fundamentals of photography module

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    AUGUST 2014

    AUTHORAuthors: Skaidrite Bukbrde, arko imar, Antra Skina, Ivan Stojilovi.Partners: Telecentre Europe, DemNet, Fundatia EOS - Educating for An Open Society, IAN, Telecentar, LIKTA, Langas ateit, Fundacin Esplai.Coordination of the content development: Alba Agull

    GRAPHIC DESIGN AND DESIGNFundacin Esplai ( & Niugrfic (

    UNDER CREATIVE COMMONSAttribution - NonCommercial - CompartieIgual (by-nc-sa)



    LEGAL NOTICEThis project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

  • Index 1 FUNDAMENTALS OFPHOTOGRAPHY MODULE1.1 Introduction P.4 1.2 Visual communication P.4

    1.2.1 What is a photograph?1.2.2 History1.2.3 The significance of

    photos1.2.4 The role and use of

    images1.2.5 To be at the right time, at the

    right place Press photography1.2.6 The photo as an

    objective tool1.2.7 Computerised image1.2.8 Multimedia

    1.3 Image composition P.81.3.1 The Rule of Thirds1.3.2 Lines1.3.3 Framing1.3.4 Background and image depth1.3.5 Symmetry, patterns and Rule of

    Odds1.3.6 View in different angles1.3.7 Lets make experiments

    1.4 DSLR camera P.121.4.1 Lens1.4.2 Viewfinder1.4.3 Aperture 1.4.4 Memory card1.4.5 Battery

    1.5 Camera Exposure P.151.5.1 Automatic exposure1.5.2 Scene presets1.5.3 Manual and automatic modes1.5.4 Manual exposure1.5.5 Cameras controls

    1.6 Colour control P.211.6.1 White balance1.6.2 Saturation1.6.3 Colour processing

    1.7 Light P.221.7.1 Natural light1.7.2 Studio light1.7.3 Flashlight

    1.8 Photography projects P.251.8.1 When does one become a good

    photographer?1.8.2 Portraits people in the pictures

    1.8.3 Landscape photography, or the beauty of the world in a single photo

    1.8.4 Event photography, or how to capture a never returning mo-ment

    1.8.5 Street photography, or when the theme is out in the street

    1.8.6 Sports photography for beginners

    1.8.7 Building photography, or houses we live in

    1.8.8 Photo processing, post-produc-tion

    1.8.9 Finally, what should I do with my photos?

    1.9 Image editing P.331.9.1 Cut and resize1.9.2 Exposure & color1.9.3 Color1.9.4 Image formats

    1.10 Activities P.38

    1.11 Bibliography P.40


    1.1 Introduction

    The sight is the most important human sense, at least the one that we give more value. Generally, humans perceive what is around them by processing images. That is why since the beginning of human consciousness we have tried to capture what we see to retain it and be able to see it again.

    Photography appears to solve that necessity and through the years it has become an important communication and artis-tic tool. A picture is worth a thousand words. We can explain everything better with image because it is a faithful reproduction from reality.

    Along the decades we've perfected the skills and the technique of photography and, thanks to science, creativity and investiga-tion, we've got colour, better resolution and a easier way to take pictures since nowadays when everybody have a camera in our cell phones.

    But what skills distinguish a common picture from a good picture?

    Everyone can take a picture but not everyone can take a good picture. Where is the difference?

    Obviously the pictures content is important but the way that you capture that content has the same or more importance than the content itself. There are rules, and these rules are there to be learned.

    In this module we're going to explain the essential content to became a good photographer and make yourself proud of your pictures whether portraits, landscapes, models or whatever you want.

    1.2 Visual communication

    1.2.1 What is a photograph?A photograph is the (negative) image of a person or a thing print-ed onto photosensitive paper; it is the product of an optical and chemical process.

    The name originates from the Greek words phos (light), and graphis (graphic), which together make drawing with light or light-sketch.


    1.2.2 HistoryEven in the Stone Age, people attempted to document specific moments, objects or things. An example is the 20 thousand-year-old buffalo sketch on the wall of the Altamira cave in Spain. These works of art were mostly created for religious reasons or were used as warning signs, memorials. Then, with the appearance of writing (2nd millenary BC.) a stronger cause-effect relation occu-rred in relation to the creation of paintings. Later, in the Renais-sance age, aesthetics became important.

    The turning point occurred in the middle of the 19th century, with technical images which already were, practically speaking, pro-ductions of photography. Here the physical relationship between image and its maker became evident. The photograph served as a real evidence of a once existing person, object, or an event. At first, there was an effort to make photos with the look of paintings, then the differences between photos and paintings were recogni-sed, and the aim had become to achieve a photographic effect.

    1.2.3 The significance of photosThe significance of photos is hardly debatable in our age. Their absence would certainly make a difference, as they are practi-cally present in every field of our daily life. They have become an integral part of our routine. Try to picture a newspaper without photos or an internet portal without photographs

    The influential conservative German daily paper called Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which has been published since 1949, was selected as the third best newspaper of the world in an internatio-nal survey at the millennium (following Financial Times and New York Times). The paper was, however, only published in black-an-white until 2007, and it very rarely featured a picture on its cover.

    After 2007, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, as a reaction to the challenges of the market, significantly reshaped its appearan-ce; coloured photos and modern font have been used in it since.


    1.2.4 The role and use of imagesJust like linguistic symbols, other social and visual signs are also part of the communication environment that surrounds social hu-man life. It would be hard to think of an age or a culture in which pictures did not have a role in social life; they were always used in religion, art, ideologies or communication, or just like today they were also daily commodities.

    The most famous work of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is Mona Lisa.

    This is one of the most perfect female portraits in which the strict discipline of the triangular composition is resol-ved by the imaginary landscape fa-ding into mist in the background. The half serene, half stern facial expres-sion is made lifelike by the delicate effects of light and shade.

    It is only possible to make credible statements about the use of photo-graphs if one is familiar with its func-tions. Based on the practice of photo research, we see that other than its

    function to attract attention, it has the role to call for contempla-tion or to give pleasure. The artistic works of photography inspire meditation, whereas photos in newspapers meant for mass con-sumption are only intended for one viewing. Furthermore, there are pictures for private use with their relevant functions.

    1.2.5 To be at the right time, at the right place Press photographyPress photography is about press news photos meant for the public. Its aim is to give information, to report on something or to introduce social, political, business, cultural or art life. Its other goal is to give quick visual information for daily use which can be perceived and interpreted in a moment. Press photography considers the meaning of images and image use with the mind-set of a sociologist, knowing that the interpretation of pictures depends on the aspects of those who participate in using and understanding the picture, and who ascribe meaning to it.

    All of us can recall such well-known press photos, image icons which, in the eyes of the geographically, cultu-rally distant beholder became iden-tical with the event; and the pictures themselves represent the whole event. These photos were published in daily press, in their own news context, and the same pictures seen in retrospect have become historical documents of their age.

    A photo of a euphoric moment at the opening of the Austrian-Hungarian bor-der in 1989.


    1.2.6 The photo as an objective toolThrough the years, photography has been applied in various fields. From hundreds of thousands of amateur photographers who preserved memories and impressions with their cameras, it is worth remembering the photographers of magazines, and the pictures taken by them.

    The Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung alone comes out in 2 million co-pies every week. The very existence of magazines is based on the opportunities offered by photographs. By today, a certain form of image reportage has developed, which reports on events brie-fly and comprehensively. One look is enough for us to grasp the