Tuesday, October 19, 2021

What Is Photography : The Best Guide

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The first and the most basic question that arises when talking about photography is how exactly do you define photography. What is photography? Photography is a vast and complex term. Technically, photography is the process or practice of capturing light to create an image using light-sensitive surfaces.

In general, photography is itself a world of magic. It is what you see and giving life to that vision and imagination. It is a fascinating subject with just one click, and you can capture a moment, a place, and a memory. The journey that leads to this highly advanced level of photography was very long and not an easy one. The involvement of many brilliant minds has brought this beautiful art to life.

This article will take you on a tour of this beautiful and interesting world of photography. What is photography, its history, types, and the technical terms that revolve around it!


In the 13th– 14th century, before capturing the light to create images, people relied on projecting light. Capturing light at that time was considered to be a very complex and challenging task. The process of projection of light was used by scientists and artists. Camera obscura was used for this purpose. It is a small dark box with a hole on which the inverted image was created. To get a bigger image, after some time, rather than using small boxes, people started using walls as camera obscura.

The first milestone in the history of photography was set by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in 1825. It was a view from his window. He used ‘bitumen of Judea,’ a petroleum derivative. Bitumen tends to get harden when exposed to light. Niepce coated bitumen on a metallic plate and then washed away the unhardened material. He then polished the plate to produce the picture.

What is Photography
What is Photography, View from the window in the world’s first photo taken by Joseph in 1825

Although the photography became developed after some time, the first commercially used camera came in public with the name the Kodak’s camera with Eastman. It was a relatively important and innovative step in the booming of the industry of photography.

The first colored photograph was taken in 1861 by James Clerk Maxwell. It’s a photograph of the tartan ribbon, but colored photography did not become commercially portable until the 19th. The first colored plate came into the market in 1907, which used a screen of filters.


As mentioned above, the first milestone was marked by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. He called his piece the ‘heliograph’ and went on to partner with Louis Daguerre for further research in the field of photography. Unfortunately, after four years, he died, but through Joseph, Louis discovered a very important aspect of photography. He actually instilled the term photography in the minds of people and showed what is photography.

After the death of Joseph, Louis Daguerre continued his work further to find the answers to what is photography and what can be more to it. He found that the image can be formed using the chemical reaction between mercury and copper-silver iodized plate. He also gave the process of fixing images using the heated salt solution in 1837.

Sir David Brewster used the method of stereoscopic photography discovered by Sir Charles Wheatstone and gave the world the invention of the binocular camera.

Oskar Barnack, with his 35mm camera, bought one of the inventions that finally made photography portable. The first sketch of a 35mm camera was designed in 1913, and the launch was done in 1923.

Polaroid is the most familiar term related to photography that we hear frequently. Edward Land partnered with George Wheelright and invented the Polaroid camera in 1948. It made the time to produce photographs less time consuming and became very popular.

Famous Photographers and Photographs:

Robert Cornelius– Selfies are one of the most commonly used terms these days, but the first self-portrait was taken in Philadelphia. Self-portraits were evolutionary terms showing what is photography and what can be more to it. Robert Cornelius in 1839 spent more than one minute to take the world’s first self-portrait.

Louis DaguerreLouis not only discovered the essence of photography, giving the world an answer to what is photography but also published the world’s first photograph with humans. Although the photo was blurred, this highlighted the fact that humans can also be captured through photography.

What Is Photography : The Best Guide 1
What is Photography, World’s first photo of humans taken by Daguerre

Carol Popp de Szathmari- the first war photo cannot be known without the name of this French photographer. In 1870, he took a picture of Prussian troops and, through history, took photography to another leap.

James Clerk Maxwell– As already mentioned above, the world’s first colored photograph was of tartan ribbon in 1861 by James. This showed that photography is not limited to only the black and white world and what else we can infer from what is photography.

What Is Photography : The Best Guide 2
What is Photography, World’s first colored photo of tartan ribbon

Steve McCurry- the world’s one of the most famous and influential photo was taken by this National Geographic Society photographer. A photo of the Afghan girl staring intensely perfectly captures the pain and portrays their life. It mirrors the world with the struggles of refugee women.

