Manual Setting and Recap of whole Course
Most people new to photography find Manual Mode scary. Keep practicing with it. You will find you will start trusting yourself and your manual mode more than trusting your camera with the auto settings. After all you know the look you are after and the camera can't read your mind.....yet.....
This is usually the ‘M’ setting on your camera. This setting allows you to adjust all the photo settings.
This is how I think through a photo when I use the Manual setting if I want to take a portrait or still scene:
If I am taking a night shot or I want to blur motion then I swap steps 2 and 3.
Step 2 will be: Set a slow shutter speed to create the movement blur I want, or because it is low light in the dark. (I will probably be using a tripod too).
Step 3 will be: Set f.stop to help with correct exposure
Step 5 will be: Adjust if needed, e.g. photo is too dark or light; change ISO and/or F Stops to get the exposure I want.
MANUAL PHOTO CHALLENGE
Do all the photo challenges again using Manual Mode only!! You can do it, you know how and practice practice practice.
Photography course recap
Congrats on completing the photography course for kids and beginners!!
Below is some points to remember. I type or write each separately, laminate them and hang them each on a key ring to pop into my students camera bags for easy reference.
Following the moving subject with your camera, even when you are pushing down the shutter button.
The background will show movement while keeping the subject reasonably clear.
First put subject in centre of photo and push shutter button halfway down to lock in focus, then while still holding down the shutter button you can place the subject where you want in the frame before fully clicking the shutter button.
BLURRING BACKGROUND WITH DISTANCE
The further away the subject is from the background, the more blurred the background will be.
The more you have to zoom into a subject the more blurred the background will be.
Lets you control the depth of field and the camera will take care of the shutter speed.
The bigger F Stop number
The bigger amount in focus
The bigger amount of light needed.
‘S’ OR ‘TV’ SETTING
Allows you to set your shutter speed and the camera will choose the f stop.
A fast shutter speed will freeze movement.
(e.g. 1/250, 250th of a second)
A slow shutter speed, blurs movement (e.g. 0.3”, 3 seconds)
100 – Good for big sized printing; for bright daylight or flash photography
200- For daylight or flash
400- Cloudy day, evening, light indoors.
800 – Indoors
1600 upwards – bad lighting
MANUAL – STEPS
What size prints are needed and what are the lighting conditions?
Set ISO to match.
Set f stop. for wanted depth of field.
Set shutter speed.
Take shot and adjust if needed.
When adjusting shutter speed, if you turn the shutter dial to the left as far as it will go it will reach BULB. A Bulb exposure keeps the shutter open for as long as you hold down the shutter button.
ISO and Shutter Speeds
To get a picture of people in focus with a slow shutter speed to capture fireworks: Put on your flash. The flash will quickly lighten up the people while the shutter speed will capture the fireworks. (for those more technical it was set to 1st curtain sync which means it will flash first then stay open for the rest of the photo. If it was 2nd curtain flash which I like for single subjects, it will take the photo on the long shutter speed, then flash at the end. You will end up with less movement blur from people with 2nd curtain sync, but I play with both). I used BULB shutter speed and a remote and tripod when capturing fireworks.
SHUTTER SPEED CHALLENGE
You may need a tripod for these challenges.
If you are finding the photos are too light because you are taking them in the daytime, I will allow you to jump ahead in the lessons here, and switch your camera to manual mode. Put your ISO to 100, your F.Stop as a high number, and then set your slow shutter speed.
Use running water as your subject. Can be a fountain, a river, a waterfall or even water from a hose or tap and take a photo making the water blurred.
Take a photo of a night scene.
Take a photo that creates a sense of movement, e.g. waving a flag, ribbons, poi, dancing.
Take a photo while spinning the lens or pulling the lens in and out.
How was this photo taken? Notice the spinning background.
ANSWER: Using a flash (2nd curtain sync) with a slow shutter speed while spinning the lens.
Focal Length and Depth of Field
From now on the photography lessons require a camera where you are able to change the F.Stops, shutter speeds, ISO's.
If your child does not have one they can still have fun taking the different types of photos in the challenges.
Choice of lens dictates how much of a scene you are able to include in a photo.
