Science of Photography

The science of photography refers to the use of scientific elements and scientific aspects in understanding photography and the application of scientific features in producing photos. In other words, it is the technology behind the art.

In understanding the science of photography you will be looking into aspects such as the camera type you choose, lenses, internals of a digital camera, the process of developing a film.

Here is a look at some scientific elements involved in taking photographs.

Law of Reciprocity

Law of reciprocity bring out the relationship between light and light exposure on camera film, in the making of a photo. For a given exposure the shutter speed and lens aperture go into defining the ultimate shot. You can adjust the amount of light entering your camera's film by losing the aperture, reducing shutter time and reducing the lighting on a particular scene.


The lens of your camera includes a number of lenses and the reason why this is so is to reduce factors such as spherical aberrations, coma, and chromatic aberrations and give you a clear photo. The lens's focused on the image to be photographed and is used to zoom in and focus on the image being capture. The range of distances that come into the picture when taking a shot is called the depth of the field. The wider the camera's lens, the higher the depth of field.

Motion Blur

Motion blur is the most important aspect to be considered when photographing a subject. When the camera moves as a subject is being photographed it causes motion blur. There are many ways to reduce motion blur. One way is to limit the shutter speed to the level which is the reciprocal of the focal length of the camera lens. For example in a 50mm lens camera, the shutter speed must be 1/50 second. Another way is to reduce the motion blur is to use a faster shutter speed. Using a tripod is helpful in eliminating motion blur cause by camera shaking.


An aberration is caused when a photo looks blurred and distorted. There can be two types of aberrations - spherical aberration and chromatic aberration. Spherical aberration is caused by an increase in light rays refraction or reflection. Chromatic aberrations are caused when the lens of the camera have a reflective index that is different for different light wavelengths. Spherical aberrations can be reduced by using a multi-lens system or by using aspheric lens, while chromatic aberrations can be reduced by using a camera that has lens, made from material which specifically reduces this aberration.

Grain resolution

Grain resolution is another element that is most often seen to affect image output. Crystal holding silver grains on the dull side of a photograph determines the film's sensitivity to light exposure. When grains are large the photo has more grains in it, and the likewise is also true. If the photo should have smaller grains the photo must have more exposure.


Technically speaking focus is how light (CCD) or film falls on the camera's charge - coupled device. If the photo taken must be clear, the focus is to be adjusted according to distance with the subject. Keeping the focus right will get the right amount of light to go through the camera lens for the photo. Cameras now-a-days, of course, automatically adjust the focus.


Why is it necessary to learn about the science behind photography? Simple answer, taking good photographs! As you go over the process of setting up our camera for taking a photo, focusing on the subject, taking a shot and then processing the film, you are going to be applying some scientific element everywhere for you to be able to carry through to the next stage in this process. A keen photographer will show interest in not just knowing some useful tips and techniques of taking a good photo, but will also show interest in looking into the science behind taking a good photo.

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