What Is Photography : The Best Guide 3
What is Photography, The famous ‘Afghan girl.’

Dorothea Lange- ‘migrant mother’ is one of the most known photos in the history of documentary photography. It was captured in 1936 by Dorothea during the great depression telling people the depth of what is photography. This photo of a woman and her undernourished children reflected the effect and to what extent this great depression has shaken the lives of people.

What Is Photography : The Best Guide 4
What is Photography, The famous ‘migrant women’ photo

With the onset of technology, many more advanced photographs were taken and are still being taken, but these photos mark an era in the history of photography. Many works told us the answer to what is photography and what wonders it can do. As we have gone through the thorough history of photography, let’s discuss the basic needs and the modern technology of photography.

Photograph of Today:

The world we live in today has taken a 360-degree turn owing to the advancement and growth in technology. We don’t need heavy cameras, wait for days for the photos to get ready, or even separately buy a camera to do photography anymore. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that what is photography has been answered as literally everything is photography.

Even mobile phones are enough to do quality photography. With the markets blooming, the companies are pushing themselves to the extremes adding new features to upgrade the quality of the camera in mobile phones. Unless or until you are a professional photographer or photography is your hobby, you don’t need to buy a separate camera. Let’s discuss the types of equipment and additional requirements used for photography and go further to answer our quests of what is photography.

What Is Photography : The Best Guide 5
What is Photography, Photography of today

Types of Photography:

There are various types of photography, and the number of types can reach up to fifty. But here in this blog, we will read only about the ten most famous types of photography in the world these days. These are the most refined fields and are perfect if you are looking ahead to enter the world of photography professionally, .and want to know what is photography and its implications. Let’s take these ten most interesting types of photography.

  1. Portrait photography- Portrait photography is the most commonly done and used. Portraits depend on your choice. In this vast sea of the human world, you have a million choices. Something that can totally define what is photography for you is the perfect shot.
  2. Travel photography This photography holds all sorts of classes of photography in one name- travel. Traveling is itself a vast field. Travel photography can become strenuous and complex. This also needs a lot of investment. The most important thing for travel photography is the requirement of equipment and even additional tools. The details of these additional tools and equipment are mentioned below.
  3. Wedding photography- Professional photography at weddings can never get old. It is one of the most earning and popular genres of photography. The job can get physically tiring, but it still can be considered as the most stable genre of the field of photography.
  4. Wildlife photography- This needs a lot of resilience. To capture photos of wildlife animals can never be an easy task. It can even take several days to capture one photo of an animal. As the specific place and time of animals cannot be determined that easily, action at the right time is very important. There is also a need for appropriate material to capture a quick and high-quality photo.
  5. Landscape photography- This genre requires vast knowledge. It can range from human-made structures to natural sources. You need the right choice of equipment, as capturing naturally occurring events also falls under this category.
  6. Fashion photography This is a very known genre of photography. These days a lot of crowds interested in photography are going into this particular field. The fashion industry is one of the well-paid industries. Although there is a lot of crowd moving in this direction, competition increases each day. To be able to have a strong grip in the class of photography and grab the answers to what is photography, consistency is a must. You need to be consistent in producing quality pictures every time. You need to establish your name here, and hard work and patience are the only keys.
  7. Film photography- This field requires a lot of continuous efforts. This field is wide and can introduce to all the aspects and corners of photography. Film photography is much more than digital photography.
  8. Sports photography- sports photography revolves around photographing all the events of sports. Sports photography gives you options and choices. Some people choose to work only on one particular sport while others don’t put a boundary on their choices. It all depends on the interest as it can vary from individual to individual.
  9. Food photography- Food photography has become a trend these days. The answer to what is photography is not only limited to humans and nature. To capture and the need to make the food appealing with photos is very important. Food photography has become hype because of social media. As the use of social media has increased, many food bloggers are earning well.
  10. Macro photography-In this genre, the zoomed photos of birds, animals, and flowers are taken. It does not require a lot of equipment and can work effectively, even with the availability of minimal equipment. But remember that you need to lay down the smallest of details beautifully in your photos, and your photos should show what is photography for you to other people.

