Call us for more information on online photography courses

DigitalMasterclass Blog Page


 

25th July 2015 - What are the Camera Basics of photography 

 Camera Basics
Exposure:
When making a photograph it is important that the scene is exposed accurately.  In short, if your exposure is incorrect you will lose quality in your final image.
If you do not let enough light into the camera (you under-expose) your photograph will appear dark and you will lose details in the shadow areas. Conversely, if you let in too much light (you over-expose) the photograph will appear very light and you will lose details in the brightest areas of the image (called the highlights). In either case you cannot bring back detail that is not there to start with.
There are basically three elements that control the amount of light that enters the camera: shutter speed, aperture, and sensor/film sensitivity (known as the ISO).
 
Shutter Speed:
This is the amount of time that the camera sensor or film is exposed to light. Camera shutter speeds can range from 1/8,000th of a second (or shorter) to 30 seconds or longer. Generally the more sophisticated the camera the greater the range of shutter speeds that are available.
Fast shutter speeds will freeze any motion in the scene, while slow shutter speeds will give the impression of movement to your photograph. Therefore if you are photographing a waterfall and use a fast shutter speed (say 1,000th of a second or shorter) you will freeze the movement of the water and capture individual drops suspended in the air. A slow shutter speed (1/15th of a second or longer) will allow the water to flow during the exposure and produce a soft fluid effect. Very long exposures (a second or more) will make the water appear almost mist-like.
 
Aperture:

This controls the volume of light entering the camera through a diaphragm in the lens. A series of aperture settings are called f/numbers, and typically run: f/2; 2.8; 4; 5.6; 8; 11; 16; etc. As you can see, the larger the f/number the smaller the size of the aperture.

The primary effect that aperture has on your image (besides regulating the volume of light entering the camera) is to regulate how much of your photograph is in focus. This is called 'depth of field' (or DOF).
 
Depth of Field (DOF):
Definition:The area in front of and behind a focused subject in which the photographed image appears sharp.
The zone of sharpness or DOF extends from 1/3rd in front of the point focused on, to 2/3rds behind it. In other words, you have twice as much DOF behind your point of focus than in front of it.
There are three main elements that will affect Depth of Field in a picture:
1. the lens opening (f/number): the smaller the f/number the shallower the zone of sharpness (DOF), and vice versa
2. the focal length of the lens: wide angle lenses appear to have a greater zone of sharpness than telephoto lenses, and vice versa
3. the distance from the lens to the subject: the nearer the subject is, the shallower the zone of sharpness and vice versa.
 
DOF can be used creatively in your photography. If you are taking a landscape you may want everything from the foreground to the distant horizon to be sharp. To achieve this you will need to use a small aperture (e.g. large f/number: f/11 or higher) and a wide angle lens.  If, on the other hand, you are taking a 'head and shoulders' portrait and would like to throw the background out of focus (to place emphasis on your model) you would need to use a wide aperture (e.g. small f/number: f/2.8 or so) with perhaps a telephoto lens.

ISO:

The higher the ISO number the more sensitive the camera is to light. If you are photographing in good light (e.g. on a sunny or bright day) you should aim to use an ISO setting of around 100 or 200. Indoors or during dull weather you may want to use ISO400 or higher. The disadvantage of using higher ISO settings is that the image becomes progressively more 'noisy', or takes on a grainy appearance. However all is not lost as there are several excellent programs that can reduce the effects of noise in a photograph. Take a look at Noise Ninja and Neat Image. Both of these programs can be used either as a 'stand-alone' or as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Elements.


17th February 2014- Five Types of Portrait Photography

Photographs are so much more than just images that capture a moment in time. They are an efficient way of expressing creativity. Portraiture is an ideal way to express a person’s mood and personality. Through innovative camera usage and good lighting you can create drama from any subject matter.
Portrait photography has five separate subcategories. These are candid, creative, gritty, nude and fashion.

Candid

Candid portraiture is defined as portrait photography without the prior knowledge of the subject. This is the surest way to capture the natural side of someone’s personality and by clicking the camera at unusual moments you’ll surely capture interesting facial reactions and amusing poses. 
This does require a certain amount of responsibility on behalf of the photographer. Simply publishing every shot is not the most acute way of capturing a subject.

Creative  

Creative photography is a more artistic manner of capturing images. This is achieved through different focus techniques incorporating elements such as angles, lighting and different lens. This experimentation allows photographers to capture more artistic images.

Gritty

Generally, most gritty portraits are captured through black and white photography. Models show different emotions to add drama to the photograph. Light is crucial in such photographs. It helps emphasise facial features and elements of the photograph that would otherwise be unremarkable.

