There are many ways to get information and learn about a specific topic, one of the easiest ways is by asking questions and getting the answers from experienced guys. Questions and answers for photography is a FAQs list, in other words, it is a collection of a frequently and commonly asked questions by newbie and beginner photographers and their answers. To search easily through the basic Q&A list, a shorter list that contains only the question is presented first, just click the question link; it will take you right to the answer.

 

Questions List

No

          Question

1 What is the difference between

using a wide aperture and small aperture?

2 What is the meaning of depth of field,

and how It can be changed?

3 Why my photos of the sunset look not colorful?
4 What is the suitable fill-in reflector

to be used when shooting portraits?

5 What is the difference between

single and continues autofocus

(AF) modes?

6 Can you tell me more about

Scene Mode, the Program,

Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority,

and Manual Mode?

7 Can you tell me about exposure 

bracketing,

when do I need to use it?

8 When using a flashgun,

foreground areas look bright

and OK, but  the background 

is so dark, is there any solution

to this situation?

9 How can I avoid red-eye in

portrait photos?

10 How can I avoid deep shadows

and dark eyes in my portrait

shooting especially on sunny days?

11 What is the histogram

and what is used for?

12 What is ISO, how can I set it?
13 What is image stabilization,

and How can I avoid camera shaking?

14 What is the difference between

RAW and JPG?

15 What are the types of filters

and when we use it?

16 Do I need more than one

memory cards?

17 What is digital zoom?
18 Why is my subject slightly

out of focus?

19 What camera and lens

should I start with?

20 How do I get a blurry background

in my photo?

21 What are all these different

lenses for, do I need them?

22 What editing and post processing

software should I invest in?

23 How do I get a sharp background?
24 Why some of my photos look grainy ?
25 Why are the colors of the sky in

my photos  look different from

the true color?

26 Do I need a Tripod?
27 Can you suggest some resources

for learning photography?

28 What is the lens hood,

and what is it used for?

29 Do you have any tips

for a newbie wildlife photographer?

30

How do you get that soft water

looking when photographing

waterfalls or sea waves?

 

  1. What is the difference between using a wide aperture and small aperture?

These terms mean the used size of the aperture. The smallest f/stop number (f/2.8, f/4) set the camera to a wide aperture. The biggest f/stop number (f/16, f/22, and so on) set the camera to a small aperture.

 

 

aperture scale, F-stop number

For more information, you may check my post >>What Is The Aperture In Photography<<

 

  1. What is the meaning of depth of field, and how It can be changed?

It is the extent of the elements in the photo that appear sharp, normally at the point of focus the subject is sharp enough, but in front or in the rear of it the sharpness decreases until it becomes blurred as the distance increases. When the depth of field increases more layers in the scene appear sharp, the depth of field is influenced by the focal length of the lens, focusing distance, and aperture selection. The smaller the aperture you use, the more depth of field you get, and the wider aperture you use, the less depth of field you get.

low depth of field , high depth of fieldFor more information check my post >>How to Control DOF of Your Photos – Shallow Depth of Field vs Deep Depth of Field<<

  1. Why my photos of the sunset look not colorful?

Probably you set the camera to use Auto white balance. This mode cancels out any shift in color temperature. The automatic white balance absorbs all orange light out of the photo leaving you with insipid images.

To get much better photos and exaggerate orange hues, you may switch the setting to cloudy white balance.

  1. What is the suitable fill-in reflector to be used when shooting portraits?

To create a softer quality of light which is more suitable for portraits photos, you may use larger reflectors. To get delicate effect use a white reflector, if you want to warm up skin tones, use a golden reflector. To get more dynamic, results use a silver reflector.

  1. What is the difference between single and continues autofocus (AF) modes?

The single mode is suitable for shooting static subjects when there is no reason to change the focus. The continuous autofocus mode is better for moving subjects because the camera continually tracks the subject as it is moving.

There are some limitations on using the continuous focus mode, when the subject moves very fast (racing cars for example), the autofocus cannot keep up with its speed.

