Digital Photography Basics - let's start at the beginning

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Digital photography basics

"What is digital photography?"

related articles

Digital photography for beginners (contd.)

Top ten tips for taking digital photography

digital photography exposure

compose better photos

RAW versus JPEG

Digital versus film photography

And a voice said "let there be light"..........

digital photography basics from the beginning

Yep, photography is all about capturing and recording light (well, not quite all, but more on that in a moment), ... in fact the very word "photography" comes from the Greek words for "light" (fotos) and to write (grapho).When you take a photo you are literally "writing with light"

Using your camera to capture light in this way is known as exposure

What else apart from light? Well, it needs to be "in it to win it" - thats right, every photo has to have a subject and if you dont manage to frame your desired subject in your camera's viewfinder.... then you might just as well leave the power switch off or the lens cap on!

Framing your image in photography jargon is better known as composition.

Therefore all good photographers have what I call, excellent "COMPOSURE" - The perfect marriage of COMPosition and expOSURE that enables them to write their desired image in light. The rest as they say is "in the details."

click this link for a detailed look at how to optimize digital photography exposure

click this link for an article explaining how to compose better photos

So what exactly is digital photography?

When you take a photo with a digital camera, the camera's shutter mechanism is operated, allowing the light from the image as framed by the viewfinder to pass through the lens and be focussed onto the camera's image sensor.

The image sensor is divided into (millions of) light sensitive cells called pixels. The entire image is therefore subdivided into millions of tiny parcels of light - one for each pixel. Each parcel of light is made from a combination of the colors RED, GREEN and BLUE, each at a particular level of intensity - The image sensor electronically converts this data into a digital code which is then recorded by the camera's memory.

From this point, the coded data can be saved "as is" and sent directly to the the removable memory card - This type of image data is known as camera RAW format and has to be processed via a special programme in your computer before the image can be viewed, shared or printed (although it can be previewed on your camera's lcd screen). Alternatively the camera can process the RAW file "in camera" applying a range of image adjustments and compression of the data, so by the time it is saved on the memory card it already exists as a standard JPEG digital image.

Click on this link for an article about the pros and cons of shooting in RAW versus JPEG

So, I've taken my photos - what next?

So, I've taken my photo.... now what?

Having captured your image there are numerous options of what you can do next,

  • Review image on your camera lcd screen.
  • Download the image to your computer, or link your camera directly to a compatible printer (or in the case of a "smart phone" post your photo directly to your favorite website e.g. facebook)
  • Use your computer to edit or enhance your photo - this is called post processing.
  • Categorize, sort, relabel and make backup copies of your photos before digitally storing them.
  • share and display your best photos either in printed or digital form.
  • You may even wish to sell your photos either as prints or on-line.

All of these options are explained in more detail on digital photography basics (contd.)

Useful links from "digital photography basics"

go to JARGON BUSTER digital photography terms explained

I've taken my photo - what next? digital photography for beginners (contd.)

How to win a Pulitzer prize. Our top ten tips for taking digital photography

A detailed look at digital photography exposure

An article explaining how to compose better photos

The pros and cons of shooting in RAW versus JPEG

The relative merits of digital versus film photography

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