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START HERE - The Photography Express



Hi I’m Gary Lun, author of The Photography Express (TPE) blog. If you are new to the world of photography this page is for you! It contains all the essential information for you to get started quickly!

I want to first share with you the 3 most important elements I learned in photography. These elements summarized everything I know from reading photography books, attending photography classes, taking paid online tutorials and studying online articles over the entire course of my photography journey. The 3 elements are:

1) Get inspirations to take you next best shot

2) Consistently learn new photography techniques

3) Master photo editing skills

In my opinion, without all 3 elements we simply cannot be a great photographer. We can still be good but we cannot stand out from the crowd or have an unique perspective without all 3 elements combined.

If you haven’t notice already, this is also how I structured this blog into 3 main categories: GET INSPIRATIONS, LEARN PHOTOGRAPHY, LEARN PHOTO EDITING.

Now we are all on the same page, let dive into some fundamental techniques of photography!

Please note that I’m currently updating content in this page right now. The completed version is expected by June 2015.

Step 1 – Shutter Speed

  • Shutter speed is measured by fractions of a second. It’s something like 1/50, 1/100, 1/200 as fast as 1/8000 of a second depending on your camera. It can also be 2 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds and all the way until you set the camera to stop.
  • Generally, if you want a brighter photograph, you’d set a slower shutter speed (eg 1/60 second). But this will cause camera shakes due to the movement of your hands holding the camera.
  • If you want a darker photograph, you’d set a faster shutter speed (eg 1/250 second). Doing this eliminate the issue of camera shakes but the environment you are in may not let you do so.
  • Motion blur occurs when your shutter speed is too slow to freeze the motion of the object moving in front of your camera. In that case you’d need to use an even faster shutter speed (eg 1/1000 second). This is how photographers take sports photography photos.
  • For portrait, use 1/60 of a second. Usually this is the slowest you want to go. To freeze motions, use around 1/500 or faster shutter speed.
  • Use the 1/focal length formula to calculate the shutter speed to avoid camera shakes. For example, if you are using a 50mm lens use 1/50 or faster shutter speed. If you are using a 100mm lens use 1/100 or faster shutter speed.

Step 2 – Aperture

  • Aperture is located inside the lens and not the camera. It is the size of the opening inside the lens that control how much light travel through the lens into the sensor of your camera.
  • Aperture also controls the depth of field (DoF).
  • F stop is the same as aperture. It is just measured in numbers. It is something like f1.2, f1.4, f2.8, f11, f16, f22.
  • The smaller the f stop number (eg f1.4 instead of f16), the bigger the opening of the hole inside the lens. Which means more light goes through and reachs the camera sensor. For depth of field, this means less of the photo is in focus.
  • The larger the f stop number (eg f22 instead of f2.8), the smaller the opening of the hole inside the lens. Which means less light goes through and reaches the camera sensor. For depth of field, this means more of the photo is in focus.
  • Be careful if you have a variable aperture lens. This is a kind of lens that the aperture change as you zoom in. It could be f3.5 at 28mm and f5.6 at 135mm. There is nothing wrong for those lens but just be careful of the aperture change as you take the picture.

Step 3 – ISO

  • ISO tells the camera how sensitive it needs to be to light. It is measured by numbers such as ISO 100, 200, 400, 6400 etc.
  • The lower the ISO number (eg ISO100), the less sensitive it is for your camera to light. Also, the less noise appear in your photograph.
  • The higher the ISO number (eg ISO 6400) , the more sensitive it is for your camera to light. Also, the more noise appear in your photograph.
  • Changing the ISO should be your last resort after changing the shutter speed and aperture. This is because of the noise/grain/digital noise.
  • Noise comes from the camera trying to amplify all signals of lights that it sees in the shot. Even at the less signals of light. This is how noise is introduce.
  • Keep your ISO as low as possible for the cleanest result.

More coming soon!


  1. Very cool – I’ll definitely be subscribing and following on Facebook, too.

    • Thanks Kate, I want to create this step by step information page for anyone who wants to start learning photography. Please come back often as more updates are coming up!

  2. Great post! I’m sure anyone wanting to learn about photography could benefit from it.

    • Thanks Carmen. Hope this can give everyone a different perspective towards photography and off to a great start if they are just starting out.

  3. Great resource for those just starting out!

    • Thanks Victoria and welcome to the blog! Yes if anyone are starting out I am trying to jump start their passion in the least amount of time.

  4. This looks like a great resource! I’ll be back!

    • Thanks Cynthi and yes be sure to check back later. If you have any great tips to share feel free to mention it here or contact me. I’ll write up a blog post to share with everyone!

  5. Great read, thanks so much for sharing this information!

  6. This looks like a wonderful resource for beginner photographers!

    • Thanks Jete! I’ll post everything I know so far in photography here. Come back often as I’ll make update for improvements down the road!

  7. good resource for beginner photographers

    • Thanks Debbie. I’ll be updating the steps often so everyone can get the best information I learnt in photography. If you have any questions or suggestions please let me know!

  8. Great information…well explained!

  9. Thanks Gary!! Great info and easy to understand!!

  10. Gary This is great!! Thanks for doing this, now I can learn what photography is all about and hopefully add what you share into starting my own photography… I’m new to this and already enjoy what you share!! Thanks again!! 🙂

    • Hi Carol thank you for your kind words! And you support is exactly the reason why I am doing this to help newer photographers. If you need help feel free to contact me anytime @thephotoexpress on twitter. Have a great day!

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