Here are some online resources for budding photographers. I found these particularly helpful when I got my first camera, and all the more so when I got my DSLR. I hope you find them as helpful as I did.
I think the most important thing for any beginning photographer to understand is exposure, so they can capture the right amount of light. I suggest knowing how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are related and how they affect exposure. Understanding exposure also means you’ll be more able to take advantage of manual controls, faster lenses, ISO, and you’ll be able to eliminate camera shake.
- Learning about Exposure (Rowse). An introduction into the relationships between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO and how they affect the exposure of an image.
- Understanding Aperture (Norton). Try to memorize the full stop numbers for aperture, so you know when your shutter speed will become twice as fast. 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4… (Handy tip: The numbers are the square root of 2, that value squared, cubed, and so on.)
- Introduction to Aperture (Rowse). Some good examples of the effects of aperture on depth of field.
- Understanding Shutter Speed (Norton). Explains the relationship between shutter speed and exposure. (When the fraction is twice as large, the exposure doubles, or increases by one “stop.”)
- Introduction to Shutter Speed (Rowse). One of the most important things I learned from this is that the shutter speed denominator should be greater than the focal length (for example, shoot at least 1/60 with a 50mm lens) to avoid introducing camera shake, which is the motion of the camera from you holding it. It’s a simple rule, but helps tremendously in knowing if a photo will be presentable.
- Understanding ISO (Norton).
- ISO Settings (Rowse). In short, Doubling the ISO increases exposure by a full stop.
- Photography 101 by Neil Creek. At the beginning of this post is an index of all the topics topics covered, save for the one on the page. I particularly recommend:
- Equivalent Exposure (Norton). Make sure to read this once you understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. This post discusses the logical conclusion: how to manipulate two of the exposure features to maintain the same–hence “equivalent” exposure. For example, 1/100 at f/2.8 has the same exposure as 1/200 at f/2. Add in ISO and you’ve got a whole lot of options for achieving equivalent exposure. This should be required knowledge for all DSLR users.
Exposure isn’t everything. Here are a few links to help you create more interesting photos.
- Rule of Thirds. One of the most basic composition techniques: place horizontal and vertical lines dividing the picture into thirds and place the subject on an intersection. I found it very helpful when I was starting out. Still do, even though it’s been I’ve been a photographer for few years.
- Getting Horizons Horizontal. Another general rule. Also applies to vertical lines being vertical.