Photography is a broad subject that eventually boils down to a mixture of art and science. Now, before we disappear down the "Is photography an art?" road I said it was a mixture and although the process of taking and processing a photograph is down to physics and chemistry the driving force behind it is often to some degree artistic or at least creative.
So, where do we start? Most books, at least the ones I have read, start with some history or "What is photography?" or something down that line. This is all very well and may interest you a bit later but right now what you probably want to do is take pictures, sorry, photographs. If you study at college or university they prefer the term "image " and get upset when you tell them you are going out to " take some pictures ". So we are going to start , where everyone really starts book or no book, at the beginning.

How to take a picture.
Compose and expose.

Photography is full of rules and to get us started I have invented one of my own. You have to do two things when taking a photograph.

  • Compose:      This is the creative or artistic bit where you arrange all of the elements of your picture within the frame or viewfinder to produce what should hopefully be a pleasing composition.
  • Expose:         This is the scientific and mechanical bit where you expose your film to light through the lens of your camera and if you are lucky preserve the image for posterity.

In my infinite wisdom I have decided to call this The Compose and Expose Rule. To make life simple compose and expose rhyme so it is easy to remember. You compose first and expose second that is the rule.

In the following tutorials we will look at both parts in more detail. If you pay attention and I can make myself understood you will learn how to exert a great deal of control over how your photographs will turn out.
We will start with the "compose" part first as most of the decision making is for aesthetic reasons which is largely up to you and if you are using a fully automatic camera it is the only bit that will be any good to you.

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