The word photography was first used by the scientist Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839. It comes from the French photographie which is based on the Greek φώς (phos) light + γραφίς (graphis) stylus / paintbrush or γραφή (graphê) representation by means of lines / drawing, together = drawing with light. Photography is the science and art of recording images by means of capturing light on a light-sensitive medium, such as a film or electronic sensor. Light patterns reflected or emitted from objects expose a sensitive silver halide based chemical or electronic medium during a timed exposure, usually through a photographic lens in a device known as a camera that also stores the resulting information chemically or electronically.


The Chinese were the first people that we know of to write about the basic idea of the pinhole camera. About 2,500 years ago (5th Century BC) they wrote about how an image was formed upside down from a "pinhole" on the opposite wall.  About 2,400 years ago (4th Century BC) the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle talked about a pinhole image formation in his work.  He wondered why "when light shines through a rectangular peep-hole, it appears circular in the form of a cone?"  He did not find an answer to his question and the problem was not answered until about 1600 years later in the early 1000s AD.


The invention of the camera obscura is attributed to the Iraqi scientist Alhazen and described in his Book of Optics (1011-1021). English scientists Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke later invented a portable camera obscura in 1665-1666. In the 1500s many artists, including Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, used the camera obscura to help them draw pictures.  This drawing below, made in 1652, shows an outer shell with lenses in the center of each wall and an inner shell with transparent paper for drawing. The artist entered by a trap door in the bottom.

In 1816 Frenchman Nicephore Niepce made a crude wood camera fitted with a microscope lens.  He invented Heliography around 1826, which he used to make the earliest known permanent photograph from nature Louis Daguerre: Daguerreotype  Louis Daguerre (1789 - 1851), in collaboration with Nicephore Niepce, invented the first practical photographic process in 1837 which was widely used in portraiture until the mid 1850s.

however. .  In 1839 the French government purchased Daguerre's French patent and offered the daguerreotype as "a gift free to the world".  Daguerre.CONTINUATION   A brass plate coated with silver was sensitized by exposure to iodine vapor and exposed to light in a camera for several minutes. did maintain control of the patent throughout the rest of the world. A weak positive image produced by mercury vapor was fixed with a solution of salt.

CALOTYPE In 1839 William Henry Fox Talbot presented a paper to the Royal Society of London describing his invention.  . Current film-based photography is based on the same principle.  This paper negative process.HENRY FOX TALBOT . the calotype. although producing an image inferior in quality to the daguerreotype. had the great advantage of allowing multiple copies to be made.

.CARTE DE VISITE   Photographic "visiting cards" were invented by Andre Adolphe Eugene Disderi in 1854. They were usually an albumen print mounted onto card.  Albums for the collection and display of cards became a common fixture in Victorian parlors.

AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY  The first aerial photograph showing the Place de l' Etoile. Dry Plate Photography  Dr Richard Maddox discovered a method of using gelatin instead of glass as the plate material for the light-sensitive solution. . Paris.  It was shot from an altitude of 520 meters in a tethered balloon. was taken by Gaspard Felix Tournachon (aka Felix Nadar) in 1858.

a less cumbersome process that did not require the photographer to use a darkroom tent for immediate plate development as had been required by wet plate processes. Photography could now reach the masses: once the 100 shots on the camera had been taken.  . Eastman Kodak Camera 1888  George Eastman introduced celluloid based film in 1884. and the small portable easy-to-use box camera in 1888. the camera was sent back to Kodak for film processing.CONTINUATION This discovery led to the invention of dry plate photography. and the camera was returned ready-for-use to the owner. new film was loaded.

(1994 Encyclopaedia Brittanica. One of the lenses is the photographic objective (the lens that takes the picture).TWIN LENS REFLEX CAMERA  The TLR camera has two objective lenses of the same focal length. which is mounted on a common panel with the viewing lens. and is projected on the film. Light from the object also goes through the taking lens. Inc. which shows the image upright but laterally reversed.) . while the other is used for the waist-level viewfinder system. The fixed mirror deflects the light rays coming through the lens to a top screen.

It was called the Leica from the initials of "LEItz CAmera". . produced a prototype 35mm camera. In 1924 the camera went into production at the Leitz factory in Germany. Oskar Barnack.RANGE FINDER CAMERA  In 1913 a German design engineer.

