Aperture. Shutter speed. Exposure. Depth of field. You’ve heard these terms before. Camera enthusiasts love to talk about them. But what do they really mean? What effect do they have on a photo? It’s time to find out, and use the knowledge to take better pictures.
These websites and tutors will teach you these basics with interactive demos. Next you’ll find some courses to go through. And finally, a thorough guide to improve your smartphone photography game.
1. Photography Mapped (Web): Learn the Basic Elements of a Camera
Let’s start with Photography Mapped, an unusual but effective new tool. This interactive web app teaches you the basics of a camera, using an illustration of helicopter against buildings.
At any point, the exposure works as a meter to balance the image using the other values. Try it a few times and you will understand the interrelation between these basic camera elements.
2. Photoskop (Web): Interactive DSLR Tutorial
Photoskop is like a polished, big-boy version of Photography Mapped. It uses real photos, shows changes in real-time, and explains a lot more things.
Things get a little more technical in Photoskop. For example, it details each element that changes when you toggle the aperture. You’ll understand photography details like exposure time, exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, focal length, white balance, and more.
This interactive, changing-on-the-fly demonstration is incredible. It takes complex subjects like white balance and shows what they really mean. You can go back and forth as you need, since the whole site is in Adobe Flash, and not a video.
3. Reddit PhotoClass (Web): Practical Knowledge, Not Theory
Reddit, the internet’s largest general-purpose forum, isn’t only about fun and trolls. You can learn a lot from Reddit. Take, for example, this excellent Photo Class.
The class is so popular that there’s a new subreddit for it each year. This year’s /r/photoclass2017 is already under way, but maybe you can catch up. If not, there are other ways to improve your photography skills with Reddit.
4. Smartphone Photography 101 (Web): A Guide for Any Phone
They say the best camera is the one you have with you, and today, that’s usually your smartphone. Let’s face it, phone cameras are no slouches. And if you have the right techniques, tricks, and apps, you’ll take some great shots.
Photography Concentrate created the most detailed smartphone photography tutorial I have seen online. It has everything from how to pick a phone and the apps you need, to editing images and sharing or printing them.
5. Digital Photography Exposed (Web): Take a Free Harvard Course
That’s right, you can take an entire photography course taught at the Harvard Extension School, completely free. Computer scientist and photographer Dan Armendariz uploaded his “Exposing Digital Photography” course for anyone to view online or on YouTube.
The site also has the proper order to watch the lectures, as well as accompanying slides. It’s more technical and time-consuming than the tutorials mentioned above, but that also makes it the most thorough.