Review of Photography Shooting Basics for Writers

By Matthew Bamberg / Jan 17, 2013
Photograph of two women in China taken in aperture priority mode set at f/5.6. Shutter speed determined by camera was 1/500 seconds. The subtle lighting of a cloudy day along with a minimalist background creates a good exposure.  

Just as with landscape, candid and portrait photography there are photography shooting basics to keep in mind when taking a photograph for a piece of writing.

Photography is all about light. To get the correct exposure for the photo you want, you need to know the adjustable settings on your camera and what what the settings do.
ISO settings have to do with light sensitivity. When you shoot at a low ISO (less sensitive) you get a clear, crisp image. When you shoot at a high ISO, you can capture fast-moving objects better as well as take pictures at night without a tripod.
Think of the f-stop as how wide the aperture of your camera opens. The values can range from f /3.6 to f/32 on many cameras. Lower values mean that the aperture opens wider and higher values mean it opens narrowly (think of a narrow opening as a pin hole).
Aperture Priority   
A good camera has an aperture priority setting. This setting enables you to control the aperture (f-stop) while your camera determines the shutter speed.
Shutter Speed
Shutter speed is the time that your camera’s shutter stays open. Shutter speeds can be anything from 1/4000 second to 30 seconds and more.
Shutter Priority
If a camera has an aperture priority setting, it will have a shutter priority setting also. This setting enables you to control the shutter speed while the camera controls the aperture.
Exposure compensation is kind of a meter with plus and minus values that lets you darken or lighten your image. It can be used to enhance color, say, by setting it in the negative zone on objects facing the sun to bring out color.

About the author

Matthew Bamberg

Matthew Bamberg has provided photographs and written articles for various Southern California newspapers and magazines, including The Desert Sun and The Press-Enterprise. More recently, Matt has been teaching at UC Riverside while also authoring several books like the Quick and Easy Secrets book series (Cengage), Killer Photos with Your iPhone (with Kris Krug and Greg Ketchum, Cengage), the 50 Greatest Photo Opportunities in San Francisco (Cengage) and Digital Art Photography For Dummies (Wiley).