SINGLE LENS REFLEX FILM CAMERA  Pentax Medium Format 6x7 SLR from the 1980s. went into production in 1952. the AsahiflexI. .  Asahi's first model. Used 120/220 roll film and featured an electronically-timed focal plane shutter and interchangeable lenses and prisms. making it the first Japanesebuilt 35mm SLR.

had a left-handed shutter release and rapid film wind thumb lever.  The first 35mm SLR. . produced in 1936. folding waist level finder and 12 to 1/1000th second focal plane shutter.CONTINUATION  The historic Contax S (1949). the first pentaprism SLR for eye-level viewing. the Ihagee Kine Exakta.

DIGITAL SINGLE LENS REFLEX CAMERA  The basic operation of a DSLR is the same as a SLR. the internal mirror set at a 45 degree angle reflects the light coming through the lens up at a 90 degree angle into a pentaprism where the image is inverted so it can be seen through the viewfinder the right way up. For viewing purposes. .

the aperture stops down to the selected size. the mirror drops back into place. and the shutter opens exposing the electronic sensor placed on the focal plane to light. a second shutter closes back over the sensor. At the end of the exposure. and the first shutter resets.  .CONTINUATION During an exposure. the mirror swings up.

All 3 of these things depend on one other factor which is light. ISO. A photograph is basically a chemical process in which light is exposed to film. and registers an image.BEGINNERS GUIDELINES TO SIMPLE PHOTOGRAPHY There are 3 things that affect your image quality in photography. or a sensor in digital cameras. . aperture and shutter speed.

while an f-stop of f16 would be very small. . it will all start to make sense. most consumer lenses have a range of f2 to f16. until I actually took some pictures trying all the different settings.4 would be very large. That’s when it all made perfect sense. once you try everything out on the actual camera. When I first went over the module on this it was all gibberish to me. Don’t be overwhelmed by the technical terms and numbers and things like that.CONTINUATION There’s a device in the camera called the diaphragm. the smaller the aperture. and are represented by the numbers you see on the image. so for example. The larger the number. The different aperture settings are called f-stops. which is directly connected to aperture. an f-stop of f1. Typically.

Each photo was taken at 1/250th of a second. the picture is quite dark. The lower the ISO is. Shutter speed is always measured in seconds. The ISO is simply how sensitive the film. Now. is to light. and a slower shutter speed will need a smaller aperture to prevent too much light from getting in. while the ISO was changed. and the aperture set to f5. To demonstrate the effect of ISO. and at 1600 ISO. . see the below image. The higher the ISO is.6. your shutter speed will have to be adjusted to allow the right amount of light for what you want to achieve. usually a faster shutter speed will require a larger aperture to allow enough light into the camera. or censor in a digital camera. shutter speed is how long the shutter is open to allow light into the camera. You see. that at 100 ISO. You can see from the photo. the picture is better. the less sensitive it is to light. the picture is far too bright. At 400 ISO. Depending on the ISO you are using. the more sensitive it is to light.

the faster your shutter speed can be. All light has a temperature in degrees Kelvin. but that gets more complicated. which also affects things. as it’s a little more advanced. I won’t get into that yet. The type of light will also change things.  .The more light that is available.

Now. If you are photographing a fast moving object. It’s pretty simple. called grain. a fast shutter speed suddenly becomes a necessity most of the time. the more sensitive the film/censor will be to the light.  . actually. or a slow moving object. For most people. If you are photographing a still object. a fast shutter speed isn’t as important. let’s talk a little about why shutter speed is important. right? The correct answer is. the less you have to worry about a blurry image. So one might think it’s best to always use the highest ISO possible. In the next image we see something new. sometimes. the higher the ISO. Now remember. a shutter speed of 1/60th of a second is the slowest you can hand hold the camera before experiencing blur due to camera shake. The faster your shutter opens and closes.

. I find for the average every-day John and Jane Q. ISO suddenly becomes very important. if that perfect shot was taken with a high ISO film. you won’t be able to tell the difference in grain at standard print size of 4x6. But even an amateur will sometimes get that one perfect shot they just would love to hang on their wall. while the second looks. Most consumers won’t need to be making a lot of enlargements. Below I cropped just the face of an image. or using a high ISO setting on a digital camera. the grainier your photo will look. However. Normal. if you ever have a photograph you’d like to enlarge. Most of the time. the size of the enlargement will be limited before it starts to look bad. 400 ISO is best. The higher the ISO. Unfortunately. and I may get into that another time. so this doesn’t always matter. grainy. well. It gets more complicated of course if you’re looking at it from a professional level. one at 100 ISO and the other at 1600 ISO. Grain is essentially how nice your photos look. The first photo looks smoother.

