the dslr survival guide: a beginner's guide to surviving digital slr photography

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The DSLR Survival Guide: A Beginner\'s Guide to Surviving Digital SLR Photography - PDFDrive.comThe DSLR SURVIVAL GUIDE A Beginner’s Guide to Surviving
Digital SLR Photography
By: Blake Rudis
All Rights Reserved
Trademarks All terms mentioned in this book that are known to be trademarks or service marks have been appropriately capitalized. -Adobe® Photoshop CS 6®, Adobe® Camera Raw 7®, and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems, Inc. -photoFXlab™ is a trademark of Topaz Labs LLC. -Gimp© is a copyright of The Gimp Team. -Picasa™ is a trademark of Google, Inc. -Photomatix Pro ® is a registered trademark of HDRSoft. -Olympus® and Olympus Master 2® are registered trademarks of Olympus Imaging America Inc. -Canon® is a registered trademark of Canon Inc. -Nikon® is a registered trademark of Nikon Inc. -Altoids® is a registered trademark of Callard and Bowser. -Curiously Strong™ is a trademark of Callard and Bowser. -Macintosh® and Mac® are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.
Disclaimer, Copyright, &Warning There are a lot of colorful images in this book! It is best viewed on color
displays. If you own a device that is in black and white, I suggest downloading a Kindle Program for your personal computer.
This book is designed to provide information for photographers about the
basics of Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) Photography. Every effort has been made to make this book as complete and accurate as possible at the time it was written.
Keep in mind that every make and model of DSLR is different in their form,
function, and configuration. Your best reference for your personal DSLR will be your manufacturer’s guidance or Owner’s Manual. Refer to it often as you may have questions about the elements of DSLR photography being covered in this book.
All rights to this publication and the information contained herein are that of
the author, Blake Rudis. All images, figures, and diagrams are copyright of Blake Rudis. The written and visual contents may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way shape or form whether print or digital without exclusive permission from the author. You may contact Blake via email:
The information, views, and opinions contained within this book are that of
the author, Blake Rudis. Blake cannot be held legally liable for any damages you may incur from the information provided herein.
The DSLR Survival Guide is a product of Blake Rudis Photography LLC.
To my son,
Michael Benjamin Rudis
I wish you could see what I see when I look at you.
Watching you grow has been surreal, enlightening, and inspirational!
Continue to be the great little man that you are & approach life with
an open mind.
Fill your heart and spirit with integrity, compassion, & courage and you will overcome anything!
Table of Contents The DSLR SURVIVAL GUIDE A Beginner’s Guide to Surviving Digital SLR Photography Trademarks Disclaimer, Copyright, &Warning Table of Contents About The DSLR Survival Guide Chapter 1. The Composition Triangle
Framing Angle Perspective Composition Wrap Up
Chapter 2. Breaking Down the DSLR Camera Terminology Viewfinder Mode Live View Mode The Megapixel
Chapter 3. The Exposure Triangle Aperture Shutter Speed ISO Reciprocity
Chapter 4. Camera Capture Modes Auto Mode Scene Modes Art Modes Aperture Priority Mode Shutter Priority Mode Program Shift Mode
Manual Mode The Exposure Indicator
Exposure Compensation Auto Exposure Bracketing
Chapter 5. File Formats JPEG RAW JPEG, RAW and Teriyaki Bowls
Chapter 6. Focus & Metering Focusing Metering The Histogram Metering Modes Exposure & Focus Lock
Chapter 7. White Balance Built-In Camera Presets Setting a Custom White Balance
Chapter 8. Types of Lighting Ambient Lighting
Natural Light Suggestions for Photographing Subjects in Outdoor Lighting
Indoor Light Suggestions for Photographing Subjects in Indoor Lighting
Flash Flash Shooting Modes
Lens Type Focal Length Characteristics
Fixed Lens Zoom Lens Macro Lenses
Maximum Aperture Image Stabilization Crop Factor
Chapter 10. Gear Essentials A Camera Bag A Tripod Shutter Release Spare Batteries Flash Quality Lenses
Chapter 11. Post Processing Software What Should You Be Doing To Your Photographs?
