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In: Film and Music

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Guide to Photography
Photography Basics

n ational geographic complete guide to photography: p hotography and the camera

Taking a Picture creating a photograph requires only the single act of

1. Framing the Picture

pushing the button that triggers the shutter, which is a

Light enters the lens.

moving curtain that lets light fall on the digital sensor for

Light bounces off reflex mirror and through pentaprism to viewfinder.

Photographer sees what the camera sees

a set length of time. Everything else is preparation and internal mechanics. Photography, in other words, can be
99 percent anticipation and 1 percent action. The parallel

through the viewfinder.

between a photographer and a hunter, in which the trigger pull is analogous to the push of the shutter button, is obvious. Both shoot. But a hunter sends out a missile; a pho-

2. Taking the Picture

Photographer depresses button.

artistic calculation beyond simple aim. Modern digital SLRs,

Reflex mirror rises.

increasingly user-friendly, allow photographers to concen-

Shutter opens at designated shutter speed.

Aperture opens to designated measure.

Light travels straight to sensors.

tographer draws in reflected light. He or she must make an

trate more on that aesthetic than on mechanics.

COVER: Octavian Radu Topai/National Geographic My Shot

Hawaii, U.S.

national geographic complete guide to photography: p hotography and the camera

The Art of Photography professionals often say they “make,” rather


than take, pictures—a distinction that implies

Most photographers document only family

creative collusion between machine and

history—birthdays, weddings, graduations, or

operator, rather than a simple confluence of

holidays. Others expand to nature or sport-

light and...

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