Saturday, August 29, 2009

Notes to myself: A good photography syllabus

Today is the start of another advanced beginner’s course in photography, in which I went to help out as needed. I thought the syllabus was exceptionally well structured. One and a half hour theory and half an hour hands-on are dedicated for each class, structured as follows:

Week 1: All about focusing and use of Aperture Priority mode.

Week 2: Use of Speed Priority, and the various effects of showing motion. ISO and white balance.
Week 3: About lighting and flash photography.
Week 4: Composition
Week 5: Travel photography talk, Photoshop demo, and Proshow Gold demo.

This really is an excellent scope for anyone wanting to master the basics of real photography (as opposed to “happy snap” photography). First, it is essential for a photographer to know how to do selective focusing. Everything in photography revolves around this one key element. Following that, speed is the next crucial setting in an SLR. While aperture setting helps to draw the eye to the centre of attention, speed setting freezes action or helps the mind to visualize motion. Naturally, once you can control aperture and speed, you want to be able to control the lighting as well. This is where many photographers let off, preferring to use natural light or ambient light. It is a shame, really, because lighting control does go a long way as another creative tool. Therefore a serious photographer should pursue that with equal ardour.

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