Photography 4.1


Today, we will recap on the fundamentals of working on our exposure with an SLR including selecting appropriate shutter speeds, apertures and selecting an appropriate ISO.

This is very similar to my previous post on Aperture and DoF.

The image on the left has higher F number. Whereas, on the right has lower F number as it pinpoint the focus level. This allows the viewer to focus a specific part of an image. The blurry part could either be an enigma for the audience to guess or for the audience to ignore.

Adjusting shutter speed can make you feel differently. For example:

It can show you a time-lapse of an image, to understand the movement of its subject(s)

Or it can completely stop time and allow you to see things, that normal eyes can’t see.

3 things to consider, whilst using a shutter speed:

  1. Hold the camera steady
  2. Use a tripod
  3. Think about camera shake

The reciprocal relationship between aperture and shutter speed:


Remember: Light + Time = EXPOSURE!

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This is the exposure triangle. You can control this through digital camera and can use hand held light meter to measure it.


Photography 3.2 (formally 3.1)


Today, it is about aperture & lenses: controlling depth of field and field of view.

Aperture controls depth of field (DoF):

Depth of field is amount of stuffs that is in focus, at the front and behind the subject you’re focusing on.

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Portrait should be focusing on the subject, therefore, the background should be blurred. Small DoF for this. To allow that 3D perspective (i.e. picture on the right).

Contrast to that, in a landscape. You should have a big DoF. Especially, when you want the viewer to see everything in frame (i.e. picture on the left).


As you can see, larger the aperture, smaller the F number (and vice versa). Another way to learn this is smaller F number, create small DoF (less things are in focus). Equally, Large F number, create large DoF (more things are in focus).

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Portrait mode will automate the camera to have small DoF = small F number.

Landscape mode will automate the camera to have large DoF = large F number.

However, as a photographer is better to use AV or A (aperture priority mode), to allow you to have more control and enable to exaggerate what you want. This is where you pick the F number, and camera picks shutter speed for you. This is very useful when your main priority is the DoF (portrait or landscape).

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In addition, your camera isn’t focus on the middle of your DoF. It should be focusing on a subject that’s 1/3 at the front and 2/3 behind of your DoF.

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Hopefully, the diagram above is allowing you to understand on how to control the outcome of your photograph a bit more. For AV mode, if you want the photo to be brighter the camera will choose a longer shutter speeds. Whereas, for darker photo the camera will choose a faster shutter speeds.

Therefore, large F number can result in slow shutter speeds. It would be good, if you can use a tripod for this to avoid camera shake or use something to lean on (if you forgot or too lazy to bring one). On another hand, small F number can result in faster shutter speeds.

Quick tip: don’t look through the view finder to work out DoF. It’s better to take a picture and look at it after!

In addition, understand the limitation of your camera. Even if you have an expensive brand new camera. When the camera is flashing the F number or shutter speed on your screen depending what camera you have, it’s warning you the photo you about to take might be too dark or too bright. A simple way to solve this problem, it’s to adjust the F number or change your ISO.


Focal length: the distance between the centre of the lens and the sensor. Also, Choice of lens will affect depth of field and field of view and perspective.




Standard / prime / fixed lenses: same as human eye. Let in more light than zoom lenses often down to f/2.8 (very small depth of field). Therefore, as it has wider aperture which means I can achieve a very shallow depth of field (only a small selected area in focus). Usually a 50mm. They tend to be expensive because it is designed to do one job and enable to do it perfectly.

Wide angle lenses: get a wider view (good for landscape or taking picture in tight area). Can be a 10mm or anything < 50mm.


Telephoto lenses: are like telescope, it let you zoom right in. Good for sport as well. Larger the focal length the larger the magnification. Can be a 400mm or anything > 50mm. It will compress the distance between object making things look flatter (more flattering for portraits).


Macro lens: let you focus on small things and still look pretty big. Also excellent for portrait.

Fisheye lens: give you an aesthetic of 180 degree view.

Zoom lens: different focal lengths, larger minimum aperture, less light. You can adjust the lens from 24mm to 105mm or 70mm to 300mm (depending on the brand and the model). Weirdly, it is cheaper than fixed lens because when you zoom in and out it create problems but it is very handy when you’re able to stand on a stable ground. However, when you’re in a car or dealing with an earthquake, then you increase it to 300mm (zooming into your focal subject) the image can be very shaky!


