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Photography Masterclass - Beginner

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Scott Mccormick

on 30 November 2012

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Transcript of Photography Masterclass - Beginner

STANDARDIZATION high number = dark situation & more noise low number = good light & less noise longer the shutter's open = lower the number (1/10)?
great for getting light in the dark = blurs-ville for anything that moves.
quick shutter release (1/250)? light is around = clear image. ew. noise. •APERTURE lower the number = good in the dark & you'll get a blurry background.
higher the number = good in the light & even heaven will be crisp and clean. blurry. sharp. a photo at f2.8 sharp up close. sharp far away. a photo at f8 SWEET!
but...what the heck numbers
are you talking about? light is measured in "stops." each stop is twice as much light as the last. so, each stop is one more notch of sensitivity to light...for iso, the higher the number, the more sensitive to light! so it works better in the dark! yeehaw!
{50} 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, {6400, etc.} the of ISO stands for: no one really calls it that big name...or really particularly cares at all what it stands for. we all still call it "iso." there's some useless info right off the bat. you're welcome. the big daddy. remember when you went to the doctor and they'd put you on that freezing cold scale with bare feet? remember then, they'd take that big heavy part of the scale that did large numbers and made you feel self-conscious? you'd watch it go "KA•CHUNG KA•CHUNG" and move up to like 50, 70, 100? then they'd take that puny little guy and move it like 5 lbs up, or like 2.25...but it didn't matter...'coz the damage was done already... that big weight that told the large number... that's iso.
that's the big daddy. iso is the BIG weight. the one that tells where your overall light is. walk in a room (or outside)...look around....see if there's natural light anywhere (natural is bright) or see if there's those annoying yellow lights (those are dark) like the ones in walgreens that make you want to steal...then SET YOUR ISO. bust out big daddy first. ISO NUMBERS TO MEMORIZE: scott mccormick's beginners guide to: {metaphorically speaking of course} not so long ago, in the days of film,
you'd have to choose your iso that
was listed...ON THE FILM! whoa?!
you had to actually think about where
you were primarily shooting (indoors? outdoors? in a cave?) and pre-meditatively put the film in based around
what light you thought could be available. wait...i have to think BEFORE i take a photo?? the exit door is one click away- just press "esc" and your iphone will continue to show you where people's faces are. areas with a lotta light.
ex: outdoors on a sunny day darker areas with not much light.
ex: shooting in a beard. more noise. less noise. 1. SPEED ok. shutter speed has to do with time. shutters work a lot like the opposite of a blink. they open up for fractions of a second to let light in. except, unlike a blink, the LONGER the shutter is open, the more light it can gather. think about it like this: there's a little sensor in your digital camera that basically turns what we see into an electronic signal. cameras only really register different variations of light. as you open the shutter for a long time, it allows whatever light is around to essentially burn it's image into the sensor....then it magically travels through the whole camera and hits the cool little preview picture on the back.* *as a side note: we've all seen the 96 year old men and women that stand with their cameras extended out as far away from their face as possible while staring at that little preview box on the back of their new 6 million dollar cameras? please don't be them. the view finder is there for us to use. i say that with love. ok. so shutter speed is based on fractions of a second. like: 1/125 on your camera means 1/125 of a second...
kinda makes sense, eh? like so... gallery game time •is the shutter speed
FAST or SLOW? oh my gosh. you're just making this super confusing...JUST GIVE ME A CONCRETE ANSWER ALREADY* ok. 1/60 of a second is about where you start running a risk of a blurry image without using a tri-pod. i have shaky hands, so that effects my images. i need a tri-pod a lot, even if what i'm shooting is standing still. the shake of my hands can blur an image shot around or under 1/60 sometimes. *but, there are no concrete answers. there is no "best camera." there is no santa clause. only your choices can bring YOU happiness. © scott mccormick, 2012. let's memorize some new numbers. seconds SHUTTER SPEED STOP CHART 1 full stop. faster shutter speed good in well lit places slower shutter speed good in dark places first things first.
photography is light. without light, there is no photo.
train yourself to look at light first when you enter a scenario.
here are some ways to gather light, and creatively alter a feel of a photo using light. next up... •SHUTTER yeah! nice job! it's fast! how can we tell? because he's obviously jumping and there's no blurry trail or signs of movement...he just looks like he's stuck in the air! yay! an obligatory moving water shot...mine's a bit creepier than normal...don't judge me. but, YEAH, it's SLOW! no. you're wrong. it's slow. you're right. this one doesn't really rely on shutter speed as a priority.* however, this is my sister and her grand-daughter and i just like that it's a holiday photo that totally looks SUPER spaced out and unaware. happy holidays, indeed. * have you seen those settings on your camera that say like "P" or "M" or "AV" (maybe AP) or a little picture of a flower? allow me to explain. on to one more!
this one is fun. that is how you spell aperture.
