A Bimbo’s guide to Photography

Pre-Script (If that’s a thing, anyway) : It’s strange how I get an idea in the middle of the night and start writing. How throughout the unending hours of daylight, volcanic thoughts entangle with the mundane colours of life and splash into nothingness. And suddenly, like meeting a stranger on a rainy Paris street, it strikes you, that you have known this person even before discovering their existence.
Similarly a quirky mélange of ideas at the devil’s hour meets me and I pull the pencil off my hair bun and just-start-writing. My thoughts aren’t  processed much, they are raw and honest!

Quick downpour: Read this only if you are a willing shutterbug. Going to a photography school and learning photography are two very different realms.
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Remember, a camera never clicks a picture, a visionary does. If you are still there, you need to grow beyond the auto mode.

Here’s what it is:
That picture, up there, makes me feel that I am learning. You grow as a photographer, just like you grow as a person!
So here’s what I started with, the three pillars of photography:

1) Shutter-speed: That sound your camera makes, every time you click a picture is because of the camera shutter. The camera shutter opens and closes for a set interval of time (that you decide). The amount of time your camera shutter remains open is your shutter speed.
Example: I need to freeze the movement of fluttering prayer flags/birds. Since my subject is moving fast, I need my camera to capture the movement quickly, without blurring the picture. So I choose a higher shutter speed (let’s say 1/350). Now, 1/350 would mean 350th part of a second.
On the contrary, say, there’s dark room and I want more amount of light to enter my camera to click a well exposed picture. I will set a shutter speed of 1/30. Now, that means 30th part of a second.
Get that?

 

2) Aperture, the tricky F guy: It’s just a goddamn hole! No, don’t confuse! It’s a hole in the camera lens that allows light to enter the camera. The larger the aperture, the more light enters the camera. It is measured in “F stops”.
Example: It’s a bright sunny day in Paris, and you are out in one of those cafés. When you decide to click a picture keep the F around, say, 13, or so.
On the contrary, let’s say you are again in Paris, it’s raining and you are in one of those nostalgia shops with those hazy tungsten lights, keep the F around 4.5 or so
Also, if you are reading this carefully, by now you should have a question, how is F 4.5 bigger than F13. It’s like Phoebe, it works the other way around. You’ll get a hang of it!

Took it from Wiki

3) ISO: Helps create artificial light. In those dingy times, when you don’t have enough light to expose a frame, increase the ISO. But, life ain’t that easy, my friend, ISO increases the camera’s sensitivity to light. A higher ISO makes the available light more abundant to the camera. However, the higher the ISO, the grainier the picture!

Pro Tip: Composition matters! Never cut the feet or hands, be it a human subject or a monument! That’s not even amateur!
So I am saying: You’ve wasted good 10 minutes reading and understanding this, go play with your camera, only then can you understand photography!

About

Still exploring. Kind of bipolar- for my equal love for home and the world. Essentially believe in what George Bernard Shaw said, "life isn't about finding yourself but creating yourself"

38 Comments

  • paulmansfield30 September 13, 2017 at 2:41 am Reply

    funny title ! 😉 looking forward to checking this out soon

    • ambikabhardwaj September 13, 2017 at 11:08 pm Reply

      And you did! Did check it out!
      You, Paul, are a real sweetheart!!!

  • Colors of my life September 13, 2017 at 3:43 am Reply

    Good guide I would say, as compared to 100’s of manuals and videos and 10 tons pictures one has to go.
    Why didn’t you wrote this blog 8 years back 😛

    • ambikabhardwaj September 13, 2017 at 11:27 pm Reply

      Love, try this out before your next trip, just in case you feel like clicking pictures. I’d like to know if this helped you capture some beautiful moments.
      P.S:I wasn’t even born 8 years ago!!!

      • Colors of my life September 14, 2017 at 7:26 am Reply

        I already learn this hard way, you are dead right with the quote you shared, it takes 10,000 pictures to start to know about taking pictures.
        O yes still the chusnee was in your mouth 8 years back. Chota saa bachaa paala saa 😄😄😄

  • Sudhir Chauhan September 13, 2017 at 4:01 am Reply

    yes the composition matters….. interesting read…. the way it is presented……

    • ambikabhardwaj September 13, 2017 at 11:30 pm Reply

      Sudhir!!!
      Absolutely! Composition is the soul! Under exposed-exposed… or whatever can be fixed, but composition! Damn!

  • Anindya September 13, 2017 at 4:21 am Reply

    Nice post Ambika….:)……a fresh perspective to develop photography skills……it’s always joyful reading, your posts….:)

    • ambikabhardwaj September 13, 2017 at 11:34 pm Reply

      Anindya,
      Thank you so much! Your inspirational words, keep me going! Keep me waking up at the middle of the night and exploring creativity! Thank you, kind sire!

