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How To Photography: Basics You Need To Know

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How To Photography: Basics You Need To Know

Hello Explorers! Today I bring you an interesting article for you to enjoy, How To Photography: The Basics.

If you are just getting started with the world of cameras, then be sure to check out the blog “Camera Tutorial For Beginners” where you will learn the main features of a camera.

This tutorial is all about the basics of taking an image and when to use each setting.

The world of photography is directly related to physics. Is all about light and how you capture it with your camera and lens. Because of this, when talking about cameras, it can quickly turn into a complex and lesson. 

That’s why I’ll try to explain every aspect in the simplest of the ways, giving an example and practical scenarios with cute images, so it is as comprehensive as possible. 

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Let’s begin with the main three pillars of the photography:

  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • ISO

Photography Basics: Aperture

Imagine your lense is like a dam where you are the operator. As the operator, you can control the amount of light (instead of water) passing by the lens. The way you control the amount of light is with the diaphragm.

While diaphragm is what you use to control the amount of light passing by, the f-stops are just a “number” that will indicate you how open/close your diaphragm is.

Think of f-stop as to miles per hours. You know you are going faster at 100mph than at 10mph.

The f-stop is the same, but inverse. You are allowing more light to reach the sensor at f4 than at f11.

F-stops, Diaphragm and Aperture are what you used to control Depth of Field

So far, we have:

  • Aperture
  • Diaphragm
  • f-Stop
  • Depth of Field
But in essence, you are only dealing with the f-stop. 

The f-stop controls the diaphragm, which controls the aperture, and the aperture will give you a certain depth of field.

This, is the reasoning behind the aperture, but in practical terms, what you need to understand is the following:

You use the f-stop to control the aperture, and this affects your Depth of field.

Depth of Field (DoF) is how much of the image will be in focus. Generally, you want either a shallow or deep depth of field.

  • Shallow Depth of field: when you want your subject in focus and the rest out of focus (e.g., portrait photography)
  • Deep Depth of field: when you want as much as possible in focus (e.g. landscape photography)
Cheat Sheet of Aperture

All of this confuses people, especially as f-stops have an inverse relationship with the aperture. But stick to the following:

  • A small f-stop means a wider aperture (more light inside your camera) and this will create a narrow depth of field.
  • A big f-stop means a smaller aperture (less light inside your camera) and this will create a wide depth of field.

If it is still hard:

  • Use small f-stops when you want a subject in focus and the rest out of focus. Like a portrait
  • Use a big f-stop when you want as much as possible in focus, like in landscape photography.

Give it a bit of process but don’t overwhelm with it. It is like driving a mechanical car: at first, you think of changing gear; then you just do it.

Shutter Speed

Long exposure image of a pier. Water in the lake is  blurred
A long exposure image must be taken with a long shutter speed

Do you remember the dam example? The shutter speed is the equivalent of the gate that allows water to pass by.

With photography, if you allow too much light to go inside, you will create an overexposed image. On the other hand, if you allow too little, you will have an underexposed image.

This way:

  • If you are using a small f-stop, you will have a wide aperture which will mean you will need a fast shutter speed to avoid too much light going into the sensor. (otherwise, it will be overexposed)
  • If you are using a big f-stop, you need a slow shutter speed to allow more light to reach the sensor (otherwise it will be underexposed)

Finally, remember that shutter speed is a measure relative to a second:

  • 1/400 is a fast shutter speed as the images are taken in 1 second divided 400 (in 0,0025 seconds). This is common in bright situations and when you need to capture fast movements.
  • 1/5 is a slow aperture as the image is taken in 1 second divided 5 (0,2 seconds). This is common in low light situations where you need more light reaching the sensor.

So remember:

You use a fast(er) shutter speed when:

  • You have a wide-open aperture. This way you don’t overexpose the image
  • You have a quick subject (like a person running). This way you won’t have a blurry image.

You use a slow(er) shutter speed when:

  • You have a narrow aperture. This way, you allow more light into the sensor, and it is not underexposed. (Sunset landscape photography)
  • You want to capture blur: like a waterfall.


Collage of a football player, a tiger and a bee in low light situations
Using ISO is common in Wildlife, Macro and Sports photography as there are fast moving subjects and low light conditions.

Let’s keep this one very simple. It mostly is how sensitive you want your sensor to be with light. The more sensitive your sensor is, the less light you need to reach your sensor.

The ISO will also create more noise in your image, and that’s a hint for you to try not to use it unless you need it. Let’s get some scenarios:

If you are taking a landscape photography image when the sun is setting:

Try to use a tripod and a slow shutter speed. The slow shutter speed (more light into your sensor) and the tripod will allow you to take a properly exposed image.

If you are shooting a football player at night:

Then most likely you won’t be able to use a slow shutter to bring more light to the sensor as the football player will be moving. Now is when you need to crank up the ISO, so you keep the fast shutter speed while having enough light.

So use ISO when you are getting underexposed images given certain shutter speed that you can’t trade-off.

And that’s it my explorers, hope this article “How To Photography: The Basics You Need to Know” was helpful for you. If it was, share it with another fellow photographer who needs to know the basics of photography!

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