Affect of zoom:

  1. aperture change
  2. foreshortening
  3. shutter speed
  4. motion shake

To avoid shaky picture set your shutter speed no more slower than 1/focal length. For example, 50mm use 1/50 or 500mm use 1/500. In addition, stabiliser nowadays are very good it can help you get that sharp picture.

Shout out to Chris Bray (he has a really good YouTube channel)


Photography 3.1 (formally 3.2)


Same as audio sessions, 0.1 is now 0.2 and vice versa. I still have Matt and Frankie as my lecturer. In Matt’s seminar today, we will be looking at photographic composition and how to improve upon the design elements of my photography. We will look at the following:

  • composition
  • subject placement
  • the rule of thirds
  • leading lines (lines and paths)
  • balance
  • creative focus
  • framing

Things that makes a successful photograph:

  • simplicity
  • composition
  • lighting

To compose a photograph, I need to focus on:

  • subject
  • context
  • subject placement

Composition: the rules of third


Lines and paths (visible lines):

  • create impact by using lines to lead the viewers eyes around the picture.
  • lines have subtle effects but can make a dramatic impact.


Your eyes should naturally follow the stairs handrail.

Lines and Paths: implied lines



  • By balancing our images we can create a visually pleasing result.
  • This should help the view’s eyes move freely around the image.

Type 1: symmetrical balance


Type 2: asymmetrical balance


Selective focus:


Framing: a frame within a frame


Avoid distraction:

Can you spot the differences between those two images above?

Choose a format (for Matt):

Which one is better?

Consider variety:

Having more is better than none.

Photography 2.2


As I was saying in my previous blog post, I couldn’t attend today’s lecture because I went to the one that I meant to be going to. However, now that we have had a session on digital workflow, we are going to look at the different file formats that are used including JPGs, TIFFs and shooting in RAW.

Check out this website for a better understanding on JPGs, TIFFs and RAW.

In summary, JPGs is better to use when you want to publish on social media or print it out. Whereas, TIFFs and RAW is better for editing on various photo editing programmes (e.g. Bridge or Photoshop).

Geoff Petty’s creative process (ICEDIP):

  • Inspiration
  • Clarification
  • Distillation
  • Perspiration
  • Evaluation
  • Incubation

My creative process is “f*** it, just go out there and start shooting!” Then, I’d look through the images and I will pick the one that I like and just need to give good reasons why I want to develop this, and move it forward, and why I’ve chosen this above everything else. From there, I would just go with the flow but with good intentions and reasons. In addition, getting feedbacks from your lecturer(s), colleagues and friends is a great way to develop your work because it’s allowing you to see other people’s perspectives. Coming to a dead end? Just go with your second best option. Again, give a good reason why. One of the beautiful thing about being a creative student, there is never a dead end, if there is you’re not being creative enough!

I have been thinking of doing a collaboration with either a film or a fashion student. Positively, I have been working with fashion students before last year. So, I have the experience of knowing what they want. However, it would be good as well to go for a film student, as I have basic understanding of film because I am a media student. Also, it’s good to start working on different type of project. Therefore, I can show my potential clients that I am specialised on various fields. However, I can’t put any words around my final products because I am getting mark on the photography only. Therefore, I can go for an alternative route like architecture photography (discovering the unknown) or working for a client (modelling). These two are something that I need to consider for the future.

To be continue…

Thank you.

Photography 2.1


In this lecture with Frankie, we were learning on how to use Adobe Bridge. It lets us organise our photos.

We can view, search, sort, filter, manage, and process image, page layout, PDF, and dynamic media files. We can use it to rename, move and delete files; edit metadata; rotate images; and run batch commands. We can also view files and data imported from your digital still or video camera.

We can open camera raw files from Adobe Bridge and save them. We can edit the images directly in the Camera Raw dialog box without starting Photoshop, and copy settings from one image to another.

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Above is my attempt to do a contact sheet. I can do this by:

  1. Select images.
  2. Click “tools”.
  3. Move mouse to photoshop.
  4. Click “Contact Sheet II”.
  5. Make sure you set the right columns and rows.

Later, we had a quick introduction to Adobe Photoshop. It’s the best program for imaging and graphic design software. We can create enhance photographs, and 3D artwork. For a photographer, it is very useful, we can create a work of art by: adjust; crop; remove objects; retouch; and repair old photos. Play with colour, effect, and more to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary.

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This is my attempt of using a photoshop from my photoshoot images.