Lesson 5- The Digital Camera Basics

The best way to take a photo is not only to pay attention to your light but to know your camera. If you are using your phone, iPad or digital camera you nee to play around with your camera at different times of the day. Watch the shadows and make sure that your image has a balance of light. Think in terms of your image being black and white even of it is in color. You want to have dark darks and light lights- unless you are looking for a mood in your picture.

I am going to recommend that you use a Auto setting and if you can program your camera to RAW I would highly recommend it. RAW will allow you to shoot images and have more capability to correct them in iPhoto, Photoshop and LightBox.

Below you will find a diagram of a digital camera. Please look at the camera and identify the parts and what they control.

Diagram of a Digital Camera

Diagram of Dial Modes

Below you will see a diagram of the dial modes.

How to hold the Camera

10 Questions to Ask When Taking a Photo

This is a great article to read.

Photography Vocabulary Review


Adjustment layers - A Layer submenu command for accessing temporary tonal corrections that affect the appearance of underlying information yet do not contain image data or affect the background layer. To make an adjustment layer choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > and choose an option. These commands can also be accessed through the control buttons at the bottom of the Layers palette.
Ambient light -The natural light in a scene.
Aperture-The circular opening inside a camera's lens that controls the amount of light reaching the sensor.

Artefact - An unwanted visual aberration within a digital image.
Burning-in - Adding exposure to an image area in order to add detail, enhance density, and balance tonal information.
Clone - 1. A command that creates a copy when moving a selection or layer with the Move tool.   Press Alt (Win) or when moving. The cursor will become a two-headed arrow with one black and the other white. 2. In reference to the Clone Stamp tool. A tool that takes a section of an image then applies it over part of the same image or a different image in the window
Color Balance - An image submenu command that adjusts the overall combination of colors in an image to correct over-saturated or under- saturated colors. Choose Image > Adjustments > Color Balance. It is preferable for students to make changes in color balance in the layers submenu since it does not affect the original image.
Curves - An image submenu command that allows precise adjustments to the entire tonal range of an image. Instead of only highlights, shadows and mid tone value adjustments any point along a 0-255 scale can be fine-tuned. Up to 15 other values can be continual during the process. Precise adjustments to individual color channels can also be applied. Students will delight in abusing this tool by pulling the curve up and down many times and from many points to achieve a wilder than life color image.
Depth of Field -The distance between the nearest and the farthest points that appear in acceptably sharp focus in a photo.

Downloading - Moving computer data from one location to another. For example taking image off of the camera and saving it in a computer file.
DPI/PPI - DPI stands for Dots Per Inch, PPI stands for Pixels Per Inch. It is a way of measuring the resolution of a digital photo/image or digital device, including digital cameras and printers; the higher the number, the greater the resolution.  For more
File Formats
GIF - "Graphics Interchange Format," GIF images use a compression formula that was developed originally by CompuServe and are based on indexed colors, which is a palette of at most 256 colors. GIF files are great for small icons and animated images, but they lack the color range to be used for high quality photos.
TIFF -"Tagged Image File Format." A graphics file format created in the 1980's to be the standard image format across multiple computer platforms. However, not much compression occurs with this format so file sizes tend to stay large. EPS -"Encapsulated PostScript." EPS is a PostScript image file format that is compatible with PostScript printers and is often used for transferring files between various graphics applications. EPS files will print identically on all PostScript-compatible printers and will appear the same in all applications that can read the PostScript format. PostScript is used for storing font and vector image information. This file type is commonly requested from commercial printers.
JPG -"Joint Photographic Experts Group," is the name of the committee that developed the format. Jpg is a file saving format that can compresses large colorful files by eliminating a small amount of information. However, if the image is compressed too much, the graphics become noticeably "blocky" and some of the detail is lost. Recently, JPEG has become the most popular universal format, because of its small file size and Internet compatibility.
PDF -“Portable Document Format” PDF is the file format for representing documents in a manner that is independent of the original application software, hardware, and operating system used to create those documents. A PDF file can describe documents containing any combination of text, graphics, and images in a device independent and resolution independent format. These documents can be one page or thousands of pages, very simple or extremely complex with a rich use of fonts, graphics, color, and image.

Flash card - The storage device inside your camera for recording digital images. Think of it as the film, only better.
Flash drive - also referred to as thumb, pin, travel, and USB. A portable storage device.
Grayscale - The range of neutralvalues, or shades of gray in an image.
Image Size - An image menu command dialog box for changing the exact values of width, height and resolution. Resample image changes the resolution and print size and will not affect the pixel total numbers when the checkbox is off. With the checkbox on the image will resample and increase or decrease file size when a number is changed accordingly in the width, height and resolution. The Constrain Proportions checkbox will alter the width and height in the same percentage without a distorted look when the box is checked on
Layers - Layers allow changes to be made to an image without altering original image data. Layers can be stacked on top of another layer and then combined into one image. The artist can turn off the eye icon on the layers pallet allowing him to see the effect of each layer edit.
Negative Space - the empty space around an object;
Pixel -the smallest element of an image that can be individually processed in a video display system - looks like a square of color. Stands for picture element.
Positive Space ­– the object itself
Quick Mask Mode - A feature that isolates and protects image areas and allow temporary graphic editing of an active selection.
RAW- Image format where the data is unprocessed.

Raster - a set of horizontal lines composed of individual pixels, used to form an image on a screen. Photoshop is raster based while Illustrator is a vector-based program. For more information about the differences between raster and vector

Resolution - the degree of sharpness of a computer generated image as measured by the number of dots per linear inch in a hard copy printout or the number of pixels across and down on a display screen.

Save As - A File menu command that accesses a dialog for storing an image to a different location or filename than the original image. For example saving a .PSD file as a .JPG allows others, who do not have Photoshop on their computers to view the image.
Selection tools - Instruments in the Toolbar for selecting pixels in an image - the Marquee, Lasso, Magnetic Lasso or Magic Wand tools.
Shutter Button - The button usually located at the top of a camera that is squeezed or depressed to shoot the image. Pressing the button half way finds and focuses in on the focal point of the image. The shutter button releases the shutter, allowing the shutter to open and close, thereby recording an image.

Shutter - the part of the camera that opens and closes allowing light to pass through for a specific amount of time.
Toolbar or toolbox- a palette or grid of icons located on the left side of the interface containing Selection, Crop & Slice Tools, Retouch & Paint Tools, Drawing & Type Tools, & Measurement Tools among others.
Value - the darkness or lightness of a color
Vector - scalable objects based on a series of mathematical numbers and best used for printing. Adobe Illustrator. For more information about the differences between rastor and vector images: