4 answers

does math have to do with photography

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100% of 4 Pros

4 answers

Naveed’s Answer

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Good question, I was a hobbyist photographer for at least 3 to 4 years. My mentor always talked about numbers when I had questions about photography, I did not understand back then. I now know that photography requires a lot of skills including mathematics, computer knowledge, and most of all, creativity. When you become a professional, the financial aspect comes into play, you will make photography packages, hire people, and run through your expenses/earnings all day. The camera has a lot of numbers like shutter speed, f-stops, ISO. These numbers will become a part of your reflexes, then you start working on speed lights and studio strobe lights, you buy a light meter which tells you the reading in numbers. Then you'll learn about golden ratio, sunny 16 laws, light and shadows. I suggest you should focus more on creativity and understanding your camera first, and as you progress, keep focusing on the details and nitty-gritty of photography.

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David’s Answer

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Hi Crystal,

That's a good question and kind of gets to my most basic philosophy of photography, which is that it has to do with everything, math included.

Bob's and Bryce's answers aren't wrong by any means - cameras nowadays do everything for you so you can take a good picture without knowing any math.

However, the best photographers have a heightened understanding of light - how it falls off, bounces, ratios of darks and lights, etc. So a good understanding of math makes this much easier.

That being said, if you want to make a business of photography, you need math skills. Almost daily I'm crunching the numbers of estimates (granted, fairly simple math). I'm also keeping detailed accounting of expenses, income, etc., which is easier if you're comfortable with numbers. I also shoot for tech companies which I try to understand so I can provide better service, so having a grasp of science and math is helpful for that too.

And then there's PhotoShop, which is totally math. All images are just zeros and ones and all the things PhotoShop does are math calculations. Feeling comfortable with math concepts gives you extra insight into retouching.

To get some background on where I'm coming from, you can see my photography work and read a little about my business on my site www.davidshopper.com. Hopefully this advice will resonate; the more education and understanding you have, the more you can shine a light on the everyday and turn it into your own vision.

Good luck!

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Bob’s Answer

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With even simple cameras having microprocessors, most of the calculations are done for you by the camera. Basic algebra should be sufficient with the ability to see relationships when controlling exposure. The book by Bryan Peterson "understanding exposure" is a good resource.

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Bryce’s Answer

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There isn’t too much math involved with photography other than fractions. Apeture takes a bit of math knowledge but other than that it’s mostly a creative space.

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