Photography basics

Basics of photography terms

Camera terms for dummies

Dslr Terms Explained

Digital camera terms and abbreviations that you should know to become a professional photographer.

Below are the basics of camera terminology explained in simple terms.

ISO Sensitivity

ISO is used to determine how much light is entering the camera lens.

In simple terms, How much light is required to capture image. If you increase ISO number more light exposure will be used for capturing image

You can call this as a setting that will brighten or darken a photo. As you increase your ISO number, your photos will be brighter.

Note: A photo taken at higher ISO will show a lot of grains in your photo.
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In the above image, you can see that, when iso increases the grains start to appear.

Shutter Speed

Shutter Speed is the time period for which shutter remains open and light can fall on the sensor.

In simple terms, It is how fast the lens opens and closes. It is measured in fraction of a second.

1/4 means quarter of a second. Quickest available shutter speed is 1/4000.

It is used for capturing fast moving objects. Basically it will freeze the moment and allow the light into photo.  

Higher the shutter speed, lesser amount of light enters the camera.

When you increase the shutter speed, you can capture the fast moving objects

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Aperture is the the opening hole of the lens, from which light enters and hit the sensor.

More wider the aperture more light comes in and more will be the depth in the picture

When the lens is at its highest possible f number, lens hole is smaller.

As the f-number decreases, depth of field(The amount of focus from front to back of the scene is known as Depth of Field) decreases which will result in taking kind of macro photo.

When the lens is at its lowest possible f number, it is said that the lens is wide open.

When aperture at f/1.8

Here the background is out of focus where as the foreground or the subject is in focus. This is what we call a shallow depth of field.

while f/16 is used for landscape photography when f-number increases will result in more focusing background

When aperture at f/16

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Exposure describes the light/dark balance. Overexposure means excessive light overall, and underexposure means less light.

Metering and Modes in Camera

Metering is all about how your camera calculates what the correct exposure is, depending on the light that goes into camera.

There are three metering modes basically,

  1. Spot
  2. Centre Weighted
  3. Matrix/evaluative

Spot Metering

The spot metering evaluates and measures the light around the focus point and the exposure is set based on that reading

 It is best to use Spot metering when you are only looking at the light level coming from the spot or when shooting high contrast images.

Example: Taking Pictures of moon and sun.

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Centre Weighted Metering

Centre-weighted - measures light in the centre of the frame and corners are given less importance

It is particularly useful for scenes with subject located in the centre of the frame.

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Matrix Metering

Matrix/evaluative metering divides the frame into multiple segments/zones and calculates an exposure representative of the whole image.

You should use this mode for most of your landscape photography, since it will generally do a pretty good job in determining the correct exposure.

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The Triangle Principle

Now that you learned the effects of ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture.

You need to combine all three of these to achieve your desired goal. Experiment it by changing the modes and values to reach your desired balanced picture.