Photography #1
Photography #2

What is a photo? What is a good photo? Which camera to use? When to take photos? Why take a photo?

There are so many questions when it comes to photography that some people do not take photos at all. This is a good time to start!

Photography can be placed in two categories, professional and non-professional. In this I will deal with the non-professional, the fun photography.

What is a photo?

The majority of photos that have ever been taken was to record an event or to have a record a particular item or scenery to enjoy at a later stage. A photo is in fact a visual memory. Some people like to take photos of scenery, some of animals, some of friends and family, some like to take photos of everything ... there is no rule at all!

What is a good photo?

There are not really bad photos as they all record an event ... a memory. However, there are some things that to make a photo better and can be enjoyed even more at a later stage:

Focus ... one of the most important aspects of taking a photo is to have the picture in focus. This is not a big problem these days as most cameras have an auto-focus facility. However, there are times when some adjustments need to be made to ensure the picture is in focus. For example, if the subject being photographed is in motion, a faster shutter speed would be required. Or when using minimum or maximum zoom, the camera needs to be as steady as possible and a tripod would be useful in cases like this ... photos close up or scenic shots.

Light ... light is the most important factor as no photo can be taken when there is no light. To add, there are times when light is "not good". The middle of the day for example, is not that good for photography in the dunes at Sossusvlei, or animals in Etosha. The colours are rather bland and the photo will be quite dull. Better times would be early to mid morning and then late afternoon. Photos taken inside buildings can be taken at any time especially when using a flash.

Subject ... the actual subject to photograph depends wholly on the person taking the photo. It might be a scenic shot, or an animal ... or, as is often said, "a shot for the family album". This would be of the friends and family with the photographer at the time. Everyone have their own idea of what they want to photograph whether it be at home, on holiday, a special event or anything.

Which camera to use?

There are literally hundreds of options these days and the choice of which camera to purchase often depends on the amount of money available to spend.

The best cameras are the SLR digital cameras. These are the cameras where one can change the lenses, add filters, converters and so on. However, it is not imperative to have an SLR camera as many other cameras take fantastic photos.

For a beginner, I would suggest a compact digital camera as these cameras have most of the functions of the bigger, more professional cameras. Most of the compact cameras have an auto zoom function, auto settings ranging from landscape and portrait photography to sport (movement) and close-up shots. They often also have the functions to set the shutter speed, depth of field and ASA settings ... but more of this at a later stage.

Digital photography is one of the most amazing developments in photography where you can see results immediately, store on a memory stick or a CD, or a computer, or print ... so many options. To add, by not having the expense of purchasing of film, you can take many photos of the same subject and then delete those that did not come out well ... pick 2 or 3 of the best photos!

Most cellular phones have a built in camera and even though I do not think that this is a very good function, it does serve the purpose of quick and easy photography.

When to take photos?

This is the fun part of photography! Photos can be taken at any time, of anything, anywhere!

The taking of the photo, as I mentioned above, is mostly to record a visual memory and not necessarily a beautiful picture. A beautiful picture is important but initially, the memory is the main reason to take a photo. Getting to "special" photography or "special photos" can and will be dealt with at a later stage.

So, whilst on holiday in Namibia, take lots and lots of photos ... not only of the landscapes and animals but also of those on safari with you. There is nothing better than to spend a few hours at a later stage looking at those memories!

Why take a photo?

I have said this before but I want to say again ... take a photo to record an event, a place, a friend ... a memory! Few pictures are taken in order to be sold or to be put on display. Most photos are personal memories, a photographic diary ... so go crazy and shoot!

By Danie Steyn

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