Basic Photography Textbook



      An online textbook is different than your normal textbook. The most obvious difference is there is no paper and thus it is a very "green" alternative to the bulky book. Of course this makes the textbook much lighter to carry and you can use it at home or at school or anywhere you have a computer and access to the web. Material in this textbook is more current than any book printed on paper because it can be changed at a wink of the eye and not require a new printing. We will combine our own lessons with material found on the web to give you the resources you need to understand the basics of photography.

Cost for this site is much less than it would be for paper as a result of those savings.


      How you use this textbook is up to your teacher. You will find chapters covering basic photography techniques that have been the backbone of study of the medium for many years. Your teacher will assign sections to you. Your teacher will be able to view how often and what portions of this textbook have been viewed by you.


      Chapter 1 Camera Equipment


      This first chapter will jump right into the most important tool of photography. The camera! This tool is what we will use to manage the light so that the image we create tells a story or captures a feeling. Our journey must begin with looking at the instruction manual. Read through it briefly so that you have a general idea of what it can do. We will eventually look at all of the controls and adjustments.


      Your school may not use the camera that we cover but more than likely the controls found on it will match one of the two we feature in our discussion.


     Instruction manuals. Be sure you have your instruction manual for your digital camera available. These links will help you find them online or you may be using one of these. As we find out what equipment we have they will be posted here for you to find. There may be times that we will want you to look at your manual to see how your particular camera manages a photo challenge.


      If you don't have a copy of your manual check the link below or do a Google search with your camera model and key words manual added.


    *    Instruction Manual   Canon Digital Rebel XT - Most popular Digital SLR this manual will help you understand what controls are typical to an DSLR

    *    Canon Powershot A540 - This is the SCPHOTO recommended affordable camera for doing digital photography. Read up on the controls as they are common to many cameras.

    *    Instruction Manuals Online - This is a link to a site that contains most camera manuals. It is important that you know what your camera can do

    *    History of Photography   Knowing where we came from. This is a review of the key events that shaped photography and where it is today

    *    Camera Types   Film - camera equipment has evolved into what we find in our digital equipment today. This section looks at film camera equipment and their characteristics

    *    Camera Equipment for Digital Photography - This section looks at the different types of digital cameras and the strength and weakness of each

    *    Using your camera - now let's get busy learning how to work with our camera to get a good photograph

    *    Megapixels   what are they - film photographers need to understand film and digital photographers need to have basic knowledge of pixels to know what to do to print their shots

    *    How Things Work   Digital Cameras - this is a great online resource to show you how a digital camera works.


Chapter 2   Image Creation & Design


This chapter will look at how images have become an important part of the communication process of our world starting with a brief overview of history. Composition and design are one of two key ingredient of success of an image.


Composition deals with the placement of objects within the frame of a photograph. In a "snapshot" the picture is taken quickly with little thought for placement of the subject. In a good photograph the photographer has considered the different objects they are looking at and moved the camera to adjust the frame to include only those that make a photo a prize winner like the photo on the left that took first place in the county fair.


    *    Composition & Design - learning how to design a good photo. This is the most important chapter in the book. Don't skip this one.

    *    Web Links   Composition (Optional Reading) - these are links to a number of additional lessons on the web that work with composition

    *    Light Quantity   - Exposure works with the amount of light and the camera elements to make a perfect capture of the subject. This chapter looks at exposure concepts

    *    Light Quality - almost as important as quantity this deals with the direction and sharpness of the light that falls on our subject and how to work with it

    *    Simple Exposure   Auto Exposure - for the first assignments at the start of class we will work in auto mode an work on design. Later we will change and add exposure tricks.

    *    Additional Reading (Optional   Highly Recommended) - Again more links that we can put on the web but not in a paper bound book

    *    A word about File Size and JPG - if you are going to store or transmit your pictures you will need to know about file storage and compression. Here are the basics.


Chapter 3   Tools to Capture Images

This chapter will move on from the basic concepts of what makes a good photograph different from a simple snapshot into the tools necessary for capturing that shot. Photography has two parts   creative and practical. The practical part is where the tools our camera offers us are put to use in making the image we create tell the story we want it to.


