I'm not a photographer; but part of my role here at Kaarigar means that I have to take a lot of photographs - tweets, Instagram posts, product pictures, you name it. With this in mind, I thought it'd be smart to seek out some basic knowledge in the same way that you might memorize some common phrases before travelling abroad.
Here's a short list of terms I've learnt so far. I hope it helps you to get to know your camera a bit better.
- Shutter Speed
This refers to the length of time that the shutter of your camera is open. When the shutter's open, the sensors inside your camera take in the light from whatever you're aiming at.
Setting a fast shutter speed means the camera will take in very little light and you'll end up with a darker picture. However, a faster shutter speed will capture action shots with greater accuracy because the picture is taken before your subject has had a chance to move.
This refers to width of the opening inside your camera's lens. The wider the opening, the more light the lens allows in.
Setting a narrow aperture will result in a picture whose background appears just as clear as the focus point. The reverse is true for a wide aperture - the exact focus point will appear almost perfectly clear while the foreground and background will be quite blurry.
- Film Speed (ISO)
While shutter speed and aperture are universal terms, different manufacturers seem to have their own name for film speed. For instance, Nikon calls it ISO.
No matter what it's named, film speed refers to your camera's sensitivity to light. Setting a high film speed will result in a brighter, grainier picture. If you're aiming for the clearest picture, shoot at the lowest possible film speed.
As you may have guessed, light plays a critical role in photography. Whether you're using a professional-grade camera or point-and-shoot camera phone, take a moment to account for the light. This step alone will improve the quality of your pictures dramatically.