Principles of Photography 101, Working with Light

nikon1_v2_blackWith breakthroughs in modern technology, it is becoming easier and easier for people to learn to take nice, quality pictures themselves. DSLR’s (Digital Single Lens Reflex) are available for affordable prices.

These cameras can keep up with the best of them when you have the right filters and lenses. In fact, you will see many professional photographers in Las Vegas using them on site.

The equipment alone cannot make you like the professional photographers in Las Vegas. Nor can it make you into an amateur photographer, because anyone can point and shoot—you ask a stranger on the street to do it all the time.

Image by Chris Diset

Image by Chris Diset

No, what makes you an amateur photographer is when you know a few basic principles that help you take the good shots—the way local Las Vegas photographers do it. This post will take you through the first important principle that will improve the quality of your photos.

You need to learn to manipulate light. This doesn’t just mean having your audience stand in the right spot.

In fact, that right spot can sometimes be extremely hard to find. Your equipment has something that can help you out in this regard.

There are two things you need to know how to manipulate in order to help some of the worst lit situations work just fine. The first is the shutter speed.

The shutter speed determines how long it will expose your camera’s sensor to the scene it’s capturing. You could make it open and shut in a matter of milliseconds.

Or you could choose to open it up for hours at a time. Quick shots are great for reducing the amount of light coming in at once.

In extremely bright situations, a quicker shutter speed will help you avoid wash out and overexposure. In darker locations, you want to extend the shutter speed so more light can be let in.

The longer the sensor is exposed, the more light will come into the picture, making the scene come to life. The only risk you run into with such low settings is blurring moving objects.

Image by Kerry Garrison

Image by Kerry Garrison

When you keep a shutter open for 7 hours pointing at the night sky, the picture will show the stars as swirling curves. It’s a beautiful thing for that setting.

It is less beautiful when you leave your shutter open for 15 seconds and someone in the picture starts scratching their belly. The hand and body blur, making the picture almost useless.

The second function of the camera is the aperture. This is the hole in front of the sensor that lets light pass through it.

The larger the hole, the more light it will let in. This setting is great for low-light situations.

The smaller the hole, the less light it will let in. This one is great for situations with a lot of light.

They are measured in f-stops. F-1 is the largest hole and it moves down the line to f32, the smallest hole.

Choose your f-stops and shutter speeds based on the amount of light available. This will have you taking amateur shots like a professional Las Vegas Photographer.

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