First Photograph

This is the first photograph

A brief history of photography

The first permanent photograph was made in 1826 or by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce using a sliding wooden box camera made by Charles and Vincent Chevalier in Paris. Niépce built on a discovery by Johann Heinrich Schultz (1724): a silver and chalk mixture darkens under exposure to light. While this was the introduction of photography, the history of the camera can be traced back much further. Photographic cameras were a development of the camera obscura, a device dating back to the Book of Optics (1021) of the Iraqi Arab scientist Ibn al-Haytham (Alhacen),[1] which uses a pinhole or lens to project an image of the scene outside onto a viewing surface.

First Portable Camera

This is the first camera built
by Johann Zahn.

Before the invention of photographic lapel processes there was no way to preserve the images produced by these cameras apart from manually tracing them. The earliest cameras were room-sized, with space for one or more people inside; these gradually evolved into more and more compact models such that by Niépce's time portable handheld cameras suitable for photography were readily available. The first camera that was small and portable enough to be practical for photography was built by Johann Zahn in 1685, though it would be almost 150 years before such an application was possible.


Basic Camera Knowledge That You Should Know

Whether the cameras you use are the old film cameras or the new digital cameras, they all have the same principles to be able to make a photo. There are three key terms that you have to know if you want to take a good photograph: aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Although they sound simple, how to put all the right settings together and take a photo with the result that is within the expectation is the secret of photography. The better you are good at putting the right settings for the right situation, the better your photographs will be. However, I have to tell you that there is no way for me to explain every little detail about them. You will take a whole course to just study them, and they are very confusing to understand sometimes. What I will do is to explain these terms as plain as possible for you to understand. Also, I highly recommend you to go on some photography Web sites and learn more about them.


Inside the camera lens, there is a thin metal layer to control the light going in to the camera. The wider it opens, the faster shutter speed you can get and the background would get more blurry and vice-versa. You control the aperture by turning the “F/ stop” such as F/2.8, F/8, or F/22. The smaller the number, the bigger aperture you would get. If this confuse you, just think about this: small F/#=big aperture=more light can come into the camera=faster shutter speed. (Please see Figure. H1)

Different Aperture

1. Big Aperture 2. Small Aperture. Figure. H1

Shutter Speed

Basically, shutter speed means how fast or slow your camera records the picture once you hit the shutter button. For most of the SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras, you can take one single photo with your shutter open as long as the camera battery dies or as fast as 1/8000th of a second.

What does shutter speed do? It allows you to freeze the action. However, you have to know that the faster the shutter speed, the less light would be able to come into the camera, the darker image will be and vice-versa. (Please see Figure. H2)

Photo of Shutter Speed

Figure. H2


ISO is the film sensitivity of light. The higher the number of ISO, the less light you need to take a picture. That means the faster shutter speed you can make and smaller aperture you can have. When I say film speed, it is the big three-digit number that is printed on a film box like ISO 200, ISO 400 or ISO 800. Since there is no film is needed for the digital cameras, you can easily change it in the camera. However, there is one drawback, the higher the ISO, the noisier or grainier the pictures will get. You have to keep that in mind when you change your ISO.

Result of ISO

Same shutter speed and aperture with different ISO. Figure. H3-1

noisy ISO

Same shutter speed and aperture with different ISO. Figure. H3-2