What is Rule of Thirds in Photography Composition

One of the Secrets to a Great Photograph is a Good Composition. The way in which the different elements in a scene are arranged within the frame is known as Composition. There are many rules or rather guidelines that can help you create attractive images. Let’s begin with the first one – Rule of Thirds.

What is Rule of Thirds

An off-centre composition, Rule of Thirds is dividing the frame/scene into 9 equal parts; two horizontal lines (breaking the scene into thirds horizontally) and two vertical lines (breaking the scene into thirds vertically). These four lines create four intersection points. The idea here is to place your main subject/ points of interest on the intersection points. Since the subject is not placed in the centre of the scene, it also gives the viewer a glimpse into the subject’s environment – making the photograph more appealing!

How to Use Rule of Thirds to Improve your Composition

rule

Most of the recent DSLR Cameras have the Grid option. Check the menu in your DSLR and if you have the Display Grid option, enable it. Now, capture your image using Live View Mode. You will be able to see the grid lines over the scene you are about to photograph in real-time on your LCD screen. These grid lines divide the frame horizontally and vertically into 9 equal parts and create four intersection points. So, go ahead and capture a strong image using Rule of Thirds Composition by placing your main subject on the intersection point.

What if – you didn’t use Rule of Thirds while taking the picture? How do you apply Rule of Thirds in Post-Processing?

Well, you can edit, crop and apply Rule of Thirds to your image in post-processing software like Lightroom. In Lightroom, you can place the Rule of Thirds Grid over your image while cropping it. And create a photograph that depicts Rule of Thirds Composition.

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To understand Rule of Thirds, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Rule of Thirds Composition with the help of practical examples.

Rule of thirds

Keywords: Basics of Photography, Composition, DSLR Photography for Beginners, DSLR Photography Tutorials, learn DSLR Photography, Rule of Thirds

What is Exposing to the Right in Photography

The amount of light that enters your DSLR’s image sensor is called Exposure. Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO are the three sides of the Exposure Triangle. These 3 settings play a key role in creating a properly exposed image.

Light Trinity

What is Exposing to the Right (ETTR) and When to Use it

Exposing to the Right (ETTR) is used only by experienced photographers to get better quality pictures by increasing the exposure/ overexposing the image in low light situations. This DSLR setting helps in capturing more (shadow) details in your image and reduces the noise (tiny coloured pixels or grain) in your image without losing any of the highlights.

It is called Exposing to the Right since it refers to the histogram of the image which should be towards the right side of the graph. You might be wondering what a histogram is and how to read it? Here’s how.

How to read a Histogram

Histogram

Many a times, your DSLR LCD may not reflect the correct exposure of your image. Instead, it is always better to check the histogram of the image. In most DSLR cameras, to see the histogram – you will have to go to the image, then press the DISP/ Display button.

A histogram is basically a graphical representation of the pixels exposed in your photograph. Refer the above picture – the first histogram is towards the left which means your image is underexposed. The second histogram is towards the right (Exposing to the Right) which means your image is overexposed.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand ETTR, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of ETTR.

ETTR 1

How to Use Exposing to the Right (ETTR)

Remember, you will have to set the file format to capture/save images in RAW and not JPEG, if you want to use ETTR. When you save your images in RAW format, the images are saved as RAW meaning they are not processed by the DSLR. Hence, it is not recommended for beginners as these images have to be processed later in software like Lightroom. Since, a RAW image captures all image data recorded by the image sensor without processing it, the file size is heavy compared to JPEG.

You will have to overexpose the image so that the histogram shifts to the right. How do you do that? Experiment with the 3 settings/elements that form the Exposure Triangle: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. For instance, you can set the aperture to a small f-number 4 (wide aperture), slow shutter speed of 1/13 sec (use a tripod to prevent camera blur) and high ISO of 12800.

Once you have captured the image using ETTR, the image will look very bright but it contains a lot of details. You will now have to process the image in Lightroom to get it to proper exposure. The resulting image will be a high quality one, containing more details and less noise in the shadow areas without losing any highlights.

Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein Jo experiments with ETTR Settings and succeeds in mastering ETTR.

ETTR-2

Keywords: Photography Basics, DSLR Photography for Beginners, DSLR Photography Tutorials, learn DSLR Photography, ETTR, Exposing to the Right

 

 

 

What is Exposure Compensation in Photography

The amount of light that enters your DSLR’s image sensor is called Exposure. Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO (Holy Trinity of Photography) form the Exposure Triangle; they work together to create a properly exposed image. You can play/experiment with these 3 settings to change the exposure of your photograph.

What is Exposure Compensation (EC) and When to Use it

The DSLR’s meter calculates the light reflected off the object/subject and adjusts it to maintain the standardised middle gray aka 18% gray.

For instance, if the subject to be photographed is very bright, the light meter will darken the exposure to maintain 18% gray; if the subject is very dark, the light meter will brighten up the exposure. This adjustment is done by the meter so that the image created doesn’t turn out to be too dark or too bright.

But, you as a photographer, would want your image to come out, the way you remember seeing it while capturing it, right? To do so, you will have to use Exposure Compensation (EC) to rectify/override the meter’s gray setting.

How to use Exposure Compensation/ Understanding Exposure Compensation Settings

EC upload

Remember – Exposure Compensation doesn’t work in Manual Mode. You can use Exposure Compensation (EC) setting in aperture priority mode, shutter priority mode or program mode; since these are semi-automatic modes and allow exposure adjustments.

When you are Photographing a Polar Bear in Snow

Since, both the polar bear and the snow are white/ very bright – the DSLR meter will adjust and bring the brightness down to 18% gray. So, the polar bear may appear grey in the photograph.

To rectify the image, you will have to dial up Exposure Compensation (EC). According to the polar bear’s image, take a call as to how much you want to dial up EC. Set EC to +3, +4 or +5 and again take a snap of the polar bear. Experiment with EC settings and capture images of the polar bear until you create an image where the polar bear looks white and not grey.

Street Photography at Night

Exp Comp

If you are capturing Street Photography at Night, the scene would look very dark. So, your DSLR’s light meter will brighten up the exposure to maintain 18% gray. And result in a washed-out image. So, you will have to dial down EC to -3, -4 or -5 to make the photograph resemble the natural night scene.

 Moon Photography

After clicking a picture of the moon, it may happen that the moon looks like a white disc in the photograph. So, the trick here is to dial down EC (darken the exposure) to -2 or -3 so that the resulting image looks natural and depicts the craters on the moon’s surface.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Exposure Compensation, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Exposure Compensation with the help of practical examples.

EC-1

Keywords: Photography Basics, DSLR Photography for Beginners, DSLR Photography Tutorials, learn DSLR Photography, Exposure Compensation

What is Shutter Priority in Photography

Shutter lies behind the aperture and ahead of the image sensor. When the aperture opens, light enters the camera. When you click a picture, the shutter opens for a particular period of time to allow light into the image sensor.

Camera Layout-1

Shutter Speed is the time period for which the shutter is open to photograph a scene. It is measured in seconds or fractions of a second. Bigger the denominator – faster the shutter speed. Hence, 1/4000 sec (0.00025 sec) is the fastest shutter speed while 30 sec denoted as 30″ is the slowest shutter speed. However, the slowest and fastest shutter speed will vary depending on the DSLR camera you are using.

Light Trinity

Faster the shutter speed – lesser light will enter the image sensor and the captured image will be dark. Slower the shutter speed – more light will enter the image sensor and the captured image will be bright. Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed form the Exposure Triangle that helps in creating the desired photograph.

Shutter Priority Mode

Shutter Prior upload

Shutter Priority Mode, one of the photography basics, appears as S or Tv on your DSLR mode dial. This mode gives you control over the Shutter speed setting. In this mode, you set the shutter speed according to your creative intent; the DSLR will set the aperture for you according to the lighting conditions to make proper exposure.