Nude

Nude photography still has a risqué reputation. However, most photographers practicing this believe that the human body is one of the most interesting subject matters to photograph. Nude photography is celebrated by its artistic expression. It is not classed as nudism. If considering having a nude photograph taken then make sure this is conveyed to the photographer.

Fashion

As the name suggests this type of photography focuses more on clothing. The general purpose of fashion photography is to highlight the appeal of the clothes and therefore full length photography is preferred. Some fashion photographers do take close up shots to advertise certain aspects of the clothing and to highlight details. This has more in common with glamour photography as opposed to portraiture.
These are the five basic forms of portrait photography. All portraiture photography falls within these five basic types.

5th February 2014- How digital photography has changed the way that we view the world

The impact that digital photography has had on our lives cannot be ignored. Never before have we taken and shared so many images with friends, family and even strangers. The advent of digital photography has surely promoted this surge. The value of clear, vivid photography cannot be understated and has revolutionised many industries.

The Medical Industry

Those in the medical profession have profited greatly from the evolution of digital photography. The ease of storing and transferring digital imagery has allows patient data to be stored and forwarded to different locations with ease and simplicity.
Given that digital photography is without film there is no development waiting time. This is of tremendous use for x-rays and reference photographs. Indeed, a great number of endoscopic procedures conducted today simply wouldn’t be possible without digital photography.

The Online World

The universal impact of the internet is the single biggest societal change over the last two decades. Today the internet has grown exponentially and is the contemporary way to interact with our peers. Simply put, the internet is the most vital communication tool in the world. A large part of that communication is through the sharing of images.
 Facebook alone has estimated that it has over ten billion images. Not a single one of these would be available to view online without the advent of digital photography. The story of lives is shared through imagery.

Space Exploration

One of humanity’s greatest accomplishments is considered to be our voyage of discovery into space. As the decades have passed cutting-edge science has enabled humanity to do things that were originally thought impossible.
When the Mars Rover took such a voyage of discovery it was mounted with digital cameras that have helped shed light on a planet that was originally shrouded in mystery. Without the ability to process images as data and transmit them, our view of space would be very different.

Education

At every level of education digital photography has enhanced the interactivity of an educational experience. Given the fact that digital photography is relatively inexpensive as far as educational expenditure can be considered it’s attractive to educational funding bodies. Both digital photography and digital video can be conducted at home. Students can extend their creativity and even engage in interactivity across the globe.
As you can plainly see, digital photography has greatly enhanced a number of sectors across the world. Just take a moment and consider the impact it has had on society and they way that we communicate with one another.
The digital age is upon us. The way that we view the world has changed both through our eyes and through a camera lens.

29th January 2014- Four tips for improving smart phone pictures

Few can argue that once cameras were added to mobile devices our attitude towards the accessibility technology could provide changed. Suddenly mobile phones were converged with separate devices.
Today, the Nokia Lumia 1020 Windows Smartphone features a 41 megapixel camera. Many professional photographers now use Smart phones including one of National Geographic magazine’s full-time photographers, Stephen Alvarez. Yet, smart phones are being used by professionals and those with a keen eye for photography alike.
Here is a short list of five tips for those looking to improve the quality of their smart phone pictures.

Illuminate the Subject

As we all know, good photography is dependent on having the subject appropriately lit. How often have you taken photographs of your subject only to find that it appears (to some extent) shrouded in darkness? If possible use natural light and shoot outside. Artificial light can impact on the colour cast of your shots. Of course, smart phones do have a flash feature but, wherever possible it’s advised that you take pictures with natural light present.

Don’t let your hands wobble

As with all photography, keeping the camera focused and still is paramount. Should you find fail to keep the device perfectly still you run the risk of taking a blurred image. Given that, generally speaking, smart phones are of a smaller size than cameras and may be more difficult to balance at the right angle for your photograph it’s important to have a firm grip on ant device.
Also bear in mind that many camera phones have a much slower shutter speed. There will be a slight delay between the time that you press capture to the time that the image is taken. You will need to hold the device in position a little longer to incorporate this delay.

Remember to experiment

As with all photography it’s important to experiment – and to have fun. The beauty of camera phones (and indeed all forms of digital photography) is that you have the opportunity to take an infinite number of photographs in very quick succession. This allows you to experiment with angles, light and composition without discarding those photographs that you don’t need.

Give due consideration to the composition

Anyone with designs on capturing those images perfectly portray the emotion of the situation will need to have some understanding of composition. However, the beauty of the camera phone is that it allows you break convention.
Photography that has an impact is photography that immediately grabs your attention. This can be done with unusual angles. Capture images from high and low heights, at an angle, or even upside down. A little experimentation may reap the rewards.

