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Photography Tips by Myrtle Beach Photography

The Three Basic Elements of Photography


Each of the three aspects of the triangle relate to light and how it enters and interacts with the camera.

The three elements are:

  1. ISO– the measure of a digital camera sensor’s sensitivity to light
  2. Aperture– the size of the opening in the lens when a picture is taken
  3. Shutter Speed– the amount of time that the shutter is open

These three elements are what determines how your image will turn out.I will have to say that as a student of photography, these elements were the most difficult for me to understand.Remember, I have had no professional training and have had to pick up this knowledge from the professional photographers who work at my Studio’s in Myrtle Beach.I also have ADHD so these concepts were difficult for me to grasp.It was only after sitting in my daughters gym and playing around with all three, that I began to understand how they all affect the image.I would understand one and then the others would change and I had to finally realize that each affects the other.Most importantly – a change in one of the elements will impact the others. This means that you can never really isolate just one of the elements alone but always need to have the others in the back of your mind.

3 Metaphors for understanding the digital photography exposure triangle:

Many people describe the relationship between ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed using different metaphors to help us get our heads around how the three work together.One of my photographers, Joe, explained the concept like an human eye.Another used the window analogy.Here goes my “photography for dummies” attempt at a more simple understanding of these basic photography elements.

The Human Eye

Imagine your camera is like your eye that opens and closes or blinks (the shutter).If you stand in front of a mirror and hold your eye open and shine a flash light into your eyeball, the pupil will enlarge and become smaller based on the amount of light.Your eyelid opens and closes which when open, the pupil becomes smaller because there is more light and larger when the lid closes because of less light.Your eyelid is the shutter and your pupil is the aperture.Now imagine that you’re wearing sunglasses.Your eyes become desensitized to the light that comes in (it’s like a low ISO).

Let’s talk about the shutter speed first using the eye analogy.The speed of your blink (shutter) determines how much light gets to your pupil (aperture) to determine how large or small the pupil/aperture needs to be depending on the light you need to see.The slower you blink, the more time light has to reach your pupil and the smaller your pupil becomes.


Now for aperture.If you walk outside into bright sunlight, your pupil will suddenly shut down or become smaller just like the aperture on your camera because it needs less light.In reverse, if you walk into a dark room, your pupil will enlarge to be able to take in as much light as possible under the dark conditions.

These two functions of the eye work together, like with your camera, to determine the best light for you to be able to see in a dark or bright situation.Example:You walk into a very dark room.Your blinking (shutter speed) slows down so that more light can reach you pupil (aperture) so that it can become larger and more light can get in so that you can see more in a dark place.

Lastly, let’s talk about ISO.The ISO is like sunglasses.The eye is effected by wearing the sunglasses or taking them off.Now imagine that you’re inside the room and are wearing sunglasses (hopefully this isn’t too much of a stretch). Your eyes become desensitized to the light that comes in (it’s like a low ISO).

There are a number of ways of increasing or decreasing the amount of light in the room. You could increase the time that the shutter is open (decrease shutter speedby slowing down your blink), you could increase the size of aperture (increase pupil size) or you could take off your sunglasses (make the ISO larger).

Just remember, if you are in very bright light, your camera does not need as much light to create a good image so you will need to lower or close down your aperture and/or you can speed up your shutter.

In reverse, if you are in a low light situation, you will need to open up that aperture and slow down that shutter speed.If you still need more light once you open up that aperture and slow down that shutter speed there is something else you can try.Increase you ISO to allow more light.

I hope I have not confused you with this analogy.It really helped me understand the concept and hopefully that it helps you as well.Go out and play around in different light with these techniques to see how these elements effect you image.

To practice, I sat on my sofa and turned off all the lights except for a few small lamp.I was using a CanonMark III and an 70-200mm f2.8 lens.I put the camera on my knees to steady the lens and was taking pictures of my bookshelf across the room.I started at with a high number f-stop and a shutter speed at 800 and a low ISO.The image was black.I then lowered the f-stop to f2.8 (which my very good lens allowed me to do) and lowered the shutter speed to 100.The image was ok but not great.The next image I left the F-stop at 2.8, kept the shutter speed low and cranked up the ISO higher and finally got an image that was good.Good luck with this and I can’t wait to see if any of you have a “light bulb” moment and finally understand this very complex elements of photography.

I included a graphic at the top of this post to show examples of the eyeball and the lens to help with this explanation.

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Myrtle Beach Photography Tips: Rule of Space

Myrtle Beach Photography Tips


This rule states that if the subject is not looking directly to the camera, or looks out of the frame, there should be enough space for the subject to look into. This technique creates interest in the minds of the person viewing your image. An interesting fact is, the person viewing you image will look where the subject is looking.

