Welcome to this basic introduction to
photography. Today we’re going to be learning all the nuts and bolts of your
camera and how to use those to take the best photographs possible, so let’s go
ahead and get started. Now we’re gonna be answering a lot of questions in this
course some of which are: What is a DSLR and how does it work? What do the
terms aperture, f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, and film speed mean, and how do I adjust
to get artistic effects while keeping the right exposure for each shot that
I’m taking? And exposure just means the amount of light that’s being let into
your camera. Now let’s start with one of the most basic questions possible, What
is a camera? Well a camera is any light tight box with a hole in it. So you just
want to make sure that no light is being let into the camera except for the hole
which is usually where the lens is, and that light we will be controlling to get
the best photograph possible. The quality and ability of cameras can vary greatly
and though each camera can provide you with different tools, most do functions
similarly and all require you to be the most important piece in the photography
puzzle. Now in this course we’re specifically going to be focused on DSLR
cameras and DSLR stands for digital single-lens reflex. Before digital these
cameras were just referred to as SLR cameras – single lens reflex cameras – but
both function largely the same. And all DSLR cameras will function with a
mirror in the body of the camera that shows you exactly what your lens is
seeing through your viewfinder. So whatever you see in your lens will be
reflected on this little mirror in here up to the viewfinder that you’ll be
looking at, and it’ll give you a more accurate understanding of what your lens
is seeing. Now all cameras, all DSLR cameras, have three main controls that
work together to control exposure and artistic effects. Most other cameras also
have these controls but all DSLRs will definitely have them. These controls are
aperture shutter speed and film speed which can also be referred to as ISO.
Let’s look at aperture first. An aperture is the hole that lets light into your camera. The aperture can be open and closed to
different widths known as f-stops. So if we look over here in our diagram we can
see these f-stops, and one thing to note, the smaller the number the larger the
aperture or the wider the aperture, and the wider the aperture the more light
that’s being let into your camera. Because we have a wider hole, we have
more light that’s spilling into the camera, so if we have more light that
means we’ll have a lighter image and a more exposed image. Conversely the
smaller holes f-16 and F-11 will have less light being let in and thus that
will be a darker image. So you can see the f-stops help control exposure. They
also control an artistic effect called depth of field, and that’s how deeply we
can see the space in our photo, so how much of the depth in our photo is
actually in focus. And let’s look at how aperture actually controls that. So when
we’re looking at aperture and depth of field, one thing to kind of take note of
is that the aperture and the depth of field almost work in opposite. So the
wider the aperture the narrower the depth of field. So here we have a wide
aperture of 1.4 and f2 and we can see these two options of apertures are both very
wide. These types of apertures are actually used to control or to portray
a narrow depth of field which is also referred to as selective focus. These
images only show one slice of space in focus, so let’s look at what those might
look like in a photograph. So here we have a narrow depth of field or
selective focus photograph and this photograph would have been taken with a
very wide aperture, and we know that it is a selective focus because we can see
that the hands and the sparkler here are very well focused but everything in the
background is starting to blur. So that one slice of space up here in the
foreground has been in focus and we’re losing kind of all of that focus as it starts to recede back. Another example here with strawberries, you can
see we have three strawberries kind of almost in a row, but because we have a
narrow depth of field or a selective focus we have chosen to put our focus on
this first strawberry and we’ve lost the focus on our receding strawberries. Here
you can see see the same demonstration of selective focus but in this image you
can see that we’re starting to even lose a little bit of focus in the foreground.
When you have a wide aperture and you’re creating that selective focus you still
get to decide where you place your focus. So you can use your lens to focus on a
specific part, whether that be in the foreground middle-ground or background,
and then the fact that you have a wide aperture will actually just blur out the
remaining parts of your image. Another great example of that, here we can see
the mouse and the computer that are really focused, everything in the
foreground is starting to lose its focus, everything in the background is as well.
So again that would be a very wide aperture if we look at that here F 1.4
or F 2, and that would create that very narrow slice of space that’s in focus.