This is because the back round is blurred. The entire time I kept focused on the figurine.. Most likely. if taking a macro photo of a small insect. The closer something is. The closer it is. Anything in front of. In the last frame. As you can see. For example.  . but both the shutter speed and aperture were changed. your eye is attracted to the figurine. you can have the insect in focus. you can focus on both the insect up close and mountains in the distance. the more limited the depth of field will be. and when you look at the figurine. depth of field is essentially the area in front and behind the object that is in focus. the more infinite the focus can be. In the second frame still focused on the figurine. and unobtrusive. You can set things up however so that your depth of field is infinite (to a degree) and everything is sharp. but no matter what lens or camera you have. you’re distracted by the box in the center. or behind the figurine would appear blurry. The further away something is. but a little distracted. Each photo was taken with the same ISO. in the first frame. So as you can see from the pictures. the back round became less blurred the smaller the aperture. your eye was probably drawn first to the red box. the more limited that becomes.

that will show you in the viewfinder how the depth of field will look. This is a very helpful function to have. The best thing to do is buy or rent an old. which will aid greatly in how all you photographs will look in the future. but if not.  . trial and error must be used for the beginner. Buying a fully manual camera forces you to learn these beginner concepts. a telephoto lens will have a more sensitive depth of field. It’s easiest to tackle this one factor by taking your camera out and just trying the different aperture settings and distances from objects. as there are many different factors that will affect your depth of field. Depth of Field is probably the most confusing to beginners. because reading about it can be complicated. while a wide angle lens will be less obvious. My 2 favorite manual cameras are the Pentax K1000 and the Canon AE-1 (But do not get the Canon AE-1 Program. as it is largely automatic if you want it to be). fully manual film camera. For example. Some cameras will have a depth of field preview button. The biggest problem most beginners face is the ease of automatic features.

. The settings for all these functions will be available on most digital cameras. Chances are if your camera is 3 megapixels and up. You’ll have to consult your manual for help on where to find them and how to set them on your camera however. not just SLR’s. it will have the right functions.

   . It controls the size of the aperture opening. Aperture Priority Setting: An exposure setting taken with a camera where the photographer chooses the aperture setting and the camera sets the shutter speed for proper exposure.thereby determining how much light passes through to expose the film. usually behind the focusing ring. Aperture Ring: The ring located on the outside of the lens. the camera automatically changes the shutter speed to match. If the photographer changes the aperture.TERMINOLOGIES Aperture: The lens opening that changes in diameter.

or both for proper exposure. Auto Exposure Bracketing: A camera option that automatically sets the exposure of the film to varied shutter speeds and/or aperture settings. shutter speed.  Autofocus (AF) System: A common system on SLR cameras where the camera lens automatically focuses the image using a selected part of the picture.  Automatic Camera: A camera with a built-in exposure meter that automatically does the work of adjusting the aperture.  Automatic Setting or Program Exposure: An exposure setting where the camera sets both the aperture setting and shutter speed for proper .

depending on the type of filter.  External flash: A supplementary flash unit attached to the camera. The filter gives different effects to the photographer's images. The bulb setting is best used for photographing fireworks and other things that need a long exposure time. transparent base." The bulb setting opens the shutter and keeps it open as long as you keep pressing the shutter release.  Filter: A colored or transparent round glass the size of a camera lens which a photographer attaches to the camera by either screwing it onto a lens. Bulb Setting: An exposure setting on SLR cameras labeled with a "B. . or inserting it in a filter holder. holding it in front of the lens.  Film: A photographic emulsion of an image that is fixed on a flexible. External flashes are used for many things including increased flash range and red-eye reduction.

