Lets Get Started

Congratulations! Photography is awesome, and I'm glad you want to learn more. This book will thoroughly explain the basics of photography. Basics like how to not drop a camera.

Why this book?

I have read a lot of photography introduction books. While there are a plethora of great resources out there - they are generally boring to read. Like, mind-numbingly boring. It's remarkable how boring a book can make something so interesting.

This resource will teach you everything you need to get started in photography, and just might entertain you as well. This is a guide, not a textbook! Photography is a fun hobby, and photography books might as well be fun too.

Who am I to tell you anything?

A bit about myself - feel free to skip this part.

I am a freelance photographer. That means I try to convince people to pay me to take photos of/for them. In my free time, I am a hobbyist photographer. This means every day I keep learning, trying, practicing, and especially enjoying photography even if it doesn't directly relate to somebody paying me money for images. At the time of writing, I am a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University, working on my master's of Emerging Media. I am teaching a class on photography, and I am reviving this book as part of the curriculum for the class. (This means I can't sell this book because Carnegie Mellon has some stake in - having paid for part of it's development. If I tried to sell it, it would be a whole thing I don't want to deal with).

As an undergraduate student, I had an interdisciplinary major and 2 minors, so I officially studied Creative Writing, Film Studies, Theater Performance, Philosophy, and Mathematics. This eclectic mix means that I am not an expert on anything, but I am quite skilled in communicating across disciplines. This is a lot of words that basically mean I am experienced in talking about and explaining technology, something I have been doing my entire life.

Oh, yeah, and I teach photography to students (as young as 10 and as old as 17) at a tech-focused summer camp. It's an awesome summer camp.

Pedagogy

This book is a little disorganized, and designed to be full of links. You should be clicking around. The approach is not a systematic step-by-step curriculum, but rather, a start-to-finish guide that repeats itself, each time getting more and more in-depth. First it will cover the basics, then get into the advanced ins-and-outs. Then it will get needlessly detailed and answer questions that you might have had, but don't really need to know to take pictures. This knowledge will help you be a better photographer!

Learning photography is learning a lot of simple things that combine together in interesting and complicated ways, so going over it all 3 times is an effective approach.

Lastly the focus will shift to specific interesting "neat" techniques and approaches, or concepts that don't fit elsewhere. This section is the where all of the secret tricks and wisdom are held.

Scope

This book is an introduction to photography, but not an introduction to lighting. We will cover light, certainly we must, but not how to use off-camera flashes or strobes, or how to light a scene in a studio environment.

This book will also dive deeper into technical knowledge then most introduction to photography books do, but can only go so far. Lens construction details, for example, will be avoided.

How To Use This Book

Well, you can read it cover to cover, one word at a time. That's one way. You can also jump around between sections. You could read it upside down or backwards, I don't care! It is organized in such a way that you'll be fine jumping between sections, or skipping parts that are not interesting to you. Reading it front to back, if I'm doing my job well, should be a reasonable approach that will allow you to quickly catch up to your current knowledge while filling in any gaps. If you know nothing about photography, a linear (straight through) progression will make sense.

For example, the first chapter includes a summary of the history of photography. I think this is fascinating - and that's why I put it in this book - but you might be itching to pick up your camera and start shooting. Perhaps later (after the sun sets?) you could go back and read that part, but I won't judge you if you don't.

Icons

There are no icons, yet. But once I figure out how to that (or wells, or however I want to do my asides) I will get that going, and explain it here.

Film Or Digital?

This book is a guide to digital photography, but will mention and cover aspects of film photography, for the sake of knowledge. There is a large overlap between film and digital, particularly with photography basics.

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