And one last example of that this little cute little snail that is in focus and
if you notice even along the concrete here you can see how well-focused that
concrete is and then how we’re losing that focus in the foreground and in the
background. Now this is a great technique if you want to bring focus in one area
and you want to kind of downplay some distracting things in the background. So
this is a great way to use an artistic effect in a simple little setting with
your aperture to make sure that you’re getting the right focus on the right
thing. So let’s imagine that we don’t just want to focus on one thing, we want
to show everything in focus. How do we do that? Wel,l as you might imagine, we’re
actually going to go to the other end of the spectrum with our f-stops and we’re
going to find a very very narrow aperture setting of f 11 or f 16, and when
we choose those settings we get shots that look a little bit more like this. So
here you can see we have all of our photo in focus. Now obviously
your camera is going to work much like your eyes and your eyes have limitations to
them, so off in the distance we do start to lose focus. But here we can see we
have foreground that has much detail and is very focused and crisp, we have middle
ground that’s also very focused and crisp, and we can see all the details in
the background as well. So here we have a little bit of less space
portrayed, but again we can see the detail in these different parts in the
background, middle ground, foreground. We’re not losing a lot of focus on any
one of those areas so you can tell that we must have a narrow aperture which
gives us a wide depth of field. Another example, now we are starting to lose a
little focus in the background here but still, for the most part, we’ve got a lot
of detail in the background, middle ground, and the foreground of the people.
And exposure doesn’t necessarily have to do with with depth of field, so in this
shot you can see we have a lighter background and we have a very dark
foreground, but even in this foreground you can see a lot of the detail of the
hair and a lot of the detail of the wrinkles of the clothes so you know it’s
not a focus issue, it’s a different exposure that’s going on, and we’re still
getting that wide depth of field Similarly here, we’ve got these dark but
very detailed pine trees and then we’ve got all the detail of the city in the
distance. And then this is a very obvious illustration where you can see all of
the background, middle ground, and foreground tulips are all perfectly
focused almost identically. So it has that very clear depth of field, wide
depth of field, to it. Here again, great example of a wide depth of field, and we
can see all of the detail in the waves in the foreground, middle-ground, and then
we see all of this texture in the land in the background. So hopefully that was
a good illustration of how aperture controls depth of field, but if you
remember aperture is just one of three settings that we use to control exposure
in our camera, so let’s move on to the second setting which is our shutter or
our shutter speed. So the shutter is actually what opens
and closes to let light into the camera. So it would close and open using your
aperture to show your camera whatever light is outside of the camera.
and the shutter speed is the amount of time that that shutter is open and it
can be adjusted to control exposure. So if we have a long shutter speed – if our
shutter is open for a longer amount of time – we get more light in the camera and
our images are lighter. If we have a very short shutter speed, we have less light
in the camera and then our images are darker. Shutter speed can also be used to
show or stop motion in a photo. Now shutter speed settings range from slow
and that’s 1 – 60 to standard which is 125 to fast which is 250 –
4,000. Now here we see an old SLR camera, not a DSLR, and here’s the settings that
you use to control the shutter speeds. Now, you can see in this camera we only
go up to 1000, but something else I want you to note here: notice that 60 has an X
at it. And the reason there’s an X there is because anything below 60 will
require you to actually use a tripod, because if you’re holding the camera at
60, the camera is going to actually show the motion of your breath and your
heartbeat. So sometimes you can get away with still shooting and holding it at 60,
but just to be safe try a tripod from 60 down. Now another thing to keep in mind
here: even though you know it seems like 1 & 2 & 4 & 8 kind of go upward, one
thing you want to think about: 1 is actually the longest exposure other than
bulb here which is what B stands for. But 1 is actually – if we take any of these
settings and make them into a fraction and put 1 over the top – one is one
second so two is one half of a second four is one quarter of a second etc etc
etc. So you can see when we get to 1,000 we’re
at one – one thousandth of a second and that’s extremely fast. And even though
