Photography 101 – From a Beginner’s Viewpoint (Part 1)

Well I guess I should introduce myself and explain why I am doing this. First let me just say I am not a writer; I have never been good with grammar or spelling. I am only as good as auto-correct is so from time to time you might see something that is grammatically incorrect or just wrong.

For the past eleven years, I have been a lucky man to be with the love of my life. One of her passions is photography and one of my passions has been visiting Disney World, so it was inevitable that our passions would blend together.

During the blending of our two hobbies, we met some wonderful and welcoming Hobbyists or extreme Hobbyists as some people would call them on This site is a community of Photographers who love to shoot everything Disney- they don’t limit themselves to Disney but they all share the same passion.

Once a year we get together to share information experiences and ideas while spending time in the happiest place in the world, Disney World! Now most of my time during these events has been handing out Tim Horton’s Coffee and serving as the equipment “mule” for my wife. From time to time I would see a really cool potential shot but it would never come out the way I wanted to, so I would hand the camera to my wife or one of my friends and ask them to set up the camera for the shot I wanted to take.

This went on for at least five years. Everyone has always been good helping me out and setting up the camera settings to do what I am looking to do. Maybe it was because I was supplying them with the world’s best coffee but I like to think it’s because they are a good and friendly crew.

Fast forward to three weeks ago, my wife wanted to take more advanced photos so being the wonderful supporting husband that I am, I found her a class at our local photography store that was teaching what she was looking for. I also noticed they had a beginners course that teaches the basics. Now if you have ever met me you would understand that I hate bothering people and asking for help. I like to do things myself so I decided it was time to learn the basics and see where that takes me.

Over the next six weeks I am going to blog about my experiences as I learn how to use a DSLR- I am a newbie.  I am so green the grass outside of my house is jealous. I am going to ask questions, I am going to find out answers; some might be right and some might be wrong. The one thing I have learned over the years is that there are many paths to the same place.

While writing this initial post I realized that some people might not know what some of the the acronyms mean, like what does d/SLR mean? If this is truly going to help beginners then I must try my best to share everything I learn so at the end of each post I will explain if I use any acronym, what it means, and the “real world” English meaning is.

If this can help one person take one picture better, then this series of posts will be a success. Be sure to check back each week (Thursday) for the next post in the series.


The following will be the topics I will be handling over the next six to eight weeks:

Week 1 – Getting started

  • Camera Orientation
  • Camera Handling & Menus
  • Camera Modes
  • Exposure  Compensation
  • Flicker and other sites

Week 2 – Exposure Mechanics

  • Exposure
  • Shutter Speed
  • Aperture
  • Depth of field
  • ISO

Week 3 – Exposure Mechanics Continued

  • Equivalent Exposures
  • Shutter Priority
  • Aperture Priority

Week 4 – Advanced focusing & Metering

  • Getting Sharp images – Where & How
  • Focus & Recompose
  • Metering Modes
  • Exposure Lock

Week 5 – Color and Light

  • While Balance
  • RAW files and Histograms
  • Lenses and perspective

Week 6 – Focal length and perspective

  • Lenses and perspective continued
  • Composition for landscapes and portraits
  • Night Photography
  • Using Flash and Natural Light



Equipment MuleThe person carrying around all the gear around.

d/SLR – A digital single-lens reflex camera (In “people talk” a Digital Camera with interchangeable lenses)

AcronymAn abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word (e.g., ASCII, NASA)

(ed. note: Sean is the owner and webmaster of, a community for Canadian Disney fans and a co-host of the Northern Mouse Podcast.  He is also the official coffee sponsor of Pixelmania)
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