Are you one of those who cannot take your eyes off an object of beauty? Does capturing an image or a rare moment fascinate you? Then, you are cut out for photography. Want to explore this fine art that combines skill and technology? Does the world of capturing images excite you? Read on to explore photography in all its depth and beauty.
Introduction to Photography
a. What is Photography
So, how does one define photography? Rather than take a protracted technical definition, let us get it down in simple and easy-to-understand terms:
It can be defined as the method of creating images of an object (animate or inanimate) with the use of light and applications such as image sensors, electromagnetic radiation or through other means such as chemicals.
b. History of Photography
Having understood what are the basics of photography, isn’t it interesting to explore photography history? It may surprise many that the earliest knowledge of light passing through a hole to form an inverted image on a surface opposite to it was known to Aristotle!
Although there were a series of attempts at gaining a greater understanding of this phenomenon through the medieval times, the most prominent refinement of the art of capturing images can be said to be the one made by the Frenchman, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. His piece, the Nicéphore heliograph, is considered the first authentic signal shift in what led to photography as it know it now. This was in the year 1839.
The efforts of several scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators helped photography improve by leaps and bounds over the years. The list of people here include Daguerre (who worked with Nicéphore), Hippolyte Bayard, William Henry Fox Talbot, John Herschell, Hippolyte Fizeau, Abel Niépce de Saint-Victor, Scott Archer, Richard Maddox and Charles Bennet, Georges Eastman, Gabriel Lippmann, the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, and R. Fisher.
Types of Photography And How to Decide Which Niche is Better For One
These are some of the more popular photography types:
Landscape: A very well-known one among the photography types, this is the kind of images we see of landscapes, seascapes and urban areas, or what are called cityscapes.
Nature: For many adventurers, the temptation of packing up their bags and leaving to the Himalayas or the Amazon, or Kilimanjaro or the Niagara and taking photography pictures is too strong to resist.
Portrait: Undoubtedly, we are yet to give up our obsession for filming our beloved ones or famous people.
Well, if the adrenaline levels of sportsmen is high when they are performing, so is that of the photographer who wants to capture photography images of a special moment, a display of sporting genius, trick or emotion, and pin it down for history.
Architecture: The wonder of capturing well-known pieces of architecture.
Types of Cameras
Does the camera play an important role in the photograph? This is as elementary as asking if the type of car you drive has a role to play in your journey. A brief understanding of the kinds or types of cameras may help you decide this:
Again, this list is not the most complete one. This is a mention of just the most prominent types of cameras:
Compact Digital Cameras
One can understand the working of a compact digital camera by referring to another of its names: point and shoot camera. All that you need to do is point and click the shutter, and you are done.
Advantages and disadvantages of compact digital cameras
Let us now understand some of the advantages and disadvantages of the compact digital camera.
- Sharper print quality
- A handy flash
- Underwater use
- New generation point and shoot cameras have advanced features such as face detection, GPS for easy tracking, and even smile detection.
- Photo quality leaves a lot to be desired
- Keeping the touchscreen steady while focusing can be a challenge with some models
- Gaudy controls
For what kind of photography are compact digital cameras suited?
With their small sensors, compact digital cameras are best suited for small uses. We can think of weddings, family or group occasions. It is often the most recommended camera for beginners. Compact digital cameras are not recommended for professional use.
Digital SLR Cameras
A popular kind of camera, the digital single lens reflex camera is known for the sharpness of the images it delivers. It is for the more serious or professional photographers because of its ability to deliver high resolution pictures with a host of improvements such as better sensors, choice of settings and lenses that you can exchange to improve the vision.
Advantages and disadvantages of DSLR cameras
DSLR cameras, like all other such equipment, come with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Let us examine a few of these:
- Super quality of the photo
- Better sensitivity to light: A DSLR can adjust to poor lighting conditions far better than point and shoot cameras
- No see-through camera hole: The user can focus on the picture through the lens, as if it were her own eyes, instead of through a refracted hole.
- Well-suited for high action events such as sports
- All-weather cameras: Suited for almost any weather condition.
Disadvantages of a DSLR camera
- Exorbitant cost of owning and maintaining
- Tests the user’s patience
- Limited uses
For whom is a DSLR camera suited?
A DSLR camera is better suited for those who want to make a career in photography and those whose interest in photography goes beyond the basic. A DSLR camera is a great equipment to have for wildlife outings, events, sporting action and so on.
Leading Digital Camera Brands
Taken together, these are the top five players in the global market for digital cameras:
At its simplest, a mirrorless camera is a digital camera that does not require a mirror for reflecting the image into the viewfinder.
Advantages and disadvantages of mirrorless cameras
Brings newer technology
Disadvantages of mirrorless cameras
- The sensor is exposed
- The electronic viewfinder is far from perfect
- Short battery life
For whom are mirrorless cameras suited?
Mirrorless cameras are seen as an improvement on the DSLR, at least on some counts. One can safety put the mirrorless camera to almost the same uses as one would put the DSLR.