So we have gone through the history and the theory of photography and tried to understand what is photography through various things. Now let’s see in detail what things you need to take the first steps into this fascinating field of photography.

Types of Equipment Required for Photography:

Camera- The most obvious thing you need for photography is the camera. As already mentioned above, if you just need to click photos for general and daily purposes, mobile phones are enough. But if you want to enter the professional world of photography, the need for a separate camera is a must. The camera price ranges vary widely from 5,000 for polaroids and go up to even lakhs. DSLR cameras are a very popular choice these days, and the price starts above rupees 30,000.

Lens- The lens is the part of the camera that is used to capture the image. It basically can be considered the essence of a camera and helps you to define and show what is photography for you through photos. They are the key to the camera that determines the quality of the photo. The type of lens used depends and varies on the type of photo that needs to be taken.

  • For portrait and travel photography, standard lenses are used to have a focal length between 35mm to 85mm.
  • For wildlife and sports photography, telephoto lenses are used as they are made to take a photo of things from far away. These lenses are comparatively heavier than the other lens and have a focal length of 85mm.
  • For nature and fine art photography, macro lenses are used. They can capture even the smallest of details and close up with the sharpest accuracy. But usually, telephoto lenses are preferred comparatively. Their focal length starts from 35mm and goes up to 200mm.
  • For Abstract photography (a photo that bends the reality and distorts itself from the real world), a fish-eye lens is used. As they have a focal length ranging from 4mm to 14mm, they can be used to capture the minute details.
  • For landscape photography, wide-angle lenses are used. Since they have the shortest focal length ranging from 10mm to 35mm, they have a wider focal plane.
  • There are also other types like prime lenses (fixed focal length) and zoom lenses (focal length can be changed), as well as slow lenses (narrow aperture) and fast lenses (wide aperture).

Filters- As the name suggests, filters perform the function of filtering the quality of the photo taken by the lens. Filters are placed on the lens and control the light and color. They are also used to protect the lens from any dust or outside particles, water and, physical harm. The type of Filter to be used also depends on the type of photography that needs to be done.

Examples of filters are UV filters (to protect the lens), polarizing filter (polarizes the light according to the given conditions), neutral density filters (used for landscape photography and reduces the exposure to light, color lens (adjusts the colors), and close up filters (that helps you to take the close up shots through the lenses).

Sd cards- SD cards are the memory of the camera. All the photos get stored in this memory card. SD cards are a fundamental part of the digital camera. Without SD cards, the photos won’t be stored, and the camera won’t work. SD cards have successfully replaced the films and reels. The capacity of them varies from a few GBs to even up to TBs and can hold an enormous amount of data.

Additional Equipment used in Photography:

Tripod– It is three-legged equipment that can be used for both photography and videography. Tripods are generally used as props when the camera is heavy, and there is a lot of movement or to take a photo from a certain elevation. They are not a compulsory requirement and are used only when needed.

Camera bag- It is used to carry all the accessories of the camera and the camera itself. The purpose of the camera bag is to keep things safely and orderly.

Lightning equipment- this is required when the photography is done professionally. This is used to concentrate the light on the object and is generally and most dominantly used during shoots. The reflector is one of the equipment that falls under this. As the name suggests, it is used to reflect and cast the light better on the subject of the shoot.

Cleaning kit- as the name directly suggests, it is used to clean the parts of the cameras to not any dust accumulated on it as that can destroy the quality of the camera.

Straps- they make the camera portable and easy to carry.

All these above-mentioned things are used additionally to enhance the quality of the photo. Some are very expensive and sensitive tools that are only used professionally. Even Without these above additional things, the quality of the photo won’t degrade.

Post Photography Tools:

Photographs need to be edited to upgrade their quality. Many software is used to edit. Generally, the photo editors are also available on mobile phones, but the scope of these is very restricted. To edit the photos professionally, paid software is available. Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, affinity Photoshop are the most commonly used photo editors.

