I love to teach others about photography! Recently I taught week-long course at Woods Charter School. Below is a video of what the kids and I worked on. We had 12 9 – 14-year-olds who were so much fun to teach.
DAY ONE INSTRUCTION MATERIALS
Introduction to Photography
Nowadays everybody is a photographer because nearly everyone has a cell phone or iPod. But what separates the masses from a professional photographer? A professional logs hours and hours of study and countless images taken over years to slowly perfect their photography style. This class is your first step towards that journey.
Photography is important in real life. For example, NASA uses photography to learn more about our solar system. Recently we have seen images of Pluto, taken with a satellite camera called New Horizons. Other uses include medical photography, photojournalism, fashion photography, event photography, product photography, advertising photography.
The lens is one of the most vital parts of a camera. The light enters through the lens, and this is where the photo process begins. Lenses can be either fixed permanently to the body or interchangeable. They can also vary in focal length, aperture, and other details.
The viewfinder can be found on all DSLRs and some models of digital compacts. On DSLRs, it will be the main visual source for image-taking, but many of today’s digital compacts have replaced the typical viewfinder with an LCD screen.
The body is the main portion of the camera, and bodies can be a number of different shapes and sizes. DSLRs tend to be larger bodied and a bit heavier, while there are other consumer cameras that are a conveniently smaller size and even able to fit into a pocket.
- Shutter Release
The shutter release button is the mechanism that “releases” the shutter and therefore enables the ability to capture the image. The length of time the shutter is left open or “exposed” is determined by the shutter speed.
The aperture affects the image’s exposure by changing the diameter of the lens opening, which controls the amount of light reaching the image sensor. Some digital compacts will have a fixed aperture lens, but most of today’s compact cameras have at least a small aperture range. This range will be expressed in f/stops. For DSLRs, the lens will vary on f/stop limits, but it is usually easily defined by reading the side of the lens. There will be a set of numbers stating the f/stop or f/stop range, ex: f/2.8 or f/3.5-5.6. This will be your lowest settings available with that lens.
- Image Sensor
The image sensor converts the optical image to an electronic signal, which is then sent to your memory card. There are two main types of image sensors that are used in most digital cameras: CMOS and CCD. Both forms of the sensor accomplish the same task, but each has a different method of performance.
- Memory Card
The memory card stores all of the image information, and they range in size and speed capacity. The main types of memory cards available are CF and SD cards, and cameras vary on which type that they require.
- LCD Screen
The LCD screen is found on the back of the body and can vary in size. On digital compact cameras, the LCD has typically begun to replace the viewfinder completely. On DSLRs, the LCD is mainly for viewing photos after shooting, but some cameras do have a “live mode” as well.
The on-board flash will be available on all cameras except some professional grade DSLRs. It can sometimes be useful to provide a bit of extra light during dim, low light situations.
- User Controls
The controls on each camera will vary depending on the model and type. Your basic digital compacts may only have auto settings that can be used for different environments, while a DSLR will have numerous controls for auto and manual shooting along with custom settings.
APERTURE refers to the size of the lens opening. DEPTH OF FIELD refers to how much of the image is in focus.
This photo of some cows in a field has DEEP DEPTH OF FIELD. This means that the cows are in focus, as well as the trees way in the distance. I consciously chose a small aperture like f/16. It is a bit confusing because the smaller the number, the larger the opening. It is an inverse relationship, but just remember f/16 for landscapes and f/4 for portraits and you will do just fine. If you are not sure, choose f/8.
In the photo above I wanted a SHALLOW DEPTH OF FIELD. The little girl’s face is in focus and all the surrounding flowers are pleasantly soft in focus. I chose f/2.8 for my aperture (also called an f/stop).
The Rules (that are meant to broken from time to time)
RULE OF THIRDS
- points of interest where they intersect.
- position important elements along the line
CAPTURE THE MOMENT
– Capturing the decisive moment, whether it’s a sudden change in the light, a knowing glance at a loved one or a telling gesture. Knowing exactly when to press the shutter is one of the single most aspects of photography.
-Use natural lines to lead the eye into the picture. Diagonal lines create great movement.
-Use natural frames like windows and doors.
– find a contrast between the subject and the background.
FILL THE FRAME
-Get close to your subjects.
ALL RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN! Here are two rule breakers for filling the frame. For both of these, I left lots of open space around the subjects.
PLACE THE DOMINANT EYE OF YOUR SUBJECT IN THE CENTER OF THE PHOTO.
– gives the impression that the subject is following you with their eyes.
ALL RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN!
PATTERNS AND REPETITION
– patterns are asthetically pleasing.
– but they are even better when interrupted.
– symmetry is also pleasing to the eye.
ALL RULES ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN!
Please remember that composition is important and these rules will serve you well. But you may also find yourself getting great results from breaking these rules from time to time. The key is to be in the moment, enjoy yourself and get to know your own style of photography.
DAY TWO INSTRUCTION VIDEOS