The focal length can be thought of how long a lens is. Long lenses, like a photographer uses at a football game, makes things appear close up. Short lenses make things look further away but give you a wide angle of view. Now, let’s get a little more technical.
The focal length of a lens is the distance between the optical center of the lens and the points where a clear image is formed. We measured the focal length of several magnifying glasses which are one piece, or “simple,” lenses. A camera lens is usually composed of several individual lenses and is called a compound lens. The focal length of modern camera lenses and telescopes is usually measured in millimeters.
Short focal length lenses gives you a wide view and are called wide angle lenses. Longer focal length lenses have a narrow view and make things appear closer. They are called telephoto lenses. In between are normal lenses which have an angle of view similar to the human eye. 35mm cameras use film that is 35mm wide.
Common wide angle focal lengths for 35mm cameras are 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm.
Common normal focal lengths for 35mm cameras are 50mm and 55mm.
Common telephoto lenses for 35mm cameras are 100mm, 135mm, 200mm, 300mm and 400mm.
Zoom lenses are popular today. A zoom lens has a range of focal lengths. The photographer changes the focal length with a button on the camera or a ring on the lens. Examples of common zoom lenses for 35mm cameras are 28mm to 80mm, 70mm to 210mm and 100mm to 300mm.
The aperture is made up of a set of expandable and contractable metal blades in the camera’s lens that form a hole. This hole is responsible for letting light onto the camera’s sensor. Opening that hole up wide lets the most amount of light onto the sensor while closing the hole down lets the least amount of light onto the sensor.
F/Stops are a ratio of two things: the diameter of the aperture in the lens and the focal length of the lens. For instance, if we had a lens at a 135mm focal length, adjusting the aperture to F/3.5 would mean the aperture (hole) is open 38.6mm (135/3.5 = 38.6). A 135mm lens at F/22 would mean that the aperture is open 6.1mm (135/22 = 6.1). Therefore, the higher the F/Stop (aperture value) the smaller the hole, while the lower the F/Stop the wider the hole.
Traditional apertures double or halve the light. As an example, F/2.0 is twice as bright as F/2.8. F/11 is twice as bright as F/16. The following sequence is the standard for aperture values:
F/1.4 F/ 2.0 F/ 2.8 F/ 4 F/ 5.6 F/ 8 F/ 11 F/ 16 F/ 22
As you look at the above F/Stop sequence, think wide –> narrow. An F/1.4 lens is regarded as a very bright or fast lens while an F/22 lens is regarded as a slow lens.
Note: The aperture is the size of the hole that light passes through to hit the sensor. The shutter speed is the amount of time the aperture stays open.
CHANGING SHUTTER SPEED
Change the shutter speed to adjust how much light is allowed into the camera for a certain length of time. Camera’s shutter speeds are calculated in fractions of seconds, which are usually 1/1000, 1/500, 1/250, 1/60, 1/30, 1/15, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 and 1.
Calculating the correct shutter speed to use is a matter of understanding geometric sequence. As you increase the speed from 1/1000 toward 1 second, each increase multiplies the amount of light entering the lens by a factor of 2.
Wildlife photography is a genre of photography concerned with documenting various forms of wildlife in their natural habitat. As well as requiring photography skills, wildlife photographers may need field craft skills.
This is a very challenging type of photography, as it might be difficult to capture animals in their proper habitat. This style requires proper technical skills and it needs to be planned accordingly. In wildlife photography, you need to be absolutely comfortable with your camera’s settings. If you are not quick enough, you might miss the perfect shot.
The key to taking a good photograph is to go ahead and have fun while you shoot. Your pictures will speak for itself no matter which genre you choose.
Street photography, also sometimes called candid photography, is photography conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places.
A street photographer should not just look at the popular tourist spots, but he or she should try out some real-life scenes coupled with some behind the scene images. They must be observant about every little aspect around them. As soon as they see a story unfold, they should not hesitate to capture the moment.
Sports photography refers to the genre of photography that covers all types of sports. In the majority of cases, professional sports photography is a branch of photojournalism, while amateur sports photography, such as photos of children playing association football, is a branch of vernacular photography.
