photography basics you need to know

photography basics you need to know

I would say that 90% of emails that I get where people are unhappy with their cameras, have to do with not understanding the basics of exposure metering. This also means they don’t quite understand how shutter speed, aperture and ISO settings inter-relate.


“What general words of advice do you have for new photographers ?”

The first steps in getting to understand photography would be:

There really is no other option but to systematically work through the essentials of photography. The basics.

All of which often leads to the next point …

“I’ve read the manual, but what do these buttons and dials actually DO ?”

Questions that come up often pertain to basic operations of a camera, such as apertures and shutter speeds.

So if you need to know what an aperture is,
and why changing the aperture affects depth of field,
and what depth of field is,
and why a slow shutter speed causes blur,

… then it is important that you stop dawdling! Get yourself a good general book on photography with lots of photos to illustrate these concepts to you. Sit with your camera in your hands, and start to figure out the controls. Without grasping these basic tenets of photographic technique, your results will always remain hit-and-miss.

Think about it this way, if you have just bought an expensive D-SLR, with more money invested in lenses and a flashgun as well .. then it makes good sense to invest another $40 on a good book to help you actually make good use of your new toys.

And now a bit of tough love for those photographers who rationalize not wanting to read a book, by saying they learn best from being shown … well, you are reading this aren’t you?  Stop indulging yourself.  Without grasping the basics of photographic technique, you will only keep yourself back as a photographer.

The most important of all – get out and shoot.


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4 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1Craig Maresch says

    I have been reading your web for a few days now and WOW, I have been taking photo’s for a couple of years now (most in Auto) and in hit or miss. I want to first say that you have given me invaluable insight into flash photography and inspired me to look at my subjects (which by the way are the Knights of Columbus) in a new way. (also I don’t get paid)
    That being said would you concider doing some instructional DVD’s?
    BTW in case I didn’t say I think your photo’s are FANTASTIC!

  2. 2David in Canada says

    A a recent convert to DSLR, and relatively new to photography, are there any particular books that you would recommend for a beginner?

    By the way, great web site.

  3. 3 says

    Hi there David …

    There are so many books coming in on the market, that it is near impossible to keep an updated list of relevant books. The best would be to peruse the shelves at your local bookstore.

    Neil vN

  4. 4trevor campbell says

    hi,im new to photography and browsing for information, just discovered your website and i am very impressed, straight forward, clear to read and professional. if only more were like it,

    many thanks

    trevor c

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