Learn photography with me


Aspiring Novelist

I have been thinking of learning photography for a very long time (as a hobby ;) The goal is to learn to take (actually make) good photographs. And I think this is the right time to start, so I am here taking the very first step in learning photography.

I believe sharing my view and discussing about the same would make this journey enjoyable and useful. I invite anyone who wants to learn photography with me and to offer any suggestion/advice they have with regards to photography. I will be very happy if there are many more like me actively participates in the discussion.

I wanted to start with the book I read and discuss the chapters and learn that way. But before that I would like to start from basics of photography.

First, we all need a camera. I have my compact camera Canon SX130 IS. Read your camera's user manual for better understanding of it. Don't worry if you have a compact or basic point and shoot camera. As of now, this the best camera you have to learn photography.

Will see you guys this weekend, we'll start basics then... :)

Understanding the basics
Introduction to exposure triangle Exercise Images
Depth of field (DOF) Exercise
Introduction to Metering
Introduction to white balance Exercise
Introduction to Histogram
How to hold your camera

Art of composition
1. Importance of visual skills Pt.2
2. The camera as a tool 3. Doing the exercises
4. Points

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Cyborg Agent
Well, I am eager to learn. But, I don't own a camera as of now. Will get it, ASAP.


Aspiring Novelist
I am glad you guys are interested in learning photography. :) Thinking of two or three topics a week until we cover the basics. What do you guys think? Is it too much for a beginner?? If so, we can stick with one topic a week.

Some of you guys may very well know about this basics. But please hang around here, you may pick up a thing or two which you haven't heard before.


I am referring this website to learn the basics.

Learning about Exposure - The Exposure Triangle
(Refer the link for more info)

There are three main elements that need to be considered when playing around with exposure by calling them ‘the exposure triangle’.

Each of the three aspects of the triangle relate to light and how it enters and interacts with the camera.

The three elements are:

ISO – the measure of a digital camera sensor’s sensitivity to light
Aperture – the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken
Shutter Speed – the amount of time that the shutter is open

It is at the intersection of these three elements that an image’s exposure is worked out.

Most importantly – a change in one of the elements will impact the others. This means that you can never really isolate just one of the elements alone but always need to have the others in the back of your mind.

Metaphor for understanding the digital photography exposure triangle:

Imagine your camera is like a window with shutters that open and close.

Aperture is the size of the window. If it’s bigger more light gets through and the room is brighter.

Shutter Speed is the amount of time that the shutters of the window are open. The longer you leave them open the more that comes in.

Now imagine that you’re inside the room and are wearing sunglasses (hopefully this isn’t too much of a stretch). Your eyes become desensitized to the light that comes in (it’s like a low ISO).

There are a number of ways of increasing the amount of light in the room (or at least how much it seems that there is. You could increase the time that the shutters are open (decrease shutter speed), you could increase the size of the window (increase aperture) or you could take off your sunglasses (make the ISO larger).

Mastering the art of exposure is something that takes a lot of practice. In many ways it’s a juggling act and even the most experienced photographers experiment and tweak their settings as they go. Keep in mind that changing each element not only impacts the exposure of the image but each one also has an impact upon other aspects of it (ie changing aperture changes depth of field, changing ISO changes the graininess of a shot and changing shutter speed impacts how motion is captured).

The great thing about digital cameras is that you can take as many shots as you like at no cost.


I am now thinking of what kind of exercise will help us to understand "exposure" well and good. I will try and come up with one. If you guys know something good, please drop your idea/opinion/suggestion as well. We can finalize the exercise later tonight. I guess all of us will be free on Sundays, we can do that exercise then...


These are nice tools to try your hands on exposure triangle.
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Grand Master
nice...the fun with photography is there is nothing fixed...all the settings are variable and effect the pic some way or other :)


Aspiring Novelist
With the help of google, this is what I can come up with...

Exercise 1: Shoot in aperture priority mode or manual mode. Start with wide open aperture and slowly stop down. Try to shoot as many as 6 exposures. If not possible with your camera, try and get at least two to get know the difference.

Exercise 2: Shoot in shutter priority mode or manual mode. Goal here is to capture a moving subject. From blurring to freezing the subject by adjusting shutter speed.

Note: Those who entry level point and shoot camera, please read this to get know how to trick your camera to certain extent and get what you want. Please don't post your earlier work. Photo shoot for this exercise won't take a long time and tomorrow is Sunday.


This is for a point and shoot camera.

@nac I tried exercise 1 with aperture priority mode for six f stops from 2.0 up to 8 with a landscape & a portrait with Auto ISO. But I really can't tell the difference unless I pixel peep, It gets very slightly blurry with lower aperture. Lower than 4.0 (Higher f numbers) the difference between snaps is too small to tell.
Of course the ISO increase & the images gets slightly noisier at higher apertures.


