I started this discussion about photography clear back in June, 2019 and I’ve covered a lot of ground. There’s more I want to cover but before I do I think it will be useful to summarize what I’ve discussed up to now.
I started this series discussing light and defined photography as the act of capturing light interacting with a subject. As photographic artists we need to understand and use the attributes of light (point source/diffuse, color/temperature, front/side/back) to best express our view, interpretation or feelings about the subject. Furthermore, understanding the intensity of light, the limitations of our camera being able to capture its intensity and adjusting our camera’s settings to accommodate that intensity are basic knowledge that we must grasp.
After discussing light, I moved through the design/decision process I use when shooting. The process follows the alphabetical sequence CDE: composition, depth of field and exposure.
With regard to composition there’s a lot to think about: subject matter, focal points, prominence, figure/ground separation, distractions, tension, flow and contrast (focal, tonal, textural and color). I also discussed lenses and the effect the choice of lens length can have on the image.
The discussion of lenses led us into the concept of acceptable focus and how to control the depth of field using aperture.
Lastly, I discussed exposure. I presented the use of shutter speed to both achieve proper exposure and express artistic vision. I also talked about ISO (film speed) to accommodate low light conditions and control noise.
This is a lot to think about every time I push the button on my camera. Using the initialism CDE helps me remember each of the important aspects of photography and encourages me to use an ordered process to ensure my images express my vision to the best of my abilities.
(Sony α7RII, FE 24-70 @ 70mm, 0.5s, f/6.7, ISO 1600)
The concepts that I’ve presented up to now are what I consider the fundamentals of photography. With a bit of thought and practice they can be understood and integrated into a shooting routine but to truly master them could take years. Occasionally I fail to achieve an objective for a shoot and find myself having to go back and remind myself to follow the CDE process.