A history of photography
More than two thousand years philosophers, scientists and mathematicians in Ancient Greece and China were familiar with the pinhole effect, in which light passing through a pinhole produces an inverted image on the other side. The phenomena was probably first observed in nature, as when light from the sun is filtered through leaves. During the Renaissance artists used the camera obscure, a box with a small hole in one side through which light rays pass producing an inverted image of the external scene on the opposite side to the hole. In Europe during the nineteenth century experimentation led to the development of paper coated which chemicals which captured the image and some of these early black and white and later colour photographs have survived.
Research continued on into the twentieth century, leading to many technological and creative innovations in photography and the development of moving pictures. The first digital cameras began to appear in the late twentieth century and during the first decade of the twenty first century they began to replace traditional film photography, as the resolution and quality of digital images they produced improved, leading to the decline of a number of companies involved in the film based photographic industries. Today most people carry mobile phones which have cameras that are sufficient for casual users and whilst some professional photographers continue to prefer using film most have embraced the convenience and cost savings associated with digital photography.
Tools of the photography trade
Traditional film based photography required the use of rolls of film which after the images were captured were then developed in a process using chemicals. However the need for the time and cost involved in such work has now been replaced by digital photography. Millions of people around the world take billions of photographs each year using their mobile phones, tablets or cameras which range from inexpensive consumer models to more expensive professional cameras. The digital images can conveniently be edited using software within the device or transferred to a computer with greater computing power, larger screens and more powerful photo editing software.
If you are going to photograph a scene or subject, whether to use online or in printed material, good results can be obtained using a digital SLR, to which you can attach suitable lenses, or compact cameras with superior lenses and sensors. The camera that you use could have a macro facility, enabling you to photograph your subjects close up, along with an attachable tripod to enable you to get sharply focused compositions. For most purposes eight megapixels or more should be sufficient and remember that whilst printed material requires high resolution images, those used online will be of lower resolution.
Materials used in photography
Whilst taking pictures using digital photography does not require traditional film and processing, there is a range of photographic quality paper available which you can print digitally recorded images onto, using either a laser or inkjet printer. When purchasing a printer it is worth comparing the cost of consumables such as printer ink, though you might prefer to use one of the online print services. If you have good quality digital images that you would like to display as art work you might also consider having them printed onto canvas. Whilst you might not have the equipment and materials to do this at home yourself, there are services available which can have your photographs printed onto canvas and framed. Particularly if you intend taking many pictures that you will look through at a later date, for example when going on holiday, you should carry removable memory cards on which to store the photographs you have taken. Other things to consider might be an album in which to display pictures that you have printed out, a suitable protective case or bag in which to carry your camera and accessories, chargers with suitable adapters and perhaps a waterproof case to provide your camera with additional protection from the elements when taking pictures outside.
Techniques of photography
When taking photographs it is important to choose an appropriate background and have good lighting. Using a plain white, black or coloured background can produce good results, focusing the viewers attention on the work being photographed, whilst placing your work in a suitable setting can provide scale and context. Although you could use photographic software on your computer to improve the quality of your pictures, low light levels and shadows will effect the images you produce. Taking photographs outside will give you the benefit of natural light and if the sun is high in the sky shadows will be less of an issue, though if necessary you could use a reflective surface to eliminate shadows. When photographing your work inside, using a light box can give good results and you should use white halogen lights, to avoid the yellow hue of ordinary lighting.
Tips and tricks of photography
Whilst photographic editing software can be used to produce many effects, you might also like to use lens filters to modify light before it passes through the camera lens, for example when photographing outside if light conditions are not ideal. Commonly used lens filters include polarising filters which reduce reflections and improve colour contrast, UV filters which help to protect the lens from environmental damage caused by moisture, scratching or dust, a close up filter for use when taking macro photographs and a range of special effects filters. Filters can also be used in conjunction with editing software to obtain the desired results.
Ideas and inspiration for photography
Along with supporting text, members of UKCraftFairs can include photographs within their listing page to help with the promotion of their arts and crafts work. When people are able to look at and handle your work at an arts and crafts event, they can appreciate its quality and you can talk to them about it. However when people see pictures of your work online and read the supporting text, their impressions are formed by how they make them think and feel. It is important therefore when showcasing your work online to attract interest by using both suitable text and good quality photographs. You might choose to employ the services of a professional photographer. Alternatively if you possess the necessary skill and equipment and have a large changing range of work, you might prefer to take the pictures yourself.