W1 – Introduction to Photography




Camera Obscura

The camera obscura, a prototype of the modern camera, was used long before the invention of photography by artists. Using a small hole in the wall of a darkened box (or room), light would pass through the hole and project an upside down image of whatever was outside the box. The image could be projected onto paper, providing an invaluable aid to artists who used them to create drawings with perfect perspective and accurate detail.

Joseph Nicéphore Niépce

The world’s first photograph made in a camera was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. The photograph was taken from the upstair’s windows of Niépce’s estate in the Burgundy region of France. This image was captured via a process known as heliography, which used Bitumen of Judea coated onto a piece of metal; the Bitumen than hardened in proportion to the amount of light that hit it.

Photographers after Niépce experimented with a variety of techniques.

Louis Daguerre

Louis Daguerre invented a new process he dubbed a daguerrotype in 1838, which significantly reduced exposure time and created a lasting result, but only produced a single image.

The first photograph of a human appeared above in a snapshot captured by Louis Daguerre. The exposure lasted around seven minutes and was aimed at capturing the Boulevard du Temple, a thoroughfare in Paris, France. Due to the long exposure time, many individuals who walked the street where not in place long enough to make an impression. However, in the lower left of the photograph we can see a man standing and getting his shoe’s polished.

William Henry Fox Talbot

Englishman Henry Fox Talbot created a paper negative process in 1841.

George Eastman

In 1888 George Eastman developed the dry gelatin roll film, making it easier for film to be carried. Eastman later produced the first small inexpensive cameras, allowing more people access to the technology.

Contax S

In 1949 Zeiss develops the Contax S, first SLR



The mode dial on your DSLR lets you decide how much the look of your photos is decided by the camera, and how much you want to control. For this week’s class we set our cameras to ‘P’ (for Program) and focused on composition.



There are no fixed rules in photography, but there are guidelines which can often help you to enhance the impact of your photos.

Here are four (of many):

  1. Rule of thirds
  2. Leading lines
  3. Framing
  4. Balance

Rule of thirds

Imagine that your image is divided into 9 equal segments by 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines. The rule of thirds says that you should position the most important elements in your scene along these lines, or at the points where they intersect.
When looking through your camera, visualize the scene before you with a grid consisting of two vertical and two horizontal lines, similar to a noughts-and-crosses pattern, placed over it. Place the main subject of your photo on one of the points where the vertical and horizontal lines intersect.

Leading lines

When we look at a photo our eye is naturally drawn along lines. By thinking about how you place lines in your composition, you can affect the way we view the image, pulling us into the picture, towards the subject, or on a journey “through” the scene. There are many different types of line – straight, diagonal, curvy, zigzag, radial etc – and each can be used to enhance our photo’s composition.


The world is full of objects which make perfect natural frames, such as trees, archways and holes. By placing these around the edge of the composition you help to isolate the main subject from the outside world. The result is a more focused image which draws your eye naturally to the main point of interest.


Placing your main subject off-centre, as with the rule of thirds, creates a more interesting photo, but it can leave a void in the scene which can make it feel empty.  You should balance the “weight” of your subject by including another object of lesser importance to fill the space.


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