This is described in the terms of lens ‘focal length’. These lengths are written on the side of the lens in millimeters, (mm).
Shorter focal lengths (wide angle lenses) give a wide angle view.
Longer focal lengths (telephoto lenses) give a long narrow view.
Lens Focal Length
Less than 21mm
Extreme wide angle
An easier way to remember F stop settings:
A big f.stop number means you want a big amount of the picture in focus. You also need a larger amount of light (because the opening is small, need more light. You may need to use a flash or a slower shutter speed).
So Big F stop, Big area in focus, Big amount of light needed.
A small f.stop means you want a small amount in focus, more blur around the subject. So Small F stop, Small area in focus, Small amount of light needed.
APERTURE PRIORITY MODE
Some cameras have an AV or A setting. This is the aperture priority setting. This lets you control the depth of field without you having to worry about the shutter speed, the camera will automatically take care of that. You can focus on your depth of field and let the camera take care of the producing the correct exposure.
Remember also how distance can help your depth of field. The further the distance between the subject and the background, the more blurred the background will be. The more you zoom in on a subject, the more blurred the background will be.
Depth of Field Photo Challenge:
Choose a subject to photograph. A row of something, near to far works really well.
Take a photo with a big f stop number to keep most of the picture in focus.
Then do a photo of the subject using a small f stop number and see if you achieve more blur and a smaller amount in focus.
Use the distance rule too to create more background blur.
Take note of the background flowers in these photos. The first photo, the camera is set to f.stop 29. The photo on the right is f.stop 4.5
Lesson 7 - Black and White photography
Most cameras have a black and white setting. I put this lesson after the lighting lesson, as black and white photos along with use of lighting can create some beautiful images.
Black and white is my favourite. I love the mood it creates, the classic look, I find it nostalgic and cool and warming at the same time.
I usually go into a photo session knowing if I'm doing it as black and white photo shoot, or colour, but sometimes I come across a colour photo and know that it would look awesome in black and white and go with it. As these lessons are about learning as your playing and experimenting, I tell my class, if they feel they want to go black and white anytime during the whole course, then they can.
Things to consider for black and white photography:
Facial expressions and textures also stand out in black and white.
Take 3 different scened photos in colour and after taking the shot in colour, take it again in black and white. Compare and take note of how each changed. Did the mood of the photo change? Did you focus on something different or did you notice different things within the photos?
If you have camera flashes, Speedlight flashes, studio lighting, reflectors and diffusers, this is the time to bring them out to play. If you don't, I am going to give you some ideas of things around the house you can use instead.
Lighting can help create really beautiful photos and it can also really mess up a photo!
Sometimes the lighting is just perfect as it is and you don't have to do anything to it.
Sometimes you have to change the lighting that is there to get the photo you need.
Sometimes you have a photo in mind and you create the lighting you want.
Natural light gives a more natural picture, more like how we see it.
There will be a light source side and a shadow side.
Most cameras will have a setting where you can turn off your camera flash on auto modes. It will usually be a flash symbol with a cross / slash through it.
If you do this and the subject is in low light you may need a tripod to prevent movement blur. (Blurring happens in low light because your camera may be using a slow shutter speed. More on that in later lesson).
If you don’t have a tripod, balance your camera on books or a bench. Make sure the camera won’t fall off and will keep still.
There is lots of lighting equipment to shape the light to create a photo we want.
Camera flashes, external flashes (speedlights or flashes you can take off the camera and use).
Studio lights, (bigger lights than camera flashes that are either provide a flash of light or a constant source of light). There is also studio lighting you can take outdoors.
Diffusers that you can put onto your camera lighting to diffuse or soften and spread your light.
Reflectors are usually white, silver or gold and bounce light back onto a subject.
Light sources: Sun / moon, water, outside lights, fire, white backgrounds like white walls or snow.
Scenarios you come across with natural lighting.
I take mostly portraits, and the worst lighting conditions for me is a bright sunny day. Why? The sun is such a strong light source that I have to work around it to get a nice light on the subjects faces.
Have your subject facing the sun and they will be well lit up, but they will be squinting against the sunlight. Have your subject side on to the sun and they will get weird shadows across their face cast by their nose and hair, one side of their face will be bright and one side in shadow. Have your subject with the sun at their back they will be silhouetted and the sun can shine directly into your lens and create lens flare.