this is how you spell rhythm. rhythm is a great word for the game "hang man" ok. winding back. iso was the big daddy. we set that based on the overall lighting of a scenario. shutter speed was based on the amount of seconds (or fraction of a second) we expose our sensor to light. aperture is the opening that light goes through to hit the sensor. so, it's all about opening or closing the lens to allow more or less light through. the size of the hole
also effects "depth of field" depth of field is the amount of blur you get behind an object that you're focusing on. the amount of blur decreases
as the hole gets smaller 2. 3. gallery game time •is the aperture DEEP or SHALLOW? ya know what i want to do?
memorize more numbers! APERTURE VALUES • MEASURED IN "F-STOPS" shallow depth of field deep depth of field shallow depth deep depth now, wait just a cotton pickin' minute there, scott. my camera says a bunch of other numbers in my iso, shutter speed, and my f-stops. what the heck are those then?! well, my friend, those aren't FULL stops of light.
those are 1/3 a stop in either direction. such as: f6.3 is 1/3 a stop higher than f5.6 and f7.1 is 1/3 lower than 8. each full stop has one number higher and one lower set apart by 1/3. yay! confusion no more! see why we had to memorize
all those ding dong numbers? SHALLOW! this was shot at f1.8. see how her left eye is in focus and everything else drastically blurs around it? the zoo is a great place to get wildly depressing photos of cute animals. DEEP! in fact...very deep. this was f22. sometimes it really helps to shoot a panoramic at a high f-stop as you can stitch it together without having weird overlapping blur effects from a shallow depth of field (DOF) SHALLOW! see how blurry grandma is? happy birthday youngin.' you made it to a prezi video. this one's a bit tricky. it's actually shot at f5.6. so, it's still pretty shallow, but I'd call it borderline medium aperture. kind of looks like she's going to eat that microphone, eh? remember....R H Y T H M. it's a weird one. OK!!
getting dizzy yet?
need a breather?
I'll wait. now, there's a couple things I've skipped. like explaining more about metering modes. and white balance. and awesome concepts like Ansel Adams' zone system. I haven't forgotten about them, but I want to make this first round easy. so, all of those will be available in the next prezi! welcome back. i actually missed you. that being said...I feel like we should move on to other fun things like... TECHNIQUES COMPO
RTANT it can make. orbre ak y
story. composition has to do with the organization of the shapes and general flow of your images in order to direct the eye to what you feel is important. some people are just born with a good eye for composition. but, some folks have to learn it. while some exposure mistakes can be fixed in programs like photoshop, composition is a bit trickier. with the ability to crop (zoom in and cut off useless parts of a photo), we're able to create a composition that may have been slightly better than what we originally shot.* *i'm kind of a jerk about this part: i'd much rather shoot good and edit little. i hate hearing "meh...i'll fix that in post." or "whatever, i'll just boost the brightness in iPhoto" or "yeah, i agree, it is safe to own a tiger in an apartment in kansas city." exhibit a. RULE OF THIRDS the ooh what a fun one! basically, the rule of thirds says: if you put the main focal point of your image in the middle of your picture, it'll be kind of boring. but, if you put a grid over it and divide the image to distribute the weight to one of the cross sections, it'll make a more interesting composition and provide a bit more of a feeling of movement and/or struggle. a grid? yeah, a grid. stop interrupting. it looks like this: the main focal point of your image would ideally try to line up on or around one of these 4 dots. yay. lines. so? ignoring your sass, let me explain. so, like, if you focused on someone's eye. you'd want to put it here. here's an example: a little more striking than this, eh? cool. yawner. get it? fancy, right?! onward to exhibit b. so, like, if you focused on someone's eye. you'd want to put it here. get it? fancy, right?! BALANCING ELEMENTS the b. so, sometimes, when you use the rule of thirds, it kind of leaves this little gap on one side of the photo. an important concept through all visual art is WEIGHT. conceptually, we have to put some balance in an image to make one heavy side not feel like it's just going to flip over and fall off the photo paper or screen... while i think this is still a fun photo; see how empty and desolate the left side feels? i'll talk a bit about the importance of understanding rules and how to break them in a bit... aah. balance in the world. exhibit c. LEADING LINES sometimes it's a great idea to use lines all around you to lead the eye to whatever your focal point is. lines are also handy because they can create depth! I AM THE KING OF ALL STATEMENTS!
YAAAAY CHEETOS!! see? it works. CHEETOS. exhibit d. SYMMETRY PATTERNS & kind of a departure from rule of thirds, eh? that's ok...it still creates movement through the pattern of the bamboo. symmetry is a great way to give the balance while still maintaining a driving feel if you have enough other information to support it. ok. i've been dancing around this long enough. we've all heard "rules are made to be broken," right? i guess it's true in a way...but i always thought it would be better represented by saying, "rules are made to be understood at a root level of your being and then completely blown to smithereens." addendum: except in the case of legality. then, please, just follow by the rules. so, if you're going to break a creative rule...GREAT! DO IT! but, understand what you're breaking first. and after you understand how you're breaking it? break it BIG. no one will understand that you've broken a rule if you do it small....they'll just inherently think it kind of sucks (sorry to be crude, but we all need a dose of reality sometimes). if you make it look like you MEANT TO DO IT, though? you're a hero. heck, look at Spider Man...think he dresses like that on accident? this is the only time you'll hear me say this: all those frat guys in college that hated me so much were right: go big or go home. go big. or go home. anyway. symmetry.
