Week 2: Camera Basics

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This week you will learn the important technical aspects of making successful photographs and how to make aesthetic decisions.


  • The basics (depth of field, aperture setting, shutter speed)
  • Composition (perspective, angle, shadow, horizon line, orientation, whole / part, negative space, background)
  • Proper use of gear (tripod, laptop, camera)

What You'll Need

  • SLR camera with interchangeable lens capacity
  • 105 macro lens
  • Tripod
  • Your camera's software and cable to view images on your computer

Course Videos

Video 5: Camera and Lens

Video 6: Setting the Exposure

Video 7: Aperture

Video 8: Composition

Video 9: Backgrounds

Video 10: Point of View


  • Take four images of your object or device. Set up the camera at a roughly 45-degree angle (not directly overhead), and make four images at the following aperture settings: f / 4, f / 8, f / 22, f / 32.
    • To do this, you will set up your camera to "aperture-priority" mode. This allows you to manually set the aperture and the camera will automatically adjust the shutter speed for the correct exposure. Read your camera's manual or online documentation to understand how to achieve this setting on your particular camera. We will not consider lighting in this assignment but if you rely on daylight, be aware that the lighting will change with time. Use a tripod to ensure consistent perspective and focus between the photos.
  • Once you've taken your four images, remove the camera from the tripod and take one more photo of your device at f / 22 without the tripod. If you have the camera cable and software, use them, as it will be much easier and more efficient to see the resulting images on the larger screen as you take them.
  • Comment on your work. Be sure to include your insights about the differences between the f-stops. If you have questions about your results, include them in your comments.

Visual Index

This resource may not render correctly in a screen reader.Week 2 Visual Index (PDF)

Summing Up

Week 2 Summary (PDF)

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