you might think that one second would be fast, one second is actually extremely
slow when it comes to photography. So just something that you want to keep in
mind there. These are all technically fractions but we still refer to them as
1, 2, 4, 8, etc. So if we have these slow shutter speeds, they are going to show
motion. So they would actually kind of show motion as a blur. If we have these
fast shutter speeds, they are actually going to stop motion, so you could freeze
somebody mid-air. So let’s go ahead and see what we would do if we wanted to
show motion in our photo. So showing motion would require a slow shutter
speed so this is a shutter speed that’s got to be below 60 or one sixtieth of a
second. And here it’s very interesting, we can still see a lot of these subjects
that are really well focused, but the things that are moving become blurs. So
the reason that the people in here are not blurs is because they’re not really
moving, they’re just kind of standing still waiting for this train. But the
train becomes a blur because it’s just whipping by and we’ve got that very slow
shutter speed that’s capturing that motion as it’s going. Here’s another
example of a slow shutter speed. Obviously the trees and the rocks are
not moving so they’re not going to really have much of a change of appearance but,
in a slow shutter speed, water becomes almost this ghostly kind of image. So you
can see all of the kind of motion blur that’s happening from that rushing water
going over those rocks. Another great example here, now there’s a reason even
though these guys are moving, there’s a reason that we’re seeing them almost as
static while the rest of the surroundings seem to be moving around them, and that’s
because the photographer is probably also on a skateboard moving at the same
rate that these subjects are. So even though we usually show motion in things
that are actually moving, if we’re moving along with those things, then we will
tend to show the motion in the surroundings rather than in the subjects.
Here’s an opposite example of that, so here we can see all the moving things
blurring even some of the people we can see blurring so we know this is a very
slow shutter speed, but we can see all of the static surroundings, all of the
things that are not moving, really crisply focused, so we know that this
must be a camera that’s set on a tripod and it’s set to a very slow shutter
speed. Here’s another example where we can see the subject actually in focus
but everything around the subject is out of focus. Snd the reason we know this is
a slow shutter speed and not necessarily a depth of field issue is because of
these lines. We can see that the blur is actually moving in the same direction as
the people would probably be moving so we know what probably happened here is
that the photographer had the camera on a tripod and they panned the camera at
the same rate as the motorcycle here. Whoops, gonna move that around, move that
back, there we go. So if I was trying to take a shot like this I would turn my
camera on the tripod and then as these people rode by I would follow them with
the camera and then click the shutter so I could capture them while everything else
became a motion blur in the background. Now here’s another motion blur. We know
this is a motion blur because again we can see the directional type of blur
lines that are happening with this carousel, but of course the people
standing around who aren’t moving very much they’re perfectly in focus. And
finally we have this shot here at night in London. You can tell that there’s
motion blur because again it’s the directional lights of the busses, the
cars, all of that. Now with something like this you might even have some people in
this shot that might have been moving but might not have had enough light on
them to really show. If the people weren’t moving like, I think you can see
a person back here in the distance who wasn’t moving, you can actually still see
them very well. And of course any static things like the telephone booth is
really crisp and clear because it’s not moving at
all. Now, what if you want to stop or freeze motion? So where we had a very
slow shutter speed of below 60. from here on out if you wanted to freeze motion
you would want to have, I usually aim for above 500, so if you can do above 500 on
your shutter speed you can capture some of these motions kind of midair and
frozen. Usually a thousand and above is really good for that too. But here we can
see, you know, this is a frozen motion of these women jumping over these hurdles.
Frozen motion here of this dog and a lot of times these fast shutter speeds are
used primarily in things like sports or to kind of capture these live-action
kind of moments that you wouldn’t be able to really see in detail otherwise.
So I wouldn’t typically be able to see all the detail of the water flipping off
of the ball here and the intense look in the dog’s face as he’s going to get that.