If you want to make moving objects look still in your photograph, go for faster shutter speed in shutter priority mode. On the other hand, if you want to capture motion blur – go for slower shutter speed in shutter priority mode. But, remember- a tripod is required to shoot in slow shutter speed to prevent camera blur/shake.

When to use Shutter Priority Mode

To capture Night Landscapes/ For Long Exposures/ Astrophotography

In shutter priority mode, use slow shutter speed to photograph and capture details of night landscapes/ Milky Way/ Star Trails. Shutter speed slower than 1/60 sec records camera movement and will result in a blur image due to camera shake. So, if you use slow shutter speed of say 30 sec (30″), you’ll have to use a tripod to avoid blur images.

Sports Photography/ to capture moving objects

Fast shutter speed of 1/250 sec and above will allow you to freeze moving subjects/objects. In sports photography, you will have to set a fast shutter speed of 1/500 sec or above to capture the fast movements of the sports players.

And if you are photographing a bird in motion, then use a fast shutter speed of 1/1000 sec to 1/4000 sec to freeze the movement of the bird.

When Not to use Shutter Priority Mode

During Daytime

In a Well-Lit room/ room with plenty of light

When you are not photographing a moving object

Instead, use Aperture Priority Mode to photograph under above conditions for good images.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Shutter Priority, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Shutter Priority with the help of practical examples.

Shutter Priority

Keywords: Basics of Photography, DSLR Photography for Beginners, DSLR Photography Tutorials, learn DSLR Photography, Shutter Priority

What is Aperture Priority in Photography

Aperture is the opening between the lenses that lets the light into the image sensor. Wider the aperture opening, more light enters the sensor resulting in a brighter image and vice versa.

Camera Layout-1

It is measured in f-number (f1.4, f2, f2.8, f4, f5.6, f8, f11, f16, f22); smaller f-number means wider aperture/opening and a larger f-number means smaller aperture/opening.

Aperture

Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed form the Exposure Triangle that helps in creating the desired photograph.

Light Trinity

Aperture Priority Mode

Aperture Priority upload

Aperture Priority Mode, one of the photography basics, appears as A or Av on your DSLR mode dial. This mode gives you control over the Aperture setting. In this mode, you set the aperture according to your creative intent; the DSLR will set the shutter speed for you according to the lighting conditions to make correct exposure.

When to use Aperture Priority Mode

During Daytime

Use Aperture Priority Mode when there is good light. For instance, you are photographing a resting bird. You want to blur the background and make the bird stand out in your photograph, go for the widest aperture opening (smallest f-number) between f1.4 and f4 in your DSLR camera. Set the ISO to 100 or 200; DSLR will set the shutter speed for you. By using these settings, your subject (bird) will stand out and the Depth of Field will be shallow.

Landscape Photography

For clicking pictures of landscapes, use Aperture Priority Mode. Since landscapes usually have a foreground or a backdrop and if you want everything in the scene to come out sharp, Aperture Priority Mode comes in handy. Go for the smallest aperture opening (largest f-number) say f16 or f22 in your DSLR camera. DSLR will set the shutter speed for you. With these settings, everything in your photograph will be in focus resulting in deep Depth of Field.

Portrait Photography

For Portrait Photography, use Aperture Priority Mode. Similar to Bird Photography, you can use wider aperture opening (smaller f-number) in your DSLR camera for Portrait Photography. This way, your DSLR will focus on the person being portrayed, the subject stands out while the background appears blur.

When Not to use Aperture Priority Mode

At Night

In a Dark Room

To capture Night Landscapes

In Poorly lit environment

Instead, use Shutter Priority Mode to photograph under above conditions for good images.

We bring you ‘Jo & His Camera’ Comic Strips wherein a Magical Camera gives DSLR photography tutorials to Jo.

To understand Aperture Priority, Click on the below Image to see the Comic wherein the Camera explains Jo, the concept of Aperture Priority with the help of practical examples.

Aperture Priority

Keywords: Basics of Photography, DSLR Photography for Beginners, DSLR Photography Tutorials, learn DSLR Photography, Aperture Priority