    *    Camera Controls - looking at aperture and shutter and how the camera work with light in greater detail than chapter 1

    *    Auto or Manual Mode - when is it best to not let the camera make the choices on how to shoot a picture

    *    TIPS for successful photographs

    *    Lens Basics

    *    Steady as you go   Camera Handling

    *    The f16 Rule   Being smarter than your meter with this old photographers tip

    *    Motion Control - using the shutter to control subject motion in a photograph

    *    Depth of Field (Focus) - using your aperture to control depth

    *    Check the Frame - pay attention to what you place in the frame. Here is how to work with that.


Chapter 4   Presentation of the Image


Now that the image has been captured on the camera we must decide how best to present that image for others to view. Perhaps we just want to put it on the web or in our iPhone or maybe we want to print the image out. This chapter will guide you through some of the key tools for making that image look as good as possible.


    *    Online Presentations - skipping the paper and sharing your prints online

    *    Analog   Wet Based Printing - working with film and paper this section talks about darkroom basics to show how digital photography was designed to take the place of the silver and chemicals.

    *    Auto Adjustment - some of the basic digital software controls for a photograph

    *    Levels Adjustment   - the key to making your photo match the contrast range of the original subject

    *    Cropping - showing only what is important in the photo

    *    Dodging a Print in the darkroom - a basic description of how this process works with film and chemistry to better understand the digital process

    *    Dodge and Burn in Photoshop - now we look at how software can do the same thing only better

    *    Candid or Posed Photography - when should we let the subject be natural and when do we take control


Chapter 5   Advanced Techniques

Now that you have the basics under your belt let's take it to the next level and add to new tools and techniques that will help you complete your presentations. Some of these tools and techniques will require special equipment and they may be things that are not going to be used by every student in this basic photography class. You can, however, bet that most of these are techniques that are used frequently by professional photographers.


    *    Macro Photography   Get Close! How to take pictures from just inches away from the subject

    *    Using Filters with Digital - popular with film how can we improve our shots in digital work using a filter

    *    Fill Flash - using that little pop up flash in bright sunlight can improve your shots. How does this work?

    *    Using a Reflector

    *    Black and White / Sepia Conversion - tricks to modify a photo and change the message

    *    Night Photography - tips on getting shots when the light level is low at night

    *    Dynamic Range   ISO and Noise - some advanced theory to help you be more of a pro

    *    Publications and Model Release rules - working with people in your shots and being able to display the work publically


Chapter 6       Assignments and Projects


This final chapter is a collection of assignment  that some schools may find useful. Think of this as an appendix at the end of the book. Here you will find some   assignments that have been a big help to students working on learning basic photography techniques. Additional projects and challenge assignments like these can help reinforce basic concepts. These projects also help provide valuable experience to students in a classroom where equipment and lab space may be limited. The best way to learn photography is by doing it! These assignments mix with the lessons in this textbook to challenge students to apply their knowledge to a real world challenge situation that will help them work like a pro.


None of these assignments allow online submission or grading. If you want to add that feature to your class then you will find these same assignments plus a quiz and test or two and some student forums on the Basic Photography online class.


    *    Looking at Photography   Essay

    *    Magazine  Cut Out Assignment One

    *    Photo Project 1   Finding a photo near you

    *    Photo Project 2   Ecology  

    *    Photo Project 3   Different Views      

    *    Photo Project 4   Building Character

    *    Photo Project 5   Motion Control

    *    Photo Project 6   Depth Control Illustration

    *    Magazine   Assignment   Two

    *    Project 7   Levels Adjustment

    *    Project 8   Cropping

    *    Project 9   Dodged Photo

    *    Project 10   Burning a Photo

    *    Project 11   Candid

    *    Project 12   Posed Photograph

    *    Project 13   Close Up   Macro

    *    Photo Project 14   Emotions

    *    Photo Project 15   Reflection

    *    Photo Project 16   Fill Lighting

    *    Photo Project 17   Silhouette

    *    Photo Project 18   Special Effects

    *    Photo Project 19   Storybook

    *    Photo Project 20   FINAL EXAM PHOTOGRAPH

    *    FINAL EXAM