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The Beginner's Photography Guide 2020

The aim of this book is simple: to provide you with a solid foundation in

digital photography. It cuts through the jargon and complicated technicalities

that can make the subject unnecessarily intimidating, and shows you how

to get the most out of your camera. It’s not surprising that so many

photographers feel daunted by all the buttons, dials, and menus found on

modern digital cameras – and it’s all too easy to switch to Auto and leave

everything to the camera. But once you learn how satisfying it is to make

the creative decisions yourself, and see how taking control can make such

a huge difference to your pictures, you’ll never look back. And it’s really not

as difficult as it might appear. Of course, it does take a little commitment,

and you won’t be able to master every technique without some practice,

but the results are more than worth the effort. Your camera is an amazing

piece of technology that’s capable of transforming your pictures from

average snapshots to something altogether more impressive. This book will

completely demystify the world of digital photography for you, and will set

you on the path to becoming not just a good photographer, but a great one.

Your choice of camera is likely to come down to two things: the type of photography

you want to do, and your budget. The camera isn’t necessarily the end of your

purchases, however. There are a lot of accessories available that aim to enhance your

photography in some way, but lenses, tripods, and flashes are designed to expand

your camera’s capabilities and are often considered “must-have” items.



The essentials

Whether you want a camera that’s light, foolproof, and requires minimal input, or one that allows you to take full creative control, this chapter will help you choose the ideal camera for you. The panel below gives a brief overview of the options available, and lists the prosm and cons of each camera type. If you’re serious about photography, then a camera with interchangeable lenses is definitely the most versatile option.


Single lens reflex (SLR) cameras have been the camera of choice for professional and enthusiast photographers since the 1970s, but the actual SLR design dates back to the late 1940s. The reason for their popularity (and name) is down to the viewing system, which uses a pentaprism (a five-sided glass prism) to rotate the image coming through the lens so it can be viewed through an eye-level viewfinder. This “through-the-lens” (or TTL) viewing system means that the photographer gets an accurate view of what the camera is seeing, and what it will be recording, making it easy to frame a shot. Although initially designed for use with film, most SLRs are now digital, hence “digital SLR”, or dSLR.


On dSLRs, as well as most bridge cameras and some CSCs, the viewfinder is your “window on the world”. It’s where you look at the scene you want to photograph and frame your shots. It’salso where you view information about the camera settings. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO will all be displayed, and you’ll also be able to see which focus points are being used. Most cameras show additional information here too. The illustrations below use Canon and Nikon dSLRs as representative examples, so you may find they differ from your own camera. Either way, you should look at these two pages in conjunction with your camera manual.


In the past, a camera’s rear LCD screen was used for little more than reviewing images and accessing and viewing the various menu options. Today’s screens are far more sophisticated, not only in terms of their specification (large sizes and high resolutions are now standard), but also in terms of the information they relay. Some cameras even allow you to make the rear LCD screen “Live” so you can see a variety of settings, but also control them and make changes via the LCD screen. Again, Canon and Nikon cameras are shown as examples below, so refer to your own camera’s LCD screen to get to know where things are.

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