical film plane. Exposure is
manually obtained from a separate meter, so again
more knowledge is required. They take a lot of time to
set up and calibrate to specific film. Only used by
dedicated professionals hugely expensive new.

CARING FOR YOUR CAMERA EQUIPMENT


To get the best out of your camera you need to look after it. Here
are a few quick tips on how to do just that.
Avoid getting cameras wet modern electronics cameras
can easily malfunction protect using polythene bags and
wipe off any moisture A.S.A.P.A linen tea towel is perfect.
Keep a screw on skylight or U/V filter on all your lenses to
stop dust, grease and accidental damage or use the lens
cap at all times except when taking the picture. This will help
keep all your lenses scratch free.
Regularly clean the front and back lenses with a soft antistatic brush and lens cloth dont breathe on the lens.
Keep cameras in a dry, cool environment, as damp can
cause fungal growth inside them, and heat can dry out the
moving parts in the shutters. A bag of silica gel in your
camera bag is ideal
Sand is the cameras worst enemy so be extra careful
when using on beaches or in deserts and sand dunes. Salt
spray is bad news as well as it corrodes the multi-coating on
your lenses.
In extreme cold be aware that cameras will mist up once
back in the warm and condensation can form on lenses, and
inside on the mirror and film (more bad news), the answer is
in polythene bags and silica gel.

Batteries run down a lot quicker in cold conditions Keep a warm


spare one in your coat or trouser pockets.

Avoid getting cameras wet modern electronics cameras


can easily malfunction protect using polythene bags and
wipe off any moisture A.S.A.P.A linen tea towel is perfect.
Keep a screw on skylight or U/V filter on all your lenses to
stop dust, grease and accidental damage or use the lens
cap at all times except when taking the picture. This will help
keep all your lenses scratch free.
Regularly clean the front and back lenses with a soft antistatic brush and lens cloth dont breathe on the lens.
Keep cameras in a dry, cool environment, as damp can
cause fungal growth inside them, and heat can dry out the
moving parts in the shutters. A bag of silica gel in your
camera bag is ideal
Sand is the cameras worst enemy so be extra careful
when using on beaches or in deserts and sand dunes. Salt
spray is bad news as well as it corrodes the multi-coating on
your lenses.
In extreme cold be aware that cameras will mist up once
back in the warm and condensation can form on lenses, and
inside on the mirror and film (more bad news), the answer is
in polythene bags and silica gel.
Batteries run down a lot quicker in cold conditions Keep a warm
spare one in your coat or trouser pockets.