Here you can kind of freeze any animal in midair, flying animals you know if you
don’t want to see them as a big blur you’ve got to have that fast shutter
speed. You can jump up in the air and freeze yourself midair almost as if
you’re flying. That’s always fun to do and all you need
for this is that fast shutter speed. And again, things like water are really
exciting when you have a fast shutter speed because you can see all of
the individual little droplets and it’s just kind of looking at something with
with a slightly different perspective then we see it in everyday life. And
here’s kind of a combination of the last two shots, jumping and water combined, so
you can see like the little droplets and it’s just kind of a fun almost floating
image that we’re getting here because we have that fast shutter speed. Alright so
now we have aperture we have shutter speed and these are two controls of the
three that we need to control our overall exposure. Our final control is
ISO. Now ISO is also, can also be referred to as film
speed and it actually used to be the the setting on your individual rolls of film
that you would get, but now of course since we don’t have film in DSLRs this
is a setting that you can actually adjust in your camera. And your film
speed or your ISO will actually control your camera’s sensibility or your
cameras sensitivity to light. Now it used to be that you would get a roll of film
at a certain film speed and that film had a certain sensitivity to light, but
now – because we can adjust these things in our camera – we can adjust the
sensitivity at any point. So we have more flexibility than we did before when we
had to stick to the same sensitivity for an entire roll of film.
Now the ISO can be adjusted in your camera settings. Usually the settings for
ISO, sometimes you have to kind of go into the menu a bit more than you would
for shutter speed or aperture, but it will depend on the camera that you have.
And aside from sensitivity to light iso also controls something called photo
noise, and photo noise is basically just the graininess of your photo. So let’s
kind of look at ISO a little bit more in detail here. So ISO controls exposure
but it doesn’t control exposure in the same way that aperture and shutter speed
control exposure. Aperture and shutter speed control exposure by controlling
how much light actually gets into the camera. Once that light is in the camera
ISO controls exposure by how sensitive your camera is to the light. So
let’s look at what that looks like here in photos. Here we have an ISO 200 and we
can see that we have a darker image, because our camera is less sensitive to
that light. So ISO 400, a little bit brighter, ISO 800,
a little bit brighter, and finally 1600, very bright. So the higher the ISO the
more sensitive to light your camera will be. The only problem with that is that
the higher the ISO the more photo noise is visible. So here we can see ISO 100 is
very soft and very kind of you know smooth. There’s not a
lot of what we would call noise or static in the image. As that starts to go
up, you can start to see the graininess, the noise level of that photo get a
little bit more extreme. So it’s just something that you want to keep in mind
because sometimes you’ll need to set it on that high ISO so that you can get
more brightness in your camera or more brightness in your final image but with
that you’re also getting that higher photo noise. So just something to keep in
mind there. Alright, so now that we know these three parts of our camera we need
to start using them together to control exposure, how much light gets in and how
sensitive that camera is to the light. So in order to get the proper exposure we
have to use our aperture shutter speed and ISO in kind of all together to let
in the exact amount of light necessary for each shot. So for each shot it’s
gonna be different because every time we angle our camera in one direction or the
other we’re going to get a different amount of light in, so we have to always
be monitoring to see how much light we need. Now, if we have too little light we
will have an underexposed or a dark photo. If we have too much light we’ll
have an overexposed or a light photo. Now our camera has a light meter and this is
what we are going to depend on to know if we have the right amount of light
with the settings that we’re currently using. So let’s look here at some
different problems that we might have if we’re not getting the right exposure. We
get overexposed photos again that’s gonna be a very light image so what
could have possibly gone wrong with this image? Well we had too much light getting let into the camera and we know we can let in too much light in a couple of
different ways. It might have been because the aperture was too wide, so
maybe the next shot that we take we, you know, make a smaller f-stop settings so
that we don’t have as wide of an aperture and we can get a better
exposure. Our shutter speed might have also been
too long, so maybe we have a shorter shutter speed next time and then we get
a better exposure as well. Our ISO setting could also have been too high, so
we could also just adjust the ISO and try the shot again and maybe we would
