Introduction to Photography. Photography is a very broad topic. But in this blog, you are going to learn what you need to know about photography, and why you need to know it.
The introduction to photography is written for beginners, with several tips and suggestions to take your skills as far as possible. However, writing an introduction to photography is like writing an introduction to expression; as amazing and important as it is, photography can be almost limitlessly complex. This article lays a foundation to answer to those questions and more.
Introduction to Photography.
What is Photography?
Photography is the process of recording visual images by capturing light rays on a light sensitive recording medium(film or digital CCD). Technically, it is the science of setting up a camera and the recording medium to take images in a controlled way.
The world’s first photograph—or at least the oldest surviving photo—was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827. Captured using a technique known as heliography, the shot was taken from an upstairs window at Niépce’s estate in Burgundy. It shows the roof of a building lit by the sun. You can see it reproduced below:
We have evolved a lot since then, and we have come a long way.
A Brief History of Photography
Color photography started to become popular and accessible with the release of Eastman Kodak’s “Kodachrome” film in the 1930s. Before that, almost all photos were monochromatic – although a handful of photographers, toeing the line between chemists and alchemists, had been using specialized techniques to capture color images for decades before. You’ll find some fascinating galleries of photos from the 1800s or early 1900s captured in full color, worth exploring if you have not seen them already.
These scientist-magicians, the first color photographers, are hardly alone in pushing the boundaries of one of the world’s newest art forms. The history of photography has always been a history of people – artists and inventors who steered the field into the modern era.
We are introducing you to photography, but photography can not be possible without a camera, so let’s discuss on how a camera works.
How Camera Works.
Camera lens takes all the light rays bouncing around and uses glass to redirect them to a single point, creating a sharp image. When all of those light rays meet back together on a digital camera sensor or a piece of film, they create a sharp image. If the light doesn’t meet at the right point, the image will look blurry or out-of-focus. A lens’s focusing system moves the glass piece closer or farther from the sensor or film, allowing the photographer to adjust the lens so that the object is sharp.
The digital camera’s sensor more closely resembles a solar panel than a strip of film. Each sensor is divided up into millions of red, green and blue pixels (i.e. megapixels). When light hits the pixel, the sensor converts it into energy and a computer built inside of the camera reads just how much energy is being produced. Measuring the energy and putting the information from all the pixels together, the computer is able to approximate the shapes and colors in the scene.
Thinking of becoming a photographer? You are why we are learning the Introduction to Photography. Here are some gears you will need.
What Is the Bare Minimum Gear Needed for Photography?
Camera. If you buy a dedicated camera (rather than a phone), pick one with interchangeable lenses so that you can try out different types of photography more easily. Read reviews, but don’t obsess over them, because everything available today is pretty much equally good as its competition. Find a nice deal and move on.
Lenses. This is where it counts. For everyday photography, start with a standard zoom lens like a 24-70mm or 18-55mm. For portrait photography, pick a prime lens (one that doesn’t zoom) at 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm. If for sports, go with a telephoto lens, and for macro photography, get a dedicated macro lens and so on. Lenses matter more than any other piece of equipment because they determine what photos you can take in the first place.
Post-processing software. One way or another, you need to edit your photos. It’s ok to start with software already on your computer, or software that comes with your camera. But in the long run, a dedicated program will do a better job. Adobe sells Lightroom and Photoshop as a bundle for $10/month. Or you can buy standalone software from another company if you prefer; there are tons of options. Whatever you pick, stick with it for a while, and you’ll learn it quite well.
Everything else is optional, but can be very helpful:
- A tripod. A landscape photographer’s best friend. See our comprehensive tripod article.
- Bags. Get a shoulder bag for street photography, a rolling bag for studio photography, a technical hiking backpack for landscape photography, and so on.
- Memory cards. Choose something in the 64-128 GB range to start. Get a fast card, if you shoot bursts of photos, since your camera’s memory will clear faster.
- Extra batteries. Get at least one spare battery to start, preferably two. Off-brand batteries are usually cheaper, although they may not last as long or maintain compatibility with future cameras.
- Polarizing filter. This is a big one, especially for landscape photographers. Don’t get a cheap polarizer or it will harm your image quality. We recommend the B+W Kaesemann filter (of the same thread size as your lens).
- Flash. Flashes can be expensive, and you might need to buy a separate transmitter and receiver if you want to use your flash off-camera. But for genres like portrait photography or macro photography, they’re indispensable.
- Cleaning kit. The top item is a microfiber cloth to keep the front of your lens clean. Also get a rocket blower to remove dust from your camera sensor more easily.
Other equipment. There are countless other photography accessories available, from remote shutter releases to GPS attachments, printers, and more. Don’t worry about these at first; you’ll realize over time if you need one.
You may find that some of your biggest questions can be answered more quickly. Here’s a quick photography FAQ with some questions we hear all the time:
What is the purpose of photography?
The purpose of photography can vary depending on what the photographer is trying to achieve. For example, documentary and news photographers capture images for the purpose of providing detailed account of actual events. While hobbyist photographers aim to capture life moments with their families and friends.
The types of photography?
There are many different types of photography, such as landscape, macro, wildlife, portrait, documentary, fashion, travel and event photography. To see a more complete list of types of photography, please refer to this article.
What do you need for photography?
To start taking pictures, all you need is a camera, which can be anything from a basic smartphone to an advanced DSLR or a mirrorless camera. However, photography equipment is not all that important – light, subject, emotion and composition are all critical elements of a successful photograph.
The most common type of photography?
There are a number of photography genres that are very popular today. These include portrait, landscape, architecture, fashion, food, sports, wildlife, macro, street, event and documentary photography.
What equipment do I need as a beginner photographer?
If you are just starting out in photography, all you need is a camera that you are comfortable with. The rest of photography equipment is going to be based on your needs. For example, if you want to do landscape photography, you will need a number of different lenses, a tripod and filters. With portrait photography, you will need to invest in a good portrait lens and potentially some lighting equipment.
What is a genre in photography?
A photography “genre” is a type of photography, such as landscape photography, portrait photography, wildlife photography, etc.
How can I learn photography?
You can learn photography from many books and online resources. A lot of information related to photography can be obtained for free in the forms of articles and videos. This article is a part of photography basics series, which is provided by Photography Life for free to everyone.
What makes a great photo?
A great photograph should have good light, subject, and composition – the three elements that matter the most in photography. The photographer should have a strong vision, then express it in the most effective way possible, as explained in this article.
What is the oldest photograph?
The oldest photograph, “View from the Window at Le Gras”, was captured by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1826 or 1827.
Who took the first selfie?
The first photographic portrait ever taken was a self-portrait, or a “selfie”. It was captured in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia.
What is the best type of photography?
Every photography genre has its own appeal. Some people like some genres of photography more than others.