put that in your pipe
and smoke it. e stands for background BACKGROUND sometimes a background can really make a picture confusing.... so, sometimes we want to shoot against a backdrop backdrop. because all this stuff in the background here is confusing. and sometimes, things are just too darn scary to show in public. sorry about that one. here's a baby. i thought the background was way too convoluted...so i put an orange piece of plastic in front of my lens and shot through it. guesses on aperture?? yep. f1.8 only a few more! exhibit f. FRAMING ya know what i hate? buying frames. they're expensive, hard to hang, you have to all...buy a frame...i'd rather just do a picture that has my focal point already framed by the background of my image! see how everything makes this blue part important? ok. g is a good one too. ODD NUMBERS sometimes you can use balance and a person's gaze to make you look somewhere! this is another technique called "looking into the image" odd numbers just put our eye at ease, man. 1. 2. 3. DON'T FORGET!
THESE ARE JUST TECHNIQUES....sometimes the best part is just taking these and starting to... LEARN THEM AND PLAY AROUND! okee doke. time to move on. any questions so far on exposure or compositional techniques? yeah! how do i do that awesome hdr technique? my advice would be:
a) learn how to take normal photos with natural light and then
b) obsess about all of the fun effect-y type stuff you can do with photos afterward, then
c) check out my next prezi on beginning photoshop, then
d) eat a sandwich, then
e) check out our next section right.... here! so, creativity is what this is all about, baby!
once you feel like you've gotten a hold of the concepts of iso, shutter speed, aperture, and composition...the fun really starts! well, to be honest...the fun should've started when you started learning about those things initially. if it wasn't fun, gee, i'm really sorry. but, now the fun starts when you can start figuring out how to {not only} gather light appropriately, but also creatively decide what effect you'd like to accomplish! i'll tell ya one thing. having a better camera than someone else or the best camera bag, will never make someone more creative than anyone else. but, an acceptance of what light is available and the knowledge to utilize the opposing effects of time (shutter speed) and depth (aperture) will make you a wonderful artist. fun. fun. fun. it's friday...friday. let's start shooting! here's some creative concepts to try when your fingers naturally know what to do with iso, shutter speed, and aperture. your eye is trained and ready to play with compositional ideas...it's go time. try creating your own light!
there's so many GREAT resources to start learning how to use strobes or off-camera flashes* *side note though - the flash that may or may not have come on your camera...sucks. hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it's true. no one likes it. and it smells funny. even all the hipsters that use Holgas hate that flash on top. see? even Jon is sad about your on-camera flash. and...due to the fact that his photo isn't hi-rez because i'm still bad at prezi. try a hdr photo! hdr stands for "high dynamic range" photography. you take a bracketed exposure (3-5 shots usually separated by 1 or 2 stops difference) and combine all the images. the result is usually something that has a proper exposure for ground & sky without having to use a lens filter! pretty fun! Trey Ratcliffe is the man at this.
www.stuckincustoms.com try shooting with a filter! this one's red. come up with a weird idea.
and photograph it. i shot this on a couch. that one wasn't on a couch. try a double exposure photo. shoot a still life. tell a story. seek out new places and moments. shoot a live show. bit of advice - shoot the dress rehearsal. you can wander on stage with the performers then...ssshhh...i didn't tell you that. hike somewhere beautiful just for the right shot. this is HUGE... get down on the ground, wade into the river, climb a tree...do whatever you have to do to get the photo that you see in your mind. only through venturing out of your comfort realm will you actually find what you're looking for. learn from the masters. HISTORY this, in no way is ALL of the greats...just a list of a few of my favorite influences. i believe it's important to understand what other masters were doing because a) you can rip them off! always take inspiring ideas that resonate with you and try them! you'll never do it the same, so you may as well learn about lighting or composition from other people who came before you! b) understanding how others have done it will provide you with inspiration and new fresh creative ideas that you can pull from. i carry a little notebook with me and jot down any idea i have...iphones are great for that too with the recorder and notes! also, evernote is a killer program to try to sync your ideas on any device you're working on...handy dandy! www.evernote.com {yay shameless plug!} ok! here we go: the first photograph! some people said it was this dude, Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre in 1838...however, this guy: Nicephore Niepce {say that 5 times real fast} was credited with taking this photo, "view from the study window" in 1827 (almost 10 years before!)

