written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Tricia Goss•updated: 4/30/2011
Here are the basic elements of digital photography that beginners should know.
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Digital Photography for Beginners
Beginning digital photography can be difficult, especially if you are not used to the technical aspects of the DSLR camera. When you start out with the digital photography format it can be difficult to understand how to produce the kind of images that you are used to seeing. The basic principles of photography are the basic elements that you can observe in professional digital photography that can help you get started with image creation. Here is a look at "digital photography 101" and a few of the lessons that you need when you first pick up that DSLR camera.
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Framing is one element that most people will already have a sense of from a lifetime of observing professional photographs. The photographer should consider both how to set the frame of the camera and how to adjust the subjects and objects within that frame. Provide enough nose room in front of the face of the subject and enough headroom above the subject's head. Position the subject so that they are facing slightly into the negative space of the frame. Consider using asymmetry to provide more energy and use variable depths of field so that a two-dimensional image suggests three dimensions. The most important part of learning framing is breaking these rules when appropriate.
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DSLR Camera Specifics
The technical elements of your DSLR camera are one of the key elements you should notice immediately. Unlike the easier "point and shoot" cameras many people are used to, the DSLR camera requires accurate adjustment to capture the image correctly. The iris determines how much light is allowed into the camera, while the ISO interprets the sensitivity of the image sensor and can allow in image noise if it is too sensitive. The shutter speed determines how long the shutter can stay open. The lower it is the lighter the image and the more likely it will be to have motion blur. Beyond this, you will have to set the type of file type you want to capture the image in, though many DSLR cameras will have a raw format that is going to be the best choice for beginners.
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Types of Photography
Though digital is a creative medium, several types of photography have common principles. Photojournalism hopes to unite the principles of digital photography and journalism by creating work that documents the real world without altering them dramatically, yet fine art photography does not limit itself those types of limitations. Constructed image photography is about creating an artificial world in front of the camera, while abstract photography is about violating the relationship between the camera and the subject by using the camera to create an abstract image. Many areas beyond these have tradition based on the expectations of those image types and the effect that people hope these methods have. Learning these is a great part of digital photography 101, yet you may want to try to combine several of them in an effort to figure out what methods work for you.