Want to capture some real action like an animal in full flow, a sports event or a natural disaster? Then, an action camera is what you need. Action cameras, as can be expected, come with wider angles and are suited for almost any environment.
Action cameras top brands
No discussion of action cameras is complete without a mention of the GoPro and its various brands. This has been the market leader by a mile, and is followed by DJI Osmo Action, SJCAM SJ8 Pro, Sony RX0 II, YI 4K+, TomTom Bandit Action Camera, Olympus TG Tracker Action Camera and other players.
For whom are action cameras suited?
Just repeating what was mentioned earlier: action cameras are needed where there is action that is out of the ordinary, of the type described above.
These are cameras that have a wider view than traditional cameras, because of which they offer a much wider and more comprehensive view.
Advantages and disadvantages of 360 cameras
- The foremost advantage of a 360 camera is that it facilitates virtual reality.
- However, the downside of 360 photography is that it is not suited for all purposes.
Where are 360 cameras suited?
As can be expected, 360 cameras are a great tool to have for taking nature photographs, of locations such as the sea, for instance.
Top brands of 360 cameras in 2018
The market for 360 cameras again is a very competitive one with no one clear, undisputed leader perched at the top. With new introductions and a host of innovations, big or small, the leadership position in this market keeps shifting from time to time.
An analysis of the top 360 camera brands can be had here.
Considered among the most advanced of cameras, film cameras are built for making videos or films. They are more sophisticated, with the ability to deliver a range of features.
Advantages and disadvantages of film cameras
- Extremely high resolution
- Terrific range
Disadvantages of film cameras
- Use is limited to the truly professional cameraman in movies
Where are film cameras used?
Simple: in making films. As noted elsewhere, film cameras are suited for a specific use-of making movies.
As of early 2017, according to Time, the top five film camera brands were:
- Pentax K1000
- Leica M6
- Minolta Hi Matic Af2
- Contax T3
- Mamiya RZ67 Pro II
Let us conclude this section on a very useful hint of how to hold your camera!
Types of Gears and Accessories
Imagine being a photographer who wants to pack off for a few days to capture the most captivating photos of a location in the Andes. What if you realized that there was one vital supply you needed, but was missing? Consider these among the types of gears and accessories you need to keep your camera in an excellent working condition:
The tripod: Used to mount the camera for any kind of shoot, be it indoors or outdoors.
Flash: Needed when the inbuilt flash is not all that effective.
Spare batteries: These are like the stepney for your car tires.
Remote shutter releaser: This is necessary to help you adjust the shutter without having to be there.
SD memory cards: It is necessary to back up your photos with an extra drive like SD memory cards.
- Is this a career that is suited for my tastes and aptitudes?
- Can photography be a career?
- Are photographers in demand?
- How can a beginner photographer make money?
- How do I keep myself abreast of the latest technologies and updates in the industry?
- How can I teach myself photography?
- Press photographer
- Graphic designer
- Television camera operator
- Medical illustrator
- Magazine features editor
- Flexibility and freedom of work
- The chance to mix with well-known people
- The harder you work, the more you earn
- No fixed income
- Erratic schedules
- Requires sacrificing family time at times
- The pay
- The opportunity to be seen with celebrities and world leaders
- The sheer adventure of capturing a historic event
Use: Enables the photographer to shoot a photo without having to hold the camera in the hand.
Use: Adds light to a scene.
Camera bag: Where else are you going to stock the (often) bulky equipment, especially when you are on the move?
Use: To keep the camera and all its accessories in one place.
Use: Obviously, spare batteries help to prolong your photography shoot.
Use: There could arise situations where the photographer would need to take a photo shot without having to touch the camera. The remote shutter release does this.
Use: Being a storage device, it is similar to the memory cards we have in mobile phones for storing data.
How to Get Started in Photography
An obvious question that comes to mind is: “how do I start photography?” What does photography for beginners entail?
Understanding the basics and the ways in which the camera works is a very important aspect of a career in photography. The camera is the centerpiece of the cameraman’s life in this profession. Let us take a look at some of the basic elements of a camera:
Shutter speed: The speed of the shutter is an indicator of the duration of time for which the shutter is open to allow light into the camera. The higher the speed, the more the light that the shutter allows into the camera for each frame.
Importance of shutter speed in photography: In an art like photography, a difference of a fraction of a second can determine the quality of the picture. Getting the shutter speed right is a critical component in helping to get here.
ISO: Also called ASA, the ISO is the measure of how sensitive the camera’s sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the greater the brightness.
Aperture: In simple terms, this is the width or size of the opening that the camera allows into the lens, so that you can adjust just how much light falls into the lens.
Importance of aperture to the camera: Considered one of the three fundamental concepts of photography-the other two being the ISO and shutter speed, aperture controls the amount of light reaching the camera sensor.
Frames: Frames per second, as the name suggests, is the number of frames recorded per second of video.