get a better exposure. Conversely, we can have underexposed
images and those are happening because we’re not getting enough light into the
camera and that happens because possibly the aperture was too small. Maybe the
shutter speed was too short so we could just have a longer shutter speed next
time and get in more light. And possibly the ISO setting was also too low so
these are all things that we could adjust to get the proper exposure next
time. Now, If we’re looking through our camera and we’re trying to get the right
exposure, we have to depend on something called a light meter. Now here in this
image you can see the light meter for this Canon camera down here and chances
are in most cameras when you also look through the viewfinder and slightly
press down on the shutter you’re going to also see this same light meter right
at the bottom of your viewfinder image. So you’re going to be able to use your
light meter looking through your viewfinder or also looking at your
screen, but I tend to encourage people to look through your viewfinder because if
you look at your screen you might not be directing your camera exactly at the
subject that you want to meter. Now as you’re looking at your light meter
you’ll see a little notch that will show you if you have the right amount of
light which will be right at the center, or if you have too little or too much
light which will be, depending on the camera, over to the left or over to the
right. So once you see that, you’re going to adjust your aperture or shutter speed
on your camera until that bar comes back to the middle of that light meter. And if
you can’t get the right exposure just adjusting your aperture and your shutter
speed, go and reset your ISO to a different ISO settings um setting and
then try the aperture and shutter speed adjustments again until you get right at
that sweet spot in the middle. So let’s look a little bit closer here at the
light meter. This is a type of light meter that’s usually
on a nikon camera and you can see . . . or . . . actually I think this one is also for
canon camera so, but most of them will have this kind of middle bar and then
you’re going to have either a negative or a positive. And sometimes they’ll just
be little marks off to the side, sometimes they’ll be actual numbers, but
all you need to know is that if you’re too far to the negative you don’t have
enough light, if you’re too far to the positive you have too much light and you
always want to try to bring it back to the center point. So make sure your
camera is set to manual mode when you’re adjusting your settings, otherwise that’s
not gonna do you a lot of good. And then once you find the right exposure point
you may want to just to make sure you may want to take a photo that’s one stop
higher which would be this plus one and one stop lower which is this negative
one. And that we we call that bracketing and that just kind of gives you a range
of photos so that you know maybe something looks pretty good here but
sometimes your camera isn’t always right. Sometimes you have to be the boss of the
camera and say you know you’re thinking the light is looking good here but it’s
really not, it’s looking a little bit better when it’s a little bit more
exposed. So if you take a range of photos for each shot that you’re you’re
shooting and you get a couple different exposures and you bracket, then you’ll
just have more to choose from later on and that’s always a smart choice. So
let’s review: First off, a camera is a light-tight box with a hole in it. The
three main settings that affect exposure and artistic effects are aperture,
shutter speed, and ISO which is also referred to as film speed. And aperture
is the hole that lets light into the camera and it also controls the depth of
field. The shutter is what opens and closes to let the light in and it
controls the showing and stopping of motion. ISO is what is what used to be
film speed, and it controls the camera sensitivity to light as well as the
amount of photo noise that you’re going to see in your photos. And finally, don’t
forget you are the most important part of the photography puzzle, so no matter
what camera you’re using make sure you learn all of the little ways to
control that specific camera and practice, practice, practice to take great
photos. Good luck!

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  1. Thank you thank you thank you so much! I’m new to photography and was looking for something that broke down the basics of photography clearly and provided visuals. This video is A++ , Please continue to share.

  2. Sorry…the 'x' on the SLR shutter speed dial actually means that is the shutter speed you have to choose if you want the camera to sync (fire off) an attached flash.

  3. This video is amazing! You did a great job at breaking down the important parts of photography for a beginner like me. Also, you gave plenty of examples which really helped! Thanks!

  4. Wonderful video with explanations. You have made it less imtimidating for me and I will be watching more of your classes. Many many thanks and god bless.

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