Technical Terms used in Photography:

  1. Aspect ratio- it is one of the most frequently used terms in photography. It is the ratio of the width and height of a photograph. The size of the photo is determined using the aspect ratio. The most commonly used aspect ratio is 4:3, which can denote 40cm width and 30cm height of the photo. 3:1 is also one of the commonly used ratios. The golden ratio is 1.618:1 and is preferred by professional photographers.
  2. Aperture- it is a vital part of photography and represents the curvature of the size of the lens when it opens. It also determines the amount of light entering through the lens. The photos can lose their focus or become a blur if the amount of light exceeds the required amount. Depending on the photo that needs to be taken, the aperture is set. For sharper images, a less or narrow aperture is required, and vice versa.
  3. Bokeh- when the points in the background are intentionally made out of focus to produce a blur effect in the behind, it is called bokeh. Bokeh is a Japanese term which means blur. It is an elegant style of photography and makes the photograph look more exotic. It is generally created with the help of bulbs. Although this can make the photograph unique, you have to mind yourself where to use this effect.
  4. Blur spots– This is also called the circle of confusion. The width of the spot or circles is determined by measuring the distance of the focused object from the unfocused object. The width of the spots is equal to the distance of focused on unfocused objects. They generally depend on the size of the aperture.
  5. Burst mode– it is the most common jargon used in photography. It is the mode when the continuous streak is taken one by another. Shots per second play a very important role. This is generally used to capture a certain action, and even a second can affect the perfection and quality of your shot. Example- taking a shot of a person in the air.
  6. Exposure– this term is used mostly with the aperture. Exposure is the amount of light that is entering through your aperture. Exposure mainly depends on the type of lens used.
  7. Focal length- focal length is the distance between the film or sensor that is capturing your image and the center of the lens. The focal length is a very important concept to be understood if you want to learn photography. Focal length also determines the size and how to focus your focuses on your image is. Lenses come with a variety of different focal lengths and are chosen according to the type of photography you want to do.
  8. Iso- You might have heard this term commonly if the field of photography interests you, but what exactly is ISO. ISO is the capacity of your camera to capture light and determines how sensitive is your film of the camera to light. Sensitivity is directly proportional to the ISO. The more the value of ISO, the more sensitive your camera is to light.
  9. Viewfinder– As the name suggests, it is simply the hole through which you can see your photo. Through this, you will be able to fix the settings before taking your photo.
  10. Shutter– shutter determines the amount of light entering and the exposure of the camera to the light. The shutter is of two types- leaf shutter (behind the lens) and focal plane shutter( behind or near the focal length)
  11. Shutter speed- this completes the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed). It is based on the opening and closing of the shutter of the camera and hence controls the amount of light through the camera. Shutter speed is one of the most fundamental concepts of photography.

Finally, we have discussed all the technical, practical, and theoretical terms of photography and have reached the final part of our blog. Here, we will learn the basics of how a photograph should be taken and whether photography is a good career choice or not.

Basic Tips for Beginners in Photography:

