Serious photographers know that even the best camera phones can’t compete with a DSLR. Provided you know how to use one, that is. The myriad knobs, dials, and settings can intimidate casual users, which explains why two-thirds of non-professionals rarely use anything but full-auto mode. The slick interactive visualization Photography Mapped can help those people master their camera.
Simon Roberts, a designer and animator in London, created it. The web tool features a static chart that explains the physics of photography, and an interactive set of graphics consisting of a red-and-blue camera and some toggles. Using Photography Mapped is simple. First, consult the still infographic. This portion explains how light interacts with the camera’s sensor, and what the user can do to control those settings.
But where the resource really shines is its interactive section. The toggles there correlate to manual settings like light, aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Adjust them and the camera, and an animated “photograph” of a helicopter, change in real time. Dial down the aperture, and see the lens open. Tune the light settings to “sun on snow,” and the entire scene goes blindingly white. Decrease the shutter speed, and see helicopter’s propellers blur. “It’s about exploratory learning rather than being very linear,” Roberts says. “What might be a chapter in a photography book, I’ve tried to pull it into one page.”
Roberts created Photography Mapped to address his own struggles. A designer and animator, he wanted to add photography to his skill set. “I just felt the resources out there were a bit confusing, and kind of clouded things,” he says. Reading about photography felt counter-intuitive, because it’s an inherently visual process.
Online tutorials can help, but watching videos is a passive exercise. Roberts’s hands-on infographic, on the other hand, simulates the experience of making a photo, and lets you explore how settings relate to each other. Your phone, while powerful, hides these relationships. Photography Mapped delightfully unmasks it.