Digital Photography

Welcome to the digital photography online taster course.

This is an opportunity for you to learn some basic digital photography skills in your own time at your own pace and in the comfort of your own home. You can use the newest state of the art camera or you can use your phone, but you should take some photos as you work your way through this course and email them to us so we can post them on this site so you and other learners can discuss them.

In this taster you will :

  • Be shown what makes a good photo
  • Look at different photography techniques
  • Develop confidence in using and applying new techniques

Activity 1 – What makes a good photograph?

Your goal as a photographer is usually to grab the attention of the viewer, and communicate an idea, or share an experience. What photos do this best?

Usually the strongest photos are those that are simple and present the subject in a clear, uncluttered way.

Photographers work with line, shape, texture, color and pattern.

Listed here are a few key aspects that help to make a good photograph.

  1. Depth – Creating depth can be simple when you have control of your camera in manual mode. This can bring dynamic elements and a sense of reality to your images.
  2. Lines – Trees, paths, streets, poles etc. all bring lines into everyday living. They can help guide your viewer to where you want them to focus. You can use these lines to help guide your viewers’ eyes right to where you want them to focus, making an effective image.
  3. Perspective – It can be all too easy to pick up a camera and just aim straight towards your subject. Take your environment into thought and think about a different way you can photograph your subject in it’s environment. For instance, if you are in a church, is there a balcony that you can go up to take pictures down into the church to get an overview? Or if you are in a courtyard with beautiful trees, think about getting low to the ground and shooting up at your couple.
Look at the photos above and write a brief paragraph (include it in the comments section on here) as to why you like/dislike the images. Do they work? If so why or why not.

Now it is time to get practical! Armed with your camera go and try to adopt the above methods for capturing a photograph. Think about the depth, how you can draw the viewer to certain aspects of the photo and how you can alter the perspective of the image. You then email them to us so we can post them on here.


Activity 2 – The Rule of Thirds


Look at these two pictures. Both show a seaplane in a harbor on the island of St. Croix. Which do you prefer? Do you know why?

Here are the same two photos with lines across them dividing them into thirds vertically and horizontally. Where is the seaplane in the photo you liked better?

The ancient Greeks discovered the pleasing effect of objects with a rectangular shape. When a picture is divided into thirds, it is often most powerful if the focus of attention is in the intersection of two of the perpendicular lines.

The photo on the top has the plane almost in the centre, and it almost floats there. The plane in the next picture is at the intersection of two of the lines, making it stronger. It is also anchored by the building and flag in the right hand third, which balances the plane on the left.

Adjust By Cropping

Cropping means cutting the picture down, but not necessarily in size. It is possible to take a picture like the one above and cut off some of the “dead space” on the left. The result is a picture that obeys the rule of thirds and has a stronger feel.

Now, take your camera and try to take some shots using the ‘Rule of Thirds’ method. Do not worry if you can not get it quite right, the advantage of digital photography is the ‘get out clause’ of being able to edit it on the computer through the crop tool. Try to get your photos to fit in with the grid, with the main aspect on a vertical and horizontal crossover. Email these in to us and please post your comments on how you got on. 

End of Course Summary

Congratulations, you have now completed this taster course – An Introduction Digital Photography. We hope that it has been enjoyable, informative and engaging.  In this taster course you have:

  • Viewed photos that show aspects of what makes a good photo
  • Look at and applied different photography techniques to your own work
  • taken photos using these methods and developed a greater understanding of capturing images

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