Photography is a fantastic profession and one that is attracting more and more hobby artists to it too. The skill needed to capture the right composition in a split second, or the artfulness of arranging a certain model, angle, lighting, and everything else is fascinating to people and it is no wonder so many of us practice it. But another aspect of the whole art is the technology behind it, focalized in the camera.
Many are very geeky about their equipment and like to brag about all the possible lenses and add-ons they have, while others will use cheaper equipment but rely on Photoshop or other programs to finish the job. Whatever group you fall into – everyone wants to get the best possible results with their camera first.
A camera, in essence, is any device that can capture an image. But speaking more realistically, a camera in a traditional sense is a boxed device with an aperture to let light in and a light-sensitive surface that can capture that same image. Digital cameras, the kind we mostly use today, differ by storing the image in a digital format (rather than on a film or directly on paper like a Polaroid) though in principle they function the same way as traditional ones.
Light comes into the camera through an aperture and depending on how it is opened it can let through more or less light. It typically functions as a set of overlapping plates that slide one over another and so block or allow photons to enter. This can be used to focus on either the foreground or background of the scenery. The shutter can also be viewed as a kind of door that lets light pass, but instead of the strength of exposure, it determines the length of exposure. This duration is called shutter or exposure time. A very long exposure time can make a picture blurry as any motion during that time will come out as an object that moved across the image and so will be out of place.
Lenses are optical glasses that focus light coming from the subject towards the sensor inside the camera. The quality of lenses is critical to the quality of the camera and special care must be taken that they are not scratched or greasy before use.
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They usually come in two focal lengths – extra wide (great for sightseeing footage) and the telephoto lens (used for sports, for example).
Modern digital photography comes with many advantages compared to its classical ancestor. For one – it is much easier to store and view the finished product, no more need for a darkroom, hanging wet films, having to wait for it to dry, etc. In digital format, you can view it probably already on the camera itself and later on a larger PC screen for sure.
Also, it has become much easier to play with the photos after they have been taken.
It used to be a painstaking process of retouching, coloring, and adding lines all by hand on a very small surface, but now we have programs that do the work for us. Photoshop is the most famous example, although a very expensive one. A more down to earth and DIY approach is, for example, what we see at vfpresets.com/crush-lightroom-presets/.Toolkits like those can greatly boost your photo quality and let you do all the basic retouching actions you could need for amateur and semi-professional photography. Camera phones are the biggest impact this type of photography has bestowed upon us.
An easy to carry, all-in-one tool, they are usually already powered by a processor that can help you edit a photo the moment you take it and share it elsewhere. Even though looked down upon by many professionals it helps all us amateurs make interesting and artful content without a need for a studio, only with the help of one program.
For better results, it is still a good idea to use your camera as any professional would – on a tripod, with carefully planned out lighting and background and an exposure time adjusted to what the subject is. So you can get a photo that is of a superior quality that needs very little in the way of editing.
Compared to older times, being a photographer today is easier only because we have advanced to digital photography.
That is – the tools and techniques are still more or less the same, it is just that they are easily accessible on the web and we have a plethora of guides and helping hands online ready to come to our aid at a moment’s notice, to help us make the best possible photo we can.
What a time to be a photographer, eh?