      • Anindya September 14, 2017 at 3:23 am Reply

        Wishing you the sweetest of dreams every night….😊….and in exploring the beauty of everything……carry on…😊

  • Ward Clever September 13, 2017 at 6:21 am Reply

    This was not a waste at all, silly. You’ve taught me more about photography in this post than anything in the rest of my life ever. 😊 On top of that, your prescript words are worth a thousand pictures. Beautifully written – I found myself on that Paris street, picturing you walking towards me, smiling, camera in hand. I loved this! ❤

    • ambikabhardwaj September 13, 2017 at 11:41 pm Reply

      You picture it better than I did! It was playing in my head like a flash of images while reading your comment! The Paris streets… ohh so wonderful!
      Have you seen this film by Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”?
      I’d really want to know if this post brings about any difference to the reader’s pictures!
      Thank you, love!

      • Ward Clever September 14, 2017 at 2:20 am Reply

        I haven’t – I need to watch that. I have a feeling that you would enhance any view of Paris, with your words, your photography or your presence. 🙂 You are welcome – and thank you for the photography lesson. <3

  • paulmansfield30 September 13, 2017 at 6:26 pm Reply

    Hi Ambika, quite funny, to read your essay on photography, coming to you in a fit of inspiration ‘in the middle of the night!’ — reading your photographic process is cool, because you take us outside of the confines of the science of photography, one learns in school, and really opens it up, to figuring out how to do it, in the wilds and unpredictably of natural shooting situations. That’s where photography is most challenging and exciting. And your photograph shows it. great work! 🎥

  • ambikabhardwaj September 13, 2017 at 11:44 pm Reply

    Paul,I have this feeling, often when I read your blogs that you are some famous filmmaker in disguise! I know this is hilarious! But the way you describe your experiences with the camera, it’s so intricate. Almost as if you share a relationship with cinema!

  • thesoultrails September 14, 2017 at 12:27 am Reply

    It’s not funny!

    • ambikabhardwaj September 14, 2017 at 12:29 am Reply

      I am “sorry”! like not sorry, but “sorry”!!!

  • Rajesh Shankar September 14, 2017 at 7:34 am Reply

    Great work. Amazingly simple and crispy.
    Guess you would be a photographer par excellence !!!!

  • InspiresN September 14, 2017 at 2:50 pm Reply

    very informative post. Thanks for sharing!

  • Untraveled Routes September 15, 2017 at 4:16 am Reply

    The way you have explained the tricky stuff is quite cool. When I bought DSLR I was so worried, now I have got hang of it… Though with every picture I try to improve ☺️
    Good day, Charu

    • ambikabhardwaj September 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm Reply

      Charu!!!!
      We grow with every picture! As if every shot, especially the bad one’s, teach us something!
      In fact, I really find all your pictures inspirational!
      Love and peace,
      Ambika

  • ashwini kumar September 16, 2017 at 12:50 pm Reply

    wow..astonishing

  • Nisthur Anadi September 16, 2017 at 2:45 pm Reply

    Hi

  • Abby Strangward September 17, 2017 at 8:07 am Reply

    This was a really good guide to photography! I struggle to get away from my ‘auto’ settings, and this was really helpful in learning more. So glad I stumbled across your blog x
    Abby – http://www.seafoaming.com

    • ambikabhardwaj September 17, 2017 at 12:42 pm Reply

      Dude! I have pumped my chest with extra oxygen! So glad it helped! 😀
      Yay

  • ravisidula September 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm Reply

    Good post. I bot cannon few months back and discovering its features with each photo. They do capture splendid moments of life. Very technical tho.

  • Opinionated Man September 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm Reply

    Great tips for beginner photographers! I just snap away with my iphone! lol 🙂

  • Nihar Pradhan October 1, 2017 at 10:11 am Reply

    Photography is such a fascinating subject for amateurs and for professionals its is a serious business, yes it is all in the art of mastering the manual mode, less the auto mode, better is the mood of the picture. After all the person behind the camera captures the moment and not the machine in front. The machine can do so much and not farther.
    These three dimensions of photography appears simple but always a complex aspect to understand by amateurs and as much we try to learn theoretically it boils down to practical usages and the more we experiment with these technicalities the better we have our hold on the craft of photography.
    Thanks Ambika for describing it in such simple way and with such perfect examples.

  • Moon January 7, 2018 at 11:35 am Reply

    “So I am saying: You’ve wasted good 10 minutes reading and understanding this, go play with your camera, only then can you understand photography!” 😀 Coudn’t agree more on this, but I loved the way you put these technical matters in simple, lucid language. I must say, it’s the title of the post that caught my attention. Enjoyed reading the post.

    • ambikabhardwaj January 9, 2018 at 10:03 pm Reply

      Moon! <3
      We haven't spoken before! I am so glad we connected! How is going for you?
      Thank you reading my random thoughts! When I started operating the camera, I faced a hard time understanding all this. Just wanted to make this as simple as possible!

      • Moon January 10, 2018 at 5:18 am Reply

        Thanks for making this simple. I wish I could read this article a year earlier. Things would have been easier for me. 😀 I recently read about your awesome journeys on a Bengali news paper. Hats off to you ! Best wishes!

        • ambikabhardwaj January 10, 2018 at 10:45 am Reply

          Hope the tips help you! Thank you for reading about me! Really means a lot! <3

  • TechFlax February 5, 2018 at 2:57 pm Reply

    Good one and i love you blog name. Different and unique. Chale 😘😘

  • Tushar Bhattachary May 15, 2018 at 8:32 am Reply

    title ! 👌
    informative post…
    thanks for sharing!

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