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Digital Photography Basics - Nail the Essentials With These Tips Tutorials and Definitions

digital photography basics

With some digital photography basics under your belt you can start to take control of your camera and produce incredible photos! There's very little you need to learn actually! It's all about getting an idea for the best times to use a few very simple settings.

So I'm going to de-mystify all that jargon for you, and explain the basics of digital photography - starting from the beginning. There are also plenty of practical tips here, to help you put your new found wisdom to good use!


Basic Facts and Terms

the basics of digital photography

Ok, let's get started with some articles dealing with some real beginner's basics, including a short glossary of terms and summary of the basic camera settings. These guides will be a good place to start, before moving on to the articles below.



The 4 basic types of camera

It seems a good place to start by explaining the major categories of digital cameras available, and what they each offer.

Digital camera fundamentals - Part 1

Let's look at how cameras gather light to form an image, the role of lenses and the key facts about digital image sensors.

Digital camera fundamentals - Part2

Now let's get to grips with autofocus, exposure modes, Live View, viewfinders and memory cards.

A glossary of digital photography terminology.

20 key terms and phrases, that will pop up time and again throughout Photography Art Cafe, given short sharp explanations. A handy overview of digital photography basics for jargon-phobes!

My top 30 beginners' photography tips

Bit of of a mammoth one this - straddling the article/book divide! It's in 3 parts: part 1 / part 2 / part 3.

The 'digital' aspect explained

What makes photography digital? What are we actually doing when we use digital cameras? Questions answered!

A summary of basic camera settings

Before going into more detail, here's a quick intro to some digital photography basics that will become central to your photography.


Understanding Exposure

basic photography tips

'Exposure' is about the amount of light used to create a photo, and so how bright or dark that photo turns out. But the more you learn about this, the more you'll see how it's tied up with lots of other cool effects like 'depth of field' and the appearance of motion!


Exposure and The Exposure Triangle - In Plain English

A an overview of the 3 key settings used for exposing photos. The exposure triangle is where it all begins...

Understanding Aperture and How It Can Rock Your Photography!

Ok guys, this is one of the real building blocks of taking great photos. If seems technical now, you'll wonder what the problem was after reading this brief, clear article!

Understanding depth of field

Aperture controls don't just effect the exposure of a picture; they also dictate the 'depth of field'. Getting the hang of this is fun because your creative options will widen dramatically!

Understanding Shutter Speed and Using It Creatively

Shutter speed is another key building block of taking cool pictures. It's one of the digital photography basics that's so simple, but so powerful!

All You Need To Know About ISO Speeds In Photography

ISO links up with aperture and shutter speed in what's sometimes called 'the exposure triangle'. So get on top of this one and you're well on the way to nailing the basics of digital photography!

Understanding The Light Meter and How To Use It For Creative Photography

Behind the whole exposure triangle is the light meter, which itself has several possible settings. Let's find out more.

Crucial Facts About Shooting Modes and Scene Modes In Digital Cameras

A complete beginner's guide to the shooting modes and scene modes in digital cameras, plus when/when not to use them.

How To Use Exposure Compensation For Quick But Accurate Photos

Exposure compensation is a seriously handy control that gives us some manual control when not in Manual mode!

How Exposure Bracketing Will Make You Love Photography Even More!

Exposure bracketing, expecially automatic exposure bracketing (AEB), is a brilliant way to get the best results in tough conditions.

Introducing The Histogram - An Essential Tool For All Photographers

The histogram is an invaluable aid for reviewing the exposure of photos. Time to learn about it if you haven't so far...

10 common photography exposure questions answered

What's exposure compensation? What's the best mode to shoot in? What's the reciprocal rule? Put these questions to bed...

Flash Photography Tips For Total Beginners

A complete guide to the key principles, methods and equipment of flash photography, for the totally uninitiated.

Mastering metering!

Have you found yourself wondering how your camera is able to tell you when certain settings will over/underexpose an photo? It's the light meter! Controlling it is simple and extremely useful.

