An Introduction to DSLR Photography

Course Goals. At the conclusion of this course you will have a sound understanding of your DSLR camera and know the basic elements that control taking good photographs; ISO, Shutter, Aperture, White Balance, Colour Space (sRGB / Adobe RGB), Image Quality (TIFF, JPEG - fine, normal, basic, RAW), Exposure Compensation, Composition - The Rule of Thirds, Understanding the numbers on your lens & camera, Work Flow, Capture, Transfer image to computer, Back Up, Post Capture Process, Back Up, Print and Web (including social media such as Facebook) Formatting Memory Card. The work flow will include an introduction to Adobe Lightroom / Adobe Photoshop as part of the work flow..

Course Cost $500.00
Maximum 2 people

 
Somersby Falls

Seascape & Landscape Photography

 For the purpose of the course, the concentration will be upon being able to photograph portraits, movement and seascape / landscape.

  1. Portraiture, there are 2 distinct styles, one where the subject is isolated from the background creating what is known as Bokeh (the subject is crisp and sharp and the background is blurred) and the other where the background is in focus to compliment the subject.
  2. Movement. Here the subject is isolated from the background creating a Bokeh and in the process making the subject standout from background.
  3. Seascape & Landscape. everything is in focus from the front of the camera to the horizon.

    Once you have mastered these 3 fundamental types of photography, you will be in a position to become more creative with your DSLR.

    The ISO - Shutter - Aperture Relationship.

    It is not possible to consistently take good photographs without having a sound knowledge of the ISO, Shutter and Aperture controls on a DSLR camera. Whilst almost every modern DSLR has an "auto" or "program"  that automatically picks the right combination of these 3 elements, using these 2 methods severely limits what you can achieve with your camera. Using auto or program mode is allowing the camera to make the judgement on what you are trying capture and in the case of say a portrait, the camera will make the decision for you on whether you want a soft Bokeh or the background in focus, thus taking the decision from you.

    Summary

    ISO. The level of sensitivity to available light that your camera sees through the lens and onto the sensor. Measured in numbers with most DSLR's (but not all DSLR's) starting at 100 and increasing in up to 6400 and beyond in many modern DSLR cameras. Typically shown as 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 and 6400. With consumer DSLR cameras most will only allow full stop variation of the ISO as shown above, whereas in enthusiast and professional DSLR cameras you will be able to move in 1/3 or 1/2 stops.

    Shutter Speed. The length of time the camera shutter is open to expose the sensor to light in the capture of the photograph. Typically expressed in seconds or fractions of a second 1/500, 1/250 through to the Bulb setting where the shutter opening is controlled manually by the operator. An consumer and enthusiast DSLR camera will normally have a shutter range from 1/4000 of a second to 30 seconds and Bulb mode whereas a professional camera will typically have 1/8000 of a second to bulb mode.

    Aperture. The size of the hole in the lens to allow light to the sensor. The larger the hole the more light reaches the sensor. Aperture also controls the depth of field , which parts of the photograph are sharp. Expressed as f stops, f2.8, f4.0, f5.6 f8.0 in full f stops and professional cameras can also have 1/3 stops such f2.8, f3.2, f3.5, f4.0 etc.  With a large aperture (a small number like f2.8) the depth of field is shallow whereas a small aperture (a large number like f16.0) the depth of field is greater.

    Explanation of Aperture Priority. You set the Aperture and ISO, the camera selects the shutter speed based on your choices

    Explanation of Shutter Priority. You select the Shutter and ISO, the camera selects the Aperture

    Explanation of Manual. You select Aperture, ISO and Shutter independently and metre the exposure manually in camera.

    Please Note!
    When using Flash, unless your camera supports Hyper Synch, the shutter speed will be limited to the maximum setting of your DSLR, probably 1/250 of a second

    Nailing the perfect exposure involves a creative balancing act between your camera’s shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings, known collectively as the exposure triangle. Each setting has a direct relationship with the next, and each affects the other. For example, if you’re shooting in an ambient-light scenario, a wider aperture setting will necessitate a faster shutter speed, while a smaller aperture setting will require a slower shutter speed.

    It follows, then, that if you want to shoot at f/2.8, for instance, you’ll need a shutter speed fast enough to bring the exposure back into balance. This is due to the extra light contributed by a wide aperture setting. The wider the aperture setting, the faster the shutter speed needs to be to make up the difference. The faster the shutter speed, the smaller the amount of ambient light contributed to the exposure and the more latitude there is to use wider aperture settings. 

