The Bastards Book of Photography

The Bastards Book of Photography An open-source guide to working with light by Dan Nguyen   The Bastards Book of Photography is a visual guide for learning your camera’s manual controls in order to make beautiful photographs. No flash or other fancy equipment required. » Go to the Table of Contents. » Read why this book was written » Decide whether you need to even buy a camera » Go to the first lesson on light    

Exposure, The Zone System

  The  Zone  System is the simplest and best method yet devised for planning an exposure. Created by Ansel Adams and expounded by Minor White and others, it is more than just a shirt-sleeve approach to sensitometry; it is an elegant method of integrating all the decisions and techniques of exposure control. … PDF: Exposure, The Zone System   What is the Zone System? The zone system was invented by Ansel Adams, one of the most famous photographers ever. He was a master of technique, and had an eye for light that few are blessed with. His photographs were the result of a happy combination of comprehensive technique Read more

Experimental Lighting

  A continuous  light such as a torch or candle can be mixed with flash light to create a composite negative with two exposures. How to get this effect: 1.  Set the camera to multiple exposure. 2.  Use the camera on a tripod with a cable release. 3.  Meter for the flash light (or overhead/daylight in the case of the Picasso or Dance Hall images) and make the 1st exposure. 4.  Then in a darkened space where the torch is the only light source use a long exposure to record the movement of the torch (this could be about 20 seconds for example). 5.  The torch Read more

Exposing Scenes that are Lighter or Darker than Average

  Scenes that are light overall, such as a snow scene, can look too dark  in the final photograph if you make just an overall read­ing or let an automatic camera make one for you. The reason is that the meter will make its usual assumption that it is pointed at a scene consisting of light, medium, and dark tones, and it will expose the film accordingly. But this will underexpose a scene that consists mostly of light tones,  resulting in a too-dark  final photograph. Try giving one or two stops extra exposure to such scenes. PDF: Exposing Scenes that are Lighter or Darker than Average

How Colour Films Produce Colours

  Colour Film consists of three light sensitive layers.  Each of which responds to about one-third of the colours in the light spectrum. Each layer is matched to a primary colour dye that is built into the emulsion or added during processing, and every colour in the spectrum can be produced by mixing varying proportions of the colour primaries. … PDF: How Colour Films Produce Colours  

Mixed Lighting Indoors

  How do you utilise mixed lighting indoors? What problem arise and how can you solve them? This article by David Askham will give some of the answers, based on the author’s experience in a wide range of commercial assigments in work places, stately homes and domestic interiors. … PDF: Mixed Lighting Indoors  

How Camera Materials Work

  This chapter discusses how our light-sensitive camera materials work, especially colour films. It traces the way that ingenious principles have been put into practice and compares how films record relative to the way our eyes see subjects directly. So the chapter begins by describing how eyes and brain receive and interpret the sensation of colours and comparing this with the far more fixed chemical response of colour films. Differences between seeing and photographing are important to grasp in order to control results. … PDF: How Camera Materials Work  

The Kelvin Temperature Scale

  The following table shows the correlated colour temperature of common light sources: Color Temperature Light Source 1000-2000 K Candlelight 2500-3500 K Tungsten Bulb (household variety) 3000-4000 K Sunrise/Sunset (clear sky) 4000-5000 K Fluorescent Lamps 5000-5500 K Electronic Flash 5000-6500 K Daylight with Clear Sky (sun overhead) 6500-8000 K Moderately Overcast Sky 9000-10000 K    Shade or Heavily Overcast Sky    Here is a visual representation of the Kelvin temperature scale. Notice how lower temperatures are very warm, and following the color spectrum, increase in numeric value as they become cooler. PDF: The Kelvin Temperature Scale  

White Light

  White light, such as that from the sun, contains all the colours of the spectrum. Pass light throught the prism and it will brake into the rainbows of colours. … PDF: White Light  


  Visible light is a stream of energy radiating from a light source (the sun or a lamp). There are four main characteristics of light: … PDF: Light