The full range of exposure control options

A run through of the various digital camera settings available to you, from aperture priority to full manual. When are they each useful and why?

How will manual controls help you take better digital pictures ?

So let's finish this section by checking out the main reasons why manual controls will set your photography on fire! Why bother learning these digital photography basics?

Photo histograms - why aren't you using them!?

Wouldn't it be great if there was some kind visual representation of a photographs exposure you could quickly refer to...


Taking Sharp Photos

Image Copyright: David Fleet

I love those images where every detail is captured so crisply that it almost seems more real than the original thing! You know the ones, often beautiful landscapes where everything from the textures of the foreground to the shapes of the background are rendered beautifully clearly.

Here are some guides to the techniques for producing 'pin-sharp' images:

The 11 Secrets of Tack Sharp Photos (Every Time)

This is a really comprehensive tutorial on all the crucial steps you need to take to ensure tack sharp results, every time.

The secrets of taking sharp photos

The digital photography basics involved in learning how to create pin sharp images should be mastered by all beginners.

Creating a wide depth of field

How does controlling the aperture help you create sharp pictures, and what are the knock-on effects for other settings and techniques?

Introduction to focus modes

Focus modes are amongst the most valuable digital photography basics to master. So let's see the options...

DSLR focus modes q&a - your nagging questions answered!

This is my attempt to clear up common questions/confusion surrounding autofocus and manual focus on DSLR's.


A Quick Guide to Cameras


understanding digital cameras

You'll do yourself a big favour by getting to grips with a few simple facts about cameras. Not only will buying one be a lot easier, but you'll be able to use it more effectively too! For more detailed guides and reviews, hop over to the photography equipment section of Photography Art Cafe.


Understanding digital cameras

Right, starting from the beginning, what is a DSLR? Read this and you're head won't be spinning next time someone lobs a bucket of jargon your way!

What is a megapixel?

'Megapixel' - the salesperson's favourite word! What does it mean and how important are the little fella's really!?

Choosing the best compact camera

If you're staying compact for the time being, here are 10 digital photography basics you need to be aware of when buying one.

Photography equipment maintenance tips

By doing these simple things to keep your camera, lenses and other accessories in good order, you could save an expensive headache.

Basics of digital photography: an overview of essential gear

An overview of the basic pieces of kit that photographers use regulalry. This is a useful reference article.


Controlling White Balance

digital camera settings

'White balance' sounds a bit daunting to beginner photographers! It sounds techy; getting into 'pro' territory; an optional extra that's fine to leave out...

Way off the mark! White balance is truly simple and you'll be taking it for granted in no time. Light is not just about brightness/darkness; it's also about colour tone and mood...


Setting white balance

Ever turned someone's skin red with a photo? Or made a beautiful Autumn day look cold and wintry blue? These things can happen when you leave white balance to the camera. It's one of the basics of digital photography, and here are 4 easy ways to control it!


My Favourite Guides

beginner photography guides

Here are a few of my suggestions on the best guides to digital photography available. I like guides that are fun to read and offer practical tips that can be put to use instantly! The resources below are packed with basic photography tips and ideas that will make you a better photographer!


Review: Photo Nuts and Bolts by Neil Creek

My review of this Digital Photography School guide intended to show beginners how to understand and use their cameras.

2 books I couldn't have done without when learning photography

I put these 2 books on my desk when I first bought them. Now, falling apart and considerably grubbier, they're in exactly the same place - reliable companions packed full of cool photography tips and ideas! You have to check these out.

What's the best beginner photography guide?

I used both books and online courses to learn the basics of digital photography. The latter proved quite a revelation! These are the top 2 resources I can recommend.

18 Secrets to finding photography ideas and subjects

Here are 18 tips for selecting great subjects and keeping the flow of project ideas fresh!

The Photography Crash Course: 17 Short Lessons To Camera Mastery

Where Next?

10 Landscape Photography Tips

A Cool Online Course For Beginners

Photoshop Tutorials

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