The larger the f-stop number. intense burst of light from a bulb or flash unit.4. Fixed-Focus Lens: A non-adjustable camera lens. and f/22. f/4. .6. f/16. the smaller the lens opening. F-Stop or F-Number: A number that indicates the size of the aperture lens opening such as f/1. Flash: A brief. F-stop determines your depth of field. which is set for a fixed distance.    Finder or Viewfinder: The area on the camera where the photographer views the subject area that will be recorded on the film. f/5.

exposing the film. between the film and the optical center of the lens when the lens is focused on infinity. such as 50mm.  Focal-Plane Shutter: The shutter system on cameras with a built-in lens. When the shutter is pressed an opaque curtain containing a slit moves directly across in front of the camera film. The distance is often listed in millimeters.Focal Length: The distance.  Hot Shoe: The area on a camera that holds a small  .  Focus: The act of adjusting the focus setting on a lens in order to sharply define the subject. as marked on the lens.

 Lens: Optical glass or a similar material that collects and focuses light to form an image on film.  Internal Flash.  .Image Stabilization or Vibration Reducing: A lens with an internal system to detect camera shake and compensate for it.  Lens Hood or Shade: An attachment located at the front of a lens to keep unwanted light from striking the lens and causing image flare. usually on the top. A flash integrated into the body of the camera.

 Manual Focus: The process of setting the focus using the focus ring on the lens instead of using the camera's auto-focus system. Cameras often have an internal light meter but external light meters are more effective.Light Meter or Exposure Meter: An instrument that measures the light reflected from or falling on an object for proper exposure.  Manual Setting: An exposure setting where the aperture setting and the shutter speed are both set by the photographer.  Macro Lens: A lens which changes the perspective to focus from an extremely close distance to infinity.  . It gives the photographer more freedom in choosing shutter speed and depth of field when composing.

. Reflector: Any device which reflects light onto a subject. Continuous mode is often used in Sports Photography. Normal Lens: A lens that does not change the perspective of the image like a telephoto or wideangle lens.    Motor Drive or Continuous Mode: An electronic mechanism that advances the film to the next frame and continues taking photographs. Shutter Blades: A movable cover in a lens that controls the aperture setting and the time when light reaches the film.

If the photographer changes the shutter speed.  Single-Lens-Reflex (SLR) Camera: A camera in which you view the scene through the same lens that takes the picture.  Soft Focus Lens: A special lens that creates soft outlines in the image. the camera automatically changes the aperture to match. Shutter Priority: An exposure setting taken with a camera where the photographer chooses the shutter speed setting and the camera sets the aperture for proper exposure. .  Telephoto Lens: A lens which changes the perspective to make the object appear closer.

 Wide-Angle Lens: A lens which changes the perspective to make the objects appear in a wider field of view. though.  Unipod: A one-legged support that holds the camera steady.  Tripod: A three-legged support that holds the camera steady.  Time Exposure: An exposure that takes seconds or minutes to complete. . The zoom. allowing the photographer to change the perspective from close in to far away. has a wide range of focal lengths. Zoom: A lens which changes the perspective like a telephoto or wide-angle lens.

EXPOSURE TERM   Bracketing: The process of taking a series of photographs of the same subject through a range of exposures. Film Speed: Your choice of film speed as reflected in an ISO number. both lighter and darker. Some SLR cameras have settings that allow automatic bracketing. .  Highlights: The brightest areas of a subject. to insure a correct exposure.

etc. The numbers represent either seconds or fractions of a second. 15 = 1/15 second.  Overexposure: The washed-out. Shutter Speed: The duration for which the aperture will remain open. The higher the number.  . the more sensitive or "faster" the film. 60 = 1/60 second. 1 = 1 second. overly bright areas of a photograph due to too much light reaching the film. the less sensitive or "slower" the film. ISO Number: A rating of the film's sensitivity to light. For example. On an SLR camera the shutter speed can be adjusted. the lower the number.

 Underexposure: The muddy.  White Balance: A function on the camera that compensates for different colors of light being emitted by different light sources. Tone: . dark areas of a photograph due to too little light reaching the film.The degree of lightness or darkness on a print.

LIGHTING TERMS Ambient Light: The natural.  Existing Light: Any available light regardless of time of day and at any location.  Diffuse Lighting or Soft Lighting: Lighting that is low or moderate in contrast.  Backlighting: The light coming from behind the subject. available light in a scene.  Bounce Lighting: Light that is bounced off a reflector to give the effect of ambient light.  .

flash or reflector.  Fill-In Light: Light added to the existing light by use of a lamp.  .  Frontlighting: Light shining from the direction of the camera toward the subject. often used when the subject is located in the dark shadow.  Sidelighting: Light shining on the subject from the side relative to the camera. often casting long shadows.Fill Flash: A technique to brighten dark shadow areas.