Camera setting and setting your understanding…

Sometimes, when I post photo in Facebook, I usually get questions from friends. Among the famous questions that I usually get are

  1. Boss, what’s the suitable setting for taking pictures? or
  2. If I want to take pictures of sunset, what’s the best setting I should use? or
  3. Boss, about that mountain picture you took this morning, what camera setting did you use?

I don’t like to disappoint, so I do give the setting, after all it’s just a setting. However it is kind of not good for me, when after a few days I get another inbox saying ‘ Boss, I tried the setting you gave me yesterday, but my picture didn’t come out as yours did.’ …makes me feel like being accused as a liar (hey..I have  sensitive soul bah 🙂 )

This is a matter of personal opinion thou, the reason why we have setting or what photographers call EXIF data is for analysis purposes. For example, after the photo was taken, why is the person in the photo looks like in a motion but all signs are showing that the photo has correct exposure. Surely its because the shutter speed is not enough to freeze the the person. Plus, there are other things that need to be considered such as dept of field, colour cast, amount of light and a few other matter. My point is, should you use the setting that your friend suggested to you to capture Mount Kinabalu, be thankful ( I mean very, very thankful) if the photo comes out as you wanted it to be, especially the exposure…seriously.

And of course the question, ‘what is exposure?’ will pop up. Well,  I guess the best way for me to explain this (tau la orang kampung) is  how your photo would look like. Does it look too bright or does it look to dark or does it look just as your eyes see it?  Which then leads to another question, what is the perfect exposure? And honestly, the answer is just ‘it is really up to you.’ If you like it to be bright, then let there be light…and if you like it to be dark then let the light be gone.

However, do bare in mind that most people, prefer to see what is almost similar to how our eyes see it. Especially if the photo is for documentary purposes.  If  it is meant for art, then I guess that is another different story. But, remember, should you take a photo of a group of people having ‘gotong royong’ activity and suddenly the photo turns out to be overly bright until you can’t make up what the people are doing, then you claim it to be art..my friend that is for me , a totally unfair. Personally, for me, for a photo to be considered to be artsy, it has to be properly arranged and not luckily shot.

To understand how our camera work technically or knowing where/ what/ how/ why and when to change the setting in our camera to get that shallow dept of field,  freeze the moment, have a certain red colour on the sky are the main things that we need to understand in order to make taking photo much more easier.

TECHNICALITY is not the secret for a photo to be perfectly presented but it is the COMPULSORY BASIC that every photographer must have in order for him or her to concentrate more on the moment or the composition while working on field. Let’s face it, when you understand your basic, taking photo will be easier thus you can concentrate more on flirting while taking a girl photo (ok, ignore that, its just a joke but a real experience) 😉

Oh, and yes understanding how our camera deals with light is also an important matter. Technically, in photography it is called metering the light. Please keep in mind that a beautiful photo does not depends on weather you are using a matrix metering or spot metering. Metering the light only helps to guide the photographer to decide on the suitable setting before he or she click on the camera shutter.  Usually, a camera light metering can be deceived by a few situation, such as when the subject or the scene is too dark or too bright. This is mainly because all camera is equipped with a “reflected light meter” technology that measure light reflected from the subject and not from the source of light.

I share with you an example, for the photo on the left, I let the camera decide on the setting on Aperture priority (depth of field is my priority) and the result looks like that my camera has been deceived and the photo ends up looking to bright, loosing all the shadow…but for the photo on the right, still on Aperture priority (same setting ) but I set the camera to see the dark area and end up getting what is almost the same as what our eyes see it. So, if you are interested to learn more about this, come and join me this Saturday, 28/04/2012 at Tasik Kompleks Sukan Likas for some Basic Photography Tutorial, if and only if you trust me.

both photos taken with Nikon D700 – Nikon 24-85 (2.8-4) – posted as in camera capture except re-size and boarder.

Having said that, kopisanangan don dongotuong 🙂

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About lano lan

A freelance photographer with 5 years experience in photography. Familiar with local culture in Malaysia and has vast experience in capturing moments in any local event particularly in Sabah. As a full time photographer, I am also familiar and able to take advantage of the local climate condition. In other words, rain or shine, there is always a chance of capturing lights in action.
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