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Basic Photography, Part 1

Updated on September 11, 2011
An example of sports photography. Note the composition. The player is aligned to the right, because he is throwing the ball to the left.
An example of sports photography. Note the composition. The player is aligned to the right, because he is throwing the ball to the left.

Types of Photography

Before one can get started in photography as a hobby or otherwise, it is important to learn the different types of photography. Most photographers will specialize in one type. Here is a look at the differences.

Communications Photography is also known as news or events photography. This type is intended to tell a real story to someone who has never seen the said event. It can be a news item, sports, or public event. When shooting a communications photo, you need to think about what kind of message you want to relay to your audience. Usually you will use available lighting, and will not "tweak" the photo. This is important, as "tweaked" photos will look fake, and then your photo will not be believable.

If you shoot a series of photos, such as a sporting event, it is important to make sure your sequence of photos makes sense. Someone should be able to look at your photos later, and having never seen that sport before, understand what you are tying to convey. Put your photos in a logical sequence. For example, if you are posting a series of pictures of a football game, do not put the pictures of the field goal first, and then the touchdown. It will be confusing for the viewer. Present the photos in the same sequence they were shot.

When shooting sports especially, put you camera on multiple-shot mode. This will snap the shutter for as long as you hold the button. This will capture multiple frames within a few seconds. Later, you can find the best shots, like a boxer's punch just landing on his opponent's face.

When you shoot for communications purposes, you should always use proper framing. Your subject should always be centered as best as possible. However, as in the example above, allow proper "noseroom". Imagine what the photo above would look like if the player was centered, or worse, aligned left.

To get an idea of what communications photography looks like, visit my Webshots profile:

Creative Photography is just as it sounds. There are really no rules for this type. You can take any subject, use any lighting, and shoot from any angle. It is all up to you. However, you still need to be careful. You still want your photos to be interesting enough that people will want to look at them. Don't just shoot something that is really going to look stupid later. Use your imagination, but common sense also.

Commercial Photography is something completely different. This is intended to sell something. Advertising and catalogs use this type the most. As you can imagine, there is absolutely no creativity allowed. You need perfect composition, and perfect lighting. Some photographers find this kind of photography boring, but those who do it for a living are paid well.

In some cases it can take hours to set up a subject for a commercial shoot. In most cases where food is involved, they use food modeled out of clay or plastic. Otherwise, it would spoil by the time they get to shoot it.

That is all for "Types". In the next section, we will look at the technology of photography. Such as, lighting, white balance and depth of field.


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