  1. Can you tell me more about Scene Mode, the Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual Mode?

The Program (P) shooting mode gives the ideal balance of both aperture and shutter speed for most ordinary shooting situations. You can use faster or slower shutter speed by turning main control dial.

Aperture Priority (A or Av), it allows you to change the aperture, use a small one to extends your depth of field, use the large one to blur the background.

Shutter Priority (S or Tv), it allows you to select the suitable shutter speed, use slow speed for creating blur, use fast to freeze a fast moving subject.

Manual (M), you got everything under your control, you may use it in very high-contrast scenes where the exposure compensation you need exceeds the range offered by the camera.

  1. Can you tell me about exposure bracketing, when do I need to use it?

When there are important shots you certainly would not afford missing it or got under or over exposed shots. This exposure bracketing setting allow you to get three shots, the first shot is at the recommended exposure, the second shoot is at one two-thirds of a stop darker and another shoot one two-third of a stop brighter, so you got three shots in different exposure setting and choose the best one.

  1. When using a flashgun, foreground areas look bright and OK, but the background  is so dark, is there any solution to this situation?

When using flash, you switch your camera to AV (Aperture Value) shooting mode, apply exposure compensation to brighten and darken the background area, and then apply flash exposure compensation to adjust the foreground brightness.

  1. How can I avoid red-eye in portrait photos?

When the flashlight reflects off the subject retina, Red-eye is formed. There are couple of ways to eliminate this problem:

  • Use the AF-assist illumination lamp, the shining of this lamp cause the pupils of the subject eyes to contract; this may reduce the red-eye effect.
  • Use a separate flash, so the light of the flash can be angled or bounced.
  • Some modern DSLR has ISO ratings of 1600 or more, and with a wide aperture, you can shoot without a flash.
  • You can use a photo editing software like Photoshop or Lightroom to fix the red-eye easily.

  1. How can I avoid deep shadows and dark eyes in my portrait shooting especially on sunny days?

Shooting portrait photos on sunny days create deep shadows and turn eyes into the black.  The solution is to avoid direct sunlight and use a fill flash to lighten shadows. Use Av (Aperture value) mode to get the suitable aperture and shutter speed, then switch to manual, use the setting as a guide, the TTL flash exposure system should enable the right amount of illumination for the fill-flash.

  1. What is the histogram and what is used for?

The histogram is a graphical representation of the pixels exposure in your photo. The horizontal axis represents the amount of light, starting at zero at the left side and which stands for blacks

(Shadows), and ending at the right at 255 which stands for white (bright). The vertical axis represents the number of pixels in the photo for each tone.

 

normal, dark and white histograms

 

Now let us discuss the use of a histogram to figure out that there are overexposed or underexposed situations.

h2

For more information, you can check my post “How to Use Histogram in Photography

  1. The ISO number represents the sensitivity of the digital camera sensor, the lower the number, the less sensitive is the sensor and vice versa.What is ISO, how can I set it?

In outdoor and when it is a sunny day with a lot of lights, it is normal to go for the least ISO, say ISO 100. When it is night, and the light is low, you may go for high ISO number. The only disadvantage when using high ISO number is that there will be more noise in the photo.

For more information, you may check my post >>What Is the ISO in Photography<<

 

  1. What is image stabilization, and How can I avoid camera shaking?

When the camera shakes, the whole image will become blurred. There is an advanced system in the modern camera lenses that provides Image Stabilizing. But it is, of course, expensive.

To stop camera shaking, you also can use a Tripod, a remote shutter, and block the mirror and achieve similar results.

  1. What is the difference between RAW and JPG?

The Raw and JPG are two types of photo files format, the Raw file is uncompressed and unprocessed files, so it contains all the information of the shot taken, it is normally big in size. On the other hand, JPG is a compressed file; there is some information lost during saving to the memory of the camera. It is rather an option to take if you are going to shot many photos in one session and there might be a situation in memory, save the file as JPG. But if you are considering processing your photos on a PC later, it is better to save as RAW file format.

