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Photography Course

Designed by Ashraf Al Shafaki


By the end of this course you will:

  • Master a set of fundamental techniques representing best practices in photography.
  • Understand the different types of digital cameras.
  • Be able to evaluate and select a digital camera to buy.
  • Understand how a digital camera works and the function of its different parts.


  • Anatomy of a digital camera - internal components of a digial camera 

1- ISO Speed

ISO speed in analog cameras indicates the sensitivity of the film to light. The higher the iso number the higher abilitiy the film has to sense light. Therefore, high number ISO speed films are suitable for shooting at dark locations while low ISO speed film is best for shooting at brightly lit places such as shooting at noon in the bright Safana forests in central Africa. An ISO speed of 50 is considered very low and can be used in extremely bright locations. An ISO speed of 200 or 400 can be used in birthdays. Higher ISO speeds can be used for less bright locations.

In digital cameras, ISO speed indicates the sensitivity to light as well. High ISO speeds can be used to shoot scenes with low light such as stars for instance. The problem with higher ISO speeds in digital cameras is that they create noise. Although digital cameras usually try to minimize such noise, yet it is best to shoot at the lowest ISO speed possible when using a digital camera unless the scene is really dark and needs a higher ISO speed.

2- Timer

  • The timer can be used in two cases:
  • You want to take a photograph of yourself. You set the timer on, then more in front of the camera for it to take a photo of yourself. Often this is done when you want to take a photo of yourself together with other people all in the same shot.
  • You want to take a shot without shakig the camera. This is often used when using a slow shutter speed due to low light, such as shooting the stars. You set the timer, move your hands from the camera and let it shoot without you touching it.


  • Point the camera to an object of the needed distance.
  • Push the shutter release button half way. The camera will adjust the focus to the distance of the object it is pointing to.
  • Move the camera to any scene you want while still holding the shutter button half way.
  • Press the shutter botton the rest of the way. The focus will be the same distance as was the first object.
  • You can use that technique to adjust the focus to the distance you like.

Red Eye

Some cameras also include a red-eye reducing dimmer flash. This is a small flash that goes off a few seconds before the main flash. The purpose of this flash is to cause the subject’s pupil to constrict (just as it does when you go out in the sun), which makes it harder for light to reflect back at the camera.

Auto Focus (AF)

  • How it works

I Learnt

  • Wide image gives good photos for landscape.
  • Face the opposite direction of wind when shooting videos to avoid noise in the recorded sound.
  • Take photos that tell the story. Take shots of unexpected events. For instance, the photo you took of Menna mending her slipper was a nice one.
  • Taking videos while turning the camera 90 degrees might not be a good idea. It is best to take videos in the normal camera position in order not to have to use software to rotate the video in the proper position, which is not as easy as in the case of still images.


Take photos from an angle that the eye does not normally look from. For instance, to shoot a photo with a grabbing effect, do not shoot from an 'above' position, which is a position the eye usually looks from. Instead, shoot from a horizontal level the same level of the subject being shot, or shoot from the same level of the ground. Shooting from new angles other than those they eye is used to look from creates stunning images.

Continuous shooting mode can be ideal for trying to take a snapshot of a fast moving object such as a flock of birds or a person playing racket while the ball is in the air.

Tips: Portraits

  • Smile when a photo of you is taken.
  • Get a photo taken of you while showing your true feelings at the moment of the photo being taken. :) (can give very interesting effects)

Tips: Imaging Documents

  • Do not use flash. Use daylight.


  • Reading the camera manual.
  • Practicing with the camera.
  • Experimenting with the camera.
  • Reading online about photography tips and techniques.
  • Learning from other photographers who are physically present with you (on a trip or so).
  • Showing your photos to other more experienced photographers. They will give you useful comments, advice and tips.

Canon PowerShot A530

  • Continuous shooting (turn off sounds and preview)
  • Color accent, color swap. (interesting effects)
  • Stitch assist, panorama and 360 degrees
  • Macro mode


  • light, vision
  • shutter speed
  • light, flash
  • ISO speed

Post Shooting - Albums

  • The order of photos matters a lot in slideshows and can spell the difference between a very nice photo sequence and a not-so-nice one.

Photo Editing

  • Cropping an image


  • Compression (JPEG, Video compression)
  • Colors, binary, 24-bit, ... etc (digital), RGB vs CMYK


  • How to use picasa to store, edit, organize and share your photos. (folders, albums, keywords - web album)

Other Stuff

  • SLR / DSLR
  • Kirlian photography
  • Picasa
  • Creating a Photo Album CD


  • Frame rate