White balance: Measured in Kelvin, the white balance is the way the camera measures light to give color temperature to the photo or video.
Importance of white balance to photography: The importance of white balance to photography is that it sets the color temperature in the light of the scene right.
How to Take Sharp Pictures and Come Up with Photography Ideas
Well, let us examine a few photography tips:
Lowering ISO: Lowering the ISO reduce unnecessary brightness into the picture.
Tuning the aperture to its sharpest: To put in the layman’s terms, tuning the aperture to its sharpest simply allows you to make a balance between the sharpness of the picture and its surrounding.
Using mirror lockup: This is a hack that helps you reduce the vibration, which mostly occurs in front of the sensor.
Keeping the tripod (if using one) firmly rooted: If it is not firmly rooted, the result can be anywhere from hilarious to disastrous.
Increasing the shutter speed: The simple reason for which this needs to be done is that the shutter, when kept at a high speed, is less prone to movement and is more stable.
Keep your own body steady! Maybe this sounds funny, but think of it: your body is a major constituent of your work. A lot depends on how you are positioned.
Ideas for Photographs
An idea for a photograph can come out of simply anywhere. On the road, in the bus, while seeing the rain, while witnessing a demonstration against the government, while seeing a person eating strangely…there are innumerable occasions and situations in which one can get ideas for photography. Some, taken at the spur of the moment, go on to become memorable and even iconic.
How to Be a Professional Outdoor/Nature Photographer + Certifications in Photography
Learn the skill from an experienced pro
Choose the right equipment
Be prepared for the risks in it
Work with the right agencies.
Certifications/Qualifications in Photography
When considering making a move towards photography, many questions are likely to crop up in your mind, such as: Do you need a degree to be a photographer? How can I become a photographer without a degree? What education do you need to become a photographer?
Photography a mix of academics and skill. It is a human activity that requires a mix of both learning and practical skills.
Top US colleges that offer courses in photography
California Institute of the Arts (CALARTS)
College of Art and Design at Rochester Institute of Technology
School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s department for photography
The Department of Arts at University of New Mexico
Other Courses in Photography
In addition to the regular degrees, in photography, as in any other discipline, there are also certifications and accreditations. The Australian Institute of Professional Photography describes an accredited photographer as one who is not exactly as fulltime professional photographer, but is one who has understood the practices of the profession as set out by an accreditation or certification agency and adheres to them rigorously.
What Jobs Can I Get With Photography?
Some of the jobs people who take up these certifications and accreditations include:
Online Courses in Photography
A few online knowledge platforms such as Simpliv. The medium is different here, as is self-explanatory. Learners can enroll for these courses and study flexibly, at their own time and pace.
How Do I Start My Own Photography Business?
In a sense, starting a business in photography is like starting any other business. It requires passion, a market, the interest, resources and skillsets. With regard to starting an own photography business, be prepared for these:
Here is our list of some of the forums for photography that could interest you:
How much should one value tutorials as a means for learning the finer aspects of photography? There are many benefits to be had from joining photography tutorials. The most obvious of these is that tutorials are a wonderful means to learn technique-oriented skills, and photography is one of them.
Digital Photography Review (DPReview)
Ways Through Which One Can Make Money with Photography
Finally, is it worth pursuing photography? Does it pay to be a photographer? Do photographers make good money? The answer is yes and no.
Fulltime photography jobs
In the US, it is estimated that photographers make anywhere between $19,500 for entry level photographers and $80,000 for highly sought after, experienced ones. Agreed, this is too wide a margin, but that should give some idea of what it takes to pursue this profession and grow in it.
Magazines relating areas such as tourism, sports, wildlife, lifestyle, entertainment, urban planning, construction, and so on are among the prime employers for photographers.
Factors to consider when choosing photography as a fulltime job
Like you would take a call about choosing just any profession, in photography too, there are many factors to consider if you want to decide whether it is fit for you as a fulltime job:
If you are a person who wants to test the waters in photography and then take a leap at the appropriate time, you could consider freelance photography as an option.
It takes persistent work and discipline. You need to connect with the right people, match their expectations, be active at promoting your skills at the right fora, own the best equipment, and be patient. Having a website of your own is like a digital showcase of your work. So, it is certainly a profile enhancer.
Will Smartphone Photography End the Market for Cameras?
In the case of digital photography, going by the latest trends, all the leading players-Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm and Olympus- have reported a decline in their market share for digital cameras in their latest reports.
With the global market for smartphones pegged at a monstrous 1.56 billion units a year-a fifth of the total population on earth-there is some panic that smartphones will become the camera of the future, and that anyone who has a smartphone can become a photographer.
But it is too early to ring the alarm bells yet. For the entire estimated market to be fully equipped with a smartphone that has a camera of such a level of advancement that can totally replace the use for cameras is an onerous and long road ahead. It is going to take a good number of years till that happens, for sure. Are we too optimistic in making this prediction or are we bang on target? What do you think? Feel free to join us for a discussion!