Do You Know How to Operate Your Camera?

cMERA operationsOver the past few weeks, I have learned so much in regards to my camera. Before hand, I knew nothing of how to operate my camera; I mean, I didn’t even know what a live photo was. I’ve learned that there is so much more to taking a picture than just clicking a button. There’s making sure you’re settings are set right, making sure you have the right lighting or even just making sure you’re taking the right photo. I knew nothing of any of the camera controls that I’ve learned about over the course of this week.

When I say camera controls, I mean the shutter speed, f-stops, ISO and white balances. Whether your camera is on automatic or manual also makes a difference as well. When you’re taking a picture, you want to make sure that you have the right exposure meaning the amount of light available and making sure your shutter speed and f-stops are set correctly. Shutter speed pertains to light quantity and shutter speed pertains to the duration of time of the picture. As a first time camera user, I’m learning to pay attention to my lighting when taking a picture so that I know the right amount of light I want in my pictures and to pay attention to my shutter speed so I know what fraction of a second I want my picture being taken in. It is also important to make sure that you have the correct ISO settings or your picture could come out too light or too dim. Every camera has different ISO settings so it just depends on how your camera works. I happen to have a 35mm DSLR Canon camera and my ISO setting goes as high as 6400 as and as low as 400. Now if I were take a picture outside, I would go with a low number for my ISO and if I were to be inside, I’d go with a high number. The matter of getting and knowing which ISO works best for which setting just means that you have to play around with your camera for a while. What worked for me was taking a few pictures with the different settings so I can I know which worked best with certain exposures.

Being a photojournalist is not easy. It’s important to know how to operate your camera because if you go to a shoot not knowing how to set the right ISO or shutter speeds, you could miss taking the right photo. Photojournalism is a profession where we capture the picture that tells a story so it’s important that you know what you’re doing with your camera and how to do it. I’m learning so much as I move forward in the class, especially the different ways to capture a photo. I always thought that I could take the perfect picture with just the click of a button but I’ve learned that we, photojournalists control how we capture a picture through a lens.

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Our First Amendment Rights

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When becoming a photojournalist, it important that you know the code of ethics and the rights that journalists have. There is a strong code of ethics devised in order to make sure that photojournalists are doing their jobs ethically and that they aren’t battered for doing their said jobs. As a college student stepping into the photojournalist world, I never knew much about the dos and donts of taking photographs but after reviewing the code of ethics, I see that it takes a lot to do this job. I understand why there is a code of ethics and am glad that journalists are protected by the First Amendment and are able to express ourselves freely.

As photojournalists, you have to make a decision when called on a job. It’s not everyday that you have to go to the scene of an accident and take pictures. To me, that would truly break my heart but I know it would hurt the families involved even more. That’s when I would have to decide whether or not I am a utilitarian, an absolutist or if I’d follow the Golden Rule. Being a utilitarian means taking pictures because you know that it is your right to show the people and provide them the information that they need to be aware of. Publishing these pictures could be awareness to a cause and in this case the right thing to do would be to take the photographs and show the world. An absolutist believes that “People have the right of privacy.” They may believe that publishing a picture will be bring awareness but also that the family deserves to have their privacy during their tough time. The Golden Rules says to “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This rule is similar to an absolutists point-of-view on whether or not they could put themselves into another persons shoes. As said by my photojournalist professor, “If you see yourself as an absolutist then this profession is not for you.” My professor is absolutely right. Learning about the basics to becoming a photojournalist is really going to prepare me for when I go out on my own and begin capture my own pictures. I know that it’s important for me to know when and where I can take pictures based on what I am learning.

I’ve learned about as much as I would have never thought to imagine about becoming a photojournalist and this is only the beginning of my career. If you haven’t already, check out the National Press Photographers Association‘s article on the code of ethics. This article really explains to you the job of a photojournalist and what the ideal photojournalist should do.

If you think you already have what it takes to become a photojournalist, take the First Amendment quiz to find out!