Aspiring Novelist
^ You bet... :)

With point and shoot camera, the difference will be very little and its even harder to see the difference with slow lens. I spent more time than I expected to do this exercise.

EX 1:

EX 2:


Aspiring Novelist
A quick topic... You might have read this when you read the previous chapter. I would like to cover it with an exercise before moving to the next topic.

Depth of Field (DOF)

Depth of field refers to the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp. It varies depending on camera type, aperture and focusing distance, although print size and viewing distance can also influence our perception of depth of field.

Large depth of field means that most of your image will be in focus whether it’s close to your camera or far away

Small (or shallow) depth of field means that only part of the image will be in focus and the rest will be fuzzy

Aperture has a big impact upon depth of field. Large aperture (remember it’s a smaller number) will decrease depth of field while small aperture (larger numbers) will give you larger depth of field.

It can be a little confusing at first but the way I remember it is that small numbers mean small DOF and large numbers mean large DOF.

Exercise: 3
a) A photograph which has shallow depth of field (eg: macro, portrait)
b) A photograph which has large depth of field (eg: landscape)


Some questions on DOF (only for a point and shoot camera).

Aperture has a big impact upon depth of field. Large aperture (remember it’s a smaller number) will decrease depth of field while small aperture (larger numbers) will give you larger depth of field.

For a landscape shot, F2.0 is sharper than / or the same as F4.0. Why is that ? Shouldn't 2. 0 focus on a smaller area ? 4.0 (smaller aperture) should give larger DOF & image must be sharper but it isn't.
This actually works a little better with a portrait (people close up shots), the background gets a very little out of focus @ F2.0 and it is most clearly observed with a macro shot.

Are there any recommended aperture values for landscapes, portraits ? Most of the recommendations on the net are for DSLRs, but F4.0 on a DSLR isn't the same as a 4.0 on a point and shoot, so is there some conversion formula?


Cyborg Agent
@OP : just a little tip/advice : list the topics in your first post hyperlinked to the respective post.. it will look more organized and it would be easier for a late starter..

@nac : which camera buddy ??

edit : didn't notice nac is the OP



Aspiring Novelist
You know PnS have deep DOF than DSLR, coz of this it seems f/2 is as sharp as (I don't think it could be sharper than f/4. But there are cases f/3.4 is sharper than f/8 because of diffraction) f/4. In my camera I will get very similar (you can even say same level of) sharpness if my subject distance is 1.5m or more and I am shooting @ wide angle. No matter what aperture I use, I will get half of this to infinity sharp. Now you know the reason for similar level of sharpness even @ wide open aperture.

I use CHDK DOF calculator to get to know what are the things will be in focus. You don't have CHDK for your S110, yet. DOF in built in S110??? If not, you can try this. But there is little discrepancy with CHDK values and values I get from this site. I don't know which one more accurate.

Online Depth of Field Calculator

Yes, when you are shooting @ wide angle, you may need your subject closer and keep the background far away to get at least little blur in the background when you shoot with PnS. But it works better with macro than portrait. Try shoot portrait @ tele, that will give better blur background and people use ~100mm or more for portrait for better result.

Are there any recommended aperture values for landscapes, portraits?

Since we (you and me) have compact camera (small sensor), even @ wide open aperture, we will get everything in focus (assuming we don't focus @ 1cm for landscape ;) After learning about diffraction, I try and avoid f/8 and all. I get soft images if I shoot @ f/8. Very few circumstances, I am pushed to use smaller/est aperture when I am focusing a bright subject like sun. It would be good if I have an option to use filters ;)

Use DOF calculator; use smallest aperture only when you have no other choice; Shoot portrait @ tele and landscape @ wide.

Yeah, I will do. But it's too early for that...

Thanks for the link. It didn't strike my mind. I will add this link in the first chapter post.


Thanks for the post & that link.

Now you know the reason for similar level of sharpness even @ wide open aperture.
I guess you could add this part to your tutorial post. Most of the lessons online don't mention this part.

Try shoot portrait @ tele, that will give better blur background and people use ~100mm or more for portrait for better result.
I almost never shoot portraits at tele. At 100mm aperture drops to 5.0 (depending on your camera) which means to compensate either increase the ISO (noise) or reduce shutter speed (blur) to compensate. Also @tele it is difficult to focus on the eyes.
I'll give it a try again & see how it works.


Aspiring Novelist
I guess you could add this part to your tutorial post. Most of the lessons online don't mention this part.

You guess so??? Will see... May be we can put it like "DID YOU KNOW" column along the way...

EX: 3


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