Image Straightening Noise Reduction Highlight and Shadow Adjustment Curves Adjustment White Balance Adjustment Saturation Adjustment Image Sizing
Choosing Your Post Processing Software Beginner Level Intermediate Level Advanced Level
The Bottom Line Chapter 12. File Organization
Blake’s File Organization System
File Organization in Summary Chapter 13. Blake’s Concentric Circles of Importance in Photography
Composition File Format Aperture/Shutter Speed Metering Mode ISO/Flash Exposure Compensation White Balance Focusing Mode
Chapter 14. Introduction to HDR Photography Capturing Multiple Exposures for HDR Photography What to do With All of These Exposures?
Closing Thoughts Bonus Chapter. Building a Personal Survival Kit
What you will need Explanation of Items Building the Kit
About the Author More Instruction by Blake Rudis Black, White & Beyond: The Digital Zone System
About The DSLR Survival Guide The Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) world is extremely intimidating to
the absolute beginner. It is a world that can be difficult to venture into without the proper knowledge to survive.
Would you go into the wilderness alone without a survival guide or at least some survival awareness? Probably not! Why would you want to do the same with DSLR photography?
Let’s face it. There are a lot of elements to DSLR photography that are confusing and difficult to put together on your own. Reading your Owner’s Manual is very helpful, but the terms discussed within it can leave your head spinning in the direction of the purchase of a convenient, user friendly point and shoot camera.
Before you head down that road, I implore you to stick it out! There is a reason why DSLR’s are bigger and more convoluted than point and shoot cameras.
They produce amazing photographs that can have your friends gawking with their tongues hanging out of their mouths. All you need is a push in the right direction. All you need is The DSLR Survival Guide!
Contained within this guide is everything you need to know to venture out into the world of DSLR photography. It is designed to breakdown the communication barrier between you and the language of your DSLR. Once that barrier has been breached surviving your camera is a piece of cake!
There are four important things you should consider & keep in mind throughout this book.
1. It is designed for the BEGINNER! This book is designed for novice photographers. That is not to say an intermediate photographer may not find a trick or two in here either. However, you should keep in mind that it has been written for the DSLR photography novice.
Furthermore, I suggest that you not only take this book for face value, but that you expand your knowledge through other means. There are a lot of eBooks,
written publications, blogs and websites that will also help you through your DSLR adventure. It cannot and should not stop here!
2. Read your Owner’s Manual! After reading this book you will be sick of hearing that phrase. I reiterate it several times throughout each chapter. I do that for a reason.
There is a plethora of valuable information in your manual. I have read mine front to back at least 150 times. I take it with me wherever I take my camera to use as a quick reference guide.
On long plane rides I read my Owner’s Manual. It may sound strange, but this practice has broadened my horizons to the operation of my camera.
3. Practice yields perfection! You will not learn this DSLR stuff overnight. You may start to click with it after reading the information in this book or other DSLR resources. However, no amount of reading can beat practical hands-on experimentation. As you read through the chapters in this book, or any other publication for that matter, be sure to stop and refer back to your camera and Owner’s Manual. Experiment with the information you just read before moving on from chapter to chapter. There is a reason why practice is so critical.
The beauty of DSLR photography is that after the initial purchase of the camera and lenses, the pictures are free! You can snap as many as your heart desires without paying a dime for the pictures, until you want to print them of course. Use this to your advantage and practice, practice, practice!
4. I am not an Olympus or Canon guy! You may see many references to two specific cameras in this book, the Olympus E-30 and the Canon EOS 6D. I make reference to them often because I own them. I am not a specific “Canon” or “Olympus” guy, nor do I have some hatred toward Nikon.
The content shown in this guide will give you the knowledge you need to operate any camera as long as you own the camera’s manual to refer to as necessary.
Chapter 1. The Composition Triangle
I like to think of Composition as the most important element to the art of photography. That is why it is Chapter 1! Before you know anything about DSLR photography you should know how to compose a picture.