What I do taking portraits in natural outside light:
For an evenly lit portrait, I prefer a cloudy day. The clouds diffuse or soften and spread the sunlight so there is no harsh shadows.
If it isn't cloudy, I will try and put my subject in the shade, under a tree or a wall shadow so again the light is diffused.
If I can't find shade then I will be using camera flashes with or without diffusers to fill in the shadow spots, and/or reflectors to try and bounce light back onto their faces on the shady side.
If you don't have camera flashes, diffusers and reflectors? Try torches or anything that lights up. For diffusing your light you can use thin cloth, tissues anything you can put over your light that doesn't block it out completely. Reflector can be a sheet of tin foil or whiteboard, mirrors, even water like a lake that the sun is bouncing off. Anything white or shiny should work.
If your subject is in front of water it can create a silhouette of the subject, or it make the water too light so you lose the scenery. This is because water is a reflective light source. To combat this, I will use a flash to light up the subject, but still have the scenery in its natural lighting.
Landscapes, buildings, scene photography
There are some scenarios I wouldn't want to change the lighting for. Sunsets and Sunrise, street photography, scenes where I want the scene to be captured exactly how it was, ( e.g. events, street scenes).
Buildings and landscapes are hard to change the lighting with, as you can't move them! But you can move yourself to get a look you like, be aware of where the shadows fall. If you want to show off the blue sky in your scene, you are going to have the sun behind or at least to the side of you.
Shadows, Silhouettes, Lens Flare don't have to be a bad thing.
Sometimes I like and want shadows, silhouettes and lens flare in my photos. Don't think they are bad. You are the artist and light and shadow are things you can decide what to do with.
I used 2 off camera flashes here because there is water involved and it is a reflective light source. If I used no lighting, only the water would have been well lit up. So I used one flash to light up the subject, and one flash directed on the back rock wall so we can see the scenery behind the water.
You can really play with light inside.
I love using natural light inside in my portraits. Windows and doorways provide a small focused area of light that I think creates beautiful moody photos. You can also create silhouettes by using them behind a subject.
Studio lights and camera flashes can be used to create light from specific directions, (or lamps, torches if you don't have those).
Here is some examples and how the lighting was created.
Two photos, indoors, with 2 different light sources.
Outdoor photos showing one of each of these:
ANSWER: You could put a light behind the subject facing upwards lighting up the wall, or a light to the side lighting up the dark side, or a reflector on the dark side to try and soften the shadow.
Michael aged 15 years playing with torchlight and a boat.
FREEZING MOTION - SPORTS MODE
Some cameras have a sports or running man mode. This setting is for freezing action. It uses a fast shutter speed. We will be learning how to change your shutter speed to blur motion in a later lesson.
On sports mode, your subject should still be in sharp focus with minimal if any movement blur.
It captures a moment in time.
Tip for capturing movement: Push your shutter button just before you think you need to. A digital camera will always have a slight delay after you push the shutter button to when it takes the photo. It will take a few practice shots for you to figure out your own camera's response.
Remember when shooting a moving object you may need to follow it with your camera, even while you are clicking the shutter button. ‘Panning’.
NOW FOR SOME FUN!!
Freezing Action Photo Challenge:
Take photos of 3 different movement scenarios and then pick out your best 3 from them all.
A running or jumping person. Skip rope or trampoline jumping. Hop scotch.
Flowing water. Colour some water, splatter some paint, water bombs!
A moving car, racing, hotwheels, mountain biking.
Remember we are freezing movement for this lesson. We will be blurring movement for more fun later.
Macro photography is the art of taking close up pictures that often reveals details that you don’t notice from a distance or with the naked eye.
The macro setting on cameras will likely be a flower symbol on the camera dial or screen menu. If you don't have this, just use your auto mode.
Some cameras / lenses will be able to get closer than others depending on their focal length. (More on focal length in another lesson). There are special macro lenses you can buy if you find you really like macro photography.
MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY CHALLENGE
Take 5 close up photos of 5 different things. Look for things you may not always notice, like small insects or textures.
Here are some past student examples: