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Introduction to Photography

Photography is the art of capturing light with a camera, usually via a digital sensor or film, to create an image. With the right camera equipment, you can even photograph wavelengths of light invisible to the human eye, including UV, infrared, and radio. The first permanent photograph was captured in 1826 (some sources say 1827) by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in France. It shows the roof of a building lit by the sun. We have come a long way since then.


Many people today believe that their phone is good enough for most photography, and they have no need to buy a separate camera. And you know what? They’re not wrong. For most people out there, a dedicated camera is overkill. Phones are better than dedicated cameras for most people’s needs. They’re quicker and easier to use, not to mention their seamless integration with social media. It only makes sense to get a dedicated camera if your phone isn’t good enough for the photos you want (like photographing sports or low-light environments) or if you’re specifically interested in photography as a hobby. That advice may sound crazy coming from a photographer, but it’s true. If you have any camera at all, especially a cell phone camera, you have what you need for photography. And if you have a more advanced camera, like a DSLR or mirror less camera, your tools are up to the challenge. All that’s left is to learn how to use them.

Camera - If you buy a dedicated camera (rather than a phone), pick one with interchangeable lenses so that you can try out different types of photography more easily. Read reviews, but don’t obsess over them, because everything available today is pretty much equally good as its competition.

Lenses – This is the most important part of a camera. For everyday photography, start with a standard zoom lens like a 24-70mm or 18-55mm. For portrait photography, pick a prime lens (one that doesn’t zoom) at 35mm, 50mm, or 85mm. For sports, go with a telephoto lens. For macro photography, get a dedicated macro lens. And so on. Lenses matter more than any other piece of equipment because they determine what photos you can take in the first place.

Post Processing - One way or another, you need to edit your photos. It’s ok to start with software already on your computer, or software that comes with your camera. But in the long run, a dedicated program will do a better job. Adobe Light room is the best App to edit.
These three parts are compulsory to click good pictures. Other than these there are other gears but those are completely optional.
1.    A tripod. A landscape photographer’s best friend. 
2.    Bags. Get a shoulder bag for street photography, a rolling bag for studio photography, a technical hiking backpack for landscape photography, and so on.
3.    Memory cards. Choose something in the 64-128 GB range to start. Get a fast card, if you shoot bursts of photos, since your camera’s memory will clear faster.
4.    Extra batteries. Get at least one spare battery to start, preferably two. Off-brand batteries are usually cheaper, although they may not last as long or maintain compatibility with future cameras.
5.    Polarizing filter. This is a big one, especially for landscape photographers. Don’t get a cheap polarizer or it will harm your image quality. We recommend the B+W Kaesemann filter (of the same thread size as your lens). See our polarizing filter article too.
6.    Flash. Flashes can be expensive, and you might need to buy a separate transmitter and receiver if you want to use your flash off-camera. But for genres like portrait photography or macro photography, they’re indispensable.
7.    Better computer monitor. Ideally, you’d get an IPS monitor for editing photos (which we’ve also written an article about). A colour calibration device is also really helpful, so you know you’re editing the “correct” colours.
8.    Cleaning kit. The top item is a microfiber cloth to keep the front of your lens clean. Also get a rocket blower to remove dust from your camera sensor more easily.
9.    Other equipment. There are countless other photography accessories available, from remote shutter releases to GPS attachments, printers, and more. Don’t worry about these at first; you’ll realize over time if you need one.

There are three most essential things to remember while clicking pictures. The three most important settings are called shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. All three of them control the brightness of your photo, although they do so in different ways. In other words, each brings its own “side effects” to an image. So, it’s a bit of an art to know exactly how to balance all three for a given photo.
1.    Shutter speed: The amount of time your camera sensor is exposed to the outside world while taking a picture. 
2.    Aperture: Represents a “pupil” in your lens that can open and close to let in different amounts of light. 
3.    ISO: Technically a bit more complex behind the scenes, but similar to the sensitivity of film for taking pictures in different lighting conditions. Also similar to brightening or darkening a photo in post-processing.
 
The purpose of photography can vary depending on what the photographer is trying to achieve. For example, documentary and news photographers capture images for the purpose of providing detailed account of actual events, while hobbyist photographers aim to capture life moments with their families and friends. There are many different types of photography, such as landscape, macro, wildlife, portrait, documentary, fashion, travel and event photography. A great photograph should have good light, subject, and composition – the three elements that matter the most in photography. The photographer should have a strong vision, then express it in the most effective way possible. In photography, the technical and the creative go hand in hand.

As Ansel Adams said “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.” If the idea behind a photo is weak, using the right camera settings won’t make it better.

By-
Aritri Ghosh
Amity University, Kolkata
 

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