Digital Photography 101

A brief primer to digital photography:

Why digital photography?

Digital photography 101 ERIC KIM

We use digital phones. We like electric cars. We prefer digital music and streaming services. We prefer to stream digital tv and shows via Netflix, YouTube etc. So why not the same philosophy to digital photography?

How about film?

  • thumbs up portra
  • surreal street photograph ERIC KIM flowers
  • ERIC KIM layers hong kong
  • diversion ends ERIC KIM
  • Girl dancing. Berkeley, 2015 #portra400 #streettogs
  • Downtown LA father and son. Father opening popsicle with knife, 2011 #portra400
  • Hong Kong flash. Money changer
  • Auto show. Kodak Portra 400.
  • Istanbul street portrait. Kodak Portra 400, 2013.
  • Suits nyc. Portra 400.
  • African-american cop cutout. Downtown LA, 2013 #flash #portra400
  • London. Leica MP and flash. Kodak Portra 400

Film photography is great, but so is digital. It isn’t digital vs film, it is digital and film.

For example I like reading ebooks on my iPad *and* I like reading paper back books (Iliad by Homer, Penguin edition) and I like to write in my books with pen. The best approach is hybrid:

Embrace both.

The best way to approach digital photography

  • Prayer street portrait ERIC KIM
  • Washington DC, 2018
  • Two women having a conversation. NYC, 2017. Pentax 645Z
  • Man cleaning display. NYC, 2017. Pentax 645Z
  • NYC, 2017. Pentax 645Z
  • Cindy in my friend Alexander's home. NYC, 2017. Pentax 645Z
  • Cindy sleeping. NYC, 2017. Pentax 645Z
  • Cindy in Madison, Wisconsin 2017
  • Cindy by water. Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Blue shadow. Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Red, yellow, blue, green.
  • Red and car. Urban landscape. Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Lamp shade. Madison, Wisconsin.
  • Red petal leaves. Mark and isi Wedding.
  • ERIC KIM x PENTAX 645z

My simple suggestion:

As automatic as possible.

The ideal digital camera is a point and shoot camera; a “set it and forget it” camera which only requires you to point, frame, compose and click the shutter during the decisive moments you find personally meaningful.

This can just mean shooting in “P” (program) mode on your camera, or just shoot fully automatic. On the Panasonic-Lumix cameras I really like the “iA” intelligent auto mode.

To RAW or *Not* to RAW?

I am anti RAW. Back in the days of early digital photography, RAW was necessary because the standard JPEG photos looked aesthetically ugly. But now, JPEG film simulation modes actually often look *superior* to their processed and massaged RAW file image counterparts.

Color sweat

How to make good photos

Downtown LA, 2016 contact sheet.

Study the contact sheets of the master photographers. This is one of the best ways to learn.

On selecting your best photos

The art of selecting your best photos is truly one of the most difficult things.

Cindy minimalist Hanoi

I say this:

Your best photos look good as small thumbnails.

If your photos pop as a contact sheet when looking at your photo gallery roll, they are strong compositions.

How to best present your work

I am convinced in today’s brave new digital world, digital is the way to go. Just share your photos on your own blog.

It is all changing so fast

  • Selfie ERIC KIM

Digital photography is constantly in a state of flux. Keep flowing with it. Love and embrace digital photography and the future of photography!



Dear friend,

If you’re new to photography, start here:

  1. The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Photography
  2. Free Photography Bootcamp
  3. 100 Photography Tips for Beginners

Photography is Everything!

Photography Tips

Photography Articles

Mad men. NYC, 2017. Pentax 645Z

Photography Techniques

Everyday Photography

RICOH GR II selfie in mirror, double eye surreal. Prague, 2017
RICOH GR II selfie in mirror, double eye surreal. Prague, 2017

Color Photography 101

Photography Philosophy

Photography Inspiration

The Fundamentals of Photography

Photography Equipment »

How to Take Better Photos »

Composition Lessons »

Photography Assignments »

Contact Sheets »

Editing (Image Selection) »

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Creativity »

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Motivation »

eric kim portrait by Cindy nguyen


dark skies over Tokyo eric kim

How to Create a Body of Work

AMERICA - ERIC KIM16 eric kim woman popsicle

Technical Photography Settings

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Learn From the Masters of Photography


“He without a past has no future.”

Start here:

  1. Why Study the Masters of Photography?
  2. Great Female Master Photographers
  3. Cheat Sheet of the Masters of Photography
  4. 100 Lessons From the Masters of Street Photography
  5. Beginner’s Guide to the Masters of Street Photography
  6. Download All Articles >

The Masters of Photography

Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos
Prague, 1968. Josef Koudelka / Magnum Photos

Classics never die: