Introduction to photography


With this activity, the participants try to come to a first introductory contact with the art of photography. The first question to the participants: Is “photography” practically defined only as taking selfies for social media or is it something more? Participants will be able to cultivate their photographic gaze, distinguish key features in the photographs, identify the subject, composition, content, get to know some technical parts of a camera, and with all this as a tool, be able to, finally, express themselves through photography! Because every photo has a story to tell!!


  • Familiarize with photography as a means of artistic expression.
  • The learning of basic technical characteristics and photographic values, with emphasis on the correct handling of light and composition in the frame.
  • The cultivation of personal aesthetics and visual perception
  • The development of practical skills

Duration: 120 min

Number of participants: 5 – 10


Computers or Tablets, internet connection, camera


Exercise flow:

Phase 1: Motivation.

Phase 2: What do I do now?

Phase 3: Light, speed, aperture and ISO

The first phase of our activity which is considered extremely important, as in the context of the occasion our interest is focused on distracting the attention of the participants. In this way we will be able to create learning motivation and more favorable conditions for the acquisition of the cognitive object by the participants. We will start with a question: 

What does someone who wants to learn to take good photos do?

Possible answers you will receive: 

a) He/she constantly takes photos and shows them to someone who trusts their aesthetics (our mom or our partner in love does not matter!). He listens carefully to their criticism, thinks, searches, tries and shows them his work again … At a time when he feels that he has advanced enough, he seeks advice and evaluation from someone who knows more – e.g. from a photography teacher or a photographer who likes her work.

This photo has many problems! But there is a chance to get good reviews if you have many friends on facebook and they also see the Eiffel Tower…
b) Constantly sees photos. We have a problem here! What will he see? 90% of the photos circulating on the internet are from mediocre to very bad – and most people appreciate them (because they show a nice body, our village or our company having fun….).


A strangely crafted
bird is not art!

After the answers of the participants we ask them if you can learn to cook well if you have never eaten delicious food? Can you write poetry if all you read is your horoscope? How will you evolve photographically when you do not even know what a good photo is?

Continuing their conversation, we ask:

Tell me some names of great photographers whose work you admire!

An example that can be mentioned follows:


American photographer

There are in photography (as in any art) some photographers who influenced art, paved the way, suggested stops through their photographs (eg Bresson with the “decisive moment”), have a distinct aesthetic and are reference points for lovers of this art. Not everyone is easy though! Some of them want study and familiarity in order to be understood and thus contribute to our aesthetics. In all the arts there are important representatives that require work to understand them…

TIP: Visit the site Masters of Photography – an old page with the right suggestions.


1) Name 5 world famous photographers! You do not know; But you know directors, musicians, painters, writers etc … OUPS !!! Start the study immediately … (let their photos speak to you)

2) Who will help you with their critique in your first steps?  

Phase two

What am I doing now?

But we have already said it!

You are outside or inside, you take photos, you show them, you listen to the first comments and you have bought the first photo album and you study it. You have downloaded some photos from the masters of photography and you start to wonder about various topics ……

What are your problems?

In the subject, in the framing, in the light?

You do not know what framing is or what I mean by that? Do not care about anything and do not think too much (for a start) … Just shootl!

Camera settings? In P (automatic program)! If you work with a mobile phone, just find out how to add or remove light before shooting.


Put the camera
on “P” and get

In the third phase of our activity we will deal with some technical issues such as light regulation, aperture, speed and ISO.

The light

The light can be soft (eg when it is cloudy or diffused – ie the sun does not see our subject directly) or hard (eg when the sun sees the subject directly and you have intense shadows or when you are illuminating something in the dark with a projector). They apply accordingly with artificial light sources.

Soft light, ideal for portrait

Hard Light ideal for street photography

We suggest participants to watch a nice video from No Film School that clearly shows the difference in light quality

Light can illuminate our subject from the front, side or back (backlight).

The old photographers used to say that we should have the sun behind us when we take pictures – that is, our subject should be illuminated from the front … Easy way of lighting, it is difficult to make a mistake and the photometer of our camera, but also the most boring…

Flat lighting from the front.
It does not create shadows,
depth and is boring!
This subject necessarily
needs sideways light…

Sideways (and hard)

The backlight
creates silhouettes


Photograph a subject (eg a person) outside in the three different ways we mentioned. The sun is constant, so you will move your subject and position (not the sun vertically for this exercise!) … You can also play indoors with a flashlight and a small object.

The diaphragm

The lenses have a maximum aperture (as we get closer to f1 more and more light enters) and a minimum (as we get closer to f22 less and less light enters).

And you have a diaphragm on you! She is the pupil of the eye. Illuminate it sharply with a flashlight to see it close!

The speed

It concerns the speed of the shutter. How fast (or slow) it will open to allow light to pass through the camera (or film) sensor. The more light there is, the faster it will open and close so that the photo does not burn. E.g. on a sunny day we will have comfortable speeds like 1/500 sec, while at night the camera can keep the shutter open for seconds on end to pass enough light.


1/400 sec and follow
the movement

We can manually control the speed if we have an SLR by turning the knob to S or T (Speed = speed, Time = time). This program is called speed priority and the camera makes the necessary other adjustments (aperture and ISO) to get the right light into our photo.

Why do this? To make our subject stand still or shaken!

We suggest further study in


Somewhere that is a lot of light, set a speed of 1/500 or 1/1000 of a second to “freeze” movement (try running water or anything that moves fast). Just before nightfall, try at speeds such as 1/15 of a second to get out of cars or passers-by. Do not zoom in and be as still as possible because the rest (buildings for example) we want to come out still. If you have a compact camera you can freeze the traffic with the sport program (as long as there is enough light outside) or take out something shaky when it gets dark with the night photography program (or what it says is for a while light).


The third way to change the amount of light that will pass through our photo is to change the photosensitivity of our sensor. When we used to buy films, kiosks sold those that had 100 ISO (or ASA) sensitivity. For the night we bought from specialized shops films with ISO 800 or black and white 1,600 because only this way we could work in low light … Now we go to our digital camera, when the light is low, and we raise the ISO, so that we do not get shaken Photo. Of course in life nothing is free! What do we pay here? Bigger digital noise…

Digital noise degrading the
image (Setting: P, 3200 ISO, -1)
enlarge the page to see
what noise will say…


Put something in the center of your frame (eg a person) and press the shutter button halfway. While holding it (do not leave it!) open your frame (turn the camera right or left) to take the photo you want and then press the button! In this way you tell the camera that what is in the center you are interested in coming out with the right light and focused … (This is done even with mobile phones). 

Expected outcomes:

At the end of the activity participants will be able to:

  • Handle his camera satisfactorily
  • Understand the basic terminology
  • Increase their space-perceptual ability
  • Perceive different versions of callus and captures it in the context of photographic art