  1. The basic question that arises in the mind of the beginners is which camera they should use. As the camera is generally expensive equipment, many people tend not to start. But the first basic step in photography is to begin. Start with whatever you have, be it the mobile phone camera or the polaroid.
  2. If you are serious about photography, the efforts should not be focused on buying and collective costly cameras and equipment. The efforts should solely focus on taking the best photo no matter what your camera is. Photography is all about consistency and continuous hard work.
  3. You also need to be familiar with the basic terms and analogies involved in the camera. This can change the quality of your photos.
  4. Be mindful of the light, the environment, and the focus. These things determine the overall mood of the photos and are very important if you want to add some quality to your photos.
  5. Understand when to use the additional tools (explained above). Camera bags, cleaning equipment, and tripod can make the process of photography organized.
  6. Learn when to use the various effects. For example, bokeh can look appealing only in some photos, so don’t just try to include things if you know about it.
  7. Unlearn some of your habits. To enter into the professional world, you need to unlearn your habits. For example, fixing the angle of the camera and holding the camera in the correct position. Although these things might appear very basic, they play a very important role.
  8. Don’t be still! Photography is a field that requires movement. As the light and the angle can be different in different directions, this can change your photo drastically. Movement is very important as it helps to see a certain object or object from different perspectives.
  9. Be imaginative! Try to explore what is photography for you and what your vision is for it. Imagination is very important as having a rough idea of how you want your photo to appear can make the task easier. To be able to visualize the essence and mood of your photos can make your photos appear much more appealing and distinct.
  10. The choice of your lens and filter is very important. Keep searching on the internet and be updated.
  11. Learn from your own mistakes. It is very important to reflect on the mistakes you have made not to create blunder again. Everyone makes mistakes but what matters is to learn from them and keep growing yourself.
  12. Learn from other people! The right advice can take you in the right direction. Meet new people and learn from them and their experiences. Although what is photography for them won’t be the same for you, but it can help you visualize. This is very vital as learning from each other’s experience is an essential part of growth.
  13. Don’t hesitate to experiment and try new things. Experimenting is what created your unique style. Don’t be scared to try and just go where your imagination leads you to. Answer to what is photography for you is everywhere.
  14. Don’t be pressured! The process of photography requires continuous efforts and consistency; this can make a person low spirited. But you have to remember that photography is all about having fun. A pressurized mind can never make your photo look better.
  15. Don’t rush things and compare yourself with others. Everyone’s process of growth is different. By comparing yourself with others will only affect your growth. As already mentioned above, the answer to what is photography is different for everyone. This is no race so take things slow according to your comfort. Don’t burden and drown yourself with the standards set by others for photography.
  16. Learn post-editing skills. Editing can do wonders and can make your photo appear even more refined. Editing skills are important as there are always some details that need to be added. They can also help to adjust the brightness, contrast, and, sharpness which are a fundamental part of the photos. Basic information on editing tools is given above.
  17. Follow and go with your heart. Be determined and don’t give up easily, even if the start is slow.

Cameras to Prefer:

As the market is growing, plenty of choices have now become available to the customers. This can create confusion. Companies are constantly rubbing their palms and doing all sorts of things to attract consumers. Some of the famous brands of digital cameras are Nikon, Canon, and Sony in India. These are the most preferable and reliable brands. They have wide ranges in prices

Is Photography a Good Career Option? :

There can never be an exact answer to this question. Practically speaking, photography is not considered to be a stable field. But as photography is a vast field, there are some genres of photography that are relatively stable as compared to the other genres. Wedding and fashion photography are the highest-earning fields of photography. As many people are exploring the field of photography, competition is harsh. You need to establish your name, but once your name is set, you won’t have to look back.

The most common these days is freelancing. People generally don’t like to put restrictions and prefer to work under their conditions, defining their own answers to what is photography. This can be good for those who want to keep experimenting with showing what is photography for them and keep challenging themselves. But in freelancing, you have to market your photography well. Marketing skills then play a very important role.

As there is an emergence of social media, many freelancers start their blogs and pages. This can surely earn you some amount of money if you gain popularity. The next option is to work in some studio and gain experience. This can help to enhance and polish your skills. Learning from other’s experiences can widen your knowledge, and you will be to realize better what is photography for you.

One of the pros of working in the studio is that you don’t have to worry about the marketing part. After gaining some experience, you can also start your studio with some investment.

Photography is undoubtedly difficult to crack into, and answering all answers to what is photography is also quite an impossible task. It takes continuous efforts and lots of mental strength. But if photography is your passion, and you want to pursue it as a career, follow your heart. Due to the instability and uncertainty of this field, many people do photography as a hobby.

It’s nothing less than a myth that photography cannot become a career option. Photography indeed holds challenges, but if you go ahead, it can also appear a blooming option. Create your own answers to what is photography. Don’t let the opinions of others affect you and go for it. Efforts never betray!

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