  1. What are the types of filters and when we use it?

Filters are certain accessories; they can be attached to the front face of a camera lens. They provide a protective layer to camera’s lens as well as dealing with some lighting problems.

The most three common types are :

  • UV filter: it increases saturation and cuts down on haze.
  • Polarizing filter: It helps in reducing reflections.
  • Neutral Density filter: it helps in long exposure

You may check the post Camera lens filters explained – your full guide, also you may view the post about ND filters Best neutral density filters – Use long exposure in the morning.

  1. Do I need more than one memory cards?

That is an amazing idea, to have a backup memory card. You may check the post about how to choose you memory cards here.

  1. What is digital zoom?

A digital zoom is zooming on a certain point of the frame using a software on the camera rather than using the optical zoom offered by the lens. The digital zoom makes the image very pixilated and there is a very noticeable loss of the quality. The digital zoom is found in compact cameras as they often do not have interchangeable lenses.

  1. Why is my subject slightly out of focus?

There are some reasons for having your image out of focus if you use a too low shutter speed that may cause motion blurs or too small aperture which leads to a very small area in focus.

To straight things out you should use a shutter speed more than 1/125 when taking a photo of people, and much higher when your subject is a child even when he/she is relatively still. As for using too small aperture, you should be aware that you actually decrease the depth of field and limits the area of the scene that will be in focus.

  1. What camera and lens should I start with?

What a tough question! There are many alternatives in the market especially from the famous brands Canon, and Nikon and Sony. The idea is having an equipment that can grow as you learn more and at the same time it’s price is within your budget.  As  Canon lover, I recommend to you the following:

 

 

For the complete list of equipment, you should have, you can view the post, Photography Equipment For The Beginners – 10 Basic Pieces.

  1. How do I get a blurry background in my photo?

The idea behind this technique is to limit your depth of field and only focus on your subject. The way to do this is by setting your camera to aperture priority mode and use a wide aperture ( f1.4 – f5 ), you may also use portrait mode.

 

a photo of a bird

  1. What are all these different lenses for, do I need them?

The kit lens is quite sufficient for you as a beginner photographer, once you found an interesting type of photography you admire most, you surely will need another lens. The lenses are classified into the following types:

  • Fisheye lens: it provides you with wide hemispherical images, and it is amazing for panoramic shots.
  • Macro lens: It is used for capturing a very close up photo of tiny and small subjects.
  • Wide angle lens: It is usually around 12mm – 24mm and it is used in capturing landscape photograph.
  • Telephoto lens: It is the extreme zooming lens, it is ranging from 70-200 mm, and can reach 500mm. It can be used for sports photography.

 

lenses reviews

 

You can find updating reviews of Canon lenses Here.

  1. What editing and post processing software should I invest in?

The two popular editing software are Adobe photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, If you are short in budget, you may try some free software such as Gimp and Picasa, they offer great editing features. Also, you can check  My favorite one.

  1. How do I get a sharp background?

This is a question about getting wonderful landscape photos. You want both foreground and background of the scene are in focus. The trick is to maximize your depth of field. This is done by shooting with a narrow aperture (f/16 to f/22). The f/22 is commonly called the “story telling aperture” as it means that almost all the scene will be in sharp focus. So set your camera to aperture priority or landscape mode and set the aperture as mentioned above and enjoy the results. You may check my links: landscape photography tips and tricks – Shoot like a pro and how to capture landscape – Your simple guide

 

Bangkok Photograph

  1. Why some of my photos look grainy?

You use a high value of ISO, higher ISO value means more noise and grain in the photo and less clearness and sharpness. In normal lighting conditions, keep your ISO setting to low values.

  1. Why are the colors of the sky in my photos look different from the true color?

Shooting photos in the middle of a sunny day and when the sky is clear, without clouds, this situation when there is too much light, capturing the exact color of the sky is difficult, The fact is most cameras find it difficult to produce strong colors in this lighting conditions.