Anyone can be a camera technician and know the camera inside and out. However, knowing how to compose a photo will set you apart from the camera technicians and have you excelling amongst the crowd.
Composition in photography is how you frame the photo, the angle you take it from, and/or the perspective that is captured.
In cinema and theater there is a French phrase, “Mise En Scene”. It refers to the placement of the objects within the scene. If you pay attention to movies you may find certain objects strategically placed within the scene to enhance your viewing experience by conveying a certain mood.
While you may not be able to place the objects in the scene of a landscape photo, it is your job as the photographer to frame the photo in an interesting way that the objects within the frame create an interesting photograph.
There are three main points that embody composition in photography. They are Framing, Angle, and Perspective. These three points make up the Composition Triangle!
While all three may not be necessary for every photograph, using one or more will help to improve the composition of your photograph.
Figure 1 The Composition Triangle
Framing The first and most significant point of the Composition Triangle is
framing. The quickest way to becoming a better photographer is to pay particular attention to how you frame your subject.
There are 5 guidelines to follow when framing your subject in a photograph.
1. Use the Rule of Thirds.
2. Capture the geometry in the scene.
3. Be cognizant of the golden ratio.
4. Camera Orientation 5. Fill the Frame!
1. Use the Rule of Thirds. The first guideline for framing is the Rule of Thirds. Confused yet, the first
guideline is a rule?
The rule of thirds is a compositional framing technique that entails dividing the image into thirds horizontally and vertically.
Figure 2 The Rule of Thirds Based on the rule of thirds, you would place the main focal point on one of the intersection points of the division lines.
You would also place the most prominent horizontal on or near one of the horizontal division lines or the most prominent vertical on or near one of the vertical division lines.
The idea is to keep the main focal point, strong horizon lines, or strong vertical lines away from the center of the photo. When you place the focal point or subject in the dead center of the photograph it becomes too easily recognizable and does not allow the viewer’s mind to concentrate on the photo for very long. To put it harshly, centrally composed subjects typically make for a boring photograph.
Figure 3 The Rule of Thirds in use By following this simple guideline you will be creating more interesting and dramatic photographs. When the viewer sees a picture with a central focal point their mind immediately responds to what it is
and subconsciously moves on.
If the subject is off center, the viewer will look at the negative spaces around the focal point. This welcomes them to stay on the same photo for a longer period of time.
Figure 4 Another example of the Rule of Thirds Many cameras allow you to set the Rule of Thirds on your LCD screen to help you compose a picture while in Live View
Figure 5 The Rule of Thirds grid on the LCD screen of a camera As with all rules, there are exceptions. If the subject happens to be an area with very strong symmetry, it is acceptable and many times advantageous to have the focal point be the center of
the image. Sometimes the beauty is in the symmetry.
Figure 6 Symmetrical beauty, the exception to the Rule of Thirds
2. Capture the geometry in the scene. Math and Geometry is not everyone’s favorite subject. Luckily for those,
finding the geometry in a photo does not require any math! All you really have to do is look for obvious or implied shapes, rectangles, circles, triangles…etc.
Strong geometric compositions can make for very successful photographs. They can help the viewer’s eye travel around the photo navigating from focal point to focal point by way of obvious or implied shapes.
Think about the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci. Mona’s head and body form a strong triangular composition. Her face, shoulders, and hands encompass a diamond of main focal points.
Figure 7 The Mona Lisa sketch, I promise Blake is a good artist!
While you may not be a painter with the ability to paint a geometrical composition, you can still find shapes in any scene and use them to compose a more interesting photograph. Remember, these shapes can be obvious or implied!
Figure 8 Practical usage of implied geometry in a photograph
Figure 9 A strong triangular composition
3. Be cognizant of the golden spiral. The golden spiral, golden ratio, or Fibonacci Spiral, is a great compositional
tool used to make a dynamic photograph. Using the golden ratio requires you to compose the photo in such a way that some (or all) of the elements contained within it direct the viewer to, or near, the main focal point.
