A lot of people get fascinated with photography because it is directly linked to all the beautiful things that we see in the world. We wish to capture these snapshots and share them with others as well as into the future. Many of the greats in photography have always talked about their cameras as being an extension of their own eye. In a sense, that is how we wish to perceive our cameras. However, unlike our own eyes that don’t require any semblance of tweaking, cameras are machines which we have to control. And because of this, in order to get the creative composition and control to take the picture, we have to understand the way our camera works, in and out, forewords and backwards and to the moon if that is required.
So if you have a camera, LEARN HOW IT WORKS. I can’t emphasize this enough. It is distressing to see people with professional quality equipment on automatic mode.
The first thing you need to learn is something called Exposure. In a sense, exposure is exactly what it sounds like. The camera opens up it’s shutter for a moment of time, the light travels through a hole and is captured by the sensor. Unlike our eyes, a camera only captures one exposure and the amount of light which the camera has captured is called the exposure. There are three ways that we can adjust for this exposure, and they are called Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO. You need to understand these three in and out. I won’t write out a tutorial on these three myself, because so many people have done so in such a better way than I ever could. But here is a graph and videos where you can get started.
Canon actually has a great video series which teaches you how to control these three settings and how they are used differently in different effects. You can find these videos and more taught by Chris Bay, an amazing and succinct teacher, at this site.
I actually watched these videos several times last year when I started getting into photography, and they are a great resource and worth every bit of time. Once you get these three key elements down, you can really start to understand how light works through these settings. Once you start to master exposure, you can really start to grasp more advanced techniques in MANUAL MODE.
However, you will not be able to spend a day learning these 3 components. You really need to get your hands on some projects and take some pictures yourself. By really experiencing the effects of changing exposure manually will you really start to become a better photographer. So get yourself out of automatic mode and switch over to manual. Taking control of exposure yourself is really the only way to take pictures.