14th January 2014- Four ways to improve your photography

Creativity is paramount for artists. That creativity allows you the freedom to truly express yourself. Whether you’re a photographer, sculpture artist or use oil paints to fill a blank canvas your creativity is what drives you forward.
On occasion those creative juices do become stifled for whatever reason. Whether you’ve a tendency to over-complicate your intentions, or if the creative perspective has become distorted, it can be difficult to truly say what you want. This is true of all forms of artistic expression, and no more so than for photographers.
Here’s a collection of tips that anyone can use for those moments when, for whatever reason, you’re struggling to get that image that says what you want it to.

Take a Fresh Approach

The definition of insanity is repeating the same action, expecting different results. Whereas consistent trying can hardly be perceived as insane, sometimes you need to take a step back to find a solution. If you’re photography feels stale then take a fresh approach.
Why not experiment with different camera angles that you haven’t before. Get out of your comfort zone. If you’re shooting portraiture then try shooting from a high vantage point. If you’re shooting nature then consider shooting very low to the ground. Play with angles and light, you never know, you may have an epiphany!

Take your camera everywhere you go

You never know when inspiration may strike. By carrying your camera everywhere you go you’ll be prepared for that exact moment when inspiration strikes. Carrying your camera is an instant way to put your senses on high alert. You’ll find that you slow down and really look at the world around you. Try this for a short period of time – you may be surprised with the results! Why not choose to photograph everyday or mundane objects or moments that you wouldn’t normally consider. There is beauty is almost everything and you’ll develop your creative eye too. As David Hockney said, ‘you must plan to be spontaneous.’

Never Stop Learning

No one knows everything there is to know about their chosen profession. Continued learning is the only way to hone your existing skills. Once you adopt this mindset, you will effectively quash any creative vision.
Always take a learning approach. If you close your mind to creative possibilities then your work will reflect this.
Shadow a photographer of considerable prowess
This is especially advised for anyone at the beginnings of their career as a photographer. Having a mentor in any profession, someone that can guide you on the right path from the outset is highly beneficial and advised. 
Build a relationship with an experienced professional. Offer to carry around their equipment whilst on location or help set up in the studio. You’ll find observing an experienced photographer is far more useful than merely reading about your profession. As with anything else, just get out and do it!
These are just four helpful tips for photographers of all experiences. By following these simple tips, you’ll be well on your way to capturing that image to be proud of.

18th December 2013

Let’s get this out of the way. Photography is a great hobby. Whether you’re a casual Smartphone photographer or someone who strolls across landscapes, digital camera in hand, searching for that perfect contextualised image there are few more creatively satisfying pursuits than capturing a moment in time.
Whether you’ve designs on shooting landscape or portraiture photography, meet like minded people, or make the most of what little spare time you have, taking a photography class is a great solution.

Photography is Fun!

There’s a reason why every single mobile phone is manufactured with a camera. Photography is fun. If you’ve never delved into a darkroom and developed your own images you don’t know what you’re missing. If you’ve never played around with Photoshop filters, creating a vivid and striking image then you don’t know what you’re missing! If you’ve never watched the sunrise and felt inspired to take your camera in hand then you don’t know what you’re missing!

Learn the basics and develop your passion 

A photography class will allow you to learn the basics and develop your eye for a striking visual imagery. It’s true that you can read about photography, how to compose the perfect image and any technical knowledge, but you don’t get any practical experience. Applying the knowledge that you’ve learnt is the fun part, and practice makes perfect.
By undertaking a photography class you’ll learn from those who’ve mastered their craft. Your tutor will be able to guide you and assist you in honing your craft. Take advantage of their knowledge and listen to the knowledge that they’re willing to pass on to you.

All photography classes will be well-equipped

Should you join a photography class you’ll have access to a wealth of equipment to assist you developing your craft. From darkrooms to photographic software all the required equipment will be open to you.
In addition these classes allow all students the opportunity to take time away from their daily lives and allow you to do what you want – take and develop photographs. Experimentation will be welcomed, just as traditional photography will be too.

It’s easy to learn a new skill with others around you

Learning in a classroom environment can be easier than learning on your own. Why? You have support all around you. This environment enables you to bounce creative ideas off fellow students, you never know, together you all may produce photographs that exceed even the wildest of expectations – as the old saying goes, two heads are better than one.
These are just some of the reasons why you should consider undertaking a photography class. Be inspired, do something creative, join a photography class today.


3rd December 2013

Congratulations to Steve Corcoran for winning and Si Hill, Warren Jones, Sam Driver and Ben Driver for being Highly Recommended in November's photography competition.

Well done everyone for all your entries, lots of great images. This months competition is possibly a bit festive.... or is it.

Go to our photography competition page to view the images, and then go to our Facebook page to join in.


26th November 2013

We are happy to announce that our new photography course, Basic Digital Photography is now live. The accreditation process is underway by Laser Learning and should be completed shortly.