If you are taking action images or landscapes with animals, the rule of space also applies. For example, you are taking a image of a horse running, remember to leave an active space for the motion to continue. (don’t always center the horse in the frame but rather leave space for motion in front of the horse. This simple rule will show in the still image that the horse/object is actually moving and has a destination. This also enables viewers to instinctively look to where the object is heading, thus, building excitement within the image and sets its mood.

Not only does it add dramatic accents in your photos, but it also creates a flow to naturally drag the attention of viewers to the direction of the subject.

While following this technique can help you achieve your desired photo, it can also be very interesting if you break this rule.

Breaking this rule, especially in moving objects where the space behind is what breaks or makes the image. Doing this kind of tactic will give the viewer an idea how fast the object had been and where did it come from.

Changing the framing and the look-space direction will also give a different meaning. A subject who runs and has too much dead space behind, means that he is leaving swiftly. But if you put active space in front of it, then it would suggest that the subject is leaving with a goal or target in front.

Play around with your photography to create a story within your image.Let Myrtle Beach Photography know how this works for you in your own photography.See examples of Rule of space below.Would love to hear your comments.Also, if there are things you would like to know, please post and we will try and get to them.

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To Flash or not to Flash

Fill Flash

The biggest misconception in outdoor photography is the use a flash. Most people know that if they are indoors, they use a flash. Most point and shoot camera flashes default to auto flash, meaning, if the camera detects there is not enough light for a good picture, the auto flash will kick-in, in low light. What most people don’t know is when you are outside and your camera is set to auto flash, it will automatically shut down your flash. This is perhaps when you need your flash the most. For example, you are out of the beach and it is 5pm, shadows are heavy and your subjects faces are shaded. This is where your fill flash can help. Go to your settings, override the auto flash(make sure that the flash icon does not have a line through the lightning bolt or flash symbol) and force your camera to flash. This will fill in the shadows (often cast by hats, glasses, noses etc) and light up the faces of your subjects. On the other hand, if your subjects look overexposed and washed out, you can’t decrease the flash strength try moving back a little from your subject and using your zoom to get a tighter framing as this will decrease the impact of the flash. Also remember, with most cameras, about 6 or 7 feet is a normal flash range. Experimenting is the key. Sample images above show the difference between an image outdoors with the flash on and the flash off.

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Vacation Picture Basics


A family is on vacation and wants to get a nice portrait shot with the wondrous background scene. The problem is when the family gets home and looks at the portrait and realizes that they tried to get too much background into the shot and they can barely tell who is in the picture. This scene can be anywhere: on vacation, at the beach, even in the backyard. The most important thing to remember with portraits is that the subject is the person or people in the photograph. I recommend head and shoulder shots for the most part. It is okay to pan out a bit to let some background in, but too much background may cause a subject conflict and the viewer’s eye may not be able to tell what to focus on.


If you pan out to get a better picture of an action portrait then the background is too distracting. To fix this you can decrease the aperture setting on your camera to narrow the depth of field and this will cause the background to be out of focus while keeping the subject in focus. This technique takes a bit of practice but the effect is worth it. Depth of field means your subject is in perfect focus while the background becomes out of focus causing a blurred effect. Notice in the sample photo, the subjects are clearly in focus while the ocean background is a bit fuzzy. This is a nice effect. Most people tend to shoot what they see with there eye. This becomes too distracting with much more background than necessary


While a point and shoot camera usually does not allow the user to change aperture setting, this same depth of field effect can be obtained by simply moving closer to the subject. The closer the subject is to camera, the narrower the depth of field it will appear in. Notice in the sample image, the subjects appear perfectly in focus and the background a bit blurred. This is an example of depth of field. It is a beautiful effect.

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What To Wear To A Photo Shoot

Tips On Clothing Style And Accessories

  • Very simple garments always photograph best.
  • Turtle necks or V-necks are flattering provided that neither is exaggerated in style. Avoid very wide or particularly deep V-neck garments as well as bulky cowl neck sweaters that completely hide the neck.
  • Long sleeves are essential for teens and adults, as bare arms call attention to themselves and will overpower the face.
  • Women being photographed in full length should wear long skirts, pants, in order to keep the eye from being directed toward the legs and away from the face.
  • Men should have their hair cut about one week before the portrait session. Women should be photographed whenever they are happiest with their hair in relation to the time it is styled.
  • Light colors are always best, especially on the beach. Try to be coordinated without looking too uniform. What I mean is instead of everyone wearing white shirts and khaki shorts, women wear white dresses, men where khaki long slacks and white button down and kids wear khaki shorts and polo (for boys) and white sun dress (girls). This makes for a much more natural photo.

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