Figure 10 The Golden Ratio spiral
I suggest being cognizant of the golden spiral because it is not always possible to make it happen in every photo. The elements within the photo may not always lead to the main focal point in a spiraling manner.
However, when used successfully the golden spiral can be the most effective compositional tool to attract your viewer for a longer period of time.
Figure 11 Practical usage of the Golden Ratio, obvious
Figure 12 Practical usage of the Golden Ratio, implied
4. Camera Orientation Camera Orientation is the way in which you take the picture for presentation
purposes. There are two ways you can orient your camera when taking photographs.
Horizontal Orientation, also known as Landscape, is typically used for photographing strong horizontal scenes. It has been appropriately named “Landscape” as most landscape photographs are presented in a horizontal orientation.
Figure 13 Horizontal Orientation (Landscape) Vertical Orientation, also known as Portrait, is typically reserved for photographing people. When I think of a
portrait I often think back to the traditional renaissance paintings with the strong vertical orientation.
Figure 14 Vertical Orientation (Portrait) These two orientations are suitably named for their ideal use. However, they are not set in stone!
Experiment and use the portrait orientation for a landscape. Also, try using the landscape orientation for a portrait. You may be quite satisfied with the results.
Figure 15 A portrait in landscape orientation
Figure 16 A landscape in portrait orientation
5. Fill the Frame
Filling the frame requires you to get in a little closer to your subject. The idea is to fill the frame with your focal point. This is especially important if your focal point is more interesting than your background.
For instance, if you are photographing a portrait you may want to fill the entire frame with that persons face, or bust. However, if you are photographing a person in front of a skyline where the skyline is your focal point, then by all means fill the frame with the background.
There are two ways to fill the frame. You can either zoom the lens in closer to your subject or you can move a little closer to your subject. If your subject is far away zooming is probably the most viable option. However, if your subject is within walking distance I suggest moving closer to it.
They call this “zooming from the foot”. It means physically moving closer to your subject to fill the frame. Zooming from the foot will give you the sharpest image as your lens does not have to magnify the details by zooming.
This technique may not be the best idea with a wide angle lens as the lens at its lowest focal length when close up to people tends to create un-attractive distortion. Experiment with your equipment when zooming from the foot!
Figure 17 Not filling the frame with the focal point
Figure 18 Filling the frame with the focal point
Angle The second point of the Composition Triangle is Angle. The angle of the
camera, or the position, of the camera at the time of the exposure is an important contributing factor to a good composition.
As humans we see most everything from an average height of 5 to 6 feet. If you photograph everything from the average height you are missing out on a world of compositional possibilities.
I find the most interesting photographs are taken from a clever camera angle. Everyday ordinary objects can look incredible if taken from a creative angle. You may recognize the subject but when someone offers it to you from an obscure angle it can change the mood and make it much more interesting.
There are several ways you can change the camera angle from the normal eye height. Try taking a knee, laying on the ground, or finding a higher vantage point to take the photo.
Figure 19 A photo of a tree taken from a standing position
Figure 20 The same tree photographed while lying under it In Figure 20 I was lying on the ground with my back to the grass and my camera pointed straight up. The tree is only about 7 or 8 feet tall, but from this vantage point it explodes in the frame
making it appear much more monolithic than it actually is.
This lower vantage point is particularly important when photographing children and pets. As adults we always see children from a higher vantage point and photographing them that way makes for very boring child and pet pictures.
Imagine how intimidated they must feel with a giant lurking over them with a box in front of their face pointed at them.
The most important tip for photographing children and pets, get on their level! This may require kneeling or even laying on the ground like you see in Figure 21.
Figure 21 Pet photos work best when you are on their level Low angle photos can also be very powerful with landscape scenes. Always think outside of the box and photograph multiple angles of every scene you find yourself in front of.
Figure 22 A low angle shot can invoke power and intimidation
Perspective The final point on the Composition Triangle is Perspective. Perspective in
photography is the spatial relationship between one object and another to achieve a three dimensional appearance on a two dimensional plane.
It sounds more confusing than it actually is! Breaking down the planes of a photograph…

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