Digital Photography BasicsBecoming a better photographer begins with understanding digital photography basics. In the sections below you will be introduced to a number of digital photography subjects followed by a link to additional in depth information on that subject.
This page on the basics of digital photography along with our Beginners Guide to Digital Photography will introduce you to a variety of important digital photography subjects. Coupled with our pages on Digital Camera Basics, our Digital Camera Comparison page and our Digital Camera Buying Guide, you have at your fingertips a number of options to learn more about the fun and exciting world of digital photography. Then to top it all off we have our Digital Photography Questions page where you can submit you photography questions and read the answers to questions other have asked.
Combine all of this together and you have a great resource for learning the basics of digital photography.
What is Digital Photography?Understanding digital photography basics begins with understanding what digital photography is and how it is different from file photography. Digital photography is photography where the picture or image is exposed, captured and stored electronically rather than on light sensitive film. Normal film photography uses a chemical process to expose and develop pictures for printing on special photographic paper. With digital photography a light sensitive electronic image sensor replaces the film and the resulting electronic signal is stored and transmitted as digital information which can be displayed on a computer monitor, a TV or transfered to a digital photo printer.
The History of Digital PhotographyLike most digital electronic technology digital photography can trace its beginnings back to the "space race" of the late 1950's and early 1960's. This was a time of rapid technological advancement as the United States and Russia raced to be the first county to put a man into outer space. Our overview of the history of digital photography breaks the digital photography time-line into three different periods. Click on any of the links below to learn more about that specific time period in the history of digital photography.
History of Digital Photography Part One...From 1957 through the 1980's
History of Digital Photography Part Two...The 1990's
History of Digital Photography Part Three...2000 and on
Understanding Digital Photography TermsAnother important digital photography basic the beginning photographer should understand is the "language" that is used. Our page on digital photography terms will give you quick and easy to understand definitions for many key digital photography terms.
Understanding Photography CompositionUnderstanding photography composition is one of the key elements of digital or film photography. Good composition is often what separates a snapshot from a well composed image worthy of hanging on the a wall or being displayed as a work of art. In our quest to become better photographers we must learn both the art and science of digital photography. The science of photography is involves the basic principles of photography and how to control our cameras to capture the best possible picture. The art of photography comes into play in composing an image that is visually appealing. Both aspects of photography can be learned and developed through study and practice and the true masters of photography are those that excel at both the technical and artistic sides of photography.
Digital Camera BasicsNot sure what to look for in a digital camera? Then our page on digital camera basics is a good place to start. It covers topics such as what features to look for in a digital camera as well as some information to help you choose the right camera for your needs.
What is the Megapixel Myth?Each year camera makers race to come out with new models that feature more megapixels. They constantly seem to push the idea that more megapixels is automatically better. But is that really true? You can find the answer to that question on our page about the Megapixel Myth. There we explain why you need to avoid the "more megapixels are better mindset" when shopping for a digital camera. Understanding the megapixel myth can help you understand why "more megapixels" do not always mean better quality photos. Our page on the Megapixel Myth will help you understand other important things to keep in mind when you are shopping for your next digital camera.
What is Crop Factor and Why it is Important?I suspect that a lot of first time camera buyers are not aware of a cameras "crop factor" or why it is important. At least I know I wasn't when I bought my first digital camera years ago. Yet crop factor and the 35mm equivalent focal range of a camera or camera and lens combination is important when it comes to comparing "apples to apples" when shopping for a camera. This is true both when considering a DSLR as well as even on point and shoot cameras. Camera makers use relative terms like 3X zoom or 10X zoom which is really just a ratio or multiplier and not a true gauge of how much either camera can zoom in on a subject. For example you could have a 10X zoom that goes from 4mm to 40mm on one camera while another camera has one that goes from 28mm to 280mm. Two cameras with 10X zooms that have tremendously different zoom ranges. That is why it is important to understand what the crop factor of a camera is and be able to know the 35mm equivalent zoom range.
Understanding Digital Camera SettingsUnderstanding your cameras basic settings is one of the first steps towards becoming a better photographer and an important digital photography basic subject. While many people are content to simply "shoot away" in automatic mode those that want to get the most from their digital camera will learn some of the common settings such as ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed and how they relate to one another. Once you begin to understand the relationship of these three key camera settings you will be well on your way to becoming a better photographer.
Understanding Different Digital Camera ModesToday's digital cameras come with a number of automatic, semi-automatic and even manual modes. Each mode either automatically adjusts your camera settings for a specific scene type or allows you to manually adjust some or all of the camera settings. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the different modes will help you get the most from your digital camera.
Using Histograms to Improve Your PhotosMany of today's digital cameras have the ability to display a histogram during playback mode. This provides the photographer a great tool to quickly tell how well his picture is exposed. Yet many beginning photographers either don't use or don't understand the value of the histogram. Learning about histograms and how to use them to fine tune your exposure will help you become a better photographer.
Common Mistakes to AvoidWe all make mistakes, yet some can be more costly than others. Learn about some of the basic mistakes that you can avoid making when it comes to digital photography.
Displaying And Printing Digital PhotosOne of the many advantages of digital photography is the almost endless ways of displaying and sharing your photographs. No longer are you bound to simply having your photos printed or putting them in albums. With digital photos there are many ways of displaying them including:
- Online Photo Galleries--There are many photo sharing sites where you can upload your pictures to share with friends and family. Many of these are free while some require a small yearly fee in order to store full sized photos. Choosing the right online photo sharing site to use is important as there are several factors to consider.
- Having Digital Photos Printed--There are multiple ways of having your digital photos printed. From online photo printing services to your local Wal-Mart you can have them printed professionally in a variety of sizes. Another option is to invest in a good digital photo printer and print the photos yourself. There are many factors to consider when choosing among the multiple options that are available for printing your digital photos
- Specialty Photo Prints--Technology today allows you to have your photos printed on all kinds of things. From shirts to blankets, life-size wall murals and everything in between. There are many companies that specialize in printing photos on a wide variety of photo gifts. Some companies even have special lazer engravers that can engrave you photo in high detail in things like wood, marble, glass and ceramic tiles.
- Gallery Wrapped Canvas Prints--Having your photo printed on a stretched gallery wrapped canvas is an excellent way to display your photos.
- Custom Made Photo Books--Whether it is a wedding album, a photo book of your children's activities or a record of your vacation, custom made photo books are an excellent way of printing and sharing your digital photos. Digital scrap-booking can be a fun family activity and a great way of remembering those special times. There are a variety of companies that print custom made photo books and several specialized software programs that makes creating them easy and fun.
- Slide-Shows--Slide shows that play back on a DVD player or your computer are another great way of displaying your digital photos. There are many programs available to help you build elaborate slide-shows of your favorite photos complete with background music and special fade effects.
- Screen Savers--Very similar to the slide shows mentioned above screen savers are easy to create with the right software and can feature music and special effects.
- Digital Photo Frames--are a great way of displaying multiple images on your desk at work or at home. They make great gifts for family as you can pre-load them photos for your families enjoyment.
- Displaying Them On Your TV--many newer TV's have the ability to display photos directly the TV through a memory card reader or by being connected to a home computer network. With the right equipment you easily share your photos on a large high definition TV.
Do you have a digital photography tip you would like to share or a topic you would like us to cover?
If so we would love to hear from you.
Please use the form below to submit your digital photography tip or request to us.
Back to Practical Photography Tips From Digital Photography Basics