To overcome this situation, the easiest solution is to come back to the scene when the sun is not shining so brightly, try using a narrow aperture (f/18, f/22) or simply follow the f/16 rule. Use ND filter to take out some of the brightness out of the light, and consider using a polarizing filter. All of the above remedies aim to restrict the amount of light reaching the sensor, they will enhance the strong colors.

  1. Do I need a Tripod?

Of course yes, and a remote shutter is also needed. The two equipment can be of great help, and they canceled many causes of camera shaking problems. You do not have to invest a lot of money, there some cheap items available online, and they will do the job.

 

tripod

My recommendations are Manfrotto 190 mt190xpro3, and Canon Wireless Remote Shutter Release.

  1. Can you suggest some resources for learning photography?

You should follow some photography blogs, join forums, ask about problems you are facing, most photographers are more than happy to answer your questions and blog about mistakes they have made, this a great way to learn. I suggest for you the post 1st Course – Basics of DSLR camera to start with and then complete the available 5 courses, I am sure they will help you a lot.

Of course, there are many sites and magazines that you can learn a lot from them, I will mention some few popular top sites:

  1. What is the lens hood, and what is it used for?

Bright light sources inside the frame, or just outside it can cause lens flare. It is caused by the reflection of light internally among elements of the lens.Using lens hood can protect the lens from unwanted and excessive light coming from outside the photo area. It also protects the lens from raindrops if any.

 


  1. Do you have any tips for a newbie wildlife photographer?

First, you need a telephoto lens, something between 300-400mm, a tripod, and remote shutter speed to minimize camera shaking. Shoot early in the morning or late afternoon when the light conditions are perfect, also you may get lucky, it is the usual feeding time for animals and birds.
Do not be afraid to increase ISO if the light condition is low and you also need a higher shutter speed.

 

birds

  1. How do you get that soft water looking when photographing waterfalls or sea waves?

 

waterfall

 

By allowing for longer time exposure of moving water you can achieve that silky water effect. Use a tripod so it won’t shake during the long exposure, set ISO to the lowest value, reduce your aperture all the way, so you can set the shutter speed to the lowest value. If the shutter speed is still too fast,  consider attaching ND filter, this will knock down the light further. At last, try to shoot at dusk or dawn when the light condition is softer, and don’t forget the remote shutter release. I have a special post about photographing waterfalls tutorials, check it here.

Related Posts:

Advanced Q&A
Ultimate Q&A

Thanks for reading, hope you learned something from the article & if you have any questions just leave it in the comment section below & I will be happy to answer it and add your question to the list.

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6 Comments

  1. Thank you very much for your great insight into photography! This Q&A session answered so many of my questions about cameras and even once I didn’t know I had!
    I am wondering thought if it makes any sense to buy a camera anymore, since most mobile phones takes rather decent pictures and seem to have more of the special abilities and especially post-processing abilities every day. Besides this professional cameras are bulky to carry around on holidays. What’s your advice?

    1. Thank you for you comment, I am glad that you like the post. As for the mobile camera with its advancing capabilities, It will never replaced the actual one. I know it is OK for holidays and for every day stuff, but let me ask you a question. Would you prefer to have your wedding ceremony being shoot by a mobile camera, or I believe you would rather begged for a real camera !!! , wouldn’t you.

  2. Hi I’m currently looking to buy a camera. Found your Q&A very informative. Thinking of getting a 100d as a starter camera with the kit lens. is this sufficient to get me started? I’m currently using a Panasonic Bridge but just find the Sensor too small. Hopefully moving to a DSLR will solve that issue.

    1. Thank you for your comment , I think your choice is excellent , after a while you will find you real interest in photography, and you will add a new lens. good luck , and welcome to photography!

  3. this post have really answered all my question i have ever wanted to ask and partially helped me conclude my research in most cases for this were the question in my mind but wouldn’t tell where to get answer to them

    thanks for the information provide and please keep providing me with more questions and answers again
    cheers
    jose

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