Digital Photography Tip #1: Do not Assume Your Digital Camera Will Do All The Work.
Have you ever heard someone say something like: “The better the camera, the better the photographs.” Sounds sensible, doesn’t it? Many believe that super expensive cameras put them just one click away from the next great photo. In all honesty, would you say this is what you think?
Here are a few things to consider to not only challenge your thinking but also to help you understand how what you know about digital photography can be more important than what equipment you have.
First lets review how the rivalry between film cameras and digital cameras has progressed in the past several years. By sales figures data, for the last 5 years, digital cameras have easily outsold film cameras. How come? the answer is “Simplicity.” Your common 3-5 MP digital camera is so much easier to use right out of the box than a film camera. People are also able to see their photography results almost immediately with digital cameras, especially if the camera has an LCD display. But film cameras require the film itself to be processed and printed before the results can be seen. And in the end you will find that quality photographs can be taken with ease using digital cameras with out the need to wait that film cameras require.
Some of the main advantages to digital photography are:
• pictures can be previewed immediately on the built-in LCD screen
• costs of film is replaced with memory sticks or memory cards that are reusable and can store thousands of pictures
• the stored photographs can easily be shared by copying the images and/or sharing the memory stick or card
• images can easily be edited and transformed into black and white and/or sepia and can also be cropped after the picture has been taken
However, photographs taken under low light whether taken with film and digital cameras are both susceptible to artifacts or granularity. Images taken by both cameras appear to be very similar but digital pictures can be further improved by editing software that can manipulate the quality of images.
Furthermore, you can take lousy shots with the most expensive Nikon models and make great photos with the point and shoot film cameras. It suffices to say that it is not the camera only that makes great and even picture-perfect images. It is the photographer behind the camera who determines how great or poor the photo will be.
The following presents a ten-point aid that will enable you to take photos like a pro using your digital cameras. Practice up on these tips so you can make the best out of your digital camera.
1. Those Tones Should Warm Up
Change your white balance setting from auto to cloudy when shooting sunny landscapes and outdoor portraits. This increases the yellow and red tones, thus resulting in warmer and richer pictures.
2. Use a [Sun-glass] Polarizer
A polarizer should always come in handy when taking those general outdoor shots. Polarized shots have more saturated and richer colors because unwanted reflections and glare are minimized or even removed.
If your digital camera can not accommodate a polarizer, simply place a sun-glass lens as close to the camera lens as possible making sure that the rims of the glass will not be captured along with the image. The effect of a polarizer can be maximized when the light source is perpendicular to the object.
3. Shining Outdoor Portraits
One of the most useful and amazing features of digital cameras is the flash on or fill flash mode. This feature allows you to take control when to use the flash. It simply goes on whenever you want it available. This helps in capturing great outdoor photographs.
The camera exposes for the background first then adds enough flash to illuminate the subject when you are using the flash on option. Wedding photographers have been using this technique for many years to create professional looking portraits where everything in the composition is simply excellent.
To come up with a more relaxed photograph, try putting the subject under the shade and use the flash to add illumination.
You can also practice on using rim lighting where the sun illuminates the hair of the subject from the side or the back.
However, you should not stand that far away when using the fill flash since most built-in models have a range of 10 feet or even less.
4. Macro Mode Frenzy
Many photographers want to grab the finer details of natural surroundings like flowers, insects or small opalescent sea shells but would not be willing to crouch down and lie on the ground on their bellies to get those details.
In this case, you just have to look for the macro mode or close up symbol, usually a flower icon, and get as close to an object as possible. Once the confirmation light signals you to shoot, just press the shutter down to record the portrait.
However, using the close up mode allows you to have a shallow depth so you can concentrate on the part of the subject that you want to emphasize and everything else in the picture will be blurred or soft..
5. Chaos of the Horizon Line
There are still photographers who poorly line up their shots. In other words, when they look in their camera’s monitor or view widow they don’t properly evaluate the angle of the camera against the horizon. Then images captured will appear either slanted upward or be a little tilted or bowed inward. Some actually use this technique for effect but it is its best to first learn the right way to get a straight shot before mastering that technique.
The most appropriate way to take care of this matter is to take your best shot at a straight on, level with the horizon angle, then take another picture after repositioning the camera. Afterwards, you can delete the others once you feel you captured a perfectly aligned image.
Also, just practice level framing your shots until you become acquainted with the process.
6. Massive Media Card
You have to have an extra memory card especially when you want to capture more pictures without needing to download them when the card fills up. The following suggestions should be considered before buying a memory card:
a. for 3 mega pixels photos – a 512 MB memory card
b. for 5 mega pixels photos – 1 gigabyte memory card
c. for 10 mega pixels photos – 4 gigabyte memory card
Then you do not have to miss another shot because your card is full.
7. Not High Resolution All the Time
It is more advisable to capture more images by shooting lower mega pixel resolution settings than taking shots with a high resolution all the time. This way you’ll reserve memory and have enough space if you do come upon a subject that is worthy of a 2272 x 1704 resolution, photographic masterpiece. At that resolution you’ll have enough clarity for printing a portrait on a 8” x 10” inch paper suitable for framing.
Some shots are very suitable for lower resolution like impromptu friend or family gathering shots. Company party shots or minor event pictures. These are fine to take at 3 to 7 mega-pixels depending on your lighting and the amount of motion you want to capture.
However, if you have enough memory (and you should), there is no reason to shoot at a lower resolution and risk missing the chance to display all your work in a big way.
8. Tolerate that Tripod
Tripods are “unnecessarily bulky” for some so seldom do people like to bring them around.
Nowadays, there is an ingenious way to settle the dilemma whether to bring a tripod around or to do without it. The UltraPod II™ developed by Pedco fits in your back pocket and holds your camera steady in various situations.
You can use the Velcro™ strap to attach your camera on a tree limb or an available pole. Its legs can be opened on any flat surface or even on a boulder.
There are several other makes and models of tripods that weigh less than a pound but can set your camera 4 feet or more off the ground. Many options exist with lightweight metal allows and plastics that weren’t available in the past so make sure to search one out. They will give you much greater flexibility and success in your photography.
Now, you can be a real photographer without carrying a heavy burden.
9. The Fun with Self Timer
Another under-used feature on almost every digital camera is the self timer. This function can be used to save the photographer from missing pictures by delaying the firing of the shutter up to 10 seconds.
You can attach your tripod to ensure that your camera remain stationary. Of course, you need to aim at the subject and not at a distant background before setting up the timer. Also the depth of the subject should be checked too.
By using self timers, you can also avoid accidentally jarring the camera when you are interested in making long exposures of cars driving at dusk as you initiate the focus.
10. Slow Motions
Normally, you will use an exposure of one second or a bit longer to create the flowing effect of water. In this case, you have to look for waterfalls or streams that are under the shade.
One trick is to use a polarized lens or your sunglasses to darken the scene and create a longer exposure. More so, this technique can also eliminate extra glare and sun reflections from your portrait.
With practice and review of the results you get using these techniques you will find that no matter what kind of camera you have you can create much more satisfying pictures. You will also be preparing yourself to know how to handle that more expensive camera should you choose to buy one.
For the true photographer there is no simple ‘point & shoot’ camera that does all the work. True photographers want to take part in the photos they take. They want to use techniques and creativity to bring to life the photographs that they desire.
And the really great photographers are those who have many people asking them “What model camera do you you use to get these awesome photographs?”
If you get your technique down well enough to be considered great you can answer such questions by simply saying, “It’s Model Creative ME.”