From Eugene Eric Kim

When you take pictures, there are basically three things you control:

  • Composition: What's in the frame
  • Focus: What you're focused on
  • Lighting: How much light reaches your camera

Today's cameras do 90% of the focusing and lighting work for you, which means you can focus on composition.

Focusing on story.

10% of the time, your camera does the wrong thing. This is where the quality of your camera comes into play, specifically:

  • Quality of your camera's lens
  • Quality of your camera's sensor
  • Ability to control manual settings easily

"The Big Picture About Exposure" from the The Bastards Book of Photography offers a great, simple explanation for how to control the amount of light your camera receives using manual settings. You start with your camera's exposure setting, which essentially manipulates:

You can also manipulate these four settings manually.

Kelby Training a possible source for online courses.



Using telephoto lenses

The Kind Of Shot That Ultra Thin Depth Of Field Was Made For




A nice explanation of apertures and focal lengths, and why you can't get good depth-of-field in point-and-shoot cameras (like mine).

In general, to [get shallow depth-of field], especially w/ point-and-shoot cameras:

  • Lower F-stop numbers (larger apertures)
  • Longer focal lengths (zoom in)
  • Get closer to the subject

Online Depth of Field Calculator


You can use a long macro lens (e.g. 200mm) as a telephoto lens as well. Some considerations:

  • The lens needs to be able to focus at a distance
  • Macro lenses are designed for precise focusing, so their focusing range is spread out over many turns, potentially making focusing (especially manually) slow


Dynamic Range