BDP Study Guide:

Basic Digital Photography


BDP Study Guide

Pixels and File Management

PIXELS: (derived from the combination of two words: Picture and element)

Quantity – One Million Pixels = One MEGAPIXEL
Resolution: Cameras can shoot different resolutions:
Small – Less pixels in an image. Will pixelate if viewed large. Good for internet and screen (72ppi)
Medium – Not used often. Ok for laser printers at an OK quality (150ppi)
Large – More pixels in an image. For quality with beautiful detail; Great for prints (300ppi)
Megapixel Rating – The highest available resolution of a camera; (ie. 14MP)

File types/digital file format:

RAW – (uncompressed data and pixels) more control
JPG/JPEG – (Joint Photographic Expert Group) compressed data and pixels to save memory space and loses data every time you save it
PNG – Another compressed format gaining popularity
TIFF – Tagged Image File Format (Some compression but will not lose data)

Size of digital files:

Normal/Standard – Smaller file size, lower quality
Fine – Medium file size, good quality
Super Fine – Larger file size, higher quality

Memory cards:

SD – Secure Digital – most popular
CF – Compact Flash – popular with some higher end cameras
XD – Developed by Olympus
MS – Memory Stick (SONY)
Smart Media – (Toshiba) Not as popular due to lack of durability

Downloading Images:

Camera cable – A USB cable that connects camera to the computer
Memory Card Reader – A USB device that connects to a computer that reads memory cards
Storing, editing and printing:
External hard drive – Can store or keep backups of your image files
USB Flash Drive – Portable storage
CDs/DVDs – Storage on disc
Online/Cloud Storage – Convenient file storage on the internet, accessible wherever internet available

Scanning photos:

Film Scanners – Scans film negatives and slides and creates a digital image file
Flatbed Scanners – Scans photos and creates a digital image file

Size and Resolution

Resolution: How many PIXELS in an image

Web published photos – To show on a compute screen, resolutions of 72ppi (pixels per inch) are needed
Prints – For high quality photographic prints, resolutions of 300ppi (pixels per inch) are needed
Pixelation – When sizing the image too large and we see the pixels (not good quality).


Tonal Adjustments:

Histogram – a graph that represents all tones in an image from dark to light
RGB – The color space used in a digital image
Brightness/Contrast – Brighten a flat image
Shadow/Highlight – Bring out detail in the highlights and shadows by adjusting the tones
Levels – Adjust the tonal levels using sliders on the histogram
Dodge/Burn – Lighten or darken parts of the image by “painting” in exposure; target highlights, midtones or shadows


Color Balance – Adjust the white balance of your image
Hue/Saturation – Hue is the actual color; saturation is how much color (intensity)


Cropping – Select part of the image; unselected pixels are discarded (deleted pixels)
Print Sizing – you can also use the crop tool to size your image for print; Designate the size and resolution in the crop toolbox
Straightening – Use the ruler to straighten your photo
Perspective –
Constrain proportions – by holding down shift key; Keeps the image proportional; Also click chain link in the “Image Size” dialog box.

Improving Images:

Paintbrush – Use the BRACKET [ ] keys to adjust your brush size
Eyedropper tool – Smmple a color in the image to use in editing
Drawing – Hold down the SHIFT key to draw a straight line or to constrain proportions
Type – Add text with the type tool and adjust font size, style, color, etc. Drag out a text box to constrain text
Healing Brush Tool – Spot removal tool. Brush out blemishes or spots.
Patch Tool – Patch or remove items from the photo.
Clone Stamp Tool – Just sample the area you wish to clone with an Option/Alt-click and start painting with that source as a reference.
Sharpening Filter –

Layers Pallette:

Active Layer – The current layer you are editing will be highlighted and is the active layer; click layer to activate and edit the layer
Layer Order – The layer order is a stacking order – layers on top will hide those below
Creating and Deleting – When adding a new layer (via the new layer button on the Layers pallette), it will appear above the active layer
Opacity – 100% saturated with color; Anything less than 100% opacity will be a percentage of transparency (see through)
Black and White Conversion –
Hue/Saturation – Desaturating image – not a true grayscale
Grayscale – Removing all color information leaving tones from black to white
Undo/Redo –
History Pallete – Shows a set number of the most recent editing states; you can click on any state to return (just like an undo)
Step Forward/Backward – Use Command/Control Z to back up a step (undo); use Shift Command/Control Zto step forward

Transform Tool:

Scale – Larger or smaller
Rotate – Rotate by degrees
Skew – Slant
Flip – Mirror image
Distort – Stretch out


Marquee tools – select a shape (square, rectangle, circle, oval) or a single line of pixels
Lasso tools –

  • Lasso: Freehand a selection by drawing around an object
  • Magnetic Lasso: Just like Lasso, but the selection snaps to a contrasting edge near your cursor
  • Polygon: Uses straight lines between points where you mouse click to create a multi-sided shape

Magic Wand tool – Select all similar pixels to the one your cursor is on
Adding/subtracting – when selecting, toggle the add or subtract mode to refine your selection


How to make a selection in Photoshop



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