The Science of Photography. A Journey from Photon to JPEG.


Photography is the art and science of recording a moment in time in the form of an image. This workshop will guide you through the fantastic world that is trapped inside a photographic camera, allowing you to understand the magic behind photography. Our goal is to allow you to get a glimpse of the journey by which photons end up as fabulous images that make our hearts skip a beat.

We'll be discussing how light works in the context of photography, from the scientific part right down to its artistic dimension. Then we'll see how light is manipulated by means of lenses and we'll understand the important role that optics play in how images are created. We'll then see what an image sensor is and how this miraculous piece of electronics can generate electricity from light. Lastly, we will get to go through what happens inside a camera to turn basic electric signals into vibrant digital images, by means of image processing algorithms.

Your guide through this journey will be Cosmin Stan, an R&D imaging expert with years of hands-on experience in camera technologies. He currently leads the computational photography R&D group in FotoNation, developing technologies that are embedded in many of the digital cameras and mobile phones on the market today.

When and Where?

The workshop will take place between Sep 19th and Sep 23th, between 18:00-20:00 at the Automatica Faculty.

Outline of the Workshop

  • The magic of light: Physics of light, How vision works, Quality of light.
  • The science of camera optics: Lenses in photography, A simple camera, Basics of CMOS imaging sensors
  • A crash course in exposure. Fundamental photography parameters: Focal length, Aperture, F number, ISO.
  • Basic image processing camera pipeline: Debayering, 3A Algorithms (Auto Focus, Auto Exposure, Auto White Balance), Noise filtering, YUV and gamma, JPEG compression
  • Pro photography techniques: Flash photography, Studio equipment, Raw workflow, Color management.

Each of the topics covered consists of a course supported by live demos by means of specific photographic equipment as well as individual experiments. Moreover, the participants will be required to complete short photographic assignments. Even if these are meant for using and consolidating the information conveyed by the course, they will be exploratory in nature as the end goal is to have fun in understanding and practising photography.


Ideally, you should have a camera that allows manual control over the photographic parameters such as aperture, shutter speed and ISO. As long as it works to some extent, the camera can be very cheap, old, worn, beaten up or in any kind of bad shape. It can even use film. A mobile phone with a specific app that allows manual control is acceptable as well, even though it is less than ideal. All phones have fixed focal lengths and apertures so they do not allow much room for experimentation.

A limited number of cameras will be provided by the organizers, yet it is unlikely that there will be enough of them for all the attendants.


Please fill in the registration form. Attendance for this course is unlimited.


The workshop will take place in the Automatica Faculty in Bucharest, in the EC004 hall. For details on how to get here, please check out the map of the ROSEdu activities. We are easily reachable by means of Metro (get off at Politehnica station) or by the 336 bus line which will get you right in front of our building.

See you!

About the Organizers

The workshop is organized by ROSEdu in partnership with FotoNation, the world leader in embedded imaging.

Cosmin Stan

sesiuni/science_of_photography.txt · Last modified: 2016/08/24 21:25 by cstan