Definition of Photography

The visual medium of photography dates back to the 1800s. Since then, its form, function, technology, and expression have all changed. The art of photography has many facets and is always changing. What is the process of creating a photograph? This article will examine the processes involved in creating images, the materials utilized, and the applications of photography.

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How does the process of photography operate?

While the definition of photography may provide a broad overview of the subject, how precisely does photography operate and how is light caught to produce an image?

You need to comprehend the exposure triangle in order to grasp this. These three elements of photography have been essential to producing pictures from light ever since photography and the camera were invented.

The aperture

Light enters a lens through its aperture, which is its opening. A precise quantity of light is let through the camera aperture when you press the shutter release button to capture the image. The camera aperture opens to the predefined width.


After entering a camera lens, light travels via its aperture and arrives on a light-sensitive film stock (in film photography) or a sensor (in digital photography). The ISO setting determines how sensitive your film stock or camera’s digital sensor is to light.

The Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is the last element in the exposure triangle. Shutter speed, which is usually defined in milliseconds to minutes, is the length of time the camera shutter is open, exposing the picture to light.

An picture can be produced once these exposure components transfer light onto a sensor or film stock (using various procedures depending on the media). While digital photography is processed—you guessed it—digitally, film stock is developed chemically. Let’s examine these several photographic formats to see how they differ and how they are similar.

Photography Mediums

With the introduction of mirrorless cameras, DSLR cameras, and even smartphone cameras, digital photography has clearly become the more popular form of photography. That being said, this technology is quite new. Film photography existed prior to the advent of digital photography.

Why would a photographer in the present era opt to use film when there is access to digital technology?

Film Photography

Film photography is the process of taking pictures by shining light on a thin plastic substance known as film. Silver halide crystals are applied to the polymeric substance on a roll of film, and they darken in response to light. After being exposed to light, the film is developed into a finished photograph by processing it with different chemicals in a dark room.

Compared to digital photography, film photography offers a few benefits. The main benefits include a greater dynamic range, less expensive camera bodies, and of course the analog characteristics that film produces, such texture and grain.

Digital Photography

Instead of utilizing film to collect light, digital photography uses an electronic sensor. After that, these photos are digitally saved on a memory card, making them readily transportable as digital files.

For individuals who desire quick feedback when shooting, digital photography has a benefit over film photography in that it can be reviewed instantly. Since no physical processing of film stock is required, digital photography is also less expensive to process. Finally, because digital photography uses digital memory cards for storage, it can take more pictures.

Now that you are aware of the many still photographic mediums, let’s examine the various applications of photography.

The reason behind photographing

Photography is a visual medium with specialized applications. The aim of the photographer, the subject matter, and the intended usage of the image all influence this goal of photography. The goal of a photograph greatly affects a photographer’s technique, equipment selection, and composition of shots.

Let’s examine the three overarching goals of photography.

Art Photography

Art photography is a kind of photography with the intention of expressing itself, although having innumerable subcategories. This might be an interpretation of a notion the photographer wants to investigate, narrative, abstract art, or even natural landscapes, as this picture by the renowned photographer Ansel Adams.

Art photography extends the possibilities of what may be seen. Since the goal of this kind of photography is to give the spectator an experience, it is frequently the more experimental kind. Therefore, the thoughts of the photographer play a major role in art photography.

Documentary Photography

Some photographers employ the technique to record actual occurrences and subjects. Documentary photography is what this is. Documentary photography frequently records events or subjects objectively while simultaneously capturing the narrative as it develops.

New reports and archived collections both contain documentary photography. The topic of the shot is a major emphasis in documentary photography. Documentary photography has the potential to become iconic when the topic or event it is documenting gains historical significance.

Commercial Photography

Last but not least, commercial photography is the use of photography to advertise a product, service, business, or occasion that customers can buy into. It is employed with the intention of persuading. Product, fashion, and food photography are a few examples of the commercial genre.

Of course, some images fall outside of these classifications. Commercial photography has been using art photography in their campaigns, particularly in the last few years. Additionally, some art photographers have explored their own themes using street photography, for example, by using real people.

These goals for photography are not restrictions, but rather broad guidelines for what may be done with the medium. Brilliant artists continue to push and redefine photography as a visual medium.