Graphic Design,  Lifestyle



I got an SLR camera for my 21st Birthday and to be honest I didn’t use it much until I started blogging. I touched on Digital Photography at University however we focused more on being creative rather than the functions on the camera. With any camera, be it a Compact, Bridge or SLR there are numerous buttons and options at your finger tips to allow you to take the best photograph possible.

Since I take numerous photographs for my blog, it’s turned into a bit of a hobby. Alan has just recently decided to pursue a career in Sports Photography, we’re at a similar level with knowing how to take a good photograph but decided we needed to understand how to take advantage of what the camera can actually do. My dad is a keen photographer too, he’s always throwing around terms like shutter speeds, aperture, f-numbers, ‘You need to put the ISO up Steph’… It was time to learn the lingo.

The University of Gloucestershire offers a collection of short courses in the evenings, once a week over about 10 weeks. When I was struggling to join the ladder in my chosen career path, I attended several short courses including Adobe Creative Suite Intermediate Short Course, Introduction to Dreamweaver and Intermediate Web Design using Dreamweaver so everything I learnt at University stayed up-to-date and remained fresh in my head. This time round Alan and I were going to give the Introduction to Digital Photography a go.

We’ve been attending now for about 7 weeks and neither of us can believe how much we’ve learnt. Our tutor has related the learning of some of the techniques to learning to drive a car. It may take a while to get your head around but if you go out and practice it’ll soon become second nature.

If you are interested, below are some of the terminology we have learnt and what it means:

Shutter speed – the shutter speed is related to the fraction numbers on your camera. A fast shutter speed would be something like 1/2000, allowing you to freeze action. A slow shutter speed would be 1/30, allowing you to show movement in an image – for example if you took a photograph of a moving car on a slow shutter speed it would blur.

Exposure – if you allow too much light into the camera an image can become over-exposed. To compensate for this there is a control on your camera conveniently called ‘Exposure compensation’ which can be adjusted to get the correct exposure.

Aperture – the aperture is what controls the amount of light that goes through the lens. You do this by changing the f-number. A high f-number relates to a small aperture which will make everything in your photograph clear and in focus. A small f-number, which is a large aperture (a little confusing, I know) creates a shallow depth of field, allowing a clear subject with everything else out of focus. Really fun to experiment with.

ISO – the ISO is how sensitive your camera’s sensors are to light. Decreasing your ISO to say, 100 means it is less sensitive to light and vice-versa. It’s a great way of capturing your images without using a flash, that being said increasing your ISO can also make your image appear grainy.

White balance – there are preset white balance settings for you to adjust depending on your surroundings. For example cloudy skies can create a blue tint on your images, changing the white balance will help bring out the correct colourings.

Most digital cameras will have scene modes available to you, where they will automatically have the settings made up for you depending on whether you use the sports mode or the portrait mode. The Manual, Program, Shutter Priority and Aperture modes give you a lot more freedom to play with the settings above. Giving you more control over your final image.

This week we started looking at image manipulation using Adobe Photoshop, I like to think I know my way around Photoshop when it comes to design so it was great to play with some photography techniques that I hadn’t really explored before.

I’d definitely recommend giving a short course a go, it doesn’t take up too much of your time and you can almost pretend you’re reliving your Uni days again, but with less hungover people. You can find all the shorts courses here.


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