As a beginning photographer, it is easy to get discouraged when your pictures come out too dark or constantly blurry. It’s easy for the beginning photographer to quickly become overwhelmed; especially when professionals are spouting off terms like shutter speed and aperture. However, with a little more understanding, and a little practice applying those terms, the beginning photographer can quickly and easily be on their way to capturing that perfect picture. Here are the most common photography terms and some helpful hints for applying them in your photography.

Shutter Speed refers to the amount of time that the shutter is open and light strikes the CCD (Charge Coupled Devices). This device converts the light entering through the lens into electric signals and creates the digital image. Shutter speed can be adjusted along with the aperture to more effectively capture the subject image. Slower shutter speeds means that the shutter is open longer and more light is getting in. Try shooting a few pictures of water like waterfalls, rivers, and fountains using a slow shutter speed. This effect can enhance water images. Faster shutter speeds means less light is getting in. This can create a freezing effect on fast moving objects. Try shooting some action shots at your favorite sporting event with a faster shutter speed.

The Aperture works in correlation with the shutter speed. Often referred to as the aperture value (AV) it increases or reduces the thickness of the light beam passing through the lens to the CCD. Opening the aperture reduces the AV and closing the aperture increases the AV. The best place to experiment with AV is in the garden. Open the aperture and focus on a flower. The objects around the flower (closer and farther than the focused subject) will be more out of focus, emphasizing only the flower. Now close the aperture while focusing on the same flower. The range of your focus expands forward and backward allowing for the objects around the flower to remain in focus.

A common enemy to the beginning photographer is Camera Shake (Blur). This is pretty self explanatory. It is when the camera moves while the shutter is open creating a blurred image. Often times adjusting to a higher shutter speed from a low one will solve this problem.. If that doesn’t work, try raising the aperture as well and be sure to use a flash. If your images are still blurry you may need a tripod to capture a clear image. Most of the newer digital and DSLR cameras on the market come equipped with anti-shake features to help combat this problem, but it’s good to know what causes it and how to fix things if you have an older model camera.

As one beginning photographer to another, don’t let the terminology scare you. By just doing a little bit of reading and some experimenting with different settings on your camera, most obstacles can soon be overcome. It is a bit of a trial and error process, but when you capture a picture of your daughter mid-air, hair standing up, grinning from ear to ear, as she jumps rope, it all becomes worth it.

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