    Exposure Explanation

    These are the 3 camera settings that allow you to control the exposure, all of which must be balanced to produce a photograph with the same level of overall brightness. It is just the depth of filed that changes altering the look of the photograph

    Aperture

    Shutter

    ISO

    Aperture

    Shutter

    ISO

    Aperture

    Shutter

    ISO

    F2.8

    1/30

    3200

    F2.8

    1/30

    3200

    F2.8

    1/30

    3200

    F4.0

    1/60

    1600

    F4.0

    1/60

    1600

    F4.0

    1/60

    1600

    F5.6

    1/125

    800

    F5.6

    1/125

    800

    F5.6

    1/125

    800

    F8.0

    1/250

    400

    F8.0

    1/250

    400

    F8.0

    1/250

    400

    F11.0

    1/500

    200

    F11.0

    1/500

    200

    F11.0

    1/500

    200

    F16.0

    1/1000

    100

    F16.0

    1/1000

    100

    F16.0

    1/1000

    100


    Summary
    A low ISO will produce a better quality image, the higher the ISO the more "noise" or grain will appear.
    A large aperture (small f number) will only make the subject sharp and will blur the background (Bokeh)
    A small aperture (large f number) will make everything in focus.

    Basic settings

    Portraiture
    If you want to create a Bokeh, a wide open or shallow depth of field is required using an f stop of f4.0 or less. Please note your kit lens may not allow this.

    If you want the background in focus you would need an aperture staring at f8.0

    ISO set to 100 or 200

    Movement
    Shallow depth of field (determined by your kit lens and chosen focal length) and a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action. For sports involving running a shutter speed of 1/500 and an ISO of 400 should be your starting point in good light. Adjust your Shutter speed and ISO to produce correct exposure. Please note you may have to adjust your ISO to 800 and beyond to capture the image, however you will introduce more "noise" as the ISO increases.

    Seascape & Landscape
    Small aperture (large f number) such as f16.0, ISO = 100. Use a tripod and set camera to Mirror Up mode to reduce camera shake. A shutter release cable is recommended.

    Please note! You may be tempted to use very small apertures such as f22. However all lenses suffer from a condition known as Diffraction, which is the loss of sharpness caused by photographing through small apertures. For this reason you should limit your aperture to around f11.0

    White Balance. This is simply adjusting the colour balance to reflect what pure white should look like under a variety of conditions. Under certain conditions such as shooting under artificial light or where there is a lot of reflected light, the colour of a photograph can be influenced to show colour casts of yellow, blue or green. White balance is measured in Kelvin and you camera will have basic settings to allow you to compensate for an incorrect hue. Sometimes it may be necessary to adjust the white balance in Lightroom / Photoshop.

    Colour Space. In photography, colour is measured in RGB, Red, Green and Blue. In modern DSLR cameras, you have the choice of sRGB and Adobe RGB (1998). The major difference is that in sRGB you have a reduced colour gamut when compared to Adobe RGB (1998) For internet use including social media and for printing your photos using cheap commercial outlets (Office Works, Harvey Norman) you should only use sRGB, however if you print the image yourself or use a professional lab to do your printing, you can choose to use Adobe RGB (1998)  Almost every modern ink jet printer can deliver images in Adobe RGB (1998) and some can even use ProPhoto. For this reason if you capture in Adobe RGB (1998) and use a program such as Lightroom, you can export your edited image  in sRGB for Internet use or commercial printing or you can choose Adobe RGB (1998) or even ProPhoto if you print yourself or have a professional lab do the print.

    Image Quality. You have the choice of capturing images in TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) and RAW, which is a digital negative file. The majority of images are taken and printed in JPEG. TIFF files are generally very large and for that reason are not used often.
    RAW files have a distinct advantage insofar as they contain more data than other file formats and this can be useful to "save" an image where you have not quite got things right in camera and as the image has a full colour gamut you can more easily extract the full colour from an image. The downside is that you need a specific file editing program like Lightroom or Photoshop to be able to edit the image before you can use it.

    Exposure Compensation. When using Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority you can adjust slightly the exposure of the image to compensate for a slightly over or underexposed image as shown on the histogram. You can't do this in Manual mode.

    Composition, the Rule of Thirds. This is an often referred to 'rule of thumb' that states the subject or point of focal interest should lie along the image being divided in 3 parts horizontally and 3 parts vertically thus producing 9 areas on the photograph, with the focal interest lying along the intersection of the vertical and horizontal lines.

    Lightroom shows you the Rule of Thirds as well as other options such as the Golden Spiral and these can be very useful when cropping your image to give the image maximum impact and draw the focal point to the attention of the viewer

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