here it is here's the other dude, Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre! oooh...the delicacy of the contours, the purity of the forms ok! influences. one of my absolutely favorite photographers, and a lot of people's numero uno: 1. richard avedon (1923-2004) stravinsky. so incredible. visit richardamedon.com for a bunch more. i swear i get dizzy when i look at how beautiful his story-telling and overall technical prowess is. it's unbelievable that this creative genius lived during our time. 2. w. eugene smith (1918-1978) smith has some of the most important war images i've ever seen. also, if you're ever bored...there's a whole slew of civil war photos done in a photochrom style...basically the first color images made, where you actually hand color the black and white negative. yay google! super cool stuff! check out the rule of thirds! see the struggle that smith gets just by capturing the man reaching for support from that wall. also, check out how much depth all of those lead lines create! so cool! 3. helmut newton (1920-2004) ok. helmut is amazing. obviously. i have to apologize though, i'm trying to keep this prezi "g" rated...so, a lot of his stuff is really really provactive, and it's that that actually raises up how important he was. if you get a chance, check out his photo called "they're coming." 4. irving penn (1917-2009) i know that anyone would/could do this list different/better/worse than this one, but i just wanted to introduce some of these to you. here's a few more names that you should definitely check out in no order of importance:

• man ray
• bruce weber
• ansel adams
• walker evans
• gerard malanga
• jerry uelsmann (he doesn't use photoshop for any of that.)
• alfred steiglitz
• horst p. horst

and SO many others... 5. joel peter witkin (1939-) whelp. there goes the "g" rating, eh? THE RECAP the masters... www.mccormickphotos.net ok, shoot a still life. try to 6. julia fullerton-batten (1970-) i love how she can create such amazing stories in almost a dream-like state. her photos are so unbelievably clean, and her thoughts come through so perfectly. just amazing stuff. 7. robert parke harrison (1968-) "My photographs tell stories of loss, human struggle, and personal exploration within landscapes scarred by technology and over-use…. [I] strive to metaphorically and poetically link laborious actions, idiosyncratic rituals and strangely crude machines into tales about our modern experience." all three of these are from Harrison's series called "the architects brother." they're all self-portraits....if you dig this guy (like i do) check out Teun Hocks too.
Harrison's website with his wife is: www.parkeharrison.com 8. dave hill (1979-) dave is killer at advertising photos. mainly due to his great sense of story-telling. he almost spells it out for us...this is what i mean by "a picture should really say just THREE important words." dave is also known a lot for his composite works...he'll collect elements of each photo from all over the place and stick them all together in one photo. yay high pass filter! www.davehillphoto.com 9. lee jeffries lee jeffries is on this list due to his recent works (2008) for a homeless campaign that he was on to try to raise money for folks living on the street. they are such powerful images that i couldn't help but include them. such perfect story-telling through portraiture...check out the simplicity and perfection of his lighting! 10. chase jarvis "the best camera is the one that’s with you all the time" all of those images were done with chases' iPhone. ok! there was a SUPER small amount of influential photographers! please please please make sure to check out as many people as you can that are masters in this art! shall we recap? •robert parke-harrison better in the dark better around more
light mccormick photos & design
on facebook.
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