This category involves getting up-close to the action in a very fast-paced and action-packed setting. Sports events are captured with very long lenses as we usually see photographers during an event.
A Tip: Always use a high ISO. Increasing the ISO on your camera will enable you to shoot at a higher shutter speed; consequently giving you the perfect shot. Try to be original and get something different by getting different angle shots.
Portrait photography or portraiture in photography is a photograph of a person or group of people that captures the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. A portrait picture might be artistic, or it might be clinical, as part of a medical study.
Capturing peoples’ moods and expressions is an intriguing subject for photographers. They can be close-up images, body portraits etc. Typically the face is the focus of this type of photography. While taking a portrait, the photographer should ensure that the subject’s face is sharp and focussed, especially his or her eyes. The subject’s pose should also be flattering.
FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY
Fine-art photography is photography created in accordance with the vision of the artist as a photographer. Using photography as a medium to bring something to life that only lives in the artist’s mind. Simply capturing what you see in an artistic way is the art of photography and not creating fine art.
In terms of conceptual/ fine art photography, we can create our own fiction with characters in made-up environment. However, the photographer needs to have a vision of what their picture will look like, as this genre is all about an emotion, an idea or a message. The photographer tries to convey a message through his image.
LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY
Long-exposure, time-exposure, or slow-shutter photography involves using a long-duration shutter speed to sharply capture the stationary elements of images while blurring, smearing, or obscuring the moving elements.
It’s a great way to capture how the world transforms after dark. This type of photography requires good knowledge of how we use light, shutter speed and aperture. These types of photos are interesting as the viewer gets to see some unusual aspects that cannot be seen by the naked eye. To takes such shots, it is imperative to be comfortable with our camera’s manual mode and implement the correct settings.
Landscape photography shows spaces within the world, sometimes vast and unending, but other times microscopic. Landscape photographs typically capture the presence of nature but can also focus on man-made features or disturbances of landscapes.
This is one of the most popular types of photography, as it can portray a scenery, or can even show an impact of environmental change. We all love to capture a beautiful landscape when we see one. However, we need to wait for the right light to capture that perfect moment.
Also, while shooting a landscape, if you want a sharp image, use a tripod which will help eliminate the camera shakes. Using a long shutter speed can give you the perfect shot. For example, if you are capturing the waves, it will turn to a smooth white and moving clouds will turn wispy.
Food photography is a still life photography genre used to create attractive still life photographs of food. It is a specialization of commercial photography, the products of which are used in advertisements, magazines, packaging, menus or cookbooks.
This type of photography is used by restaurants, websites or bloggers to entice customers to try and sell their products.
A Tip: One of the most crucial factor in food photography is to use natural light. Always remember to turn off the flash. It’s a big ‘No’ in this style of photography. When you use flash, many unwanted elements get captured. For instance, your food might look greasy and the actual colors get washed out.
Fashion photography is a genre of photography which is devoted to displaying clothing and other fashion items. Fashion photography is most often conducted for advertisements or fashion magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, or Elle.
Typically used to sell something, this type of photography lures customers by glamorizing the product. They are generally very creative and visually very interesting and can be taken in any location like a studio, an apartment, a rundown building or anywhere outdoors.
A fashion photographer should always prepare in advance. In this genre of photography, the location, lighting, makeup, stylists and the model play a significant role. However, you should also be open to ideas and suggestions, as it involves a lot of team work.
Documentary photography usually refers to a popular form of photography used to chronicle events or environments both significant and relevant to history and historical events as well as everyday life.
It is about a particular subject or a story that a photographer wants to highlight. They are all objective pictures and can be about a war, social issues, science and so on. When you are chronicling significant events, for instance, the life of a celebrity or a sportsman, plan to spend some time with the person; chat; listen and capture what comes naturally. Try and capture details and let your pictures tell a story. Do not try to shoot something that is not a part of his or her life.
Some contents in this page are curated/re-written from various popular websites including WikiPedia, ColesClassRoom and PhotographyLife. Most of the example photographs were taken by RMEHDEE.