Beginners Guide to Photography and Light
A photo could last forever so we want to make the best one possible. Perhaps this New Year you can start taking better quality photographs. It is important to know some technical details to make a perfect composition and reading the light.
This is a quick jump start to understanding photography and some tips on how to make a good photo great.
Everyone seems to have a camera on-hand at all times. You have a cell phone in your pocket that you can adjust settings to in the camera itself. Perhaps you have a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, also more widely known as a DSLR, and these cameras offer even more settings and options when shooting. The first thing you need to do is grab a camera!
Knowing and seeing the light patterns will help to capture the moment at hand. Photography is all about the light and having a good image would suggest the image is neither too dark nor too bright.
If it is light outside you can simply use window light to capture your gaming images. More often than not I am gaming at night when it is dark outside and I would require additional light from a flash. This image is using window light and you can see by the soft shadows the light produces.
Using a flash properly will help make your photos pop with color and vibrancy. If using a DSLR, there should be an option to mount a flash to the top. If you have a detachable flash that is great! Whenever using a flash you never want to point the flash directly at the subject matter. The light source should bounce off the walls or ceiling onto the subject. If this is not an option you can also diffuse the light. For the flash on a DSLR that automatically pops up, you can use a white ping pong ball. Simply cut it in half and that can cover the flash pretty well. If you are using your cell phone, you can use some masking tape to help diffuse the harsh light.
Looking at an image, you want to distinguish a ‘true white’ and a ‘true black’. If you can do this than you will have a good contrast so the colors don’t look muted or muddy. Having appropriate contest will help your image stand out from the rest.The best tool for doing this is a histogram. You can find a histogram on a DSLR camera, or in a photo editing application for your computer, or phone app. If you have access to a histogram you want to have the perfect range of colors from the blackest black to the whitest white.
In the 3 images below, you can view the histogram on the top right hand side of the image. When the levels are more towards the left it means it is under exposed, when they are evenly placed with a left and right most level then it is an accurate exposure, and when it is mostly towards the right hand side then it is over-exposed.
Example of underexposure:
Example of over exposure:
Example of Proper exposure:
By taking the proper time to evaluate your images, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
Thanks for taking the time to learn a bit more about photography! We hope you found this useful.