We've worked with many students in the Tampa area teaching them the basics of photography. We decided to answer some of the most common questions we hear from students.
1) What is Manual Mode?
If your camera has Manual Mode then you are able to adjust the ISO, shutter speed and aperture. When you are able to adjust these settings, you have more creative control. Do you want shallow or deep depth of field? Select your aperture - a 2.8 aperture will give you less depth of field than 11. Do you want to freeze an action shot? Make sure your shutter speed is fast enough. Do you want a grainier photo or show no grain at all? Select your ISO (the higher the ISO, the grainier the photo). When using a point and shoot camera, the camera is making the choices for you.
We are not talking about being out of focus - that's different. You can prevent blurry photos by ensuring you are holding your camera as steady as possible or using a tripod. Another issue may be that your shutter speed is too slow. If you have manual settings on your camera, you can adjust your shutter speed to prevent having blurry photos. The lens you are using affects your shutter speed as well. For example, if you are using a 50mm lens, your shutter speed needs to be at least 1/50th of a second. If you are using a 200mm lens, your shutter speed needs to be at least 1/200th of a second. If you are photographing someone walking, we recommend using 1/500th of a second, but you may be able to get away with a slower shutter speed. If your subject is running, use 1/800th of a second or faster.
3) What is the difference between RAW and JPEG files?
RAW files have all of the information from the camera. They are uncompressed and unprocessed. Shooting RAW gives you the most flexibility in post-production. You can use software like Photoshop or Lightroom to make a wide variety of adjustments and edit to your own aesthetic. Professional photographers shoot RAW files for this reason.
JPEGs are compressed within the camera and there is quite a bit of information lost in this process, therefore, your editing options are limited.
Have a question? Leave it in the comments below and we'll answer it!
We review all of this and more in our Photo Classes, and we also provide Individual Photography Instructions. We have the classes in parks in the Tampa Area. You'll have a great time while learning how to be a better photographer.