Photography Basics – What Is Photography And Its Different Use

If you ask someone what is photography, their first thought would be to look for an official definition; the dictionary says that photography is the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface such as film or an optical sensor.  Yes, it is an art, a creative art. And who says creative art means freedom of creating and this brings us to another more personal question, what is photography to you?

No doubt that photography evolved so much, from the vintage monochrome pictures of our grandfathers to the hundreds of pictures in our mobile phones we never revisited since we took them…Photography became surprisingly quite omnipresent in our lives.

Park lake
ISO:400, Aperture: F/11, Shutter Speed : 1/125

We use photography in expressing ourselves, exploring the beauty of nature and capturing memories of our lives.

The role of photography in society

Since the first photo taken around 1827, what was curiosity became means to express or accomplish more specific needs. Some of the applications of photography we can list are in different fields such as:

1. Science

Scientific photography is a specialization and photography is heavily used in Medicine and treatments of diseases, from the scanning of the organs to the echography of babies and their monitoring.

2. Entertainment

Should I remind anyone that a big chunk of entertainment consumed nowadays is mainly channeled by photography? Movies, Concerts, Sports and more…

3. Criminology

Police and investigative agencies widely use photography to document or track criminals and their activities.

4. Spatial Exploration

Since the early days of spatial exploration in the 50s, photography played a vital role in observing our surrounding. The only proof we have of the unexplored stars is their pictures, and this helps the studies even if they are far away.

5. Environment

The striking pictures of the glaciers melting are nothing more than the most convincing proof of the global warming. Photographers play a big role in documenting such drastic climate change and it’s important to feel concerned about the situation by being eco responsible. Additional to that is the wide coverage of wildlife

6. Tourism

There are countries I feel like I know a lot, know their main monuments and building just to realize that I have never been there in my life. Travel Photography opens the geopolitical borders and let people admire other beauties of the world through pictures and this is one of the many aspects that makes photography very exciting.

7. Journalism

Photojournalism is a big part of journalism and sometimes images speak loudly than words. No doubt that photography awakened our curiosity on many issues we would have never heard of.

8. Advertising

Advertisement uses a lot of pictures and most of the time, photography occupies the biggest channel of advertising.

9. Architecture

Architecture photography is one use of photography which is also valuable in our society. Be it pictures of real estate or hotel rooms before you book your travel stay…

10.  People/portrait photography

Photographing people is the most widely adopted photography type. Events, weddings, birthday parties or baptism; this type of photography is what make us connect with the moment with people and document their life.

This list was a non exclusive one, and there are other dozens of applications of photography but as you can see photography is everywhere in our lives and our eye is always captivated by it.  

To be able to produce all of these kinds of photography, you need to master the basics of photography and master your camera to be able to capture the pictures. And this brings us to the following subject; what photography gear is needed to get into photography industry at least for the beginners?


Photography gear

The first thing first, you need to choose a camera. This task is not that easy, there are a lot of camera brands to choose from and different technologies to consider, but at the end of the day you only want a camera to shoot whatever you want.


You need to choose a camera suited for you, if you are a traveler or don’t like heavy equipment you can choose between the compact cameras or mirrorless cameras. But if you want to go full on photography you might also consider buying the big guys of the industry; canon or Nikon. It’s all depends on the kind of specialization you want to go.

For beginners you can choose from cropped sensor camera but with the ability to use different modes of photography and ability to use the manual mode. This is important to learn the professional techniques and mastering the key concepts in photography.

Camera Lenses and lens filters

Lenses are much important when it comes to your choices, the type of photography you choose to pursue determines the types of lenses you will choose. For day to day photography most of the time the basic lens which comes with the camera does the job. But for example, when shooting landscape, you need wide angle lenses, for event you need a mid-level zoom lens, nature photography and sports you a telephoto lens.

Lens filters are mostly used when you shoot long exposure pictures and want to make very long exposure without playing much with the light related settings.


Flash are mostly needed in events photography to light your subjects or in other setting requiring lighting like product photography, fashion and more. There are some considerations to make when choosing flash lights but it will be covered in another article.


Tripods are needed when you want to take still subjects or pictures which require to make long exposure like landscapes or seascapes.

Camera Bag

You need to have a comfortable camera bag and lens bags to protect your equipment from dust.

Post processing Software

Yes, you will need software to retouch your images even if you like them natural. Time comes when you want to go professional and start to shoot raw and you need to do some adjustments on your images to produce the final products.

Photography key concepts


ISO is the setting that controls the lighting in your camera, the higher the value, the higher the light. Some cameras have as the lowest value as 100 and more often this value can go as higher as 25600.

Something to keep in mind is the impact each range of those values have on the quality of your pictures. For more information about the subject, check a detailed ISO article

 Shutter speed

Shutter speed is the speed on which the sensor closes when you take a picture. The lowest value the less light comes in and the sharp will be the picture. This functionality is the one to pay attention to when you are shooting objects in motion. For more information about the shutter speed, check a detailed article: Shutter speed


This setting let you control the depth of field in your pictures, this means how wide your camera sensor opens. The wider the more light comes in but also the smaller the focused area. This is the setting to pay attention to especially when shooting landscapes and portraits. For more information check here on Aperture